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Thread: First Road Trip

  1. Default First Road Trip

    My boyfriend and I are planning our first road trip together for 5 days. We are from San Diego and LA has been our farthest destination by car, so this will be a test :)

    Some of the places that crossed our minds include Grand Canyon, Sedona, Zion National Park, Napa Valley, Vegas. We don't have any specific places in mind, but we want to enjoy nature as part of this trip.

    I know that 5 days is really short, so we don't want to rush driving to all of these places. I'd be interested to hear what people's ideas are for a road trip given the time constraint that we have.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    With only 5 days, you will most likely have to drop Napa from your itinerary. You could probably handle the rest, but it will still be pretty rushed - you won't be able to spend much time at any of the attractions. In fact, why don't you drop Vegas too, and do that as a long weekend trip at a later date? That stands out as a sore thumb among the rest of the attractions, which are all nature oriented.

    Here are some rough drive times for you, these are by fastest route:

    SD-Sedona: 7 hours via I-8/I-17
    Sedona-GC south rim: 2.5 hours
    GC-Zion: 5.5 hours via US-89/UT-9
    Zion-SD: 8 hours via I-15, you would be going right through LV if you want to make a quick stop.

    This is essentially 3 full days of driving and only 2 days of sightseeing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default First time is key

    As mentioned, you may want to drop a couple of places from your itinerary. In the past I've had conversations with folks who tried to do too many things in a road trip, and it has turned them off from the entire idea. A good way to avoid this is to work with a pace that is comfortable for both of you.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the reply!

    I've never been to Sedona, but is it worth going there and checking it out? If not, we're thinking of going straight to GC instead.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Possible Scaled Back Plan

    As others have noted, your original plan was a bit ambitious, especially for a first RoadTrip. However, it doesn't have to be cut back much to be something truly enjoyable, and more about seeing stuff all along the way rather than driving for days to get to some distant destination. If you set the Grand Canyon as your farthest goal, then you can make a very nice trip that would include stops at Tower View in Jacumba, the old Territorial Prison in Yuma, the former mining town of Jerome, Sinagua Culture ruins at Tuzigoot and Walnut Canyon National Monuments, Sedona and the scenic drive north on AZ-89A through Oak Creek Canyon, Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments, Cameron Trading Post, the Grand Canyon, the largest remaining stretch of the highway formerly known as US-66 from Seligman through Peach Springs to Kingman, London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, the below sea level Salton Sea and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. On second thought, you won't be able to visit all those stops, but such a circuit would only require about 2½ days of driving leaving you enough time to visit many of them at a relaxed pace.


  6. Default

    Since we've already been to the Grand Canyon, we decided to change our course to only visit Zion and Bryce. Do you have any suggestions for a scenic route from San Diego or any other places that are worth visiting along the way?


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    San Diego to Zion is pretty much a full day's drive taking fastest route - I-15 all the way. If you want a scenic route, that will turn it into a 2 day drive and I don't think you quite have the time for that. This is something you could do at a later date on a long weekend to Las Vegas.

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

    Default A nice loop.

    I would consider taking a straight shot to Zion on I 15 and then from Bryce come back through Page [possibly a brief visit to GC] and home through Sedona to create a loop, rather than heading back down I 15 as well.

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