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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Branford, Connecticut, United States
    Posts
    6

    Default Honeymoon roadtrip Las Vegas to San Fran - National Parks

    So in an attempt to book our own honeymoon and incorporate what we love we have decided to take a trip from Vegas to San Fran.Having grown up on the east coast and loving nature we really want to see other areas of the country. We would like to make stops in Death Valley, Sequoia/Kings Canyon and Yosemite. We plan on arriving in Vegas Oct 2 and staying there for 2 nights and head out on the road in the early morning of Oct 4. We want to take in as much of DV as we can in one day and head out and spend the night somewhere between there and S/KC, again we would spend a day in the Sequoia Kings Canyon area and then head on to Yosemite perhaps making half the drive at night and half the next morning, then spend 2 nights in Yosemite before making the trip to San Fran on Saturday and flying home on Sunday. Its kind of rushed as we are trying to get in what we can in the week that we have but it does seem feasible. Also considering taking in what we can of the Grand Canyon while staying in Vegas because neither of us are gamblers, we just chose vegas begause of airfare and we kind of want to live in luxury the first couple nights of our marriage. So is this an ok trip? i'm sure it would be better if we could go a full 10 days but we both have a young child and don't want to spend more than a week away from them. Also any routes or places to stay would be of great help? Also the best things to try to get in at each park. Thank you for any help you can send our way.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There are any number of different flavors of RoadTrips, which is why we often have to counsel inquirers that there is no generic "best" option, be it route, "must see" attraction, restaurant, whatever. However, just as with wine, there are certain varieties that go with certain specific reasons for being on a RoadTrip, For a honeymoon, the kind of hectic, fit-everything-in, plan you're pursuing is not the best choice. This is one case where you want to simply lay back, relax, and go with the flow. So your namesake's admonition is a fitting bit of advice indeed. So, with a week to spend getting from Las Vegas to San Francisco, here's what I'd suggest. Forget (I'm sorry to say) the Grand Canyon. It's just too far and in the wrong direction, and instead make the most of your few days in Las Vegas by doing relatively little. Take day trips to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Valley of Fire State Park and Lost City Museum one day, and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and/or Hoover Dam another. In the evening, take in a show or just walk the Strip and people watch. Relax. Assuming you do nothing on the day you arrive but get checked into your hotel and unpack, that would take you up to Wednesday morning when you could leave town and take a leisurely drive up through Death Valley by way of Parhump and Belle Vista - Ash Meadow Road to Death Valley Junction. Take the tour of Scotty's Castle and exit the park to the west, staying overnight somewhere along US-395 north, say Bishop. Thursday, cross Tioga Pass (CA-120) into Yosemite Park and spend the entire day enjoying the mountains, meadows, waterfalls and wildlife. Friday, cross the Central Valley and spend the afternoon taking some of the wine tasting tours in Napa Valley and finish up in San Francisco by evening. That leaves you Saturday to tour the city before you catch your flight the next day. I think the two of you will enjoy the slower pace of such a trip much more than trying to fit 'everything' into a stressful week of running around.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default

    The only way you could see the Grand canyon without spending a night away from Vegas is by doing a Helicopter flight. The one thing you should know is that even then you won't get to see the spectacular views in the National park area as the tours land at the West rim on Indian lands. Quite an experience, but not quite the same as standing on the rim in the NP IMO. If you follow on from Buck's excellent advice, you should know that you can still see Giant Sequoia trees without going to Sequoia NP. Mariposa Grove near the South entrance of Yosemite has almost 500, with walking trails around them. The Tioga pass is also a splendid scenic drive across the Sierras with stunning views.

    If however you wanted to stick to your original plan [with or without a Helicopter flight] I would look at the Lake Isabella area as a stopping point to Sequoia. I wouldn't plan on driving too late into the night, it's your honeymoon and you will want to be enjoying an evening meal. Even if it meant missing the Kings canyon section, I think it will be better than driving from early morning to late night. Oakhurst would be a reasonable stopping point for your journey into Yosemite next day. If you enter Yosemite from the South, you should head straight up the Glacier point road and take the short walk to the viewpoint, it's a sight you will never forget !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Branford, Connecticut, United States
    Posts
    6

    Default

    As far as Death Valley goes we were thinking of coming up from the south via Shoshone and then taking HWY 178 up to Furnace Creek and then head North towards Scotty's Castle. I'm not sure which would be a nicer drive, going that way or Pahrump/DVJ/Furnace Creek. I'm also talking with her about cutting out the planned stop in Sequoia/Kings Canyon. However we do still plan on leavin Vegas on Tuesday morning and not Wednesday. We should arrive in Vegas by noon time at the latest on Sunday. Also the wine tasting in Napa Valley sounds great but she doesn't drink so that stop is N/A.....so perhaps Vegas to Dv to Yosemite to San Fran????.....Leaving Vegas Tuesday and arriving in San Fran Friday/Sat??? Sorry for all the questions but this is our first roadtrip so we want to make it the best we can in the little time we have.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default

