A bit of a variation on the SF - LV trip
I was just after a bit of advice, does the following sound like a good place to start when planning a Summer Road trip. The plan is to fly into Seattle from London, Spend 2 night in Seattle and then take an internal flight to San Francisco. We would spend 3 nights in San Fran and then drive to Yosemite, spend 2 nights in Yosemite then drive to Death Valley for a night and then onto Vegas. 2 nights in Vegas then head to the Grand Canyon, spend 2 nights here then drive to LA for 3 nights and then home.
My questions are, are we missing much by not driving down the coast to LA and then heading into Grand Canyon, LV, Yosemite and also do we need 2 nights at the Grand Canyon?
Thanks in advance, we are looking to make this trip July 2013.
Picking Up the Coast on the 'Cheap'
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There's certainly no need to miss the California Coast, even within the constraints of the itinerary you've laid out. After all, both San Francisco and Los Angeles are on the coast affording you time during your visits to those cities to visit Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco (added bonus - you would 'have' to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge) or Point Mugu State Park west of Los Angeles (added bonus - you would 'have' to drive through Malibu). The other way to pick up some scenic shoreline driving would be to go from San Francisco to Yosemite by way of Monterey, traveling down the Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1) through Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. Even with that additional detour, Yosemite is still only a day's drive from San Francisco. For some additional pointers on this general RoadTrip, check out these previous discussions.
If you want to drive down the coast road, but don't necessarily want to go to LA, you can take the PCH south to the Cambria/Cayucos/Morro Bay/San Luis Obispo area, then cut inland to Yosemite.