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  1. Default Aussies RVing Las Vegas to San Fran May 2013

    Hi everyone

    Hoping to get your advice. We are travelling with 2 families from Vegas to San Fran. We've allowed 4 nights to stay in the Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Yosemite area before moving on to San Fran. Is this realistic? We are travelling late May this year. Would love suggestions for best route and RV parks, ideally with good facilities for kids.

    Thanks for your help!

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

    Default 4 nights or 12 nights total for the road trip ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I'm presuming you mean you have 4 nights between LV and SF in total, or do you mean 4 nights at each place ?

    For me the best place to stay is in the National park campgrounds, they offer a great location, good value and although they don't have facilities such as swimming pools, games rooms etc, Kids usually enjoy themselves playing ball or just enjoying the freedom and family time around the camp fire, depending on ages of course. At the Grand canyon you have the Trailer village [with hook ups] and Mather campground [no hook ups] close enough to the rim and village to walk, with the free shuttle bus service to take you to viewpoints, it has the advantage of leaving your 'home' where it is and just concentrate on enjoying the park. The same can be said for Yosemite where on of the 3 'Pines' campgrounds in the valley are very well located in the heart of the park, otherwise you have a bit of a drive each day getting in and out. You would need to check on availability as they are very popular and RV sites are limited in numbers, so get booking if possible. You will find RV resorts outside of the parks if you want those type of facilities. If you have the RV while in Vegas the Oasis RV resort is really good although a cab ride from the Strip.

    The Tioga Pass [CA120] across the mountains into Yosemite may or may not be open, there is no way of knowing until nearer the time you travel. It's the popular route from DV, the drive is quite spectacular, but if it's closed due to the winter snow accumulation you will have to go south via Lake Isabella/Bakersfield and up the west side of the Sierra's.

    If you only have 4 nights total, I think it's even more important that you stay within the parks as your time is very limited and if possible should add 1 or 2 nights. If you have 4 nights to stay in each, I would consider making additions to your trip and perhaps not spend quite so much time in one place, Death valley in particular. It's a great place with a wonderful landscape, but a lot of it can be seen with short walks and driving around and a lot of it can't be accessed unless you get a 4 wheel drive specialist vehcle that is permitted to go off road. With 12 nights you could consider visiting Monument valley and going into southern Utah to Bryce canyon and Zion, perhaps visit Sequoia NP south of Yosemite.

  3. Default

    Thanks Southwest Dave. We were planning on 4 nights in total, but could happily add another night or two if that would make more sense. We've heard such wonderful things about this part of the world, so I'd hate to rush through unnecessarily.

    Can I ask a silly question while I'm at it... what's the difference between hook-ups and no hook-ups? And what's the difference between parks and RV resorts? Any and all advice is gratefully received!


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


    Hook-ups mean that you can connect directly to electric and water lines right in the campground. If you don't have them, you'd have to run the RV off of Batteries/Generator, and water stored in the RVs tanks.

    I'm not as sure about your confusion about parks/resorts. The "parks" Dave was talking about are campgrounds within the national parks themselves, the "resort" he referred to is a private campground in Las Vegas.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Commercial caravan parks vs camp grounds.

    Cin G, an RV resort is what we would refer to as a commercial caravan park. They typically have a kids play ground, swimming pool etc. The Parks, are all campgrounds withing a National Park (or State Park or National Forest, etc.) Go with Dave's suggestion, and aim to secure spots within the National Parks. You won't regret it.

    What ages are the children? You may find that they will greatly benefit from the Junior Ranger program in the National Parks.

    For the spectacular places you are visiting, six days strikes me as rushed indeed. Especially considering you are travelling with two families and in RVs. It does make everything just that bit slower. I am curious as to what your trip before and after consists of. It strikes me that travelling from LV to the GC and back to DV before heading to Yosemite, especially if Tioga Pass is closed, seems like a lot of unnecessary backtracking. Are you per chance coming from LA? If you could enlighten us as to what the rest of your trip consists of, someone may be able to suggest a more economical way to allocate your time and route.

    You don't say where you are from in Oz, but if you are a member of the RACV, NRMA or similar, be sure to take your membership with you. It will give you access to free paper maps at the AAA. Particularly in this spectacular corner of the world it is worth knowing all the little sights and alternative routes which you will pass along the way.

    Last edited by Lifemagician; 02-11-2013 at 02:18 PM. Reason: typo

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

    Default If you can, take your time.

    As your question has been answered, I would like to add that yes, an extra couple of nights would make a huge difference.

    A couple of nights at the Grand canyon would give you a day and a half there to enjoy the sights before heading to Death valley for a night. The next night you could leave unplanned and wait and see if the Tioga Pass is open or not. If Yes, head towards Mammoth Lakes/ Lee Vining for the night and cross the Tioga Pass next morning. If it's closed you could stay around Fresno or Oakhurst by going via the southern route. That would leave a couple of nights in Yosemite which is quite simply out of this world !

  7. Default

    Thank you guys.

    We really are novices at this and I'm so glad I've found this forum.
    We're spending a couple of days in LA when we arrive and doing Universal studios etc (kids are 5, 8 & 11 the boys in the other family are 8 & 11 too). We thought we could then get a bus transfer up to Vegas, stay a couple of nights at a hotel and only then pick up the RV as we leave Vegas.

    So that's where the LA to San Fran comes in. Basically we have 11 nights to work out in the RVs.This is to take us through GC, Death Valley, Yosemite across to San Fran for 2-3 nights and then down the coast back to LA to return the RV before hitting Disneyland on the way out (these nights are extra on top of the 11 RV nights).

    We really have no idea, and love your advice!

    Thanks so much!

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

    Default Nice trip !

    Going with something similar to what I suggested above would still leave you time enough for a couple of nights [maybe 3] in San Fran and give you a couple of days to travel down the coast to LA. Cambria makes a good mid way point and allows for a little time to explore the scenic area around Big Sur, or you could stop at Monterey [kids may enjoy the Aquarium] and then again in Cambria or nearby.

    The other option would be to pick up the RV as you leave LA and make your way towards the GC [perhaps with an overnight stop] before heading to Vegas, it would depend on whether you want to experience a Vegas Hotel, or if you are happy to 'camp'.

  9. Default

    We were actually planning on day trip to the San Diego area (mostly drawn there because of Legoland for the boys) before getting a bus to Vegas.

    So if we did pick the RV up in LA and then go do Legoland, where would be a good place to stay? It doesn't neccessarily need to be San Diego, as we're not doing the zoo/sea world option.

    If we went with this option, where would we stop on our way to Vegas - Death Valley??

    I hope this isn't too frustrating!

    Thanks heaps.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default SD to GC and beyond.

    You would not go from SD to LV, you would actually head straight for the GC then head to LV, DV and Yosemite, in that order. There are several places to stop off en route to GC. Check out Joshua Tree NP, Lake Havasu City, or you could make it to Kingman or Williams. You may also like to check the rental company's policy on travel in Death Valley in May.

    Do you have a good map of south west USA. On it you will see the variety of options open to you, places to stay, routes to take. All of which do not necessarily show up within the confines of a computer screen.

    If you are visiting four major national parks, or more, consider purchasing the annual pass at the first park you visit. It could be cheaper than paying at each park. The pass covers entry to the national park, not camping or acommodation.


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