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  1. Default 10 days in West Coast


    This is my first post here.

    I'm planning for my 2nd trip to US with my friends and cousins (mix group of 6 25-26 year olds). We are planning to land at JFK from India, fly down to Las Vegas nd then rent a mini-van and tour the west coast. We plan to take this tour in the last week of July and have approx 10 days in hand.

    Here's my rough plan

    Day 1 - From New York -> Las Vegas
    Day 2 - Las Vegas -> Hoover Dam -> Grand Canyon south rim -> Las Vegas
    Day 3 - Las Vegas
    Day 4 - Las Vegas -> Los Angeles
    Day 5 - Los Angeles
    Day 6 - Los Angeles -> San Francisco
    Day 7 - San Francisco -> Yosemite
    Day 8 - Yosemite
    Day 9 - Yosemite -> Death Valley
    Day 10 - Death Valley -> Las Vegas -> Flight to Florida

    Please suggest me some routes to take, suggestions, tips, alterations to plan, cost estimates etc. Wanted to include Yellowstone National Park and Mt. Rushmore as well as a night stay in Grand Canyon. But due to time time constraints might not be able to fit it in the plan. We are more interested in seeing natural beauty and not much interested in taking a dip and relaxing on the beaches.

    Considering that all of us are visiting US for the first time (except me), difference between LH and RH driving etc., is it advisable to rent and drive all the way? All of us however do drive and have had a very safe driving records.

    Is it a good idea to land at LAX, then visit SF, Yosemite, DV and then end at LV?

    Too many questions for 1 post... Awaiting some really good responses... Thanks a lot in advance...

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

    Default Some thoughts for you to ponder.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    First of all you are correct, you really won't have time to fit in Yellowstone and Rushmore and have a relaxed road trip.

    Secondly. Adapting to driving in the USA is quite quick and easy and you should not have much to concern yourselves with. With a large group it would be wise for everyone to contain their excitement for a little while and let the driver concentrate, with the aid of Co-driver concentrating on the task ahead, allowing you [the driver] too settle in.

    Now to your trip. You can not get from Vegas to Grand canyon National park and back the same day and enjoy time at the canyon, even without stopping at the Hoover Dam ! It also adds miles to go back to Vegas before going to LA. You could spend time in Vegas go to the GC and then onto LA, but I wouldn't do that given the choice.

    I would drive the whole route starting and ending in LA would look something like this.

    Days 1 and 2 in Vegas. Day 3 drive towards Yosemite by crossing Death Valley and stopping around Bishop or Mammoth Lakes CA for the night. Day 4 and 5 into Yosemite on Tioga pass [the spectacular CA120] and spend time exploring before heading to San Fran. Day 6 San Fran.

    Now if you want to head to LA same day you will miss one of the most spectacular coast drives in the world around Big Sur on CA1. That will depend on how much time you want to spend in LA. [Personally I would skip the urban sprawl altogether with the time you have and drive the coast to Cambria and then head inland towards the Grand canyon.]

    So day 7 along the coast or to LA.[?] Day 8 towards the GC and Day 9 arrive at the GC, hopefully giving you enough time to get back to Vegas for your flight on day 10[?]

    You could do the trip in either direction but the one above has the advantage of putting the ocean on your side of the road heading south.

    As you are flying in from NY and back to Florida, if at all possible I would add a day or 2 to this road trip and I would highly recommend it, the drives and scenery can be spectacular ! If you can't, I would choose between LA and GC to free up time to explore the other places at a more relaxed pace. If you decide to drop GC *** You can get tours from Vegas but be warned, most go to the West rim which is not part of the National park***** then starting in Vegas and ending in LA would be my option, again driving south by the ocean.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I would do a loop from either LA or LV, depending on airfare and car rental costs. I would do it in this order:

    From LA: LA - Grand Canyon - LV - Death Valley - Yosemite - SF - LA

    From LV: LV - Death Valley - Yosemite - SF - LA - Grand Canyon - LV

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    You could do the trip in either direction but the one above has the advantage of putting the ocean on your side of the road heading south.
    Wow... Thats what I was hoping... Some really helpful tip which I wouldnt have thought of (being a right hand driver, it just didnt strike when I saw the maps...

    Thanks for the suggestions... As GLC also pointed out, I guess we would take GC the last. Might take a coach tour if everyone's tired from driving but I hope that doesnt happen.

    Since we have different commitments later (Wedding in DC, some social visits in Atlanta, Business meeting in Chicago etc...) it might be difficult to extend much. We plan to visit Orlando and Miami so theres not much in "to do" list of LA except the famous Hollywood and other related places like Kodak theatre...

    Another query... Which part of GC is more scenic? I had visited the Skywalk on South Rim on my last visit. However I have got mixed reviews on different sides of GC. Which one would be more convenient to visit based on our plan and which would be more scenic.

    Thanks a lot guys for ur replies... This is really helping me plan better...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Go to the National Park on the South Rim. The Skywalk is the West Rim.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default You went to the west rim.

    You did not go to the South rim of the National Park if you went to the Skywalk. That is located at the west rim that I mentioned earlier. You want to head to the National park to see the Canyon 'proper' and the most suitably located is the south rim.

    Thanks for the suggestions... As GLC also pointed out, I guess we would take GC the last.
    Indeed and exactly the same as I originally suggested. It would be the best way when heading south down the coast and the GC back to Vegas.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 05-26-2012 at 03:50 PM.

  7. Default

    Thanks a lot guys... Would be back with more queries soon...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    To the South Rim, it's about 9 hours from LA, then it's about 5 hours back to LV. Add 1 hour if you want to take old Route 66 between Kingman and Seligman.

  9. Default

    You said you were interested in natural beauty and it doesn't sound as if you need a full day in LA. Consider shortening or eliminating your "LA day" so that you'll have more time to drive along CA coast, spend time in Sierras or visit Grand Canyon.

  10. Default

    I hope you don't mind me butting in on your post only that I've read it with interest as its a loop that might interest me.

    Does a few calculations on mileage and some of the start and end points, e.g. LA - GC and SF - LA are quite hefty at 500 miles and 381 miles (approx) aren't they? Are the loops mentioned above really do'able in 10-14 days?

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