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  1. Default San Fran-Vegas-Grand Canyon-San Diego in 12 Days. Too much?

    Hi there, and thanks for an amazing resource.
    I am aware that this type of road trip is one of the commonest on this site, but I would love to know if I've bitten off more than I can chew.
    Itinerary (Dates Feb 27 - March 11)
    27-Arrive in SF
    01-Drive down PCH (overnight on coast somewhere)
    02-Head inland towards grand canyon (O/N in Death Valley?)
    03-On to Grand Canyon (O/N here)
    04-Grand Canyon
    05-Head to Vegas
    07-Head to San Diego (O/N in Palm springs?)
    08-On to San Diego
    09-San Diego
    10-San Diego
    11-drive to LA & Fly home

    Its me and my girlfriend travelling (from UK) renting car and we both like driving. Just looking at route on map seems quite daunting. Any improvements or suggestions would be massively appreciated.
    PS 6th March is my birthday so didn't fancy driving that day, also why I chose Vegas!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default It's doable.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    An obvious choice would be that as you are heading from the coast to Death valley, you would go through Vegas to reach the Grand canyon and then from the GC to Palm Springs. That would all rest on how important it is to you, to be in Vegas on your Birthday.

    If you are not tied in to flights you could reverse your trip and go LA >SD>PS>GC>and spend the 6th in Vegas before heading DV>Coast [Cambria?]> SF.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the speedy reply. Flights are already booked, as we wanted to end the holiday in the south (hopefully hotter!)

    I'm happy to be anywhere on my birthday, I know GC would also be amazing. The death valley idea was just an idea - do you think it's worth it? Or should we try to get inland as quickly and directly as possible?

    Any other ideas of where to stay en route? (palm springs could definitely be changed) or any other route ideas?

    (glad you think it's doable - we cannot wait)

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

    Default DV ? Boy yeah !

    Your Birthday in GC is one you wouldn't forget in a hurry !

    Death valley has an amazing landscape and one that you won't see the likes of this side of the pond and if you decide to head there, I would make Vegas my next stop. You will find many Threads covering this popular area, use the search button or simply scroll down the page for 'Similar threads' and repeat until your heart's content ! You will find many options, but considering the time of year you are travelling and time available, you have a very good itinerary.

    You will rarely get specific Hotels recommended here as the main contributors are small in number and there are millions of lodging choices and then budgets etc to consider. The National parks and City centres usually demand a premium which reduces by the mile. As it's your birthday I would recommend you treat yourself and stay in the South rim village area though! San Francisco has some budget friendly Motels around Lombard and Gough Street that is in easy reach of Pier's and Cable cars etc to the City. It's very compact and easy to get around and parking is expensive, so you might want to consider not picking up the car until you depart. Pier 39 is a fun place to be, Union Square and China town are popular City areas and no trip is complete without a trip to Alcatraz Island !

    From SF down the coast on CA1 would make Cambria a good location for your onward journey to Death valley. Panamint Springs are the first lodging options in DV followed by Stovepipe Wells and Furnace creek. Stovepipe would be the best balance I think for driving to Death valley and then having time to explore some sights on route to Vegas.

    Vegas to GC will take you across the new Hoover dam bridge crossing but you could take a short visit to the Dam for a look and a photo. Williams and Flagstaff will have the cheaper lodging options, Tusayan the nearest to the GC, and then the GC lodging.

    From GC to SD you could pick up sections of Route 66 through Seligman to Kingman and then through Oatman to Needles. Lake Havasu and Twentynine Palms are other alternatives to Palm Springs. From Twenty Nine Palms you could head through Joshua Tree NP, past the Salton sea and through Anza Borrego desert and into SD.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Your most efficient route would be SF-PCH-DV-LV-GC-SD-LA. This is the closest to a "loop" without crisscrossing or backtracking.

  6. Default Revised Itinerary

    Thankyou for the amazing and extensive advice, here is a revised itinerary:

    27-Arrive in SF
    02-Drive down PCH (overnight on coast somewhere/?Cambria)
    03-Head inland towards LV (O/N in Death Valley)
    05-Grand Canyon
    07-Head to San Diego (O/N in Palm springs?)
    08-On to San Diego
    09-San Diego
    10-San Diego
    11-drive to LA & Fly home

    Managed to squeeze in an extra night in SF here, lost night in Vegas as should arrive earlyish if I stay in DV overnight.
    Accommodation is limited in DV, is it worth staying in Stovepipe/Furnace Creek or could I get away with going on to Beatty (and cheaper lodgings)?

    Edit:Looking at the drive from Cambria to DV, this seems a little ambitious. Perhaps somewhere before Death Valley may be better.
    Last edited by bsolxiv; 02-11-2011 at 08:46 AM.

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

    Default No need for Beatty.

    You can get to DV the same day, but as I said previously Stovepipe Wells would be about as far as you could reasonably get without having to back track exploring DV, with Panamint being the first option in the NP. You don't have to go up as far as Beatty, you head to Death valley junction on 190 via Furnace creek and then take the State Line/Ash Meadows Rd to Bell Vista Ave into Pahrump and then 160 to Vegas.

    For cheaper lodgings your best bet would be to continue up to Lone Pine on 395 and stay the night.

  8. Default

    Two great areas around Las Vegas...both could be done in one day. Red Rock Canyon just west of town, and Valley of Fire State Park 50 miles north of Las Vegas, also Mt Charleston, 20 miles NW of the city with a road going up to 9,000 feet...and snow.
    Be aware that its still winter here and while the SW is know for sunny warm weather it also is know for winter snow and cold. My last motorcycle trip from Seattle to the Southwest, NV, AZ, UT saw the highest temperature at 60 degrees f. in Page AZ. That was the second week in April. Cool and windy was the story of that trip with snow twice. You might check the 10 day forecast for your destinations on The Weather Channel website the day you leave on your trip. The SW motorcycle trip was from Seattle, and covered 4,200 miles in nine 12 days for your trip is not too short.

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