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  1. Default SF bay area to Yellow Stone and back in 24 days.

    Hi, I am new to this site and to the US in general. I just moved to California from Denmark with my wife and two children. And I am trying to plan a road trip for which I need some help/comments. I want to do a round trip from Menlo Park (SF bay area) to Yellow Stone in 24 days next May/June. Everything I know I have from Google and want to know if I have missed or misunderstood anything. So any suggestions, comments or idea’s are welcome.

    Yosimeti, SF, LA and the cost line between are covered by other trips. I would like to get information about how realistic my itinerary and budget are. Are any of the destinations not worth the trouble? Are there better alternatives?
    My wife and I will be traveling with two young children, aged 2 and 4. We have no need of fancy restaurants or hotels. Just the basics will do: comfy beds, some sort of breakfast and the kids do love a pool (No tents or camping).

    Btw. I don’t expect anyone to answer all questions in the itinerary, any suggestions, comments or idea’s are appreciated.

    Budget (roughly):
    Lodging: $2.900,-
    Food and snacks: $2.400,-
    Fees and other: $1.200,-
    Gas: $600

    Itinerary:
    Day 1: Bakersfield
    From Menlo Park to Bakersfield. Aprox. 4,5 hours.
    Suggestions:
    On route?
    Place to stop on the way for lunch?
    Alternative to Bakersfield?
    Place to stay the night ($100)?


    Day 2: Joshua Tree
    From Bakersfield to Joshua Tree NP. App. 4 hours.
    App. 4 Hours drive/Hike in park.
    Spend the night in the area.
    Suggestions:
    On route?
    Place to stay the night ($100)?


    Day 3: Lake Havasu
    From Joshua Tree to Lake Havasu. App. 3 hours.
    Relax the rest of the day. Maybe a sunset boat tour in the evening.
    Suggestions:
    On route?
    Place to stay the night ($100)?


    Day 4: Lake Havasu
    Spend the day at the lake.
    Suggestions:
    On activities?
    Place to stay the night ($100)?


    Day 5: Sedona
    From Lake Havasu to Sedona. App. 4 hours.
    Relax and maybe a short hike.
    Suggestions:
    On route?
    Place to stay the night ($100)?


    Day 6: Sedona
    Pink Jeep Tour and relax.
    Suggestions:
    Place to stay the night? ($100)


    Day 7: Grand Canyon
    From Sedona to Grand Canyon App. 2 hours.
    Spend the day at the canyon.
    Suggestions:
    On route?
    Place to stay the night ($150)?


    Day 8: Grand Canyon
    Spend the day at the canyon.
    Suggestions:
    Place to stay the night ($150)?


    Day 9: Page
    From Grand Canyon to Page. App. 3 hours.
    Horseshoe bend, Rainbow bridge, Antelope Canyon.
    Suggestions:
    Mayby drive the night before, to have the whole day?
    On route?
    Place to stay the night ($100)?


    Day 10: Monument Vally
    From Page to Monument Vally. App. 2 hours.
    17 mile Senic drive.
    Suggestions:
    On route?
    Place to stay the night ($100)?


    Day 11: Moab / Arches
    From Monument Vally to Moab app. 3 hours
    1/2 day - 36 mile senic drive and short hikes
    Suggestions:
    On route?
    Place to stay the night ($100)?


    Day 12: Salt Lake City
    From Moab to Salt Lake City. App. 4,5 hours.
    Suggestions:
    On route?
    Place to stop for lunch on the way?
    Place to stay the night ($100)?
    Alternative to Salt Lake City?


    Day 13: Grand Teton
    From Salt Lake City to Grand Teton. App. 6 hours.
    Suggestions:
    On route?
    Place to stop for lunch on the way?
    Place to stay the night ($180)?


    Day 14: Grand Teton
    Spend the day in the park.
    Suggestions:
    Place to stay the night ($180)?


    Day 15: Yellow Stone
    From Grand Teton to Yellow Stone. App. 2 hours.
    Spend the day in the park.
    Suggestions:
    Place to stay the night ($180)?


