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  1. Default SF to LA to Las Vegas

    I'm planning a trip with my boyfriend.
    Here is a draft of itinerary.
    August 25(Thu), 2pm-ish, leave SF for LA.
    drive for 4-5 hours and stay overnight at someplace close to the coast.(TBD)
    August 26(Fri), 10am, leave for LA.
    arrive at noon and stay overnight. visit the city. may go to beach in the afternoon.
    August 27(Sat), 4pm, leave for Las Vegas.
    arrive at night and stay in hotel.(or stay in some town in the middle)
    August 28(Sun), stay in Las Vegas.
    August 29(Mon), leave Las Vegas in the morning.

    Here are some questions I would like to have your recommendations.
    1. Any recommendations for the town between SF and LA to stay for one night? It has to be less than 2 hours drive to LA, and close to coast.
    2. Where in the middle of LA and Las Vegas could be a good place to stay overnight? Seems there is nothing on the way...
    3. Any idea of what to do in Las Vegas in August?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    1) I am assuming you are taking the PCH, Hwy 1, from SF down to LA. It's a long drive, and it's good you are breaking it up. You could stay in Solvang, Carpinteria, or Santa Barbara.
    2) LA to Las Vegas is only about a 5 hour drive, depending on the traffic. If you absolutely want to stay somewhere between the two, Barstow is a good stopping place and has some good options.
    3) Las Vegas in August is HOT. Other than the obvious choice (gambling), there's swimming in the hotel pools (many of the hotels have incredible pools), driving out to the Red Rocks area, seeing shows, and there's an amusement park inside Circus Circus. (I believe there's also a water park along the strip someplace.)

    BTW, if you don't leave for LA until 10 am, you won't be there until 12 noon. By the time you get checked in to your hotel, about all you'll have time for is to go to the beach. However, on Saturday morning and afternoon, you might have time to see something of LA before you leave for Las Vegas.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default PCH is two days drive

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    Your schedule is a little unrealistic. Is this a trip on its own, or part of a longer trip, and if the latter, could you give us a sketch of the rest. It may help us put things in perspective.

    If you travel down the PCH from SF to LA, you are looking at two full days of driving, with a stop somewhere in the middle, around Morro Bay / Cambria. There is no way you can realistically drive that route with four or five hours on one day, and then be in LA by noon. You would be pushing to do that on the interstate.

    You may also be surprised by LA traffic and the time it takes to get around. If you plan to arrive in LA by noon, and leave at 4pm the next day, you will have precious little time to see anything much. Maybe a visit to one of the popular sights, but don't expect to be able to do it all and visit a beach. It may be better if you stay in LA for two nights, and leave early (very early to avoid LA traffic) the next morning to drive to LV. The trip can be done in one full day's driving.

    In LV there is lots to do, even if you do not want to gamble. Check out the routes and sights (attractions), on the green bar above, and the map centre, where you can also find attractions along the route.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Getting from SF to LA in 6 to 7 hours is barely possible via I-5, impossible via US-101 and totally out of the realm of reality on CA-1.

    If you must stay on the coast within 2 hours of LA, stay in Santa Barbara. Allow 7 hours to get from SF to Santa Barbara via 101.

  5. Default

    Thank you so much for all the awesome advice! You are quick!
    Re lifey:
    Yes, I am actually planing to drive back to where I study, which is New York City. I live in Jersey City, NJ though.
    I have very limited experience in roadtrip so I'm also looking for a partner who can at least take turn to drive and keep me accompanied. But I am determined to do it even I will be driving alone.

    I have this crazy schedule. I will finish my internship in SF by August 12th. Then my boyfriend come and stay for two weeks. He has to stay in SF because he needs to take the flight to another country on August 29.
    Then my school starts no later than Sep 8. So I have to leave for NYC as soon as possible. Then I figured out maybe take him to Las Vegas and let him fly back to SF on August 29 and I'll continue driving to the east. That can save me at least one day.

    Re glc:
    I'm less worried about SF to LA. Now I know from you guys I should leave more time for this trip, I think I can do that. I have plenty of time beforehand. I've been to LA and I'll just meet with one of my friends there. We don't care about beach that much, but if we decide to go, we can spare another day and leave earlier that week.

    Re Donna:
    Sounds like Las Vegas is just a fame to me. I might just drive there and sleep and do nothing, haha.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Seeing the complete picture.

    Quote Originally Posted by youriva View Post
    I have very limited experience in roadtrip .... But I am determined to do it even if I will be driving alone.
    Don't worry too much about your inexperience, we all started that way. And certainly doing that trip as a solo traveller, in the time frame you have, is very doable.

    Your schedule is really not that bad. If I read you correctly, after you finish in SF, you have 17 days with your boyfriend before he flies out, and then you have a further 9 days to get to NJ. Is there any reason why you cannot do the coast drive, LA and LV with the boyfriend, in the 17 days?

