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  1. #1

    Default California Road Trip

    My wife and I are planning a trip to California with our 2 children (12 & 15) in August of 2011. Our plan is to fly into San Diego, rent a car, and then travel for the next 9 to 10 days. We would like to stay a couple of days in the San Diego area and then travel to the Grand Canyon spending a day or two there. Afterwards we will head to Las Vegas, Las Angeles, and then head north to San Francisco. Is this a realistic plan for the 10 days we have scheduled? What are some of the spots that we have to see if this is our only trip to California. I know from experience that some tourist areas are over-hyped and not worth seeing. I would appreciate any help with planning our trip.

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


    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    The trip you are looking at is basically the most popular route outline on the forum, so you should have no problem at all finding tons of ideas about what to do if you spend a little time looking around this site and the forum.

    However, I'd say you're already in danger of overextending yourself on a 10 day trip. Spending 2 days in San Diego, you'd then be looking at a full day of driving to the Grand Canyon. If you spend just one day there, you'll already have used up 4 days. Its a half day driving back to Vegas, and then another half day driving onto LA, you're up to 6 days. If you spend just one day in LA, you're looking at 2 days to drive up the coast (you can make the drive to SF in one day, but then you need to stay inland), leaving your last day for San Francisco.

    Its certainly possible, but it very much an on the go trip, that could leave you and your kids rather exhausted. That outline also completely leaves off some other major sites, like Death Valley, Yosemite, and/or Sequoia National Park. With your timeline, I might consider skipping Vegas and the Grand Canyon, and focus more on a California only trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Agreed.

    I agree, that is quite a busy schedule for a family road trip. I would consider as Michael suggested, cutting back and focus more on Cali for a more relaxed time, or start and finish a loop trip from SF, LA or LV depending on how the flight and car rental costs stack up and save San Diego for another time, while getting to see a little more of natures wonders, Death valley and Yosemite. If that is not an option how about a one way trip from San Fran down the coast to San Diego and across to Grand canyon and fly out from Vegas instead of having to head back to the coast. These options will still keep you on the move and feel busy but could be a little more manageable, Here are some of our favorite thread covering the area, and by looking around you will find many more.

    Hint: Scroll to the bottom of the page and you will find "similar threads".

  4. #4


    Thank you both for excellent advice. It's hard to judge how much time we will need and this gives us a more realistic idea of what we should be looking at doing. My wife has been to the Grand Canyon and wanted to make that a priority but, if it stretches us too much, we may have to re-think it. We just want to give our children an overview of the California experience. I will definitely spend some time looking through the threads in the link. We definitely have some time to plan the trip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area


    You may want to trade Yosemite and/or Sequoia/Kings Canyon for Grand Canyon. Different scenery but can be fit into a loop trip within California easier than GC would be.

  6. #6


    Thanks. I just checked them out and the Sequoia/Kings Canyon looks incredible. I appreciate the advice.

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