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  1. Default Las Vegas San Francisco LA by car in 19 days

    Hi, I'm Ana from Brazil. I'm planning a 16day car trip in California next July with my husband and two children. My initial plan is the following:
    day 1 - arrive in Vegas from Brazil
    day 2- Grand Canyon - flight tour
    day 3 - Vegas
    day 4 - Vegas to Death Valley (stop in Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin & dante's View), continue via Furnace Creek until Mammoth Lakes (sleep there)
    day 6 - leave to San Francisco
    day 7 - SF (49 mile)
    day 8 - SF
    day 9 - SF
    day 10 - SF to Monterey
    day 11 - Monterey to San Luis Obispo - stop in Carmel, Hearst Castle.
    day 12 - SL Obispo to Santa Barbara
    day 13 - Sta Barbara to Anaheim (I'm staying at a hotel in Disneyland)
    day 14 - LA
    day 15 - LA/Disney
    day 16 - LA/Disney
    day 17 - San Diego
    day 18 - back to Brazil
    Does it sound like a reasonable plan? What would you do differently?
    On day 5, what to do? If I choose to take the road to SF through Yosemite, what I should stop to see?
    Thank you so much for any help. Ana C.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Nicely planned

    You are seeing some great sights without being too rushed. It should be a good pace and allow time to get out of the car and explore other things, besides the main things you've listed, so the kids won't get tired of sitting in the car too long. In other words, you shouldn't feel rushed. Many of us try to do too much.

    Welcome to America and the Roadtrip America forums!

    Is your flight over the Grand Canyon leaving the Vegas area? If not, where do you have to travel to catch the plane?

    I would go to Yosemite. Lake Tahoe is beautiful and, if you chose to go there instead, you would have a lovely time but, really, it's not unlike many other mountain lakes. Yosemite is one of the most popular national parks in the United States for good reason. The scenery is awesome and the route you would take from Death Valley, over Tioga Pass, is gorgeous, too. But you really can't lose either way.

    What time does your plane leave? I ask because I wonder if you shouldn't go to San Diego first and then go back up to LA. That way you're in the city you're leaving from and don't have to scurry back to catch a plane. It might be more relaxing and you wouldn't have to worry quite as much about making it in time to the airport. Obviously, if your plane is leaving late afternoon or even later, this wouldn't be as big of a concern.

    You're off to a great start. Is there anything else we can help you with?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Day 5

    Bem-Vinda! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    For your dilemma in getting from Mammoth Lakes to San Francisco, I'd highly recommend that you go over Tioga Pass (on CA-120) and through Yosemite National Park. While Lake Tahoe is nice, Yosemite is spectacular and I think you'll have just enough time to go through at a pace where you can enjoy the views and maybe even take one or two of the shorter hikes. It's 'only' about 290 miles going this way, but it will be a slow drive up and over the pass, especially if you're driving on a weekend. Your children will much prefer this route, as will you. Otherwise your itinerary looks fine. Do you need suggestions for kid friendly attractions or do you have things to do already in mind?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Grand canyon.

    Here's another vote for Yosemite !

    What would you do differently?
    Personally I would make up time on the coastal part of your trip [perhaps leave SF in the afternoon of the 9th] and most definitely spend a night at the Grand canyon travelling by road. The Heli tours from Vegas, while spectacular, only land on Indian lands at the West rim and not in the National park where you will witness the views that you have most likely seen in many pictures. Witnessing a sunset there is also something quite remarkable.

  5. Default Thank you!

    Thank you so much for the tips. They were exactly what I was expecting from the forum.
    My doubts:
    1. Grand Canyon - I did not intend to sleep there because I'm thinking of an airplane tour to the South Rim with a subsequent 2-hour bus tour. There is even an option to catch a helicopter there to fly through the canyons. All in all, it would take 8 hours hotel/hotel. The company is BunduBasha (or something like that) but I did not buy it yet. But if you think this kind of tour is a tourist trap, let me know - they are kind of expensive (and it would be for four of us). My idea is to catch the air tour so that we do not get too tired of the car. Still a good idea?
    2. After your answers, Yosemite it is. Thank you for helping with the decision.
    Would you please take a look at my revised plan?
    Day 5 - Mammoth Lakes - check-out, drive to Postpile Monument , then to Rainbow Falls, then to Mono Lake and to Bodie Ghost City. From there come back and take the way to Tioga Pass, Tuolumne MEadows, Olmstead Point and then spend the night in Yosemite Village. QUESTION - IS THAT TOO MUCH FOR A DAY???? IRREALISTIC?
    day 6 - Yosemite Villaage - check-out, drive to Tuolumne Grove and then to SF via Mariposa and Merced.
    3. Yes, I need suggestions for kid friendly attractions - My boy is 11 and my little girl is 3 (but she is a good traveler).
    4. San Diego - I'm planning to drive from LA and come back in the same day, at night. I have a good deal at a Disney hotel for 5 nights - that is why I'm not planning a hotel there.
    Thank you again - it all has been a great help.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Seeing the Grand Canyon and Other Places

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America forums!

    I've been to the Grand Canyon several times and each time, each Rim, each method of seeing it is different and awe inspiring in its own right. Since I was here in Arizona when it was announced that flights into the National Park portion of the Canyon would be prohibited, I took the opportunity to take one of the last of those flights. I actually got to sit right seat (co-pilot) which made for a truly memorable experience. So I understand your desire to make as much of the single day you can devote to this from a base in Las Vegas. If your tour includes both the flight over portions of the Canyon to the National Park (South Rim) and a drive along the South Rim Drive with stops at all or most of the scenic overlooks, that would be a wonderful introduction to and overview of the canyon that would make the best use of that day. I am a little bit hesitant to recommend the helicopter flight into the Canyon below the West Rim (the only place where this is still permitted) just because I haven't been there, and I think it may not be worth the added expense on top of the fixed wing flight and bus tour.

    Your Day 5 might be pushing it a bit. You've got nearly 400 miles of driving, much of it over two lane roads, plus a number of places that you would like to stop and see. I just don't see that you can do it all. The worst case is that you end up driving over Tioga Pass at sunset or later, either with the sun in your eyes or in the dark. If you get a very early start and keep your stops relatively short, this is doable, but you will want to keep an eye on the clock and the lighting and perhaps forego a visit to Bodie if you start running behind.

    I have just a couple of kid friendly attractions to suggest. In San Francisco, the Exploratorium and in San Diego, Balboa Park with many free or low cost museums.


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