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  1. #1

    Default San Francisco to Phoenix via LA and Vegas in November

    Hello everyone!

    I am from Switzerland and I have a month off in november. I am planning a road trip with my other half in November.

    I will arrive in San Francisco, stay there for 3 days then rent a car to drive south along the coast to Santa Barbara then Los Angeles. Stay there 1 day then hit the road again to Las Vegas for 2 nights. After that a stop at the Grand Canyon and finally the last part to Phoenix via Flagstaff, Sedona, cottonwood.
    Any advise for this trip ? What to see between SF and LA, LA and LV, LV an PHX ?
    I was planning to do it in 7 days but it looks a bit short i guess..
    Any comments would be much appreciated!

    Many Thanks,

    Cedric

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

    Default A bit rushed.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    To drive from SF to LA via the coast road will require at least one overnight stop, a Midway point being in the Cambria area. Lots to see and do around Monterey, Lots of scenic stops, some State Parks as you make your way around Big Sur and attractions like Hearst Castle. So it would be possible to spend 3 or 4 days doing just this, but two is the minmum or else you will need to take Interstate and miss out on the coastal drive.

    You can do it in 7 days, but not with 3 days in SF and 2 nights in Vegas, so I would consider dropping LA from your plans [or Vegas] and head inland before you hit the urban sprawl of LA, or go direct from LA to GC, or find an extra couple of days.

  3. #3

    Default

    Many thanks for you answer Dave,

    I'd rather drop LA than Vegas, I think LA is way to big to be visited in only 2 nights.

    So my plan would be to stay 3 days in SF then drive along the coast. You advise an overnight in Cambria ? If I skip LA I can spend 4 days between SF and Vegas. I plan to stay in Vegas 3 nights, then an overnight at the Grand Canyon.

    The 7 days I was talking about was for the road trip, not including the 3 days in SF cause I will not rent the car since day 1 in SF.
    But of course for the moment I am just planning my trip, if I have to extend the road trip to 8-9 days it will not be a problem

    Cedric

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Whatever works for you.

    I'd rather drop LA than Vegas, I think LA is way to big to be visited in only 2 nights.
    That's what I was thinking, you could face a lot of time sitting in traffic!

    The 7 days I was talking about was for the road trip, not including the 3 days in SF cause I will not rent the car since day 1 in SF.
    That does make a difference, but personally speaking I would still by pass LA.

    You advise an overnight in Cambria ? If I skip LA I can spend 4 days between SF and Vegas. I plan to stay in Vegas 3 nights, then an overnight at the Grand Canyon.
    Cambria is well located for a stopover between SF and LA, but if you are not going to LA it will still work well, however you do have options. With 3 nights you could first stop in Monterey and then Cambria detour into Death valley for night three. If you stopped in Monterey and wanted to go through Death valley [fascinating desert Landscape] you could continue beyond Cambria and further inland to shorten the drive. You could skip Monterey spend the first night in Cambria as planned and then head towards Death Valley via Bakersfield and Lake Isabella and spend a little more time in DV. [Good time of year to visit the hottest place in the USA !]

    You could also make your way to the Grand canyon of the afternoon a day earlier [2 nights Vegas] and arrive in time for a sunset. Next day you could explore more of the canyon and spend the following night in 'Red rock country' near Sedona before heading into Phoenix.

    There are many more ways in which the trip could be divided, but the 'perfect plan' is the one that you find most appealing based on your tastes and interests. This is what makes a road trip unique to each individual !

    If you do a little more research and go with your instincts you will be fine, but don't hesitate to ask if you have more questions or need a little help with the 'fine tuning'.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks Dave this is really helpfull!

    As I am reading a lot on this great forum I came with 2 plans :

    Plan 1 :
    SF to Cambria via Monterey with a night in Cambria then to Lake Isabella via Bakersfield to spend the night at the lake. Then heading towards the Death Valley with a night there and Vegas.

    Plan 2 :
    SF to Carson City via Sacramento ( maybe a detour with a night in Monterey to have a look a the coast, Optional!) to spend the night around Carson City ( not sure where at the moment, I have to read a bit more about the area) then heading towards Tonopah for a night there, after Tonopah, the death Valley to finally arrive in Vegas.

    my worries for the plan 2 will be the weather and the snow. Despite the fact that I live in the moutain here in Switzerland, I don't want to face a road closure due to snow during this trip :)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default More to think about. [Sorry]

    As we know the weather is totally unpredictable but either route should be OK. The nearer you are to the Sierra Nevada the more risk of snow generally speaking. November is a time that the mountain passes may get closed with a major storm but by going to Sacramento you shouldn't have major issues. [Remember, it's unpredictable. ;-) ]

    The other side of the coin is that the Sierra Nevada is wonderful and most of the crowds have gone and it can be a fantastic experience. I am mainly referring to Yosemite NP and if the Tioga Pass were still open it is a fantastic drive over the mountains to Mono Lake where you can run down the east side on 395 to Death Valley. If the Pass was closed the Valley could be clear and you could head south on the west side of the mountains and visit Sequoia NP and go to DV via Lake Isabella.

    Travelling at this time of year when lodgings are more readily available does give you the option to just wait and see and then hit the road with weather forecasts checked when you are there. Personally speaking I prefer your first plan to the second, but given the chance [and weather co-operation] I would opt for Yosemite and Tioga Pass. However we have a lot of coast in the UK but no mountains as high or grand like those in the Sierras, a little different for you being in Switzerland.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks again Dave for all this informations, it helps a lot.

    I Booked a flight from Geneva to San Francisco on the 11th of November, the car in SF from the 14th until the 23rd in Phoenix. So it actually gives me 10 days to spend on the road.
    I will probably do as you said for the first part from SF to LV. Choose the route acording to the weather. I didn't book any hotel or motel I expect it is quite easy to find accomodation on the same day at this period ?

    For the part after LV I'm planning to arrive at the Grand Canyon during the day, spend the night around, be there for the sunset and the sunrise the day after.

    Thanks again :)

  8. #8

    Default San Francisco to Phoenix in November

    Hello everyone !

    Few months ago I was gathering some infos on this forum for my road trip in November from San Francisco to Phoenix.
    I'm asking your advices for the last details of the trip, here is what I plan to do:

    My flight will takes me on the 11th of November from Geneva to SF where I plan to stay 3 days to visit the city. The road trip will start on the 14th and I have 3 days to go to Las Vegas. If weather permits, I will go trough Yosemite, Death Valley then Vegas. If the weather is bad, Cambria, Lake Isabella, Death Valley then Vegas OR Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, Carson City then Vegas.

    - what will be your advises for this first part of the trip ? Is 3 days enough to reach Vegas without rushing ? What is the more breathtaking view trough Yosemite, or Carson City ?

    After that, I will stay in Vegas for 3 days and hit the road again on the 20th of November where I will head towards Grand Canyon South Rim. I plan to arrive for the sunset, stay the night to enjoy the sunrise in the moring, then I will take the road to Phoenix via Flagstaff, Sedona.

    I am planning to keep the car until the 23rd of November where I take a flight from PHX to NYC, for 5 days in New York. So in total I have the car for 9days.

    So where I have some doubts is about Vegas and Phoenix, should I stay longer on the road an less in Vegas ?

    Cedric

    Moderator Note: Please don't create multiple threads about the same trip.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 09-10-2013 at 07:09 AM. Reason: Merged

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