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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Fishkill, New York, United States
    Posts
    17

    Default Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and possibly Vegas/Ca?? All ideas/advice much appreciated!

    Hello All!

    This is my first post at RTA, and I'm thrilled to have found this site. I see from my initial search that there are many posts outlining ideas for this southwest itinerary that I'm thinking of...although I'm still unsure of where to start. With that said, I'll throw out here what I'm thinking, and hopefully someone much more knowledgeable can assist me....please :)

    I am looking to go on vacation around April 15th or 16th with my husband for a week...possibly 10-12 days at most if I can get the time from work. We were married in Las Vegas, and are looking to head back west for our wedding anniversary. I grew up in California before moving to NY but my husband has never been west of PA until we married in Vegas. :) With that said, I am trying to show him the most I can out west in the short amount of time we have, and still have a relaxing, enjoyable experience! He is not one to travel, so I really want to show him many things...bc who knows when I'll get him back out there! :( Oh, and did I mention that I need to keep this affordable?! uuggh.

    We will be flying out of NYC. Top priority is the Grand Canyon....would love to see Yosemite as well. I keep toying with LV/GC/Yosemite/SF/ Hwy 1 to LA.....but am thinking this isnt possible in 10 days??? Or is it?? Another thought is four corners?? I think I'm being over-ambitious...or just plain unrealistic. I suppose I could eliminate my thoughts of going to California if I must save time....although I thought it would be really nice to show him the Pacific coast hwy and SF as well.

    What I really need is some help getting together a game plan. Cheapest airport to fly into/starting point?? And best route/direction to head to with starting/stopping points? How many days to spend at each place? Also, if it matters...I have a timeshare through RCI that I can use in Vegas or trade points at to stay in other areas to help save money...which is important as well.

    OK....if you're still following all this, please HELP. Need to get a handle on all this information. Thank you very much :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Often, trying to do the most possible in the least amount of time can lead to frustration. Think of it this way: If your husband has an enjoyable time on this trip, then he'll be more likely to want to go on another trip; if not, then you'll probably have a rough time of convincing him to ever go again.

    On your visit to the Grand Canyon - are you planning on exploring the Canyon at all (hiking), or just visiting the scenic overlooks? This should give a good handle on how much time you'd want to spend there. If I were in this situation, I'd most likely skip San Francisco on this trip and save it for another time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Lot's of options.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    To start with you will have to determine if it's 7 day's, 12 day's or 'somewhere in between' that you have to spare time wise. Then it's a case of how long you want to spend in Vegas, GC etc. With 10 day's you could certainly tour some of Cali and Vegas or the Four corners region, but not both without being rushed. You would have to check the costs of flights and what deals are available but Phoenix would also be an option. Starting from Phoenix [or Vegas] you could head to Grand canyon South rim and then around the Southern end of the Sierra's via Bakersfield towards Yosemite with a detour to Sequoia NP a possibility on route. Note that these parks will have limited access as there will be snow accumulation on the high ground but both will still offer spectacular scenery and will be worth a visit. The waterfalls in Yosemite should be flowing at this time from the snow melt and you will be ahead of the crowds. From Yosemite to San Fran and then a couple of days down the coast Rd to LA should make for a wonderful trip.

    A tour from Vegas heading in the 'other' direction and you could make a nice Grand canyon loop, including Southern Utah and it's National parks such as Zion and Bryce canyon and possibly Arches NP, Monument valley, Lake Powell and Antelope canyon.

    Have a look around RTA where you will find Lot's of info and work out what you really want to see, how much time you can spare and then we can help to piece it together.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Fishkill, New York, United States
    Posts
    17

    Default thank you!

    I appreciate your replies so far!

    Ok...so you've given me some things to think about. First, to be more specific...I believe I've nailed some dates down in the past few hours of what we can reasonably do. Fly out of NY on Friday April 15th after work....and fly back to NY on Monday April 25th.

    I like your idea about flying into Phoenix or Vegas...checking out the Grand Canyon (South Rim), and then making our way towards Yosemite and the Cali coast....although this still leaves me with questions. ;)

    First, since it is more cost effective to fly into and out of one airport, as well as pick-up & drop-off of a rental car, which airport makes the most sense to do the above itinerary? If we flew into Phx, would we really be able to get back there after Cali, all within 10 days?
    Second, we are not planning on hiking the canyon but just to see the overlooks and spectacular views....so we really don't need to spend too much time there.
    Third, do you book all of your rooms in advance or just "wing it?" It makes me a bit uncomfortable to pre-book all of our hotel rooms in case we take longer in one place, etc. I wouldn't want to be held to such a strict driving schedule.
    Alright, so I'm brain-storming as I type this... to summarize::

    -10 days total
    -fly into Las Vegas or Phoenix
    -see Grand Canyon (South Rim)...not to hike, just to see :)
    -see Yosemite
    -San Francisco
    -drive south down the coastal hwy to Los Angeles
    -back to Vegas or Phx????