    Day 16: Yellow Stone
    Spend the day in the park.
    Suggestions:
    Place to stay the night ($180)?


    Day 17: Yellow Stone / Jackson Hole
    Spend the day in the park.
    Drive to Jackson Hole in the evening. App. 2,5 hours
    Suggestions:
    Place to stay the night ($100)?


    Day 18: Park City
    From Jackson Hole to Park City. App. 5 hours.
    Suggestions:
    On route?
    Place to stop for lunch on the way?
    Place to stay the night ($100)?


    Day 19: Park City
    Suggestions:
    Activities?
    Place to stay the night ($100)?


    Day 20: St. George
    From Park City to St. George. App. 5 hours.
    Suggestions:
    On route?
    Place to stop for lunch on the way?
    Place to stay the night ($100)?
    Alternative to St. George?


    Day 21: Las Vegas
    From St. George to Las Vegas. App. 2.5 hours.
    Hoover Dam and night in Vegas.

    Day 22: Las Vegas
    The day in Vegas.

    Day 23: Bakersfield
    From Las Vegas to Bakersfield. App. 5 hours.
    Suggestions:
    On route?
    Place to stop on the way for lunch?
    Alternative to Bakersfield?


    Day 24: Menlo Park (Home)
    From Bakersfield to Menlo Park. Aprox. 4,5 hours.
    Suggestions:
    On route?
    Place to stop on the way for lunch?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Initial thoughts.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Your trip looks quite doable, although any drive times taken from a mapping program are likely to be optimistic, usually we allow about 20% longer for 'real world' delays and short break requirements, like food, bathroom and to fill with gas. I think in some places you could do with an extra night, such as Moab where there is Canyonlands as well as Arches NP and your time is short anyway.

    We don't really do lodging or dining recommendations as there are only a small number of regular contributors and things change so quickly. A new chef or change of management can alter things, or lack of investment. You might get a few suggestions, but use sites like Tripadvisor for the most up to date reviews. To the top right of this page you can browse for deals here at RTA in the areas you are stopping and get an idea of costs and ratings.

    One thing I would consider is 'exchanging' Joshua tree for Death valley and head to Vegas at the beginning of your trip, perhaps staying around Lake Isabella on night one. You could then head back to the Bay area via Lake Tahoe and save on some mileage. This would also mean visiting Park City on the way 'up' and then on to Jackson. The later you arrive in Yellowstone, the more likely chance of the park being fully open.

    Have a look around the forums and road trip planning resources in the tool bars above and as new questions arise, just ask away !

  3. Default

    Day 9: Page
    From Grand Canyon to Page. App. 3 hours.
    Horseshoe bend, Rainbow bridge, Antelope Canyon.
    Suggestions:
    Mayby drive the night before, to have the whole day?
    On route?
    Place to stay the night ($100)?
    With children so young be VERY, VERY, VERY careful at Horseshoe Bend. There is a big drop off into the canyon down to the river and there are NO railings what so ever in this area!

    Rainbow bridge requires the all day boat tour and 1 1/2 mile hike unless the lake rises.

    You should be fine doing the Upper Antelope Slots canyon with your children.

    Are any of the destinations not worth the trouble? Are there better alternatives?
    I get the idea from your itinerary that you want to see the natural areas and parks. I worry about Death Valley being to hot by May so not sure I'd recommend it with two small children.

    And since you asked, with 24 days my route would look more like.

    Menlo Park, Bakersfield, Las Vegas (if that is a must), Zion National Park 2 - 3 nights, Bryce National Park 2 nights (3 nights if you decide to drive scenic Hwy 12 to Boulder, Utah and back), Lake Powell at Page 2 - 3 nights if you decide to do the boat tour to Rainbow Bridge and there are places to swim here too, Grand Canyon 2 nights, Monument Valley 1 night, Moab Area 3 or 4 nights (Arches and Canyonlands), Salt Lake City, Grand Tetons 2 nights, Yellowstone 3 to 5 nights and then spend a couple nights coming back home.

