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  1. Default LA / Las Vegas / Grand Canyon / San Francisco / LA


    We are coming to America with our two daughter 10 and 8 in a couple of weeks. We have a week in LA to enjoy sites, Disneyland etc and then have a seven days (6 nights) free. We were thinking of just driving to Las Vagas and seeing Grand Canyon from there, but are now wondering whether we will have enough time to fit in San Fran and that wonderful drive that we have heard about from San Fran to LA. We can leave early Monday 10 Oct and need to be back at the airport in LA by evening of Sun 16 Oct. Is the following possible

    Day 1 - Drive from LA to Las Vagas, route 66? show at night (perhaps Lion King for the girls, maybe stay at Circus Circus as apparently that is ok with kids)
    Day 2 - Grand Canyon trip, back to Las Vagas for the 2nd night
    Day 3 - Travel to SF (not sure whether we can do this in the car or whether we should fly? If not too far, preference is to drive so that do not have to change hire cars and waste time in airports), Stay in San Francisco - where?
    Day 4 - Sightseeing in San Francisco, 2nd night in San Francisco - where?
    Day 5 - Drive from SF to LA, route 1 or 101? stay midpoint somewhere?
    Day 6 - Drive from SF to LA, stay at point closer to LA?
    Day 7 - Finish trip, need to be at airport for 6pm for flight back to Australia.

    We would appreciate any advice or tips you can provide.

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Is this another trip?

    Hi and Welcome back.

    Is this trip replacing the previous one planned for next year?

    Only by cutting back on your time in LA, will you be able to see all the places you want to see, and do the things you would like to do.

    As a roadtrip, it would look something like this....

    Day 1 Drive to Williams
    Day 2 Drive to & see GC and stay there (or in Tusyan)
    Day 3 See GC and drive to LV
    Day 4 in LV
    Day 5 Drive to SF (a very very long day on the road)
    Day 6 in SF
    Day 7 Drive PCH to Cambria (or thereabouts)
    Day 8 Drive to LAX

    It would be very rushed, with little if any time to enjoy much.

    If LV and SF as well as LA are important, maybe you could just drive to LV, then to SF, via Bakersfield, and then back to LA. It would give you an opportunity to see and enjoy these three places. But you would have to forget about the GC and PCH.

    [Please note: LV is not on the way from LA to GC - check the map - and the GCNP is too far from LV for a day trip. You will in LV see many tours advertised, by road and by air to the GC, but you need to be aware that none of these go to the National Park.]

    On the other hand, if the GC and PCH are important, you will need to cut down in the cities. Even flying from LV to SF will not make a great deal of difference, as with the modern airport security, etc., more than half the day will be taken up just getting to the airport, through security, on the plane (possible delays), collect luggage and out the airport again.

    You really do not have the time to do all the things you would like to do.

    Last edited by Lifemagician; 09-20-2011 at 10:45 PM. Reason: butter fingers

  3. Default Grand Canyon is a priority

    Lifey - thanks so much. Yes this trip is replacing our planned Dec/Jan trip. We have cut the trip to 2 weeks and will not be visiting Denver (boo hoo). Two reasons - 1: we are leaving our 16month old daughter with her grandparents in Australia, so shorter time away and 2: Airfares were about $1,000 a ticket cheaper EACH.

    You have given us a lot of things to think about. I agree about airport times. As the Grand Canyon is a priority from an educational point of view, we will rethink what we can do. Neither my husband or girls have been to California or Las Vagas before. Any suggestions on a round road trip from LA for the 7 days we have available will be greatly appreciated. We do not want to cut short our time in LA as we are staying with some very good friends and want to enjoy their company for as long as possible.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default In that case......

    I would have to agree, time with friends in LA takes priority. And if the GC is a priority (and so it should be), here's what I would do.... in a relaxed and memorable week.

    Head to the GC from LA. Where your friends live in LA will depend a great deal on how far you will get. I would spend at least a night at or near the park, and a day or two, in the National Park. The National Parks service has a Junior Ranger program, which your daughters would greatly benefit from. If you want to stay in the park, I suggest you get onto the NPS website now, and check out availability. There is nothing like a sunset and / or dawn over the Canyon. And you could take a trip to the east entrance, along Desert View Dr (64).

    On your way to LV you could drive some of the remnants of Historic Route 66 between Seligman and Kingman, visit Hoover Dam and drive over the new bridge. While in LV you may also like to take a day trip to Death Valley, where there will once again be the Junior Ranger program. Depending on your timing, you may even be able to spend the last night with your friends, before departing (I assume late at night) from LAX.

