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  1. #1

    Default RTW trip with 5-years old at LA 9 Setember - SF, Vegas, yosemite and GC

    hello everybody

    I'm quite new using this foruns, and maybe less experimented than all of you in road trips - well, we have been doing some, in NZ (5 weeks) and Western Australia (3 weekS)... I've been reading some of this threads, and know that have much more to read...

    We are a family of portuguese journalists in the middle of a Round-the-world trip with our 5-years-old daughter. We are now in Fiji, and we will arrive in LA the 9th september. We plan to rent a car in LA for the day we arrive ( at 11am from Rarotonga, at 11am). This is the route that we planned, and the only think that we haver really booked is 4 nights at Yosemite (from 30 september to 3 october), because everybody was telling us about the need of booking early, thats what we found...

    We don't have problems with time (we fly back home from Miami only in december), but we also want to include Mexico and maybe some caribean places too). We are just trying to show our little girl the amazing place that this world is, spending the less as possible, for sure...

    What we are thinking, as we have some weeks until Yosemite is to go directly to Anheim, and spend there 3 days, and then come back to LA (spend 2 more days) and start going up until Sao Francisco. I've been reading that it would be better to do this scenic road from SF to LA than from LA to SF, but I think it will be just awesome, anyway. we can spend a week in this road; where do you suggest that are the best places to stay?
    Santa Barbara, San luis obispo, Solvang, carmel, Big Sur, Monterey ?

    From S Francisco we pretend to go to Yosemite (maybe with napa valley, sacramento and lake Tahoe before) and then Death valley (it is a good season to do it, isn' t it?) until Las Vegas. Then Grand Canyon (where we can spend some 2 or 3 days) and finally San Diego...

    Any suggestions about other not-to-miss spots in this itinerary?
    remember that we are travelling with a child, the hikes are limited [actually she did very well in NZ; 8 km in one day (in Abel Tasman NP) without asking for help, but it's better no to count to much on it...] but we love nature.

    We are still studying if it's better to rent a car in LA and deliver it in the same city or in San Diego... what's your opinion?

    Thank you!

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

    Default Lovely time to visit these parts.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Wow, that's quite some adventure you are on ! You will have a wonderful time in the American Southwest, so much wonderful and diverse scenery to enjoy and the people are great !

    You will undoubtedly enjoy the coastal highway whicever way you go, the advantage of heading south is the Ocean and Oceanside lay-bys would be on your sde of the road. With a week to spare you will be able to do some in depth sight seeing and relaxing. As well as the towns you mention other popular choices would be Cambria, Cayacus and San Simeon, a good base for a visit to Hearst Castle.

    Death valley has a wonderful landscape and late September into October is a nice time to visit. It will still be hot, but not too hot ! [Only to us from the UK ! ;-) ]

    If you feel you have the time I would add a couple of National parks of Southern Utah into the mix, namely Zion and Bryce canyon. From Vegas head north on I15 through St George to Springdale UT and Zion NP. A wonderful park for easy walking along the Virgin river surrounded by towering red rocks and Lots of wildlife for the children to enjoy ! Bryce canyon has the incredible red rock spires like nowhere else I have seen with easy to reach viewpoints. It is at high elevation and night time temps can get cold so make sure you have some warm tops.

    Another couple of additions would include Antelope canyon, Lake Powell and the iconic Monument valley, home of many classic westerns films like 'Stagecoach' starring John Wayne

    You will most likely find that dropping your car in San Diego would be without extra charge, but it's something you should check on as it wouldn't take long to finish off in LA. You could also check the costs of flight, comparing SD and LA and check to see if there are any possible savings to be made.

    Take a look at the links in this thread, you will find much info covering the area. Just ask as new questions arise.

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


    The coast road is worth driving, no matter which direction you go, but it would actually seem to make more sense to drive it near the end of the trip anyway.

    If you were starting by going to Anaheim anyway, then you're already heading towards San Diego. Instead of doubling back to LA, have you considered heading to San Diego from there and then heading out on your trip, just doing the reverse of what you'd previously listed?

    That would save you a few miles of driving, and would have you finishing your trip in LA, which is likely going to be less expensive. San Diego tends to be a bit more expensive place to fly out of, as there are fewer direct flights and people will pay for the convenience of flying out of SD, rather than driving a couple hours up to LAX.

  4. #4


    Thank you for all your opinions and suggestions! I'll be considering them all. We are not flying back from SD or LA. We pretend to go to the mexican border by land, and travel in the mexican coast before coming back to Miami. How many days you thing that will I need to insert Zion and the Bruce Canyon in this trip. I've been reading about Zion and it really seems quite interesting?

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