    This route shaves off 400 miles.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Trip Advisor & Simillar Not Recommended

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    We don't really do lodging or dining recommendations as there are only a small number of regular contributors and things change so quickly. A new chef or change of management can alter things, or lack of investment. You might get a few suggestions, but use sites like Tripadvisor for the most up to date reviews.
    Actually, I think Dave may have stated that differently than he may have intended. At RoadTripAmerica.com we do make lodging and dining recommendations. In fact, that's a huge part of what we do here, because unlike Trip Advisor or similar sites, our evaluations are based on real-life experiences and expectations. Every recommendation in the Attractions or Road Trip Routes section is vetted by the RTA Editorial Group and we do not accept articles from non-professional or semi-pro road trippers.

    We don't have as many lodging or dining recommendations as many sites, because our focus has been on finding and reporting on relatively unique attractions that most sites would never find. The easiest way to find those sites, is to use either the Map Wizard and look for our recommendations along your route or the Map Center, where in addition to looking for specific kinds of attractions along a custom route, you can also do proximity searches for each of the areas you are interested in.

    One more comment about Trip Advisor and other such user-generated review sites -- the level of reporting accuracy is 100% unreliable -- unless you're reading your own post...

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    The two things stand out to me, and they are similar to what Dave and Utahtea have said.

    First, I'd probably spend a few more days at Yellowstone. Its a big place and on a trip of this size, I'd want at least 3 full days, and even a couple more if you can make it work. I'd also try to add at least one or two days in Moab so you can see both canyonlands and arches.

    Second, I'd try to avoid some of the backtracking. Basically the section of Salt Lake, Jackson/Tetons, Yellowstone, Jackson/Tetons, Park City is a complete backtrack that could really be avoided. Instead, I'd spend all of your Salt Lake/Park City time together, go up to Jackson/Tetons, do Yellowstone, and then start making a more direct route back home via Idaho and Nevada. I think Utahtea's route suggestion has some really good ideas to think about.

  6. Default

    Thank you so much for all your comments and suggestions. We decide to break this trip in two and do a Vegas loop trip and a Yellowstone trip. I am thinking about doing a Vegas loop starting March 1. Will this be a good time for the following itinerary. Any suggestions and comments are welcome and greatly appreciated. We are driving with two little children aged 2 and 4.

    Day 1 Fly from SF to Vegas and drive to Zion (hours 3)

    Day 2 Spend day at Zion

    Day 3 Spend day at Zion and drive to Bryce Canyon NP (2 hours)

    Day 4 Spend day at Bryce

    Day 5 Spend day at Bryce and drive to Moab (5 Hours)

    Day 6 Spend day at Moab

    Day 7 Spend day at Moab

    Day 8 Spend day at Moab and drive to Monument Vally (3 hours)

    Day 9 Spend day at Monument and drive to Page (2 hours)

    Day 10 Spend day at Page

    Day 11 Spend day at Page and drive to Grand Canyon (3 hours)

    Day 12 Spend day at Grand Canyon

    Day 13 Spend day at Grand Canyon and drive to Vegas (5 hours)

    Day 14 Return Car and fly to SF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Do you own a car? If so, why not drive it instead of flying back and forth to LV and renting a car? If not, you still would have time to rent a car in SF and avoid the airfares.

  8. Default

    I do own a car. But airfare is like $800 for the 4 of us, and car rental for the trip is about $500.
    However it saves us 4 days of transport driving. Thats 4 days of eating, lodging and gas use and that totals around $900. So the difference is around $400 for 4 days more at the interesting points, plus the kids wont be fed-up with driving even before we get to the first stop. Unless there is something wrong with my calculations or I missed something?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    You won't lose 4 days. You can drive from SF to Zion in a day and a half, so you would only lose half a day at the front end, and you can drive from the GC to SF in a day and a half, losing nothing there. You will save about $1000.

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