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  1. Default QUERY on WEST COAST DRIVE TRIP, Need quick advice

    Hihi I have a question related to the west coast drive Trip. We are doing SFO-> Las Vegas-> Los Angeles via Yosemite early Nov this year. We have 2 kids aged 2 & 4 and my mum (60+)travelling with us.Question is does this itinery make sense;
    Day 1-2 Flight in to SFO
    Day 3 Drive from SFO to Yosemite, Sequoia Nat Park with brief stopovers and stay 1 night in Kernville prob the Whispering Pines Lodge.
    Day 4 Set off to Las Vegas via Barstow
    Day 5-7 LAS,Grand Canyon
    Day 8-11 Set off to anaheim disneyland
    Day 12-13 LA coastal drive/outlet shopping
    Day 14 FLy back home from LA

    My dillema is we want to have scenic drives but is it too much for the kids/senior?
    We are trying to find a central point between yosemite and bakersfield to stay over for one night to break up the 12hour drive, it seems like more than midway if we had to drive all the way to Kernville. Any suggestions for a better stopover on Day3 ?
    Does it make better sense to arrive at LA first before hitting LAS/Grandcanyon?
    Should we do 1 way flight from LAS to LAX instead of driving?
    Is it too much to add death valley into the drive from Bakersfield to Vegas?

    Appreciate a prompt response as havent booked anything else except air tickets. BTW this thread is really helpful and i have gone through all of them.

    Yes, but tacking on to a 4 year old thread is not the best way to get quick advice.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 09-06-2010 at 12:01 AM. Reason: Moved to separate thread.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Where I See Problems

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First off, your first driving day is simply not going to work. Think about what you're expecting: drive through the heart of the Bay Area in morning rush hour, then drive over 450 miles of mostly two lane road through the mountains, and visit two major National Parks. That's just plain too much, especially with 5 people.

    On the other hand, it doesn't take 3 days (8-11) to 'set off to Anaheim'. You can drive from the Canyon (or better yet, Williams just to the south of it) to Los Angeles in a day, leaving you two days to visit the mouse and his cohorts.

    Unfortunately, there are no good 'coastal drives' in the L.A. area. It's simply too built up. Santa Monica Pier and the Fun Zone in Newport Beach are entertaining destinations, but fighting your way through traffic to Nicholas Canyon County Beach or Point Mugu State Park probably is not going to be worth it.

    Otherwise, your plan is fine. I wouldn't try to add Death Valley, but the Mojave National Preserve is on your way, both to and from Las Vegas, and 5 plane tickets (plus luggage fees) and an extra one-way drop off fee are not going to be worth the hour or two (tops) you'd save by flying from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Remember that flying would entail driving back to Las Vegas from the Canyon, crossing Hoover Dam and the attendant delays, dropping off the rental car, checking in, going through airport security again, getting another car in L.A., and fighting some of the worst traffic in the world from LAX to Anaheim.


  3. Default

    Thanks AzBuck.Appreciate your response.

    Agree on day 1 drive trip being too ambitious.
    Have tweaked itinery to:
    Day 1-2: SFO
    Day3: SFO-> Montery (whale watching) ,Big Sur -> Yosemite->SFO loop OR
    SFO-> Yosemite-> Montery
    1 night stay in either Montery or Yosemite. Any suggestions on lodging?
    Question is in early Nov will there be waterfall in Yosemite and is it better to stay over in Yosemite or Montery?Which of above loop do you think is better ? And should we set off on a Monday from SFO at 6am to beat the traffic jam?

    Day 4: Drive to SFO airport, return car, Fly from SFO to LV
    Day 5: LV,Grand Canyon (helicopter trip) , no car
    is the helicopter trip any good? ie. any time to explore the canyon by feet?

    Day 6: Pick up car from LV, drive to Anaheim. Visit Hoover Dam and Mojave as you suggested
    Day 7-10: Anaheim disneyland
    Day 11-12: LA outlet shopping/Tour of hollywood.
    Day 13: Flight back
    (Sorry miscalculated days in above itinery)

    Is this a better plan and any other final tips? thanks lots!

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

    Default No.

    I am sorry, but your revised plan is no better. Your first day's drive is still not going to work, you would most likely be driving for 11 or 12 hours, and that's before you get out of the car and see any sights/go Whale watching. By the time you have completed the loop back to SF, the mileage is almost the same as driving from San Fran to Vegas via Yosemite with the added time and expense of a flight on top of that.

    I guess it's too late to alter your flights, [?] as heading down the coast to LA and then to GC and fly out of Las Vegas would of saved you having to zig zag from the coast and back.