    Can this be done in 10 days? Suggestions on how much time to spend in each place factoring in driving time? Fly into the same or diff airports?

    I know all of these questions must be redundant for you guys here, but I'm truly thankful for all of your expertise and help :)

    Gia

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    If you are going to do a loop, then Phoenix probably doesn't make much sense. However, in addition to Vegas, you could certainly look at prices from SF and LA.

    You'll also save a little time driving from LA to the Grand Canyon (a full day on the road) and then back to Vegas, rather than going out to GC and back from Vegas which you can't do in a day anyway.

    This loop is possible in 10 days, but you will be very limited in your time and you could easily feel rushed in many places. You'll certainly have to think carefully about how you use your time, and I would prebook in this case so you don't have to spend any time on the road thinking about where you want to stay, and so you can use your time most efficiently and stay in the places closest to your destination.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Fishkill, New York, United States
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Thank youl!!

    I was just mapping out routes to get a better feel for driving times, etc. & think I'm starting to put this together. :/ Alright, here is what I'm coming up with...please let me know what you think or if any adjustments should be made (Also, site suggestions along the way will be very appreciated)::

    Friday night...Fly to LAX
    Saturday...sightseeing
    Sunday...Drive to Las Vegas early a.m.
    Monday...tour to Grand Canyon
    Tuesday...all day drive to Yosemite
    Wednesday...Yosemite
    Thursday...Drive to San Francisco
    Friday...San Francisco
    Saturday...drive Pacific coast hwy south (stops??)
    Sunday....drive Pacific coast hwy south (stops??)
    Monday...fly home to NY from LAX

    OK....waddaya think? ;) Be gentle.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    The Grand Canyon is simply too far away to do as a daytrip from Vegas (its at least 10-12 hours of driving, round trip), which is one of the big reasons I suggested going directly from LA to the Canyon, and then back to Vegas.

    The biggest problem is that right now, you really aren't giving even a day each to the GC and Vegas.

    If you are flying later in the day on Monday, you might be able to squeeze more time there? If not, I suspect you'll really have to give up something.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Fishkill, New York, United States
    Posts
    17

    Default

    I hear ya Michael & I agree...perhaps I wasn't being specific enough in my last post. When I stated a tour to the Grand Canyon, I meant that I opted not to drive that leg of the trip, but to instead take a tour. (i.e.- a helicopter tour)
    Since it is 4 hours from LA to Vegas, if we leave early morning on Sunday...that should put me in Vegas around 10am...giving me all day/night in Vegas...as well as the next day before and after the helicopter tour to the canyon. Also, like I originally posted, Las Vegas is the one place of this entire trip that we have previously visited...(and on more than one occasion)....so we really don't need a lot of time there.
    Anyway....with that clarification, please let me know what you think....along with sites/suggestions for Yosemite, San Fran, and stops along the PCH.

    Thank you :)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    In that case you should know that most Helicopter Tours from Vegas do not actually visit Grand Canyon National Park, and rather fly over the West Rim which is located on Indian Reservation land. That's ok, and makes sense with your time, but its just not the same as actually standing on the rim in the National Park.

    If you've already visited Vegas multiple times, that's the first place I'd cut some time from, maybe adding in Death Valley on your way to Yosemite (Your 4 hour time estimate from LA to Vegas is extremely optimistic, BTW)

    There are thousands upon thousands of other threads about this area, as it is far and away our most popular topic, so if you need more suggestions about what to do in these areas, I'd suggest spending a little time looking around the site.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Fishkill, New York, United States
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    In that case you should know that most Helicopter Tours from Vegas do not actually visit Grand Canyon National Park, and rather fly over the West Rim which is located on Indian Reservation land. That's ok, and makes sense with your time, but its just not the same as actually standing on the rim in the National Park.
    I didn't know this...OK, thanks for the info...I have to re-think this now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    There are thousands upon thousands of other threads about this area, as it is far and away our most popular topic, so if you need more suggestions about what to do in these areas, I'd suggest spending a little time looking around the site.
    Will do. Thanks for your help. ;)

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