    This will give the your girls a nice mixture of city and country.... country like they will not see anywhere else on earth.

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

    Default Suggestions.

    I agree with Lifey, trying to do both the GC and PCH is going to be just a little to busy to enjoy quality time at the places you want to visit, although it could be done.

    If you got to Wiliams on day 1, you could visit GC day 2 and stay nearby as suggested. Day 3, an early start to Vegas [arrive lunchtime and stay 1 night] Day 4, across Death valley and up 395 towards Lee Vining. Day 5 over Tioga pass [CA120] in Yosemite NP and head to the coast. I would skip SF [as lovely as it is] and head for Monterey. That leaves a couple of day to drive down the coast and return to LA.

    Other than Lifey's suggestion above, these are the two options I would consider.

    Option 1; Day 1] LA to GC > Day2] GC > Day 3] GC to Monument valley to Page > Day 4] Zion NP. > Day 5] Zion NP and then on to Vegas. > Day 6] Vegas > Day 7] Vegas and back towards LA. Bryce canyon is something you could also consider as an alternative to Monument valley or a day in Vegas.

    Option 2; No Grand canyon, but all the NP's are educational, so I thought it worth a mention.

    Day 1] To Sequoia NP. > Day 2] Sequoia NP and towards Yosemite NP [Oakhurst] > Day 3] Yosemite NP > Day 4] Yosemite NP to San Fran. > Day 5] SF. > Day 6] SF to Monterey. > Day 7] Down the coast. Day 8] > LA.

    If GC remains a priority and you don't mind keeping on the move, I would head up into Southern Utah to visit Zion NP and create a nice loop trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default choices

    I tend to agree with what's already been posted. With just 7 days to work with, I think you need to choose either Vegas or San Francisco. Trying to do both would really force you to do everything so quickly that you'd have a hard time enjoying yourself.

    One more possibility in addition to what Dave suggested, you could look at doing a San Diego to Grand Canyon to Vegas type loop. That would allow you to include some of the kid friendly places in San Diego like the zoo, unless you are planning to go there as part of your time in Vegas anyway.

    I will also note that Circus Circus is one of the oldest hotels on the strip, and its on the north end of the strip, so its a bit of a distance from places on the center and south end. Those things may make it easier to get a good deal, and that could be a reason to stay there, but I wouldn't focus on staying there just because of kids. There are a lot of hotels that offer things to interest kids/families, like Excalibur, Mandalay Bay, or New York New York - to name a few. There are a lot of choices, so I'd spend a bit of time looking at what all of your options are.

  7. Default We have a plan

    Thank you very much for all the suggestions. We are now thinking the following:
    Day 1 - Monday - Orange County to Williams (via Kingman and Seligman) approx 432 miles. Overnight in Williams
    Day 2 - Tues - Full day at Grand Canyon. Need to get there early to do a 3mile high with the Junior Ranger program (great suggestion thanks). 59 miles there and 59 miles back. Overnight in Williams.
    Day 3 - Wed - Williams to Las Vegas. 216 miles. Overnight in Williams. We are looking at accommodation options, perhaps Mandalay Bay. Lion King or David Copperfield show.
    Day 4 - Thurs - Las Vegas, relax
    Day 5 - Fri - Las Vegas to San Diego 332 miles. Perhaps go via Death Valley NP. Stay in San Diego
    Day 6 - Sat - San Diego sightseeing or catch up with friends. Stay in San Diego
    Day 7 - Sun - San Diego sightseeing then flight home

    By my calculations that is still about 17-18 hours driving over the seven days. The plan is to stay 2 nights in each hotel so that we do not have to keep moving hotels. The hardest will be the first day which is also my daughter's birthday so hopefully we can get away early and find somewhere special to celebrate her birthday. We are planning to leave Orange County early (say 5.30am) to avoid peak hour traffic.

    We really appreciate all the help. Many thanks again.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Sounds great.

    Now, doesn't all that sound great. Moving on every second night is a great idea with children in tow. All that packing and unpacking can get a bit much.

    You might find the day from LV to SD a long day, if you want to go via Death Valley, but it is so worth it. There is no other place like it. See if you can get away early. And don't underestimate the traffic you may strike, even on a Sunday, on your way to LAX.

    Am looking forward to reading how you get on. In the RoadTrip Field Reports, you can 'show and tell' us all about it.

    Have a great trip.


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