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  1. Default SF to LA Road trip with todlers - first timer

    Hi All!

    I am planning a 3 week holiday with my family (1.5 and 3.5 year old boys) and husband to the US. I know little more than nothing of what is good to see and need anyones help please!!

    We are leaving the 2nd of July (yes in summer holidays but can't do any other time!) and want to visit Washington, San Francisco and LA. Can you please suggest good family attractions? We want to drive from San Francisco to LA trying to see the Grand Canyon as well We have 10 days in which to do that. I have only planned the flights and don't really know where to start with everything else!! It's a bit daunting!

    Please suggest where we should start? We are not really interested in Las Vegas, but I guess if we drive past it we might as well have a peek at it?

    Many thanks for all your help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default details

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I think it would help by clarifying the details of your plans. You're talking about a 3 week trip, but then you say you've only got 10 days for your trip to San Francisco, LA, and the Grand Canyon? It would also be helpful to know what kinds of things your family is interested in seeing and doing.

    Here is a good starting point for figuring out your options for the SF/LA/GC portion of your trip.

  3. Default

    Hi! Thanks, after I read my post I realised that I didn't really give accurate information. We are flying from London to Washington, staying there for 3 days, and then moving to Atlanta where we stay with friends for 7 days. From there we fly to SF and have 11 days to see SF and do a roadtrip to LA. We are flying back to London from LA.

    We have not driven more than 4 hours with both kids, so are not very familiar with long distance driving even though we come from South Africa!! We love the mountain scenery, but are not very adventurous. We did camping when we were younger but never with the kids. So, I guess you can say we are very inexperience travelers apart from knowing how to fly far!

    A friend suggested the Yosemite Park. Is that in addition to Grand Canyon or rather than the GC? I guess no other park beats the GC! We know the sea very well and always holiday at a beach village in SA, so that is not our main priority. We want to have a "local" experience. We can live it rough but like a bit of comfort as well!

    I hope this is more detail. Probably a good starting point is to go and read through all the threads on this topic and start my itinerary from advise on this forum. Wonderful website for beginner travelers!

    thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default threads and a map

    Yes, I would agree that you would be best off starting just by looking at some of those other threads. With thousands of posts about traveling in this area, there is a lot that you can learn just by reading.


    I would also recommend getting yourself a map so you have a better idea of the area that you will be dealing with and where things are located. Yosemite and Grand Canyon could both be part of this trip, but they are hundreds of miles apart and two very different experiences. I would also at least consider following the California coast, as this is very different terrain than just a beach area.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Popular.

    Hi and welcome,

    A friend suggested the Yosemite Park. Is that in addition to Grand Canyon or rather than the GC?
    If you prefer the mountains to the coast road [which is also beautiful]Yosemite is wonderful and part of a very popular route that could include the Grand canyon.

    From San Fran it is a fairly comfy drive although it could take an hour or two more than you are used to. I would spend at least a night but 2 would be better here, either in or close to the park. Like the G/C it is very popular and you would be advised to book accommodations at both places.

    From Yosemite you can cross the Sierra's on the 120 [Tioga pass] which is very scenic, working towards GC. This would give you the opportunity to cross Death valley, a fascinating landscape and right through Las Vegas. Stopping somewhere like Lone Pine after Yosemite and then travelling to Vegas would be a good days travelling, and it will be hot in the desert so you won't want to be to far away from the air con of the car. From Vegas you can head over the Hoover dam towards the South rim of the canyon on I-40 or head North on I-15 through St George and turn of on route9 to Springdale and the lovely park of Zion and visit the North rim of the Grand canyon. You can still head South through Page to the South rim. A lot will depend on how much time you want to spend travelling. From the South rim I would allow couple of days to get to LA.

    Have a look through the links Michael gave you and you will find many more by using the search button and when you have put an outline plan together with the things that interest you, we will be able to help you piece it together.

    Dave.

  6. Default

    Thank you! What map would you suggest I use, just mapquest or google maps?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default plus paper

    Google or mapquest are a good place to start, but nothing beats a quality paper map in my opinion. You can check out our recommendations in the planning section.

  8. Default

    I have always wanted to travel with a RV. I believe it is an easy way to not have to pack and unpack everything, especially with kids. One could also travel longer distances and it is cheaper. But as we have never rented an RV, I don't have an idea if this is actually true or just a myth? Do you think it is a good idea to do this in our trip from SF to LA?

    You also suggested we do the coastal trip as well, is it possible to do both of these in 11 days without driving every single day?
    thanks!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default a way of life

    Renting an RV is almost never a cheaper way to travel, and since you're traveling in a slower more lumbering vehicle, your distances would, if anything, have to be shorter, rather than longer.

    That said, renting an RV should be viewed as a lifestyle choice and a way to increase your ability to have fun on a trip. There are lots of positives, but you have to decide what works best for the kind of trip you want to have.

    It might be possible to cover everything in 11 days, but you've really got to sit down and start working on this trip yourself and getting an idea of what you think you can do with the time you have.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alidavanderwalt View Post
    We have not driven more than 4 hours with both kids, so are not very familiar with long distance driving even though we come from South Africa!!
    With small children, you're going to have to plan to stop frequently -- you just can't do as much because if they're unhappy, everyone else is too! My teens will stick their noses into a book or plug in their ipods, and we won't hear a peep from them for hours. Not so for small children.

    Still, when my girls were small, we did travel with them. We planned driving around naptime and stopped at rest stops / parks for long stretches. Just don't be overly ambitious with your itinerary, and you'll be fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by alidavanderwalt View Post
    A friend suggested the Yosemite Park. Is that in addition to Grand Canyon or rather than the GC? I guess no other park beats the GC! We know the sea very well and always holiday at a beach village in SA, so that is not our main priority. We want to have a "local" experience. We can live it rough but like a bit of comfort as well!
    I'd suggest that you start with the map and see what kind of distances you're considering. Yosemite is wicked crowded in the summer, and -- I think I"m telling the truth here -- you can't even drive your private vehicle into the park anymore, but are required to use their transportation during peak season.

    I'd be a bit nervous about the Grand Canyon with a toddler. Mine were fast and slippery. I'd probably take them there for a visit, but stay somewhere down the road (so you can relax too).

    While you're in that general area, you should really consider adding a stop to see the Redwood trees. It'd be a pity to be so close and not stop. Consider Sequoia National Park, though it's not the only game in town.

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