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  1. Default Advice seek for RV tour to the West

    Dear Friends,

    I'm a newcomer and so happy to find this forum! Me and friends would like to rent a RV for west trip in mid July. Our rough plan is as below:

    - Rent RV and start the trip from Los Angeles
    - LA to Las Vegas
    - LV to Zion National Park
    - Zion NP to Page (Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend)
    - Page to Grand Canyon NP
    - Grand Canyon NP to Yosemite NP
    - Yosemite NP to San Francisco
    - SF to LA
    - LA to return RV

    This is our first RV trip and also the first West tour, i have too many concerns about it and would like you to give some advices on this, my apology if these questions have been answered in elsewhere of the forum.

    1) We plan to spend 13 days for this trip, based on your experiences, don't you think our plan works well? If not, any advise from you?
    2) Any idea of how long and must see for each place we'll visit? Especially the national parks.
    3) Any suggestion for RV rent and tips?
    4) We have five people, do we need buy National Park passport for cost saving?
    5) How to chose campground?

    Thank you so much!

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I would recommend a tweek to your route. From LA, start by driving directly to the Grand Canyon, rather than Vegas. From GC head onto Page and Zion, and then hit Vegas on your way to Yosemite. That will save you quite a few miles, and avoid backtracking.

    Also note that US-89 is closed due to a landslide south of Page, and you will be looking at a pretty major detour to get between the Grand Canyon and Page.

    I would recommend at least one full day for each National Park, and planning at least 2 days to drive down the coast from SF to LA.

    National Parks charge by the carload, not the person, so the number of people with you doesn't really matter. What matters is how many parks you'll be visiting. If you'll only be visiting GC, Zion, and Yosemite, then it won't be worth the $80 fee. However, if you also plan to include Death Valley - or visit any other National Park within the year, then I'd go ahead and get it. Keep in mind, Antelope Canyon is on Indian Reservation land, and not part of the National Parks Service.

    If you can camp within the National Parks, that is usually your best bet. However, sites book up quickly, and in some cases they may already be sold out for a trip in July.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default North or South ?

    There is a good chance that you will not be able to travel across Death valley in your rented RV during the summer months, you will need to check your contract as it will affect routing.

    Are you planning on visiting the South or North rim of Grand canyon NP ? If you are going to the North rim you could consider going to the North rim from Vegas, Page AZ and then you could include Bryce canyon, before heading to Zion. If you are not permitted across DV then you could go from Zion to Yosemite via the ET Highway which is exit 115 to NV168 at Moapa and then US93/nv318/375 [ET Highway] to US6 through Tonopah. There is quite a cool free camping spot just west of town called Millers Rest which could make for an overnight stop before continuing to Yosemite, although you could push on to Lee Vining/Mono Lake near the Tioga Pass entry station on CA120.

    You can get an idea of that route in this report and perhaps some other ideas. As Michael mentioned, RV sites in the National parks are very popular and limited in number so you would need to work on your itinerary and see what is available in, or around, the parks.

    Once we know which rim you are headed to we can help piece the plan together, and also are you planning on spending much time in LA, or do you have 13 days 'on the road' ?

  4. Default

    Michael and Dave,

    Thanks so much for your quick response and advices on my plan, will consider and modify base on your suggestion.

    **North rim / South rim, thinking about South rim will have much more tourists than North, so we will go to North directly, Dave, what's your advice based on our route and time. myself has not decided yet.

    **We have 13 days in total, we'll fly to west from NYC, so LA/LV/SF are all working for us to pick up the RV, any idea of which city would be the best for RV rental? Or are they in the same condition? Is it round trip and same city to RV pickup/dropoff cheaper than different cities to pickup and dropoff?

    **Time and spent in city: We won't spend too much in cities, just one day in SF and LA, LV for overnight only.

    Once again, much appreciated for your kind help!

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

    Default A base to build from.

    Most RV rental companies offer much the same, it's more a case of searching for the best deal on the RV that suits your needs and at your time of travel. A loop trip would work well with your itinerary if you want to include a trip around Big Sur on the spectacular coast road. With a loop trip it doesn't matter from where you start so I would look to see what is the cheapest flight and RV rental combination and go with that. If all things were equal, you really don't need an RV in SF and the RV parks are limited in number and quality and expensive for what they are. In other words SF would make a good start and finish point but don't pick up the RV until you are leaving town. If you plan the trip so that you are heading south down the coast you will have the advantage in that the oceanside pull outs will be on your side of the road and you won't have to pull out across the traffic, which can be heavy.

    With all that in mind your trip could look spmething like this; [follow from any starting point]

    Day 1. Arrive SF
    Day 2 SF collect RV [maybe drive a little south to Monterey area]
    Day 3 Monterey, Big Sur, Cambria.
    Day 4 LA
    Day 5 To Vegas [Circus Circus has RV park on the 'Strip' or Oasis Resort a cab ride away]*******
    Day 6 Vegas to North Rim.
    Day 7 North rim to Page.
    Day 8 Page to Bryce canyon. [Rubys Inn campground with full hook up]
    Day 9 Bryce canyon to Zion NP. [Watchman campground in NP if poss, or Zion River resort 25 mins away]
    Day 10 Zion to Yosemite. [Stop Millers rest or Lee Vining/Mono Lake.
    Day 11 Yosemite. One of the 'Pines' campgrounds in Yosemite valley. If booked you could try Yosemite Pines in Gorveland.]
    Day 12 Yosemite back to SF pm.
    Day 13. Home.

    This is just an example of what could be done but you can decide where you would prefer to maximise your time. Personally speaking, I wouldn't go anywhere near LA with an RV [but I'm not a big fan of the City anyway] and with just a day you would be quite limited to what you could see anyway. Depending on how big of a deal it is for you, you could cut inland from Cambria and spend an extra day in Zion NP.

    **** Circus Circus is in a good location for the Strip but is more of a parking lot, The Oasis is a first class resort but is a cab ride away from the Strip.

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