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  1. Default 14 day Family Trip on Motorhome: San Diego-Grnd Canyon-L.Vegas-Yosemite-San Frsco-LA

    Hi Everybody.
    I have been reading and learning a lot from your posts and as lots of other people, wanted to check with you guys about my planning as well as getting suggestions and comments out of your own experience and expertise.

    Me and my family (wife and 2 small kids - 5 and 10) live in Uruguay, South America and will be renting an RV in Los Angeles.
    The idea of this trip is to enjoy the motorhome experience which is our first, enjoy the driving, the nature and the family bonding during these days. As well as a quick drive and main view of the mayor cities along the trip.

    We plan to spend 14 days as follows:

    Day 1) Arriving at 9 AM into LAX, picking up the RV and driving to San Diego to spend the rest of the day touring around Old City

    Day 2) Very early to San Diego Zoo leaving around 19:00 towards Grand Canyon. We want to drive some 4 hours to cut that long trip in half, find a nice town (RV camp or such) to rest and then continue driving first thing in the morning towards Grand Canyon.
    Any suggestions on the best routes to take and a mid point to stop over an rest?. Was thinking I15 to Barstow and then I40 all the way to Flagstaff and then to Grand Canyon South Rim. Any nice towns you could recommend to spend that night?
    Is that the best route or you suggest a different one?

    Day 3) Arrive at noon into Gand Canyon South Rim. Spend the day and night there

    Day 4) Morning at Grand Canyon and leave after lunch towards Las Vegas trough Hoover Dam. Can you suggest the best or fastest routes to take?

    Day 5) Full day and stay over in Las Vegas

    Day 6) Leave very early towards Sequoia Park and/or Yosemite Nat. Park., driving though Death valley. Any advise crossing Death valley on the motorhome? Anything to be concerned about?
    I did want to spend half a day visiting Sequoia National Park, but read there's some road construction entering Sequoia national park and restrictions for the Motorhome I am renting (35 ft). So I was thinking of continuing to Yosemite and visit the sequoias there. Any comments or suggestions? Is there much of a difference between the sequoias at one park or the other?
    Best route between those points?

    Day 7) Spend the whole day and night at Yosemite Park
    Any suggestions for RV parks at these locations? Should we stay one night in the southern part of the park and then the second night at a different place closer to the way out to San Fransisco?

    Day 8) Leave early towards San Fransico and spend the afternoon there. (Chinatown, etc)

    Day 9) Full Day and night in San Fransisco

    Day 10) Leave San Fransisco mid morning south on Highway 1 towards Los Angeles.

    Day 11) All day on Highway 1 South to arrive into L.A. that night
    We will take almost 2 days to drive back to LA. Any suggestions on which towns to stop over or were to spend the night halfway (night of day 10) ?
    Any RV park near or at Disneyland to spend the 11th night and wake up for a full day at Disneyland with the kids?

    Day 12) All day at Disneyland

    Day 13) Will return the RV and rent a car to spend the next 2 days visiting and driving around Los Angeles
    Day 14) Los Angeles
    Day 15) LAX back home to Uruguay.
    Last edited by edu; 07-01-2012 at 04:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default this and that

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    A couple of thoughts and concerns off the bat:

    First, most RV companies will not allow you to rent an RV the same day you arrive on an international flight. This is for their protection and your safety, as planning to do much anything after you've been flying for 14 hours, plus layovers, just is not a great idea.

    You will have to check with the RV company about what restrictions they might have about driving through Death Valley, you didn't say when you'll be traveling, but since you posted in the summer section, this could be an issue.

    The bigger thing however, is that Death Valley is not between the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. It is west of Vegas, in California, and would be on your way to Yosemite.

    To that point, getting to Sequoia/Yosemite you have to look carefully at a map, as they are both on the west side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There is a road across them in Yosemite -Tioga Pass- but to get to Sequoia, the most direct route is to go via the Bakersfield area. It is a very full day to get from Vegas to Sequoia, so you really wouldn't have time to visit much of the park on the day you drive there. Otherwise, you might consider going to Yosemite first, then backtrack south if you decide to keep Sequoia on your list, before heading back to SF.

