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  1. #1

    Default Western America Road Trip

    Hi all,

    I live in England and I'm planning a road trip with my partner for July 2011 and am trying to get some of the planning done now.

    At the moment this is our rough itinerary for 2 weeks:
    LA, Las Vegas, Lake Havasu City, Palm Springs, San Diego, Long Beach, LAX.
    Basically we want to combine seeing some of America with relaxing on the beach, as you can probably tell!

    We we're going to go across to the Grand Canyon too but noticed that there are many day trips available there from LV. My partner really wants to do it via helicopter, whereas I'd prefer a driven trip, simply because I'm not a big fan of flying. Does anyone recommend these or is there a specific company that's best to go with? As we'll almost certainly be booking before we leave for America.

    I've heard mixed things about LA, in that much of it is actually not all that great, so I don't think we'll dedicate all that much time there, just doing the main touristy things. Las Vegas will probably be our longest stop (about 4 days), and I've noticed that hotels on the strip are extremely reasonably priced (is that because they anticipate everyone losing their money in the casinos?!). Is there a great deal to do during the day in Las Vegas?

    Finally, we will be renting a car and driving. We're open to flying into Las Vegas and doing the circle from there or from LA, whichever flight is cheaper to be honest!

    Can anyone recommend anywhere to go in between these stops that might be nice? I know at the moment it seems pretty well planned but we're open to suggestions.

    thanks in advance for any guidance


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    The helicopter day trips do not go to the national park - they go to Native American lands west of the park. It's better than nothing, but I'd recommend a 2 day driving trip, spending a night in or near the park.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Road Trip City

    Is there a great deal to do during the day in Las Vegas?
    We moved the corporate headquarters of RoadTrip America to Las Vegas partly because of the incredible variety of things to do here. Here's a site we produce about Living and Working in Las Vegas and here's just a couple of the hundreds of day trips you could consider doing here.


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

    Default Popular

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    This is a very popular area and discussed a lot throughout the forums so taking a look around will help get you started, the links in this thread contain some of our favorites.

    The Heli tours from Vegas mainly go to the West rim of the Grand canyon on Indian lands and home to the "Skywalk". Whereas a helicopter ride is a great experience, you can't beat visiting the National park area by road, and witnessing the views and a sunset IMO. This is more than a day trip though and you would have to include an overnight stop in, or near to the park. The best of both worlds could be had by driving to the South rim and taking a 50 min flight over the canyon from Grand canyon airport in Tusayan.

    Some people like the City life, others like me not so much, LA is huge and can take a lot of time to get around. Being from the UK myself, I prefer spending my time exploring the incredible natural wonders, such as Yosemite, Sequoia, Death valley, and of course the Grand canyon NP's. San Francisco is a great little City though, and one that I enjoyed a lot, plus between SF and LA you have the scenic coast drive around Big Sur etc.

    There are so many Hotel rooms in Vegas they are constantly trying to fill them [and succed at times] and that leads to competition for the customers dollars. There is stuff to do in Vegas during the day but it really comes alive at night, if you wanted to leave town here is a great link to some day trips, and you can find out what the the locals get up to.

    I would look at the links provided, work out how you want to spend your time with the help of a good map and then we will be able to help you with the details, enjoy the planning !

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default This and That, Here and There

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your trip is a popular one for obvious reasons, and you seem to know what you generally want to accomplish on it, so let me just point out a few things. Yes, loop trips are great. You can cover a lot of new ground and still end up back at the same place, saving on both airfare and car hire rates. Be sure to include the cost of the car hire when looking at the differences in airfare as rates, fees and taxes can vary quite a bit on that as well. Besides Los Angeles and Las Vegas, you can also check prices into/out of Phoenix and San Diego as well.

    Las Vegas does have a history of hotels with casinos offering low rates in the expectation that they'll get it all back in the casinos, but that is not the only consideration these days. With the economy being what it is, you should be able to get decent to great rates on hotels all along your route at the moment. Besides the pools and shows, there is some great desert hiking in the Las Vegas area including Red Rock State Park and the Valley of Fire.

