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  1. #1

    Default California Road Trip - hints and tips welcome! :-)

    Hi all,

    I've just discovered Roadtrip America, and thought I'd post my itinerary for you to see what you think!?

    It's all booked, and the accomodation booked too, and now I'm planning out which roads to take from place to place.

    What would be your top things to do in LA, Vegas and San Francisco?!

    I look forward to hearing all your hints and tips!

    Tuesday 20 September 2011 (PM): Arrive Los Angeles International Airport
    Staying in Anaheim for 3 nights.

    Friday 23 September 2011, Staying in San Diego for 2 nights

    Sunday 25 September 2011, 1 night in Palm Springs

    Monday 26 September 2011, 4 nights in Las Vegas (will spend 1 day visiting Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon)

    Friday 30 September 2011, 1 night at Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley

    Saturday 01 October 2011, 2 nights in Oakhurst near Yosemite

    Monday 03 October 2011, 1 night in Lake Tahoe

    Tuesday 04 October 2011, 4 nights in San Francisco

    Saturday 08 October 2011, 1 night, Monterey

    Sunday 09 October 2011, 1 night in Santa Barbara

    Monday 10 October 2011, 2 nights in Los Angeles

    Wednesday 12 October 2011, departs Los Angeles International Airport at 1735

    THANKS! :-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a start

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The trip you are proposing is the single most popular route and discussion on this forum, so if you spend a little time looking around you will find thousands of other threads and posts on this topic to give you more ideas on what to do.

    I will start by pointing out a couple of the common errors in your planning.

    First, The Grand Canyon really is too far away to do as a daytrip from Vegas. It would require 10-12 hours in the car, before you even step foot inside Grand Canyon NP. What would make far more sense with your plan is to drive from Palm Springs directly to the Grand Canyon, spend the night there (or maybe 2 nights) and then head to Vegas.

    The other issues is with Yosemite. First, Oakhurst is a bit of a drive from the Valley - and on the opposite side if you are coming across Tioga Pass. If you can afford to stay in the valley, it is something to consider. Second, your plan to go to Tahoe after Yosemite means that you have to cross the Sierras a total of 3 times (going to Yosemite, back to tahoe, and then back again to SF). There's no real way to see both Tahoe and Yosemite without some back tracking, but it would be easier to visit Tahoe first and then go back to Yosemite.

  3. #3


    Thanks for your reply! I'm just finding my way around the website, will search for some discussions on our route.

    We had advice from the travel company when planning this trip, so I'm really disappointed to see the errors you mention! :-(

    I guess I assumed that we'd stay in Oakhurst (which we were told wasn't far outside of Yosemite) and drive there from Death Valley, and then on from there to Tahoe, and then to SF. Didn't realise there would be a bit of backwards and forwards trips. The devil is in the detail!

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


    It looks as though they have created a route where you will go around the Southern end of the Sierra's via Bakersfield to Oakhurst and then across Tioga pass [CA120] to 395 and up to Tahoe. It will work, but it's not ideal. It would be worth talking to the travel company and seeing if you could make adjustments, as a recent member had similar issues recently and after visiting RTA managed to 'tweak' there itinerary at no extra cost. As Michael mentioned, you need a night at the Grand canyon South rim NP area to do it justice and would certainly take a night from Vegas to make it happen, and possibly one from SF to have time to really enjoy it. Your other option would be to drop Tahoe from the itinerary, as nice as it is you will spend a lot of the 2 day's getting there and leaving for SF on the road.

    In San Fran, Alcatraz Island is a fine experience that shouldn't be missed, Pier 39 is a fun experience, riding the cable cars is all part of the experience and heading towards the City centre and Union Square and China Town, Lot's to do in this great little City !

  5. #5


    Just on on
    e of the points about the Grand Canyon, I've found on the skywalk website that it only takes 2 and a half hours from Vegas to there, which sounds a lot better than 5 or so hours.... am I understanding that correctly?!
    I'm going to speak to the Travel Agent and see if any changes can be made to the itinerary or if the rooms are booked.... before I do, would you suggest we just went from Yosemite straight to SF?

    Thanks for your advice!

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


    The Skywalk is not at the Grand Canyon. It is at the West Rim, on Indian Lands not part of the National Park. The canyon at this point is not nearly as wide as the National Park, and it really is not the same experience.

    It should also be noted that 2.5 hours is extremely optimistic, especially considering the road to it is in such poor shape that you have to travel 30 mph for much of it, and the final leg is so bad that most people have to take a shuttle bus (as driving on the road can void a rental car agreement.)

    On top of that it is extremely expensive, about $80 each as opposed to $25 for a carload at the National Park, and no cameras are allowed on the skywalk.

    Basically all of those things cause the skywalk to get some pretty poor reviews. If you'd been to the Grand Canyon before and were looking for a new experience, and you didn't mind the price, it would be worth considering, but if this is your once in a lifetime chance to see the Grand Canyon, I'd do the real deal.

  7. #7


    Thanks Michael, that explains it!

    I don't know if I could persuade the others to change the itinerary, so had looked at the skywalk as the answer to pleasing everyone! I agree with the comment above that doing it in a day is a bit ambitious, so now not sure what to do!

    I tell you what, RTA has really opened my eyes, I wish I'd found this BEFORE booking!!

  8. #8

    Default Las Vegas to Death Valley Route, and tips for Death Valley?

    Hi there,
    I'm starting to get the routes from place to place sorted, and wonder if you could advise on the best route from Vegas to Death Valley, as I seem to have stumbled upon 2 routes. We are staying at the NYNY hotel in Vegas and Furnace Creek in DV.
    Map quest is taking us north on the US95 to Beatty, then onto the 374, and then the 190 down to Furnace Creek.
    From looking at the map it would seem to make more sense to take the I15 south out of Vegas, onto the 160 through Pahrump, and then onto Death Valley junction and then on the 190 through to Furnace Creek (giving the opportunity to visit Zabrinskie Point and maybe take a little diversion to see Badwater Basin and Dante's View).
    Also any other tips for places to see in Death Valley?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    The recommended route to Death Valley from Vegas appears to be the second option you are looking at. NV-160 up to Parhump, then Belle Vista Ave and Ash Meadow Road to CA-190 into Death Valley National Park.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Spread the word

    Quote Originally Posted by Staceywacey View Post
    I tell you what, RTA has really opened my eyes, I wish I'd found this BEFORE booking!!
    Stacey, whenever you talk about your trip, or while on your trip, to others, make sure you mention RTA and tell them what you have gained, how you have benefited.

    I keep the web address handy, to be able to share................. whenever!


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