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  1. Default 14 days planned from SD to the National parks and back to SF and confused

    Hello everyone

    i have been reading all these threads for hours and found some great advice. We (my husband and I, both 40) are planning a trip. We dont mind driving and are not too keen on hiking (a short walk to get the feeling is great).
    We are starting out trip an 23. MArch in San Diego after a Convention and are leaving from San Fransisco on 6. April.

    Day 1: San Diego to Joshua and see how far we get, if possible Laughlin or Kingman. We are not sure about this part or which roads to pick.
    Day 2: Go to the Grand Canyon, see the sunset and drive to Cameron (we have seen the Canyon before and will do a helicopter flight from Vegas)
    Day 3: Caernon to Monument Valley and head to Page.
    Day 4: Page: Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe bend etc.
    Day 5: Head off to Bryce Canyon, short hike (in March????) and head off to Zion. I guess we gant do Zion on the same day....
    Day 6: Zion and drive to Las Vegas try to get th Valley of fire on the way. Check out the Strip by night.
    Day 7: Helicopeter flight to the canyon, see the hotels in Vegas and do some shopping at an outlet (any suggestions???)
    Day 8: Head off to Santa Monica directly (have been to Death Valley before, so we can leave that out this time)
    Day 9: Hollywood, Walk of fame and all the tourist stuff
    Day 10: Another day in LA, Beaches, relax
    Day 11: hit Highway Nr. 1. to San Simeon
    Day 12: San Simeon to San Fransisco, visit the Monterey aquarium and to the 17mile drive.
    Day 13: Maybe a drive to Napa Valley (ist it far?), evening in town
    Day 14: san Fransisco (china town, Pier ecc)
    Day 15: last shopping, packing and leaving

    I hope to get some advice from you experts! Especially if you think the days are feasible (lenght, sights, points of interest). And I woulf love to hear if somebody has some suggestions on the San Diego Grand Canyon part.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Well done!

    Hi, and Welcome to The great American RoadTrip Forum.

    You've certainly done a great job with that trip. I travelled it as I read through your itenary. Not familiar enough with the bit from San Diego to the Grand Canyon, but I am sure someone will chime in with that real soon.

    If you are pushed for time, Bryce Canyon is pretty much suited to seeing the best of it without doing hikes. Drive to the end, and enjoy all the view points on the way back. In Zion I would highly recommend you do the River Walk and maybe up the Narrows at the end of it. It is not a long hike, and can be done as a lovely leisurely stroll.

    Are you aware that when you take a helicopter ride from Las Vegas that you will more than likely not go anywhere near the National Park. All those great views you saw when you visited there, you will not see. Just about all flights from Las Vegas / Boulder / Henderson City go over the West Rim. Whereas it is still a pretty good flight, you might be disappointed if you are expecting to see the spectacular views which the National Parks affords. And if I remember correctly, you don't get to see the Colorado River. Be sure you know what you are getting for your money.

    There are helicopter rides which go over the National Park from Tusayan.


  3. Default

    Hi Lifey

    thanks for your quick response! We will check on the hikes you recommended in Zion! Helicopter flights always look good on picuteres on flyers or the internet, thats for sure. We will evaluate starting from Tusayan.


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


    I think your plan for the most part looks pretty good, but there are a few areas that I think you'll be a little rushed.

    First, I completely agree with Lifey about helicopter tours - if you're going to do one, I'd do a tour that's actually includes the national park, and you won't get that starting from Vegas. There may also be some fix-wing flights to consider if you check out the Grand Canyon Airport.

    The Bryce and Zion section seems pretty rushed to me. Not impossible by any means, but it sounds like you are at most giving yourself a couple hours at each park.

    San Simeon to SF via Big Sur and Monterey will also likely make for a long and somewhat rushed day.

    And of course, it should be mentioned that you've completely skipped both Yosemite and Sequoia NP, but with limited time, there are always choices that have to be made!

