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Thread: Road trip help

  1. Default Road trip help


    I have done a lot of reading but as I am running out of time I need to ask some questions. We are a family of six adults travelling to America in September and October this year. One month in total for this part of the trip

    We are flying into San Francisco where we will spend 5 nights before getting a hire car. My plan is to drive up to napa valley which I believe takes around 90 minutes. Im not sure if it's best to stay the night in napa valley or to just make it a day trip out of San Fran. From here we will head out redwood national park and spend 2 days.

    From redwood national park we will drive to lake Tahoe which I believe takes ten hours? Can you recommend where we should stop for the night in between lake taho and redwood national park? 2 days will be spent in lake Tahoe before heading out to Yosemite national park where I plan to spend 2 nights. I'm not sure how long it will take to do this drive though. Can't seem to find it.

    From Yosemite we would like to go to Bryce/Zion national park and again not sure how long this will take and also where we should stop for the night.

    I would also like to visit lake Powell and monument valley before heading to the grand canyon and Vegas. At this stage I'm not even sure if this is the right order to do this in but any help would be greatly appreciated. From Vegas we need to get to san Diego. Is there only one way to go or is there a nice scenic trip we can take

    Sorry for being quite vague but i appreciate any help

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    I just plotted out your desires in my mapping software and the most efficient order for all your attractions is:

    Las Vegas
    Lake Powell
    Monument Valley
    Grand Canyon

    Napa to Redwood is about 320 miles via US-101. This will take you about 8 hours. On the way, you should go through the Avenue of the Giants, which parallels US-101 for about 30 miles in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

    It's about 450 miles from Redwoods to Tahoe via US-101/CA-299/I-5/US-50. You could conceivably make it in one long day, but there are plenty of places to spend the night on the way to make it a more leisurely drive. There will be plenty of towns along I-5 between Redding and Sacramento with hotels at or near the exits.

    From Tahoe, it's about 200 miles to Yosemite via US-50/CA-89/CA-88/CA-49/CA-120. Allow about 6 hours.

    If Tioga Pass is open (it should be) take it to US-395 and head for Las Vegas. You have the option of cutting through Death Valley on the way. This is also possible in 1 long day, but I'd spend a night in Bishop, Lone Pine, or in Death Valley.

    Las Vegas to Zion is about 2.5 hours. Zion to Bryce is about 2 hours. Bryce to Lake Powell is about 3 hours. Lake Powell to Monument Valley is about 2.5 hours. Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon is about 3.5 hours. The GC to SD via Phoenix is doable in one long day.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default Another Napa Valley option....

    This depends on your budget. I assume you're interested in doing some wine tasting, if so you need to consider who's going to stay sober enough to drive... either back to a Napa-area hotel or back to The City.

    With a party of 6 adults you may want to consider booking one of the Limo services that run tours to the Napa Valley from SF; let a pro handle getting you there, around and back again.

  4. Default

    glc's routing is spot on!

    If you have time to split the 600 mile drive from Grand Canyon to San Diego into two days there are things to see along the way like Wupatki National Monument, Sunset Crater, Sedona, and Montezuma's Castle National Monument all before reaching Phoenix, AZ.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A lovely trip planned !

    And during my favourite time of year in these parts, welcome to RTA !

    Your trip plans and a month to travel in, should make for a nice and relaxing trip. On route to San Diego you could consider Joshua tree NP/Palm Springs for a visit and overnight stop.

    Have you selected your "car" rental yet ? I am curious what you might use for 6 adults and the 6 lots of luggage you will be carrying. It could be one of the rare cases where an RV would become better value than a car and Motels, although it should be a lifestyle choice really as it is not for everyone. With the number of NP's you are visiting it will be worth purchasing the annual pass for $80, it will work out cheaper than individual fees. You can purchase it at the entry kiosk of the first park you visit or alternatively, the NPS has a small store upstairs on Pier 39 in San Francisco with Lot's of info on offer regarding the parks, plus you really should visit Pier 39.

    While in SF be sure to book an Alcatraz boat to the Island. This is the official site for booking in advance, which is something I would recommend.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Alcatraz

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    While in SF be sure to book an Alcatraz boat to the Island. This is the official site for booking in advance, which is something I would recommend.
    I would second that, and add that you might consider the late tour. Not only is the jail more eerie at night, but the sight of seeing the sun sink into the Pacific behind the Golden Gate, and the lights coming on all over SF, is worth it in itself. Book early, it is always booked full.


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