    Some answers.

    The waterfalls in Yosemite will be all but dry. [It's still spectacular]

    The loop just isn't going to work, where to stay will depend on your decision of what to do.

    The helicopter tours from Vegas generally go to the West rim of the Grand canyon on Indian lands. You would have to check the tour details [they vary] but you normally walk around for a while, have lunch and options of visiting the 'Skywalk', but it is not the National park. Worth it ? That's for the individual to decide, especially when you are tight for time. Personally I would prefer driving to the National park and spend time witnessing a sunset at this wonder of the world. If I didn't have the time, would I fly to the West rim ? Mmm, probably Yes.

    I think that Buck thought you were spending 3 day's getting to Anaheim, but heading there in a day will not afford you the time to go to the Hoover dam and explore the Mojave.

    To summarise, I think you have taken a step back rather than forwards [sorry] and you are going to have to re think your strategy. The thing is, you have the time to visit some of the major places mentioned in a fairly relaxing manner, the problem is that you are spending half your valuable time in the LA area. If that is what you want to do that's fine, but I wouldn't spend the rest of your time rushing around trying to see all the natural wonders in the area as it won't be enjoyable.

    If you don't want to alter your time in LA, then I would suggest visiting Yosemite with a full day there [2 nights] and then head back to Monterey and take a couple of day's travelling down the coast around Big Sur to LA, or spend a night in Yosemite, and continue by road to Grand canyon and drive all the way to LA.

  5. Default Revised itinery

    Hi thanks for responding, thank goodness hvnt booked SFO-LAS flight. Based on your advice, it seems like a bad idea to fly given we want to do monterey n yosemite. after researching on drive time n the must see, hv revise itinery as follows. Pls advise if make sense
    Day 1-2 SFO
    Day 3. Early setoff to Monterey, catch am whale watch
    Brief @Big sur, 1night @Monterey ( any lodging sugg?)
    Day 4. Drive to yosemite, stayover @ redwoods cabin
    Day 5-6 Drive to las Vegas via death valley (8.5hr) just to experience scenery
    Or drive to Grand canyon direct fr yosemite (11.5hrs!)n stayover 1 night before driving to Vegas
    Having bit of dilemma here as the canyon drive is tedious plus I very much want to take helicopter down to the valley yet want to hv time to explore skywalk etc bearing in mind restrictions that come w 2 young kids n a senior
    Am sure now that LV will not form impt part of trip
    Be good if can catch a glimpse of Hoover dam

    Day 7-10 Anaheim Disneyland
    Day 11-12 outlet / Discover la
    Hear from your expert views soon.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 09-10-2010 at 12:59 PM. Reason: Removed Obnixiously Large Font

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    First of all, the Skywalk is not at the Grand Canyon National Park. It is on Indian Lands known as Grand Canyon West. This is also the only area where helicopters can go down into the Canyon - air craft are not allowed in the actual Grand Canyon at the National Park.

    You should also know that visiting Grand Canyon West will cost much more. Its about $75 per person to enter the reservation, and do the skywalk.

    Meanwhile, Grand Canyon National Park is where I would recommend you visit. That will cost you $25 for everyone in your car for up to seven days. This is the area where the iconic pictures are taken from, and it accessed all by major 2 lane highways (unlike the gravel road to Grand Canyon West.)

    Whatever you decide, your best bet will be to first visit Vegas then go to the Grand Canyon (going over Hoover Dam in the process), and then drive directly to LA. Its a full day on the road from GC to LA.

  7. Default

    [SIZE="2"]Thanks mw mike. I researched on the Gc tours n will prob fly into GC vs driving as prefer day trip n don't think kids n mum can do the hike at GC north rim. Which rim would u say is a must see (north, south or west) if i had to choose one given limitations I hv? Is skypark really worth doing? I did some research n saw papillon offering good online discount for heli/pontoon/skypark combo; Will prob stick to driving Lv to LA.
    Azbuck n Dave, any comments on overall itinery ? Makes better sense now ? Apprec your comments as need to make Disney booking soon.
    Also any final tips on getting online discount coupon fr destinationcouppns or retail me not sites ?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default All things considered................

    Your revised itinerary is looking more manageable, but just so you know, the road trip will still feel quite "busy" with Mum and kids to consider.

    As has been said, the National park is the favoured option IMO, and there doesn't have to be hiking involved, the views from the South rim can be viewed with a few short steps and a sunset is memorable. However, I think that given your time available prior to LA, it might be a wise choice to take a Heli tour from Vegas, which will go to the West rim and the Skywalk.

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