    I would not recommend trying to see the Grand Canyon as a day trip out of Las Vegas. Yes, there are tours that advertise that they helicopter you into the Canyon and return, but that is to the 'West Rim' which is on Hualapai Indian Reservation land, not in the National Park. To really do the Canyon justice you need to drive to the South Rim (north of Flagstaff) and spend an evening driving the South Rim Drive, hiking the trail, and watching the sunset. If it helps convince your boyfriend, their are fixed wing and helicopter flights over the Canyon out of Grand Canyon Airport in Tusayan. These will be cheaper than the longer flights out of Las Vegas, but due to FAA restrictions on airspace over the National Park will not go down into or land in the Canyon.

    Like most large cities, Los Angeles is actually a collection of neighborhoods, which vary wildly in character and attractiveness to tourists. Hollywood, Pasadena and Burbank (northwestern L.A.) contain the bulk of what are usually considered the "main touristy things", but for beach you should try Newport Beach in southeastern L.A., particularly the small peninsula in front of Balboa Island. Ask locally about the 'fun zone' and the ferry over to Balboa Island and back. Another beach destination in the L.A. area is the Santa Monica Pier. In San Diego, you could easily spend days in Balboa Park enjoying the gardens and the large number of museums of all sorts.

    If you get homesick, remember that London Bridge was relocated a number of years ago to Lake Havasu City on the Colorado River in Arizona and you can visit it - and the kitsch that has grown up around it - on your way from either Las Vegas or Flagstaff to San Diego. Your itinerary is pretty booked at this point, and about the only thing I would add is also on your drive to San Diego. See if you can fit in a drive by the Salton Sea, and through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The Sea is below 227 feet below sea level and the Park is home to some world-class examples of slot canyons.


  6. #6


    Thanks for all the feedback guys, we may well look into doing a Grand Canyon detour now.

    Either way I think we might miss out Lake Havasu, the general consensus I've found is that there actually isn't a great deal to do there. So, based on this does anyone know of any place we could stop over either from Vegas to Palm Springs or GC to Palm Springs. Probably be just a one night stopover, to break up the journey.

    thanks :-)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Easy drive.

    Vegas to Palm Springs is quite comfortably done in the same day, but you could take your time and drive through the Mojave National reserve and/or Joshua tree NP. With a detour to Grand canyon [highly recommended as you have probably worked out by now] I would suggest maximising your time there and then make some progress towards Palm Springs before settling down for the night, perhaps around Kingman. You could take a small detour and drive part of the original route 66 through Seligman to Kingman. If you are looking for night time entertainment then there is nowhere close by as big as Lake Havasu, it depends on what it is you want to do.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise


    Out West, make sure you stop at an In and Out Burger place for some really fine eating.

    If you get a chance, do some driving on Route 66.

    Oatman, Arizona, and the wild burros is a real experience.

  9. #9

    Default Advice from fellow UK road-tripper

    Don't dismiss LA. I actually prefer it to San Francisco as it feels more American. For all of Frisco's charms - and there are many - it's quite a European city. LA takes some getting used to as it lacks a truly definable centre (although I've stayed downtown and really liked it there) but there are some great neighbourhoods. Santa Monica, for example, should not be missed.

    Otherwise, it's a shame you're missing out on Death Valley. I was prepared to be underwhelmed when I first visited it a couple of years ago but was astonished by its beauty. So much so that we went back last year. An amazing place. Why don't you cut a day from Vegas (sorry Mark) and head to Death Valley?

    Anyway, good luck, I'm sure you'll have a great time

  10. #10


    Please keep in mind that it will be grossly hot in Lake Havasu City and Palm Springs during July. If you do visit Palm Springs, then ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to get some relief from the heat.

    Everybody has their favorite beaches in southern California. I like Malibu in the LA area (and Venice Beach is fun); San Clemente between LA/SD; and Pacific Beach in SD. Although we've never done it, I think it would be fun to stay on Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach.

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