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  1. #1

    Default 50th Birthday Bash - LA - Vegas

    Hi, I am Amanda and I am planning on going to Vegas with my partner & 2 adult daughters for my 50th Birthday in February 2013. We hope to plan a trip for approx 20 days. Arriving in LA and sightseeing there for approx 6 days (including a trip to San Diego). We then want to drive up to San Francisco and stay 2 days there. Then drive to Las Vegas (allowing 2 days for this drive), staying 5 days in Las Vegas including 1 day out to Grand Canyon. Then drive back to LA over a couple of days.
    I was hoping for some help in planning the driving portion of the trip, with suggestions on where to stop (overnight) and what sites to see on the road trip. I am open to suggestions on my time line as we would prefer not to drive for too many hours in one stint. Once I have some idea of what is best to see and where to stay I can get onto planning the days in LA and Vegas.
    This is our 1st trip to the states and we really want to make the most out of this once in MY life time experience. A bit like a bucket list check off!!!
    Hope you can help and give some handy tips and suggestions to make sure we do it right.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Loop the loop.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Starting and fininishing in LA will make a great loop trip. A couple of pointers for you to consider. Firstly, the Grand canyon is more than a day trip from Las Vegas. Secondly, most tours that go from Vegas to the Grand canyon do not go to the National park, but instead to the West rim on Indian lands where the 'Skywalk' is located. This is an option, but to get to see the true natural wonder of the world, you need to head to the National park area and spend a night close by. Witnessing a sunset/sunrise is a treat that will last a lifetime all by itself.

    Another thing is from LA to SF. You can get there in a day, but you wouldn't have time to take the coast Highway around Big Sur between Morro Bay and the Monterey area. An overnight stop would be advisable so that you can witness the views along this world famous Ocean drive ! Heading from SF to LA would also put the Ocean on your side of the road, convenient for the scenic pull outs.

    With those two things in mind I would create a loop that looks something like this; LA>SD > Grand canyon South rim > LV >San Fran > LA. You would probably want an overnight stop on route to GC. You could head through Joshua tree NP and stay in Lake Havasu City [home to London bridge] or the route 66 town of Kingman. A stop down the coast around Cambria would also be advisable and highly recommended.

    From Vegas you could visit Death valley and during your stay there you could consider some day trips. On the way to SF an overnight stop at Yosemite NP would be a wonderful experience, it's one of my all time favourite places.

    Take a look at the links in this thread for more ideas.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default distance and direction

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There are a couple things you should keep in mind with the distances you are talking about, where you haven't really given yourself enough time.

    The Grand Canyon really is not a day trip from Vegas. Its a good 5 hour drive each way, so its just too far to drive there and back and have any time left to see anything. LA to SF can be done in a day, but not if you follow the amazingly scenic Pacific Coast Highway. That makes it a minimum of a 2 day drive. Even San Diego can be a little tough as a daytrip from LA. It certainly can be done, but depending upon where in LA you are starting from and traffic, it can easily become a long day on the road.

    Based on the stops you've listed here's what I would do instead:
    Start in LA
    Drive to San Diego and spend the night there.
    From SD, drive to the Grand Canyon over 2 days, stopping at Joshua Tree NP.
    GC back to Vegas
    Vegas to San Francisco via Death Valley, Sequoia, and/or Yosemite
    SF, down the coast to LA.

    Now for the reasons.
    If you're going to SD anyway, you'll save yourself some time heading directly onto Vegas or the Grand Canyon rather than doubling back into LA, both because you'll avoid some traffic and SD is farther east as a starting point. You can actually drive from SD to GC in a long (10 hour) day on the road, but heading through Joshua Tree would make sense if you're looking for shorter driving days. I'd spend at least a half day at GC, but being there for a full day would be better. In February, you've got fairly limited options in getting across the Sierras between Vegas and San Francisco - you either have to go via Bakersfield or up to Lake Tahoe - if you hit the parks I suggested, you'd go through near Bakersfield. You'd want more than 2 days if you plan to hit more than one of the parks I suggested. And finally, by doing this trip in the opposite direction, you'd head south down the coast, with the ocean on your side of the road.

    Mind you, there's a lot more you could see and do, this is just an idea based on what you said. Personally, I'd spend a lot less time in the cities, and more time exploring the parks of the region. For example, with some more time on the road, you could dip into Utah and check out places like Monument Valley or Zion National Park. However, that's based on my tastes, not necessarily yours.

    Also note, that this general outline is the most popular basic trip idea on this forum, so there's lots of threads to look at for more info. Here's a good place to start.

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