  5. Default

    Thanks for your comment. Well, we can't have it all and have to miss Yosemite. We are early birds but I guess we do have hald a day in Bryce including sunset and staying there or nearby. We will get to Zion on the next day and head off to Vegas in the afternoon, and get to Vegas late and in the dark.

    Thanks for commenting on the helicopter flights - if we pay a lot of money I do want to see what Im expecting - the canyon!

    We will check the Highway Nr. 1 route. Lets see what we can do about that.

    Any idea where to go and what to see from San Diego to the Grand Canyon?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Burros in historic Oatman?

    Quote Originally Posted by driving miss daisy View Post
    Any idea where to go and what to see from San Diego to the Grand Canyon?
    I could easily find a week's worth of places to stop and see between San Diego and the South Rim of the Grand. But as I understand it, you want to limit yourself to an one day transit? Joshua Tree National Park is pretty outstanding -- great campgrounds and great light for photography. The murals on the buildings in nearby 29 Palms are certainly worth a stop.

    But given your other plans, I think I would simply drive east on Interstate 8 and stop at the Plank Road or maybe even at the Yuma Territorial Prison before heading north along the Colorado River for a "quick" drive over historic route 66's Sitgreave Pass and the town of Oatman. (It's a bit of a steep climb for a RV -- but as long as you're comfortable with windy, mountain roads, you'll be fine).


  7. Default

    Thanks Mark

    As far as I have seen about half the travellers choose the way along Palm Springs and/or Joshua and the other half go to Yuma or even Phoenix on the way to the Canyon. I was just scared, that the fast way could also be a "boring" way - we, I know, its the people and the feel that make a trip worthwhile.
    Of course we could spend weeks and weeks driving around, but we only have 2 weeks..... but we will be back I guess!
    We dont mind windy roads, we are used to them where we come from. And we have a normal car, not an RV. I will check the stops you mentioned.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default An alternative view.

    Exciting times ahead !

    Have you considered going to LA from SD and then drive from Vegas to the coast up around Cambria. It's not going to save many miles but might give you a couple of longer days on the road and make a little more time for the attractions, although Joshua Tree wouldn't really apply.

    Day 1,2 and 3 ] SD to LA.
    Day 4 to Grand canyon.
    Day 5] GC to Cameron. [You could get a 50 min Helicopter flight from GC airport in Tusayan over the canyon to the north rim and back. Spectacular experience ! ]
    Day 6]Cameron>Monument valley >Page.
    Day7] Page to Bryce
    Day 8] Bryce to Zion. [Stay in the lovely town of Springdale]
    Day 9] To Vegas.
    Day 10] Vegas
    Day 11] To San Simeon and on to SF as planned.

    It might not work for you but it does add some extra time to Bryce and Zion where I agree with Michael, it's a little rushed.

  9. Default

    Great alternative!
    What a great forum. Thanks so much for all your time and advice!
    we were thinking of going to LA first an then getting to the canyon. I then changed my mind but have problems picking a good route. Ive been to Joshua, my husband has not - it is nice, but I must say with your suggestion we habe a bit more time for Bryce, which im really excited about. I am a bit worried about possible snow on the roads and icy temperatures!
    We will miss out the first part of Highway Nr. 1 :-(. But as I said before, we cant have it all! I hope to get a good impression of it starting at San Simeon or so.
    Thanks for the tip with the helicopter.

  10. Default Hotel in Las Vegas

    Hi everyone

    i had posted a thread earlier and got great tips. We have our route planned and have booked some of the hotels on the way to reduce stress if we get there late and don't have to look for rooms late in the evening. We are left with one big desicion - a hotel in vegas. We are looking for something special since we think it is a once in a lifetime experiance. Where can you get great hotels for these kind of prices elsewhere in the world?!? It's so hard..... palazzo versus bellagio versus cesars palace or mandalay bay? We are there for the hotels and the feel, we are not gablers.We can't make up out mind!

    I'm looking forward to all the advice!

    Driving miss daisy
    moderator note: Please keep all questions about this trip together in the same thread
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-02-2013 at 05:30 AM. Reason: merged threads

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