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  1. Default Going to LA, then to San francisco, to Vegas and back to LA in February!

    Hi all,

    we are from Singapore, and my wife and i have just booked our tickets to LA! We'll be arriving on the 10th of Feb and departing on the 26 of Feb... which gives us about 17 days? We have never been to LA..or sanfrancisco and vegas, and we are planning to rent a car.

    We don't know where to start... from LA , my wife loves shopping, and i'm more of a scenic person.. i am thinking of spending more time in LA and sanfrancisco and perhaps 1-2 nights in vegas, and then the drive back to LA.

    We have been googling on where to go and the highways and all that, but we hope you guys could help us out and give us some advice on where to go.. and perhaps what to prepare for... we've checked the weather and it seems to be ok, about 9-15 degrees celsius.

    We have yet to decide on the car and the hotel, but we are thinking a 4wd, something with a big boot space.. and hotel i guess we are looking for something mid range and decent.

    I have been to the states once, but no driving involved, my wife has never been to the US... and we are gonna celebrate our wedding anniversary there..feb 14!

    Thank you!

    John n Regine

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

    Default A popular loop.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    There would be no real need for a 4wd as a mid-size sedan will have all the space you will need at less cost, but of course if you like the idea of a 4wd and don't mind the cost, go for it !

    With 17 days you have plenty of time to explore the area and if you are into nature as well you could build Yosemite, Death Valley and Grand canyon NP's into the itinerary. You will not be able to cross the Sierra Nevada between the coast and Vegas as it will be snow bound, you will have to go north around Lake Tahoe or south via Bakersfield.

    A popular option would be to reverse the direction of your trip so that the Ocean is on your side of the road heading south. I would recommend you take a couple of days [or more] and enjoy the coast highway rather than going straight through on Interstate. The drive around Big Sur is quite spectacular and you have towns such as Cambria and Monterey.

    With that in mind you could go from LA to Grand canyon South rim to Vegas and then towards Bakersfield vis Death valley. Head north to Yosemite Valley, across to SF and back down the coast. Sequoia NP is also possible but as with Yosemite you could see substantial snow and would have to carry snow chains.

    To the top right of this page you will find the RTA Hotel/car reservation link where you can get an idea of what's available and an idea of costs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some More Background Reading

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Congratulations on both your upcoming trip and Valentine's Day Anniversary. The circle/triangle trip that you're contemplating comes up quite often in these forums, so I'd suggest that as a first step, you read some of those past discussions. And note that it might be better to do L.A. -> Las Vegas -> San Francisco -> L.A. so that you are taking the Pacific Coast Highway southbound which puts your passenger in the best position to enjoy the scenic views and makes stopping along the coast a bit easier.


  4. Default

    Thanks Dave, i am reading more on driving up with snow chains now lol. Never have used one in my life.. We are trying to work out an itinerary now, looks like we might be staying in San Francisco longer than the other parts.

  5. Default

    Hi AZbuck, thanks for the advice, we are planning to do the route you suggested, now to figure out the places to visit and the driving time frame for eah destination.. i heard the parking in San Francisco is really expensive?

    Also, we've just changed our departure flight, so instead of departing from LA back to Singapore, we will be departing from San Francisco..

    Currently our trip sounds like this : Driving from LA to LV, from LV, either drive or fly to San Francisco.. i really wanted to take the costal highway.. but i guess it won't be possible unless i travel back down towards LA and then making the drive to San Francisco.
    Last edited by JohnRegine; 10-03-2012 at 03:07 AM.

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

    Default It can be!

    Yes parking can be expensive in San Fran and with a City this compact, and with good transport links, it's easy to get around without a car. There are some Hotels that offer free parking to customers which are mainly away from the centre, such as a few on Lombard/Gough St that is not too far from the Piers and trams into the City. One such place that we have stayed in, that we found quite basic yet clean and good value was the Buena Vista Motor Inn. This was a while ago, but as you can see there are more recent reviews that I can relate to.

    I am not a great fan of City life, but I loved SF and no trip is complete without a visit to Alcatraz !

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default City break ?

    I see you edited your post to include your updated plan while I was typing my reply.

    You wouldn't have to go back to LA to see the coast, you could head for Morro Bay/Cambria and then up the coast, although if you are starting and ending your trip in different places, why not start in SF and end in Vegas, instead of going back and forth ? You could do it the other way around if you wanted to finish in SF, but the disadvantage would be not having the Ocean and Oceanside turn outs on your side of the road heading North.

    Much will depend on what you want from your trip, but if you decide to drive from LA to LV and fly to SF, you pretty much have a '3 City' break and would be missing out on some stunning scenery. I really think you would benefit more from driving a complete loop that wouldn't be that much more driving than going from LA to LV back to LA and then SF. You certainly have time to spend out of the City.

  8. Default

    Hi Dave, thanks for the reply. i like your suggestion, about driving from la to lv and back to la then to sf. I don't mind the driving and i love being behind the wheel and just driving. i think we might just do that. We aren't staying long in LV, and we are looking forward to great scenery,.. i will work out the routes from google map, studying the west coast pretty hard lol, i feel like i'm already there.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I think you've misunderstood Dave's suggestion.

    He was pointing out that it is really only a little more driving to do a complete loop, and that you should do that instead of doing LA-LV-LA-SF.

    With all the amazing things to see in this part of the planet, there is no reason to spend hours in the car backtracking over the same ground.

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

    Default Correct.

    Michaels right, I wasn't suggesting returning to LA at all. :=) Personally I would do the loop as first choice, you have plenty of time. Second choice, I would opt for starting in SF and ending in LV to save miles. [Third choice the other way around] If none of that works for you, I was suggesting that you have no need to go all the way back into the urban sprawl of LA to head up the coast to SF. You could go from Vegas to Pismo beach/Morro Bay and enjoy the scenic section of coast around Big Sur from there up to Monterey.

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