    SF to NJ is an easy six day drive, and with nine days, you will have some time to maybe see some of the great sights along the way.

    Spend some time reading around this site. There are some great articles about and from solo travellers, which I am sure you will find helpful in the preparation stage. On the other hand, it really is no big deal, so long as you are sensible and behave as you would normally at home. And you might like to know that the majority of solo travellers are female. Make sure you have your car checked over by a trusted mechanic who knows the extend of the trip you are about to undertake. Have anything which needs attention, attended to. It will also pay to take out a roadside assistance plan such as AAA. And while there, make sure you get yourself a good set of maps which cover the areas of any routes you may be taking. They are invaluable. Don't be tempted to put your trust solely in a gps.

    Once you have decided what you will do, and when you have laid out the route you might take back home, feel free to ask any questions which may arise. There is always someone here to answer them.

    Enjoy the planning.

    Lifey

    Edit:
    Quote Originally Posted by youriva View Post
    I might just drive there and sleep and do nothing, haha.
    Nah!! No-one sleeps in Vegas. lol
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 07-20-2011 at 11:57 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Maybe no one else sleeps in Las Vegas, but hubby and I aren't all that enthused about the place. If we were to go again (and I might be doing a 3-day seminar there, sometime), I'd spend MY spare time going out to Red Rocks or swimming in the pools. I'm not really much of a gambler, and the shows are so doggone expensive that we could only do ONE. (The last time, we saw George Carlin.)


    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Another perspective.

    I'm not a great fan of the City life and much prefer natures creations, but Vegas is a real eye opener and has so much more than shows and casinos. Just walking around you could spend day's taking it all in. Taking a gondola ride on the canal through the streets inside the Venetian hotel, being able to cross the road from the Eiffel tower 'Paris' to 'New York' is all mind blowing stuff. The full scale pirate ships that do battle outside Treasure Island at regular intervals, the Bellagio water fountains dancing to Elvis, the huge erupting volcano and endless amounts of free entertainment that you can enjoy just walking through the Hotels and along the street. Of course that's just the 'Strip' and there is so much more. During the day spend your time in the air conditioned Hotels and their shops and attractions and at night join the crowds in the streets. As Donna suggested and if it's not your thing, there are some great day trips from Vegas too.

    We went there as part of a trip as we were going through and 'just because', but with 2 days there we hardly scratched the surface and surprisingly [to me] it was an experience I am glad that I have had.

    You can find out more LV info at RTA's 'sister site', Living Las Vegas, here

    Viva Las Vegas !

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post

    Your schedule is really not that bad. If I read you correctly, after you finish in SF, you have 17 days with your boyfriend before he flies out, and then you have a further 9 days to get to NJ. Is there any reason why you cannot do the coast drive, LA and LV with the boyfriend, in the 17 days?
    Lifey, thanks for your reply. Yes, that's because he will be on a business trip. So first he has to work the week of 15-19, also he has to fly from SF back to his office. Basically he has to stay around SF for that 17 days. We've also already had some plans during his stay. We will go to Lake Tahoe to visit my friend on the weekend of 20/21. Will spend around 3 days in LA and about 3-4 days in SF.

    Yea, so far I haven't found any partners yet, I have to do it by myself. I am really debating with myself whether or not to take it though. Because if I don't do the roadtrip, I would then be able to spend the time in early September to get ready for my school and catch up with old friends in NYC. If unfortunately, I mess up with the trip and end up being middle of nowhere, it won't be fun missing one week of school and push all my schedule in a even more crazy way. You probably know how crazy a master student's schedule is when it comes to the graduation year.

    The other thing is that as I am here in SF only for one summer, I don't own a car right now. So I will have to buy one in order to do the roadtrip. I don't really care about the cost that much as I have to rent a car for my boyfriend's stay so it kind of balance out. But I have to deal with it later when I back to the NYC. That will be another time commitment within my busy school year. Will renting a car be an alternative? I'd like to figure it out.

    I have places to stay in Kansas city and Columbus, Ohio, where I probably want to stop and visit my friends there for a night each. Other than that, I don't really have a preference. It's just about seeing different landscape of this country.

    Thank you for others' advice on LV sight-seeing as well. Will discuss it with my boyfriend and get back to you later.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default I hear you...

    I would strongly advice against purchasing a vehicle just to drive to NJ. You will not want to drive cross country in an unfamiliar vehicle (unless it is new, or next to new). It sounds like you are not going to need it to go to school.

    Add to that your hesitation about taking on this trip as a solo driver and the worry of a late arrival, you may be better (and cheaper) off, flying back east.

    Despite the fact that this is a roadtrip site, there are times when it is just not practicle or relevant. In the future you will take road trips, and we will still be here to hand out advice. Just remember, not everything has to be achieved before you turn 25. There is a whole lifetime of experiences yet ahead of you. Enjoy life's journey.

    Lifey

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