    The nicest route will depend on what appeals the most to you. You will find a lot of info on the nps site. It will also come down to how much time you are in the park for, [what time you leave Vegas and how far you plan to travel out the other side] but if Scottys castle is a 'must' for you, you might be better off to run up US 95 and then back down into DV. The 190 from Death valley junction takes you past the Amagosa opera house, Dantes view, Zabriske point to Furnace creek that has a small museum, refreshment etc and a detour south would take you to Badwater basin, the lowest point below sea level in the US.

    If you stayed the night in Lone Pine/Bishop Tues night you could have a comfortable day travelling and sight seeing over the Tioga pass into Yosemite on Weds. Weds and Thurs night in Yosemite and arrive in SF Friday evening for a relaxing [and romantic] stay in this wonderful little City. Perhaps a trip to Alcatraz ?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Branford, Connecticut, United States
    Posts
    6

    Default

    The plan would be to hit the road by 7:00 a.m Tuesday morning and try to end up in the Bishop area that night. We don't mind if we aren't getting into Bishop till 9 or 10 that night. Would that leave us the time to do the drive via 178 and make some stops along there and still get in time to visit Scotty's Castle? Maybe more reasonable to stay the night in Lone Pine for a shorter drive?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default

    Yep, I would say that's doable. It'll be a full day and if you are comfortable with that, it'll certainly be a fun day ! You shouldn't have any problems finding lodgings so you could leave your overnight stop open and see how you go on the day. If I do that, I generally take a few phone numbers of places in the area[s] that suit my budget and tastes and call ahead from the road to see if they have a vacancy, working my way down the list in order of preference.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Branford, Connecticut, United States
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thank you that sounds great. So far this is what we are looking at....
    Oct 2 - 9
    Day 1 - Arrive in Las Vegas, take in some of the strip and catch a show that night.

    Day 2 - Day trip to the east of Vegas, My fiancee really wants to see some of the Grand Canyon so we might take one of the trips from Vegas to see the west rim, I know its not the best place to see it from but having not seen any of it I believe we will both enjoy it. We'll head back to Vegas for the night, dinner and possibly another show.

    Day 3 - Grab a quick breakfast, load up and hit the road to make our loop through Death Valley and spend the night in either Lone Pine or Bishop.

    Day 4- Make the drive to Yosemite via Tioga Pass(assuming there is no early snow this year, it'll be the first week of October so we should be able to get through) We'll probably head toward the Yosemite Falls area. Spend night in Yosemite

    Day 5 - We'll head to the southern point of Yosemite to take in the Giant Sequoias, she really wants to see them, and also maybe take the advice to go up Glacier Point Rd. Again will spend the night in Yosemite.

    Day 6 - Head to San Fran probably leaving Yosemite late morning night in San Fran.

    Day 7 - Sightseeing in San Fran, gonna try to get in a trip to Alcatraz( I had mentioned this to her the other day). Night in San Fran.

    Day 8 - Head Home.....

    Suggestions of what to try to get in at Yosemite would be great we may even have time to make a small excursion there Friday Morning before heading to the coast....Thank you so much for the help everything thus far has really assisted in planning this trip. Also what would be a good route from Yosemite to San Francisco?
    Last edited by Timothy Leary; 05-25-2011 at 10:54 AM.

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

    Default Leaving Las Vegas

    As I read your current itinerary, the only reason you're returning to Las Vegas at the end of Day 2 is because that's where you were on Day 1 and 'possibly' to see another show. If that's it, and you think you'll actually get your fill of the glitz of the Strip on Day 1, then you can easily save yourselves some money and get to the 'real' Grand Canyon on Day 2 instead. Just don't plan on returning to Las Vegas that night. Instead, enjoy you time on the South Rim in the National Park, and when evening falls (having witnessed sunset over the Canyon) start on your way back/to Death Valley but spend the night in Williams, Seligman or Kingman as the mood strikes you. you'd then still be in good shape to simply drive through Las Vegas in the morning of Day 3 on your way to Death Valley and on to Bishop.

    AZBuck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Branford, Connecticut, United States
    Posts
    6

    Default

    How long would the drive be to the South Rim, I believe I've seen it estimated at around 5 to 6 hours???? Also would staying in Kingman put us 2 hours behind schedule on our trip to Death Valley? It is a possibility but considering the amount of time we will be in the car for the trip I'm not sure if making the drive to the South Rim will be to much, yet at the same time I'd really hate to miss out on it.

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