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  1. Default San Fran-Yosemite-Las Vegas-Grand Canyon-LA

    Hi I am new here, and new to road trips! My family and I (hubby & 4 kids aged 15mths to 11 years) are planning to visit the US in September/October. We are travelling from Australia and will spend some time in LA before hiring a car and driving to San Fran.

    We were then wanting to hire an RV and had an idea of travelling from San Fran down to Yosemite then onto Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon and back to LA for drop off.

    Can anyone advise a possible itinerary that we should follow for this trip? I have no idea of distances and travel times. We will have about 10 days to do this and don't want to spend all day everyday in the van but rather enjoy the scenery. And what about the van parks? Are there any recommended in these areas. Also we only want to be in Las Vegas one day/night and then maybe a night at the Grand Canyon.

    Anyway, I am rambling now, so any suggestions or advice would be much appreciated?


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

    Default take a look around

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The basic plan that you've outlined is basically fine, but you'll be fairly rushed to pack it all into 10 days. You're talking about a lot of places over a pretty large area.

    Having said that, this is also far and away the most discussed basic trip outline on this forum, with thousands of posts and hundreds of threads on the subject. I would really suggest you just spend a little time looking around here, see what others have come up with, and then build a plan that might work for you.

    Once you've got those basics down, we'll be in a better position to help you polish the details.

  3. Default

    Maybe I need to clarify. The 10 days we have are from when we leave San Fran and head off and then back to LA. I have been told that this should be a good amount of time. Anyway, am looking at the other forums and getting some ideas, but still hopeful of some more advice here. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Near the beach NSW


    Hi DJ.

    Aussie here too.

    We recently did a similar trip however missed the GRand Canyon.

    Can you squeeze a few more days in? For your itenary I would be looking at 15 days minimum.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A start.

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    With 10 days from SF to LA via GC you will be fine and will have a wonderful time. As for camping it is hard to beat the National parks, you will be set right in the middle of wonderful and natural surroundings and there is nothing better than sitting around the campfire looking up at the stars ! Sept/Oct is a great time to travel IMO, the crowds are going and the fall colours come alive. Day time temps are good and the evenings are chilly but usually it is dry with blue sky's. The NPS website will give you all the info you need on parks and camping. I would Recommend 2 nights at each of Yosemite and GC which will give you time to enjoy them and for a lot of the time you can get around using the parks free shuttle bus systems to the trial heads and viewpoints so you are not in the van all day. From Yosemite allow another nights stop on the way to Vegas and drive across Death valley on route, it's spectacular ! With one night in Vegas I would recommend the Oasis resort, the kids will love the pool. With only one night in Vegas you could actually head North on I-15 and spend a night at Zion NP and possibly Bryce canyon before heading through Page to the Grand canyon. By my calculation that would leave you 2 days to head back to LA.

    Have a look around the forums for lots of ideas and when you have more questions just ask ! If you have a little time you are welcome to look at our RV trip which covers most of these places.

  6. Default Planning Itinerary Now

    Thanks Dave. I have looked at your Post and it has me very excited! Your photo's are spectacular.

    I am planning our itinerary now and will post soon for some feedback, suggestions etc...

    Thanks again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    One thing I see which you should be aware of - renting vehicles and returning them in a different city will incur a "dropoff" charge. If budget is a consideration, renting a single vehicle for return to the same location will probably be considerably less costly.

  8. Default Itinerary and Changes

    Okay, after a fair bit of research, (by the way this forum is just great, don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t come across it!), I have come up with the following. There is a change of direction, now going anti-clockwise.

    Day 1. Arrive LA, stay 6 nights to do Disneyland parks, Universal & Hollywood Tours etc.
    Day 7. Hire RV and head to Las Vegas. One night Vegas.
    Day 8. Head to Grand Canyon. One Night.
    Day 9 /10 Bryce Canyon, Zion NP, or North Rim?
    Day 11. Head to Death Valley stay one night
    Day 12. Death Valley to Yosemite (two nights)
    Day 13. Yosemite to San Francisco (three nights). Drop off RV.
    Day 16 Hire car and leave San Francisco down coast, one night Carmel by the sea
    Day 17 One night Cambria
    Day 18 One night Santa Barbara
    Day 19
    Day 20
    Day 21
    Day 22 Depart LA

    Okay, so there are a few holes. Which is why I am here! Firstly not sure what is best route to get around and see the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canon, Zion NP and how many nights around here would be enough. Is it too much of the same thing? Are there other options? Where are best places to see/stay with RV?

    Secondly, what are best stops on the way to Death Valley and then Yosemite? Is 2 nights enough at Yosemite?
    Is 3 nights enough in San Fran? Maybe should do 4.

    Have I allowed enough site seeing time along the coast down to LA? Have I missed any sites worth seeing. Have noted Elephant Seals & Hurst Castle & Big Sur.
    Would love some input and suggestions and as you can see we have a few days up our sleeve to rearrange things.

    Have some more questions but will do some more research and try and wait till we get the Itinerary more complete.

    Thanks so far for the input, and glc, yes we do realise the drop off fee for the RV and have taken this into account in our budget.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default suggestions

    I think instead of going to Vegas the first night out of LA, I'd head for the Grand Canyon. Either spending the full day driving there, or maybe heading to Joshua Tree as a halfway point. You could then hit Vegas as you travel from Zion/Bryce to Death Valley. Basically, Vegas is out of the way a bit to go from LA to the Grand Canyon, but it is on the direct route between southern Utah and Death Valley.

    I'd make sure you have at least a full day at the Grand Canyon, as it is a big place with lots to see. I don't think you'll get bored with seeing GC/Zion/Bryce, but I think I'd want at least 4 days here, especially if you try to also squeeze in the north rim.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Agreed !

    LA to GC and onwards as Michael described will save a lot of miles, and you could use one of those extra nights on route and I would def recommend 1 1/2 to 2 full days at GC which would mean another night there or just outside the park on the way Bryce. I would also consider having an extra day for the Bryce and Zion part of the trip, they are two fantastic parks and by the time you have added in your travel time on to these one nighters you are not getting a lot of time to explore. No chance of getting too much of the same thing, even with a lifetime to spare !

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