    Finally, it really is a full 2 days to drive from SF to LA, if you are sticking to the coast, especially if you are heading to Anaheim/Disney, which is south of LA.

  3. Default mixed up my notes

    Thanks Midwest Michel,

    Absolutely right about Death valley, I mixed up my notes. To much information trying to put this trip together.

    No problem picking up the RV. Actually, they will be picking me up from LAX.
    We will only have a short drive that day to San Diego (less than 2 hours from the RV pick up point) and actually staying over for 2 nights before starting the long drives. So we will be rested from the flight then.

    The idea was to leave from Vegas at around 6/7 AM, drive though Death Valley to Sequoia National Forest arriving at around 2 PM. But I am concern since I read there are restrictions for vehicles over 22 ft and I should go north and back south again to enter the park. That will probably take a few more hours and then as you said I will not be able to visit the Sequoia Park.

    But I also read there are also very nice and big sequoias to visit at parts of Yosemite Park. Is so, I might skip Sequoia National Forest, drive to Kings Canyon National Park, visit for a while, sleep over and drive early to Yosemite to spend the day. Or Continue all the way to Yosemite, and just enjoy as much of the rest of the day as possible, sleep there and start the day right there.

    Actually we rather spend as much time at Yosemite as possible, relax and enjoy that beautiful park. But we are all (specially the kids) very eager to check out the giant sequoias. It would not matter if we do this at one park or the other or if it is the biggest tree or the next.

    What would you suggest?

    We will be making this trip starting end of next week, on July 7th. Will check restrictions with RV company regarding driving though Death Valley. If the do not have restrictions, do you think is something to be concerned about or even to avoid?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    There is simply no way you can leave Vegas in the am and get to Sequoia by 2pm, even if you skipped Death Valley.

    As I mentioned, it is a very full day to get to Sequoia all by itself, as the fastest way is to go via Bakersfield. If you skip Death Valley, it is a 400 mile, 8 hour drive. Going via Death Valley adds another 100 miles and at least 2 more hours on top of that. And both of those estimates assume going via the south gate, if you have to go to the north gate because of the size restriction, then its even more time.

    As I mentioned previously, you really need to take a good look at a road map here and figure out which options might work best for you, because right now, you have missed the point of my previous advice and don't have a realistic view of what is actually possible for this section.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default When less is more.

    You have to consider the fact that in a large RV travel will be slower than in a car and at the moment you have too much time in the RV and not enough out of it, especially for the Kids. The children can not sleep properly while you are driving, they have to be sitting with seatbelts on, which is going to be tough after a day at the zoo etc and then driving untill 11pm or so. To get to GC by Noon you would have to be awake again by 5am and on the road by 6am the latest.

    I think you need to concentrate on Yosemite NP and leave Sequoia this time. The roads are very slow going in Sequoia and Kings canyon and again, especially in an RV. The fact that you can only enter through the north kiosk to Kings canyon at present only adds to highlighting your time restriction. As Michael mentioned, most RV's rental Co's ban their vehicles from DV during the summer. If you violate the agreement you would be responsible for any costs associated with damage while being there, even if it were as simple as a flat tyre. From Vegas, I would head north on US95 and then cut across on NV266/CA266/NV264/US6/CA120. You could find an RV park around Mono lake and take the very scenic Tioga pass into Yosemite next morning.

    This will make your trip more relaxed and give the Kids time to enjoy their surroundings and you won't be dissapointed with the giant Sequoia trees in Mariposa Grove, Yosemite.

  6. #6


    I would wholeheartedly agree with Midwest Michael and Southwest Dave - you're trying to do to much in to short of a time, especially traveling with two small children.

    There is no way you are going to drive an RV from Vegas to Seqouia in one day. It's close to 500 miles with much of it being over mountain roads where you will be lucky to average 40 miles an hour. I happen to be making a similar trip in August and will take three days to do Vegas to Three Rivers, CA via Death Valley. Granted I'm traveling at a liesurely pace but one day is just not realistic. I would suggest skipping Sequoia and if the issue with taking the RV through Death Valley is resolved, picking up US 395 north after leaving Death Valley and going to Yosemite via the Tioga Pass.

