I was hoping to get some advice on a trip my husband and I plan on taking in May/June of 2012. Unfortunately we have just recently decided on a basic itinerary. I’m afraid that we are already a little bit behind in booking our accommodations, so I’m hoping to get a basic itinerary sketched out asap!
To give you a little bit of background, we are in our early 30s and have no kids.
We visited Yellowstone in 2010 and absolutely fell in love with it, so much so that we actually repeated the trip again this year! While we would love to go again in 2012 (or every year for that matter), we decided that we should probably explore some new places! We did a road trip type of vacation in 2007 where we visited Vegas, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon and Sedona, and we are hoping this trip will have a similar mix of city and national parks with scenic drives along the way.
Our plan is to arrive the evening of May 25th in Vegas and depart on June 6th from San Francisco. Unfortunately my husband can’t be gone from work any longer than this, so we will only have 13 days/12 nights (including our travel days) to work with.
I’ve been researching these areas and have come up with an initial itinerary:
Friday, May 25th – Leave Columbus after work and fly to Vegas (unfortunately we have to work this day, so we won’t be able to leave until after 5pm Eastern time, but can fly direct and arrive by 8:30)
Saturday, May 26th – All day in Vegas
Sunday, May 27th – Leave Vegas early, drive to and explore Death Valley, spend the night either at Furnace Creek Ranch or Stovepipe Wells
Monday, May 28th – Drive up 395, stopping at sites along the way, spend the night somewhere outside of the east entrance to Yosemite (Mammoth Lakes looks nice)
Tuesday, May 29th – Option A (if Tioga Pass is open), travel into Yosemite via Tioga pass, evening in Yosemite OR Option B (if Tioga pass is closed), continue north on 395, take Sonora pass (looking at the data from the last 7 years, it looks like it’s always open by this date), evening in Yosemite
Wednesday, May 30th – All day in Yosemite
Thursday, May 31st – All day in Yosemite
Friday, June 1st – Leave for Napa Valley area, evening in Napa Valley
Saturday, June 2nd – Leave Napa, drive to San Francisco, evening in SF
Sunday, June 3rd – San Francisco
Monday, Jun 4th – San Francisco
Tuesday, June 5th – San Francisco
Wednesday, June 6th – Fly home
Any suggestions on how this itinerary can be improved? Does our time at any place need shortened or lengthened? Originally I had hoped to include some of the PCH and/or King Canyon/Sequoia NP in our trip, but I’m pretty sure that including them would make the trip too rushed, is that a correct assumption?
Also, I know that lodging books up quickly for this time of year, particularly Yosemite. As soon as we started to plan this trip I booked what accommodations I could inside the park. Right now I have a tent booked at Curry Village for the 29th, 30th, and 31st. I also booked a standard room at Stoneman, but they only had one available for the 29th and the 31st. I will continue to check daily for cancellations, but if nothing opens up would it be better to rough it in the tent at Curry all 3 days and not have to worry about moving around or stay in the standard room on the 29th, stay at Wawona on the 30th, and then go back to the standard room on the 31st?
Thanks for your help!