My wife and I are visiting the USA in April and planning a road trip (first time driving in US) from San Francisco down the west coast and ending up in Vegas.
The basic outline plan is:
Start in San Francisco (spending 3 nights here)
Day 1: Depart SF and drive to Morro Bay and stay 1 night
Day 2/3: Drive to LA and stay for 2 nights (do touristy stuff 1 day and Universal 2nd day)
Day 4/5: Drive to San Diego and stay for 2 nights (tourist stuff and chill out)
This is where it all gets a bit fuzzy...
Day 6: Drive to Phoenix for 1 night
Day 7: Head towards Grand Canyon and either make it there, or stop midway??
Day 8: Drive to (or if already there, spend night at) Grand Canyon
Day 9: Drive to Las Vegas for 4 nights
Whilst we've got an outline plan, we're confused about whether we're doing this right...
The first concern is over the Grand Canyon. I'm sure it's amazing, but we're travelling a long way from San Diego to get there. Would it be better to head straight to Vegas from SD and then do a day trip from Vegas? Or is the road trip from SD to the Grand Canyon worth while? Is Phoenix the right place to stop off at or are there alternative / better suggestions? As we've got 2 nights from SD to get to the Canyon where we'd stay for 1 night, are there any suggestions of how we'd best use our time (and which towns are good to visit) to break up the long trip to the Canyon?
2nd concern is that we're currently missing all the national parks by driving down the beach route to LA. Would we better spend our time at a couple of the national parks (missing out Morro Bay), and then going straight from San Diego to Vegas and then do a day trip to the Canyon?
If we've completely got it wrong, please feel free to suggest alternative suggestions as the only thing which is fixed is our start and end points (San Francisco and Las Vegas).
Any help or guidance you can provide is much appreciated.