  7. Default

    Thank you very much for your advise!!
    Although I was looking at maps, it is very different to see it on paper as opposed to know the real roads and conditions, specially driving the RV. I will follow as you all mentioned and will skip Sequoia NP and concentrate on Yosemite NP at this time.
    Will visit the giant sequoias at Mariposa Grove as Southwest Dave suggested.

    Will check with RV company about their DV conditions and depending on that and the actual weather conditions of that day, will decide either to drive:
    1) US95 North to Beatty, NV374/CA190 West to Lone Pine and then US395 North to Mono Lake or
    2) US95 and then cut across on NV266/CA266/NV264/US6/CA120 as Southwest Dave suggested.
    We were wanting to cross Death Valley, but if the weather an temperature make it a possible hazard, will not do so.
    In one case, or the other, since this is going to be a long drive from Las Vegas to Mono Lake, any suggestions of an interesting midpoint to stop over, stretch our legs, rest, relax and enjoy for a couple of hours?

    For the second night at Yosemite NP, any particular RV park area taking in account the direction we will follow the next day? I guess camp grounds might be pretty busy at this time (will arrive there un July 12) and did not book in advance.

    Going back to the first leg of our trip (SDiego to GCanyon). We will take I15 north to I40 East and detour at Kingman to drive on Historic US66 , then back to I40 to Williams and AZ64 North to Grand Canyon. Will probably leave S.Diego by 4 PM and drive some 4 or 5hrs to continue the next morning to GC.
    Any suggestions on where to park and spend that night. (some nice place to wake up at, old interesting town or scenic place, etc.)

    For the last leg of our trip, driving south Highway 1 (San Fransisco to Anaheim). We will spend the 2 full days as Midwest Michael suggested.
    Could you suggest point of interest such as Towns, RV parks, scenic points, interesting or nice places to eat and relax during that journey.

    Thanks Charlie H for your thoughtful advise. I do agree with you that we are probably crunching to many places to visit over a relatively short period of time, and would certainly enjoy it better if we did less things spending more time to enjoy each one.
    It is most probably lack of experience on the road, and also coming from so far away and trying not to miss things out. But we will take it relaxed, most probably play it by ear as we go along, enjoying the moments and making adjustments as needed.

  8. #8


    You're more than welcome. I'm not a camper but I do know Yosemite is very, very crowded and I would definitely make reservations for a campsite. You can probably get some information on camping in the Park here: Yosemite Nat'l Park

    I'm not certain but I think during the high season you can only visit Yosemite by shuttle bus. I've always been there in the spring or fall but perhaps someone else can provide some more info.

    On our last trip to Yosemite, we stayed in the town of Mariposa, California and it was a pleasant little town. I'm sure there are some camping facilities there. You might check it out on Google Maps or if you have it on your computer, Google Earth.

  9. #9


    You can get lodging/camping info for yosemite here:

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Some Campground options.

    You would be extremely lucky to get an RV site in Yosemite now but if you got lucky I would try and find a spot in one of the 'Pines' campgrounds in the valley located in a wonderful wooded setting. There is an RV park called 'Yosemite Pines' on the outskirts of Groveland that is nice enough and under an hour from Yosemite Valley. There is also Wawona in Yosemite near to the south entrance and would be ideal if you end your day at Mariposa Grove. Again you would be lucky to get a site now, but if not you could check 'High Sierra RV park' in Oakhurst about 30 mins south from Mariposa. I would secure a spot asap as when the NP campgrounds are booked the surrounding ones can follow.

    If you head across Death valley you could take the 'Locals route'. Take 160 to Pahrump and just north of town take Bell Vista Ave/State Line Rd/Ash Meadows road to Death valley junction. Turn right on 127 and immediate left onto 190 to Furnace creek, there is a nice view from Zabriske point on route. For Vegas the 'Oasis RV resort' is nice and I expect the whole family will love the pools. Dearer than others but very nice we thought !

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