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  1. Default Road trip: Vancouver, BC to Sand Diego/Vegas/Grand Canyon

    Hi guys,

    I am in the early stages of planning a road trip... We have three weeks (flexible) to enjoy the California sun. I'd like to get some advice as places to visit, things to do/see, nice inexpensive hotels, restaurants, etc.

    We are a family of 4 with two kids: 10 and 17.

    So far we know we want to visit Disneyland and San Diego. I'd like to squeeze in Vegas and the Grand Canyon too (always wanted to see it:-)

    Here's what I've got right now (I am only at day 15:-):

    Day 1; Start at Vancouver. Drive to San Francisco, spend night on the road ( 16 hours 17 minutes / 1515.93 kilometers)

    Day 2: San Francisco, spend night in San Francisco (Monterey Bay, Bixby Bridge, Julia Pfeiffer Burns Park) ( 16 hours 17 minutes / 1515.93 kilometers)

    Day 3; Visit Hearst Castle spend day/night (4 hours 7 minutes / 387.09 kilometers)

    Day 4; Drive to Anaheim day/night in Anaheim (Disneyland) (4 hours 45 minutes / 435.11 kilometers)

    Day 5; spend day/night in Anaheim (Disneyland)

    Day 6; spend day/night in Anaheim (Disneyland)

    Day 7; drive to Los Angeles, spend night Anaheim (Venice Beach, Hollywood, Beverly hills)

    Day 8; drive to Los Angeles, spend night Anaheim (Universal Studios)

    Day 9; drive to San Diego, spend night there (Newport Beach, Laguna Beach) (1 hour 45 minutes / 155.60 kilometers)

    Day 10; spend night in San Diego (San Diego Zoo)

    Day 11; spend night in San Diego (San Diego Aquarium)

    Day 12; drive to Las Vegas, spend night in Las Vegas (5 hours 10 minutes / 533.97 kilometers)

    Day 13; spend day/night in Las Vegas (recommended family shows?)

    Day 14; spend day/night in Las Vegas (recommended family shows?)

    Day 15; drive to Grand Canyon. spend night in Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon Village) (4 hours 28 minutes / 443.28 kilometers)

    Day 16; to Grand Canyon (Hoover Dam)

    Day 17; Driving back?

    Day 18; Driving back?

    Day 19; Driving back?

    Day 20; Driving back?
    Last edited by dalv; 06-15-2011 at 05:07 PM. Reason: additions

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The first thing you need to understand that your drive time estimates are not even close to realistic. Most computer programs are optimistic by about 20% because they don't factor in any of the basic stops and slow downs you will have on a roadtrip. However, I will say the time estimates you've listed are even worse than most.

    For starters, Vancouver to San Francisco can not safely be done in one single day. That is a drive where you should be looking at 2 full days (10 hours on the road each day.) You would very much be endangering your own and other safety -yes, even if you have more than 1 driver- by trying to do it in a day, and even if you did make it without crashing it would be a miserable experience that would make it impossible for anyone to enjoy the trip for the rest of the week!

    Your "4 hour" drives along the coast will actually be drives that will take most of the day if you follow the coast highway. And SD to Vegas and Vegas to GC will both take about an hour more than you are planning.

    To me, it would seem like the obvious thing to do with your extra time at the end would be to spend some of it working your way back through the several National Parks of Utah, perhaps even going up all the way to yellowstone. In the alternative, you could simply spend more time enjoying the natural wonders of California, as you are not currently including any of the coast/redwoods north of San Francisco nor places like Death Valley, Sequoia, Yosemite, etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Other than the Grand Canyon and Hearst Castle, your trip is completely city-centric. Not that this is a bad thing, if that's all that attracts you. However, you will be bypassing some of the most spectacular scenery to be found anywhere.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Day 11 you are at "San Diego Aquarium". There are two "aquariums" here. One is Sea World San Diego, which is much more than an aquarium. You can easily spend a day and an evening there, especially in the summertime. The other is Birch Aquarium. It is more of a real aquarium, but on a much smaller basis than Sea World. Sea World gives you shows, where Birch is a museum of water creatures. An afternoon is all it needs. Which you like better depends on whether you like substance (Birch) or glitz-n-glamour-theme (SW).

    Los Angeles to Las Vegas "might" be done in 5 hours: IF you don't hit any traffic jams. That's unlikely! Count on 6 or 7 hours. Las Vegas to Grand Canyon is more like 6 or 7 hours, too.

    Two days in the Disney complex is probably enough. One day for Disneyland and one for California Adventure, or two days in DL. (My husband and I can take or leave CaAdv, personally.) Expect to be tired after 2 days in the parks.

    I'm glad Michael commented on your trip from Vancouver BC to San Francisco. We drove that back in 2000, and it was 2 days COMFORTABLE. My husband is a former long-distance hauler, but even he groaned when I read that one aloud. (My hubby thinks nothing of 600 miles on the road, but much more than that, even he will complain!)

    If you fix those things, you've filled your other days.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default I'm a pro road trippper

    And I never recommend more than 500 miles in a day. Yes, in my youth I drove considerably more than 500 miles in a day,'s foolhardy at best.


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