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  1. Default San Diego to Napa Valley (10 day itinerary opinions)

    Hi all... my first post, but have been reading posts to get an idea of how to plan my west coast road trip and wanted to get your opinions! We have already been to san diego, but my wife has a conference there, so the plan is for me to fly in and rent a convertible and pick her up and head to LA after the conference....

    The part i am confused about is the 2nd day where we head to Death Valley. The hotel room is $500 a night, and if i am spending that kind of money, I would rather drive to vegas and blow it at the tables :-). I know the first part of the trip will be hectic, but after that i think 2 or 3 hour drives per day up the coast should be fun and relaxing...

    We also wanted to see some giant red-woods, but i just dont think we have time for that... Feeback is appreciated!!

    3/21/12
    - Land in San Diego and drive up to LA. See the basic touristy stuff Hollywood sign, rodeo, etc
    - Staying in Hollywood
    3/22/12
    - Wake up super early (4/5am) and head to Death Valley, spend the day there, see the sunset, and head to vegas
    - Stay in vegas
    3/23/12
    - Wake up early morning and head to santa monica
    - Stay in Santa Monica
    3/24/12
    - Drive up the coast to ???? not sure where to stay here, somewhere between Santa Monica and Monterey (need opinions)
    3/25/12
    - Drive up the coast to ???? not sure where to stay here, somewhere between Santa Monica and Monterey (need opinions)
    3/26/12
    - Drive up the coast to Monterey and spend the day at big sur, etc
    - stay in Monterey
    3/27/12
    - Drive up to Napa Valley
    - stay in Napa Valley
    3/28/12
    -stay in Napa Valley
    3/29/12
    -Drive down to San Francisco
    - stay in San Francisco
    3/30/12
    -- stay in San Francisco
    3/31/12
    - Fly back to DC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default An option

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Instead of driving through the urban sprawl of LA twice [four times 'in' and 'out' total ]and driving back to Santa Monica from Vegas, why not go direct to Vegas from SD and then to LA and Santa Monica via Death valley before heading up the coast. Perhaps you could grab a drive through the Mojave Preserve.

    Alternatively, visit LA and Santa Monica then to Vegas then across Death valley to further up the coast to around the Morro bay area.

    You will find some large Redwoods in Muir woods just North of SF that might fit in with a visit to Napa.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the reply!

    I was trying to avoid having any outrageously long drives, and it seems like both of the options you recommend would have be really long (Vegas to Death Valley to LA or Vegas to Death Valley to Morro Bay) in one day.

    Are there any recommendations of places to visit and stop along those routes? It just seems like a lot of dessert to me... Also, is the traffic in LA that bad? We live in DC and its pretty bad here, so just trying to gauge how bad it really could be...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Not significantly different.

    I was trying to avoid having any outrageously long drives, and it seems like both of the options you recommend would have be really long (Vegas to Death Valley to LA
    I thought this is what you had planned to do in reverse, here ?

    3/22/12
    - Wake up super early (4/5am) and head to Death Valley, spend the day there, see the sunset, and head to vegas
    - Stay in vegas
    And...

    3/23/12
    - Wake up early morning and head to santa monica
    - Stay in Santa Monica
    San Diego direct to LV takes only about 40 mins longer than going from Las Vegas to Santa Monica. [traffic could close that gap]

    It just seems like a lot of dessert to me... Also, is the traffic in LA that bad?
    Not sure what you mean here, the routes are similar other than the option of going through the Mojave. I think with LA traffic, it's a case of it is what it is and you have to be patient and try and avoid rush, but someone else will have to draw comparisons as I prefer a lot of desert. LOL.

    I personally think you would spend less time in the car by heading to Vegas and then to LA and for me certainly, it would be less frustrating, but as I mentioned it's only an option you could consider. Yes LA is huge but with Santa Monica being so close it seemed to make more sense to do them together over 2 or 3 days.

    Death Valley to Morro Bay) in one day.
    Vegas to the coast via Death valley would be worthy of an overnight stop. It could afford you more time in Death valley and still leave you with a relaxing run up the coast. Bakersfield/Lake Isabella would be reasonable options.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default ?

    I was trying to avoid having any outrageously long drives, and it seems like both of the options you recommend would have be really long (Vegas to Death Valley to LA or Vegas to Death Valley to Morro Bay) in one day.
    You've already planned to do Vegas to Death Valley to LA in one day in your original plan (just reversed), so I'm not sure why that would seem so long to you. Vegas to DV to Morro Bay would be a long day, but who says you have to do the trip in one day? You could easily break it up by spending the night in Lake Isabella or Bakersfield.

    I completely agree with Dave in any case, going from SD to LA to Vegas, back to LA, and then up the coast adds a lot of extra miles with really zero gain.

    Also going back to your original plan, You certainly don't have to spend $500 to stay in Death Valley. The Inn is very much a high end resort, and you'll pay for it. But you can get rooms at the Ranch for about $180, and a room at Stovepipe Wells for $100. Not the cheapest places, but certainly in line with other prices for rooms within a National Parks. Outside the park you could look at staying in Ridgecrest (heading to/from LA) or Beatty (to/from Vegas).
    Also, is the traffic in LA that bad? We live in DC and its pretty bad here, so just trying to gauge how bad it really could be...
    The biggest difference will be the size of the area. You're looking at the potential of severe traffic an hour in every direction from downtown LA.

    edit to add: So basically, what Dave said while I was typing!

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