Greetings Fellow Travel Enthusiasts!
I have finally secured a Class A 30’ RV for our first summer vacation out west. It will be my wife and our two 13-year old boys for 11 nights in late July/early August. We are from Florida so the heat shouldn’t be too much of a problem for us. However, this IS my first time driving an RV. We will be flying into Las Vegas and departing from Las Vegas. Up to this point, that is all we have secured. The two main places we would like to visit are Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, with a number of points in between. I have been reading posts in this forum and around the Internet and this is what I am thinking. I am looking for advice in all aspects of the plan. For instance, are we taking on too much? Anyway, here it goes:
- DAY 1: Depart from Las Vegas around 1pm on a Saturday. Head towards Yosemite. Take 95 Northwest for about 5 -6 hours and find a place to stay for the night.
- DAY 2: Drive another 1 – 2 hours and reach the East Yosemite entrance from Lee Vining. We already missed the window for reserving a spot to stay within the park. I have heard traffic can be crazy through the park over the summer, especially down in the valley. I was thinking perhaps we find a good place to stay with hookups around Lee Vining and use the free transportation in Yosemite to see the park.
- To reach Yosemite, should we go through Death Valley instead? I think we wouldn’t get there until 4pm which would be too late to start through that section.
- Any recommendations on where we should stay?
- Should we drive through Yosemite with our 30’ RV and stay outside the West side of the park?
- Should we try to get to Yosemite early and try for a first-come-first serve RV spot? I know there are no hookups and generators cannot be run after 7pm I think. In late July, would you need air conditioning at night?
- I would prefer not to be staying at an RV site where you are packed in to the point where you can almost touch the camper next to you.
- We are not big hikers, but walks for a few miles are fine. With that in mind, any specific recommendations on must see places/views?
- DAY 3: See more of Yosemite!
- DAY 4: Head for Sequoia National Park and spend the night.
- AAA is telling me that the road to the park (when going from 41) is rather difficult for RVs of my size. Extreme caution is advised. This has me concerned since I have never driven a 30 foot vehicle before. Is there an entrance to the park going south from Bishop (395, I think)?
- What is the best way to see/enter the park via RV?
- Where is the best place to stay for one night?
- DAY 5: Head towards Death Valley. If we can see Sequoia National Park from the 395 side then we would travel through Death Valley that same day and camp just outside of Las Vegas for the night. Otherwise if we are coming from the West side, we likely would stay the night around Bakersfield or Homestead. Thoughts?
- DAY 6: (Assuming we stay in Bakersfield) Drive through Death Valley and take in the sites. I’ve heard the “stories” that RVs (especially rentals) should not make the drive through Death Valley in the dead of summer. Our rented RV will be a 2012/2013 model, so I am not overly concerned. We will pack lots of water and spend the night outside Vegas.
- DAY 7: Tour the Hoover Dam and spend the night somewhere just outside Grand Canyon. Any recommendations?
- DAY 8 and 9: Stay in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
- Haven’t researched this too much yet. Any recommendations where to stay for 2 nights?
- Should we go to the North rim instead?
- DAY 10: Head towards Zion and spend the night there. I heard Watchman campground is pretty decent. Any recommendations?
- Day 11: Return to Las Vegas and spend the night in a hotel.
- Day 12: Return to Florida.
What do you think? It’s about 1900 miles if we stay on the West side of Yosemite and enter the Sequoia National Park from that same side. The pacing seems rushed between Grand Canyon and returning to LV. I think I need more time (another day?) to see Zion and maybe Bryce Canyon.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I truly appreciate any thoughts on this plan.
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