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  1. #1

    Default SF-Santa Monica-LV-Grand Canyon-Death Valley-Yosemite-Lake Tahoe--SF

    Hi There! Have registered after reading what seems like hundreds of threads about sections of the above route!
    We are currently trying to tie down an itinerary for a road trip to the above locations this September. It will be me and my husband (both aged 29) and my mother (a young and healthy 63). We love the outdoors but do want to experience LV and SF. We could extend the trip by a day if needed.
    I'd love it if you would look at our first draft of an itinarary and let me know if I've been wildly unrealistic!

    Day 1 Arrive SF
    Day 2 &3 Spend in SF
    Day4 Spend Driving down to Big Sur and stay the night somewhere like San Luis Obispo
    Day 5 Spend day in/around SLO then drive to Santa Monica
    Day 6 Spend in Santa Monica
    Day 7 do day trip to LA from Santa Monica
    Day 8 Drive to Las Vegas
    Day 9 Spend in Las Vegas
    Day 10 Drive to Grand Canyon
    Day 11 Spend in Grand canyon
    Day 12 Drive to Hoover Dam and stay somewhere nearby
    Day 13 Stay somewhere
    day 14 Drive to and stay at Furnace Creek
    Day 15 Spend day around furnace Creek
    Day 16 Drive to Housekeeping camp Yosemite and spend night there
    Day 17 Drive to Lake Tahoe
    Day 18 Spend day around Lake Tahoe
    Day 19 Drive to SF airport (unsure if we need to stay this night as flights not sorted yet.

    A few specific questions
    1. Does this all sound plausible in terms of having enough time to enjoy everything? I don't want us to spend most of the holiday driving however, we love scenic drives so don't mind driving a bit longer down to Big Sur or through the national parks. I have tried to keep to a max of 5 hours driving per day. There are two of us to share the driving but I will do the most of it.

    2. Is Lake Tahoe worth 2 nights? I have picked it as a halfway point on the way back to SF for the flight home but would happily take suggestions for alternatives. Perhaps it would be better to extend our stay in Yosemite?

    3.Not very interested in LA but would like to do the chinese theatre, rodeo drive etc so thought a coach trip/similar from Santa Monica would be better-want to avoid driving there as much as possible!

    4. Hoover Dam seems a sensible stopping distance from Grand canyon to Death Valley but I have no idea where to stay! Any suggestions would be welcome

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Tweeks

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Your outline is mostly ok, but there are a few adjustments.

    You can save some time and avoid some backtracking by driving directly from Santa Monica to the Grand Canyon area, and then head back to Vegas. That would be a fairly long day to the Grand Canyon (8-10 hours) but its not too hard to do in a day, and you could break it up by stopping somewhere along I-40 if you don't feel up to doing the whole thing in one day.

    Hoover Dam is not far from Vegas, and is right on the route back from the Grand Canyon, so see it along the way and stay in Vegas.

    You're going to need to rethink your Yosemite visit. The key thing you're ignoring is that Yosemite Valley is west of the Sierras, while DV and Tahoe are both to the east. Your current plan basically has you driving driving back and forth across a mountain range on back to back days, not leaving any time for the Yosemite Valley. It also is the wrong direction as a halfway point, so it would easily double your travel time from Yosemite to San Francisco. I'd plan on basically a full day drive from DV to Yosemite, and actually, since DV is only a couple hours from Vegas, you could spend a night somewhere along US-395 like Bishop or Lone Pine to break up that drive.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thank you that's so helpful!

    Ok so perhaps then:

    Day 1 Arrive SF
    Day 2 &3 Spend in SF
    Day 4 Spend Driving down to Big Sur and stay the night somewhere like San Luis Obispo
    Day 5 Spend day in/around SLO then drive to Santa Monica
    Day 6 Spend in Santa Monica
    Day 7 Do day trip to LA from Santa Monica
    Day 8 Drive from Santa Monica to Grand canyon
    Day 9 Spend in Grand canyon
    Day 10 Drive from grand canyon to hoover then onto vegas
    Day 11 Stay in Las Vegas
    Day 12 drive to Furnace Creek/other Death Valley resort
    Day 13 Spend day around furnace Creek
    Day 14 drive to Bishop and spend night there
    Day 15 drive to Housekeeping camp Yosemite and spend night there
    Day 16 Spend day in Yosemite
    Day 17 Drive to Lake Tahoe
    Day 18 Spend day around Lake Tahoe
    Day 19 Drive to SF airport

    Leaving a full day for a leisurely drive DV-Yosemite and two full days to stay there and explore- depending on whether we decide to stop at Bishop

    It's ridiculous the things you don't consider when trying to plan something using Google Maps!

    Now wondering about Driving from Bishop to Tahoe first, then down to Yosemite and straight back to SF after that...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Onwards from Santa Monica ?

    It's slightly less miles to head into Yosemite first via CA120 [Tioga pass] which is a wonderfully scenic drive, and even though you live in a wonderful part of the UK, Yosemite will leave you amazed !

    Rather than returning to Santa Monica from LA you would be better off heading out of LA to the East somewhere and avoid all that LA traffic again in the morning to Grand canyon.

    Furnace creek is a great place but you could visit there, [nearby Badwater is the lowest point in the US] have some lunch and continue on a little as it's only relatively short distance from Vegas. Other DV lodging options are at Stovepipe Wells and Panamint Springs furthest West. You could then explore a little more and get to Bishop on day 13 and free up a little time, but of course that would be up to you.

  5. #5

    Default

    I think you are right, and as it turns out, furnace creek is low on rooms so I'd just been looking into Panamint springs :) that would give us an extra day to take our time exploring the valley and taking a leisurely pace up to Bishop or indeed skip it and do one long drive up.
    Scenic is definitely our thing so will definitely take your advice about that route. (Lake District is lovely but I know that the national parks in the US are going to blow me away, the scale is something I can't even imagine!!)
    May have to think about driving into LA then straight our east somewhere. Only thought about doing a bus tour from Santa Monica as I'm nervous of the driving in LA itself...

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