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  1. #1

    Default LA to Vegas and back, with everything in between - 3 weeks

    Hello all! My first post in this great forum, can't believe I haven't used this before :)

    We are 3 friends (early 30's) going on a 3-week road trip in US in July. As my two fellow travelers have never been to the states before we'll try to divide our time 50/50 between cities and wilderness. LA and Las Vegas is set, San Diego and/or San Fran are possibilities. Other than that we'd like to see the usual stuff; Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, Cedar Brakes, Zion NP. Downtime is important for us, but we still want to see a lot, therein lies the dilemma :)

    After a couple of meetings and some internet research on my part I've so far come up with 4 suggestions to driving routes (link). The first was scrapped pretty fast, so now the choice is between 2, 3 and 4 (or possibly a 5th?). What is the advice of the all-knowing road-trip gurus?

    Route spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...FE&usp=sharing

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Option 5 with Yosemite.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    A common theme you will find here is that each trip is unique to the individual and whereas we can help with putting the plans together, the only right answer in which plan you go with, is the one you choose for yourself based on your tastes.

    The one thing that sticks out to me the most by it's absence is Yosemite NP which is on a natural path between LV and SF via Death Valley NP and Mammoth Lakes and one that I would highly recommend you stay for at least a full day and 2 nights, or at least nearby. If you decided it was worth it then you would have some juggling to do.

    Such an itinerary after your initial stay in LA would look something like this for my preferences and including your listings. I would possibly skip SD and have a little more down time.

    6th July] San Diego
    7th] SD and head towards GC lunchtime. Stop Twenty Nine Palms/Kingman.
    8th] To Grand canyon village and sight see.
    9th ] Grand canyon.
    10th]Monument valley and to Page.
    11th] Page to Bryce
    12th] Bryce to Zion
    13th ]Zion
    14th/15th/16th] Las Vegas
    17th] Across Death valley to Mammoth Lakes.
    18th]Yosemite
    19th]Yosemite am and to SF pm.
    20th/21st] San Fran.
    22nd] drive the coast to the Cambria area.
    23rd]back to LA.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    219

    Default

    Your 1st post in here but not your first road trips forum ;)
    I'd take option 4 or actually option 5. I'd skip a night in Grand Canyon and Las Vegas/San Francisco and add 2 nights in Yosemite between Mammoth and SF. Instead Mammoth you also can stay Lone Pine or Bishop. Monterey to Santa Barbara is quite a distance and many places to see on the way. Maybe Pismo Beach instead SB. Short visit to SB on the way to LA.
    Yeehaw

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    ...The one thing that sticks out to me the most by it's absence is Yosemite NP which is on a natural path between LV and SF via Death Valley NP and Mammoth Lakes and one that I would highly recommend you stay for at least a full day and 2 nights, or at least nearby. If you decided it was worth it then you would have some juggling to do...
    Thanks :) Yosemite is not in there because it'll be too tight. Exploring it is saved for a future trip, but I thought about just running through as part of the drive to San Fran, the I-5 is just plain boring. Mammoth Lakes is purely an overnight stop. Also; we want to split it ~50/50 between cities and wilderness, so we need at least 9-10 nights in cities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeehaw View Post
    Your 1st post in here but not your first road trips forum ;)
    I'd take option 4 or actually option 5. I'd skip a night in Grand Canyon and Las Vegas/San Francisco and add 2 nights in Yosemite between Mammoth and SF. Instead Mammoth you also can stay Lone Pine or Bishop. Monterey to Santa Barbara is quite a distance and many places to see on the way. Maybe Pismo Beach instead SB. Short visit to SB on the way to LA.
    Yeehaw
    Correct; I figured I wanted to get as many opinions as possible ;) Will check out Pismo beach, but Yosemite is purely a drive through. Will come back at this location later.

    I agree one night in SD is pointless.

  5. #5

    Default

    OK, we've now decided on #3 :) I have booked lodging for LA, San Diego and Las Vegas. Should we book in advance for the entire trip or will it be easy to find available rooms in July?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    A rule of thumb we use, that's worked well for us: when going into a tourist-laden area, in mid-summer, it's best to have reservations. So if you are still planning on Grand Canyon, Zion, and Yosemite, you should get reservations. It's probably too late to get lodging IN the parks, but you could try for someone's cancellation. If you strike out, look for a place in Tusayan near Grand Canyon (with Williams or Cameron, both about 40-50 miles away as a second choice). For Zion, get a place at Springdale. For Yosemite, on the western side, try Oakhurst.


    Donna

  7. Default

    Can I suggest staying at South Pointe Casino if you stay in Vegas. Easier to get a reservation, cheaper and they have a bus that will take you back and forth to the strip.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    A rule of thumb we use, that's worked well for us: when going into a tourist-laden area, in mid-summer, it's best to have reservations. So if you are still planning on Grand Canyon, Zion, and Yosemite, you should get reservations. It's probably too late to get lodging IN the parks, but you could try for someone's cancellation. If you strike out, look for a place in Tusayan near Grand Canyon (with Williams or Cameron, both about 40-50 miles away as a second choice). For Zion, get a place at Springdale. For Yosemite, on the western side, try Oakhurst.
    Thanks for the tips! Not going to Yosemite, but definitely Grand Canyon and Zion. Managed to get a hotel in Tusayan, but Zion seems to be a bit harder. I won't take my chances on last minute cancellations, sleeping in the car is not an option :)


    Quote Originally Posted by dgates View Post
    Can I suggest staying at South Pointe Casino if you stay in Vegas. Easier to get a reservation, cheaper and they have a bus that will take you back and forth to the strip.
    Thanks for the suggestion, but we've already booked Trump International for our stay in Las Vegas :)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    If you can't find suitable lodgings in Springdale for Zion you could check out Hurricane UT. Springdale is a great option as it is 'on the doorstep' of the park and the free shuttle buses that you have to use to get into the canyon area run from town, meaning you wouldn't have to move the car and find parking etc. Lovely town as well !

  10. #10

    Default

    Thanks! What do you suggest for Bryce Canyon?

    Edit: Never mind, booked us at Bryce Canyon Inn :)
    Last edited by agjell; 06-19-2013 at 02:17 AM.

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