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  1. #1

    Default First timer-San Diego to Grand Canyon to Carlsbad Caverns

    Hi everyone! I am planning my first adult road trip for May. We live in San Diego, CA and want to visit the Grand Canyon and Carlsbad Caverns. We are thinking of stopping over in Vegas but its still iffy about that. We have 7 days free the last week of May. I want to have a few days in Carlsbad because I want to see the Desert Zoo as well as the caves. My husband is the only driver as I dont have a liscense. We have a tiny car so hotels are a must. I have found several hotels in Carlsbad that look good. Does ayone have any tips about where to stay along the way or cool side stops we could make?
    Thanks ahead of time for any advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default ideas

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think I would skip Vegas for this trip. You're looking at a fair bit of driving, as it is, and since you want to spend a couple days in Carlsbad, I don't think the detour would be worthwhile for this trip. You live close enough where you can go back to vegas for a weekend, and from the post you made in another thread, it sounds like you've been there before anyway.

    If you're looking for budget lodging around the Grand Canyon, Williams is usually a good bet, with lots of options that will be cheaper than staying near the rim. You'll have to drive an hour away from the Canyon, so there will be some drawbacks too.

    Other points worth stops along your basic path would include the petrified forest/painted desert, White Sands, and Saguaro National Parks. If you like the idea of a Desert Zoo, then I would also strongly recommend the Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson (which is as much a zoo as a museum).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default No to Vegas.

    I agree with Michael, your trip is in the region of 2100 miles which equates to 9 or 10 hours on the road each day for 4 days, which doesn't leave you a whole lot of time as it is. If you didn't want to stay in the Grand canyon lodgings then Williams would be a good choice. You will head into the G/C on the 64 through the South entrance but it leaves out to East entrance along Desert view drive, which has many viewpoints and is a big part of the "Grand canyon experience". If you were to leave the park late in the day to get the most from your time there is Cameron trading post just a little North on the 89 from the 64. If you didn't want to stop there the shop itself is a good experience. With 2 nights gone you could make the long haul to Carlsbad but you would be on the road for 11 or 12 hours with stops for food and gas. If you were to stop in between you could visit the Petrified forest on the way, but you will need a day and a half minimum to drive back to S/D at the end.

  4. #4

    Default Change of plans: Ontario CA to Carlsbad Caverns to SD

    Hey! I posted a query earlier but we have since learned that my husband has a convention in Ontario, CA and that will be our starting point. We have decided to skip the Grand Canyon and only go to Carlsbad Caverns for a few days and then home to San Diego. We will leave Ontario on Sunday and after visit the caverns, trying to go home on the following Sunday. I need advice on what hotel to stay at in Carlsbad. I would like a pool, we are not on that much of a budget.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-04-2009 at 06:08 PM. Reason: Merged - Please do not create new threads to ask additional questions about the same trip

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default doesn't change much

    Well, since Ontario, CA is still basically right along your original path, it doesn't really change things much. I'd probably still go along I-40 one direction and I-10/I-8 the other way. I don't have any specific advice for Carlsbad motels, you may want to try looking at one of the big booking/reservation sites or tripadvisor to find some reviews of your options.

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