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  1. Default Las Vegas and CA Trip questions

    We are thinking about going out west this summer(from the Northeast). We are a family of 4 with 2 children ages 8 and 11. We want to go to Vegas, San Diego/Carlsbad, LA and Palm Desert. We will have 10 days to 2 weeks. We'd like to fly in and out of the same airport. What route would make the most sense and what should we not miss along the way. We are very flexible at this point. We will not need hotel recommendations because we have timeshare points in all these destinations. TIA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome!

    You can make a "loop" trip including all those places plus some - I would let your arrival and departure city decision be driven by cost. Check on both plane fares and car rental charges for LV, LA, and SD. When you make that decision, then start planning your itinerary.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the reply. My husband wants to nix LA since he goes so frequently for business. The flights to Vegas are the cheapest so that wil be our starting and ending destination. How far of a drive is Vegas to San Diego and how can the Grand Canyon be fit into this trip? I'd like the kids to really experience the west.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    LV to San Diego is about 5.5 hours by fastest route - I-15 all the way. LV to the Grand Canyon is about 5 hours. GC to SD is about 10 hours via I-17 and I-8.

    The limiting factor is going to be your timeshares. Do they allow single night rentals, or do you have to commit for multiple days? Are you willing to stay in any hotels or does this have to be 100% timeshare?

  5. Default

    It's a Hilton vacation club so we can spend as little as 1 night in each. We also have a ton of Hilton points to use at any Hilton owned hotel. There is no way we're spending 10 hrs in the car with the kids. The GC is not a must but would be cool to see. Is there anything I'm not thinking of?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Working Loop

    If you are going to fly in and out of Las Vegas and want to hit the places you've listed, I would suggest that you do a basic clockwise loop. From Vegas head for Flagstaff. That would normally be a very easy day's drive, but if you take the time to take the tour at Hoover Dam, and maybe visit Walnut Canyon National Monument and/or the Lowell Observatory, it will be a full day and still put you in good shape for seeing the Grand Canyon the next day. Make this a counter-clockwise local loop back to Flagstaff by first heading up to Cameron and then taking US-180 along the South Rim and back to Flagstaff.

    Then for the drive to San Diego, start out using AZ-89A sooth through Oak Creek Canyon with a stop at Slide Rock State Park to Sedona and maybe some hiking in Red Rock Country. Continue with other possible stops including Tuzigoot National Monument and the old mining town of Jerome, through Prescott and Wickenburg before picking up US-60 to I-10 and Blythe, CA. From there, CA-78 down through the Salton Depression, getting to over 100 feet below sea level at Brawley, and then CA-111 to I-8 into San Diego.From Los Angeles I-15 is the direct route back to Las Vegas, but on the way be sure to check out the Mojave National Preserve.

    AZBuck

  7. Default

    Thanks for the suggestions. How far is the drive from Las Vegas to Flagstaff? and Flagstaff to Palm Desert? With 2 young children, we don't want to spend more than 3-4 hours in the car at a time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Break it down to suit you.

    Both the drives will be longer than 3-4 hours, more like 5 hours and 7 hours respectively plus any stops. You don't have to do the trips in one 'hit' and can divide them up for sight seeing and drive times that suit you and your time availability. 3-4 hour stints in the car will see you cover around 200 miles depending on the roads you are travelling so do a little 'playing' with routes in the RTA Map centre and see what you come up with. Buck has given you some good options to work with and when you have outlined your itinerary I am sure we can help to 'tweak it' and make suggestions.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 01-05-2011 at 08:24 AM. Reason: Added link

  9. Default

    Ok so after more flight research and discussing with my husband, we decided to tweak this trip a little. We decided to forget Vegas now that I found better flights leaving from another area airport. We can fly into Phoenex drive to Sedona and spend a couple of nights at the Hilton or the Biltmore. While there, we can take a day to see the Grand Canyon. If I'm right, Phoenex to Sedona is about 2 hours and Sedona to GC is also about 2 hours. Please correct me if I'm wrong. From Sedona, we'll go to Palm Desert for a couple of nights. I believe this is about a 4-5 hour drive. Then we'll end our trip in Carlsbad for a few nights and fly home from San Diego. Am I under estimating the drive times? Is it better to do a Grand Canyon tour or just drive there ourselves? Will it be a problem renting a car in AZ and returning it in CA?

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

    Default A little longer

    Sedona to Palm Desert is 360 miles and to get there in 4 to 5 hours would mean averaging 70 -90 mph all the way. This would be back towards Phoenix and I 10 and I would estimate 6.5 to 7 hours as being more realistic. The shortest route via Prescott is 329 miles but along some slower roads and would take a similar time.

    I would definitely visit the Grand canyon by driving there yourself and experiencing it at your own pace. I would also recommend heading North on US 89 from Flagstaff towards Cameron and then enter by the East entrance and along Desert view drive. I believe this is what Buck was referring to in an earlier post, but the road you are looking for is AZ 64 not US 180 as mentioned. US 180 is ideal when heading back towards Flagstaff from the South entrance and creating a loop. It would be quite a long day if you were to head back to Sedona same day so you might want to consider lodging in Tusayan or Flagstaff.

    Desert view drive has many fantastic viewpoints all the way to the village area, the first being at the Old Watchtower where you will find wide open views of the Colorado as it makes it's way into the Canyon area.

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