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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    5

    Default 4-5 days loop from Tucson - Grand Cyn, San Diego, NM??

    Wonderful site......dreaming already.

    We are looking for a 4 - 5 day loop trip starting and ending in Tucson. So, we just bought a new Subaru and want to take her for a drive, and except for the following caveats we're good:
    ummmm..
    No $
    No time


    Welll, we have a little of both. But not much, so I'm looking for your suggestions about doing a summer loop somewhere. Totally open to every suggestion. We just need to get out of the HEAT! Safe, not too rushed, 2 adults.

    Several things come to mind:
    1. Northern AZ
    Tucson > Payson? Verde Valley w/day on the river? Dead Horse Ranch campground? Grand Canyon, then home through Flagstaff?

    2. AZ -- NM
    Tucson > Silver City? Taos? back through N AZ?

    3. AZ -- CA
    a//Tucson > San Diego Beach (where?) + Mountains? (where?) North County?
    b//Tucson > Kings Canyon Natl Park.....

    Again we're open to anything...we like to bird, hike, car camp, motel, whatever works best.
    Many Thanks in advance.
    L
    Last edited by warbler13; 08-05-2013 at 03:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default San Diego is cool!

    Welcome to RTA!

    Any of those three would work for a 4-5 day trip. I'll speak on #3A first, since I'm very familiar with that trip (I regularly road trip between San Diego and Phoenix, but used to go to Tucson too). Tucson to San Diego is about a 400 mile trip -- roughly 8 hours. In summer, San Diego gets a lot of Arizonans coming over to cool off. :-) For the past 3-4 weeks, our weather has been near perfect, in the mid-70s most days. 'Zonies bring a sweater!

    Here's a thread about things to see/do in San Diego. Here's how we used those things for a "stay-cation" this year: our stay-cation. As far as car camping, we have several National Forest campgrounds, a state park campground, and a couple of county parks have tent sites. Among the closer ones to San Diego are the spots at Silver Strand State Park, Santee Lakes, and Dos Picos. Cheaper motel accommodations would be in El Cajon.

    Now..#1. Tucson to Grand Canyon is about 335 miles -- call it 6+ hours depending on traffic, and that's going via I-10 to I-17 north. If you shift over to go through Sedona (highly recommended), you'll add time and miles because you'll want to stop. Overnight at Grand Canyon might be rather tough at this late time. You might find motels in either Tusayan (closer to the park), Williams (an hour away) or Flagstaff (an hour away).

    #2 is your longest trip, as Tucson to Taos via Silver City is 615 miles. I hope others will chip in on this idea, though, as I haven't been to Taos or Silver City in more than 35 years.


    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 08-05-2013 at 07:59 PM. Reason: fixed punctuation

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default ...Or Similar

    I live in Tucson and yes, we are occasionally in the market for cool places to go in the summer. We have, as Donna noted, often used San Diego as our escape, particularly when that escape also involves our younger grandchildren who all seem to be able to spend inordinate amounts of time and energy at Legoland and in the various museums of Balboa Park. But in this response, I'm going to discuss the other relief valve we use, northern New Mexico, specifically the Taos-Santa Fe-Pueblo-Abiquiu triangle. This is an area rich in history and scenery at an elevation that makes it quite comfortable even in the depths of summer. Just a few of the highlights include the Governor's Palace, Cathedral, shopping and opera in Santa Fe; Kit Carson's home and the Pueblo in Taos; the Ghost Ranch (of Georgia O'Keefe fame) and other artist colonies of Abiquiu; and a few out of the ordinary stops such as Chimayo and its holy dirt. Yes, it takes a bit longer to get to, its a full day's drive from Tucson to Santa Fe, but once there you'll have plenty to explore.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Thank you Donna and Buck, really appreciate your ideas and advice. Every direction is intriguing and we're continuing our research. It may well be the beach.

    Any specific camping spots to avoid in Silver Strand State Park, Santee Lakes, and Dos Picos?

    L

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    With any of the three, L, you may not get a lot of choice. It will really depend on when you are there. All of them have reservations available, and I suggest you get a reservation when you decide on dates!

    Silver Strand is right ON the beach, just south of the famous Hotel del Coronado. As a result, it's fairly close to anything you might want to do while you are in San Diego.

    Santee Lakes is in Santee, which is one of the eastern suburbs. If you can get a site closer to one of the little lakes, my neighbors tell me, it's really pleasant. But they weren't certain about the tenting situation (they have a 35' motorhome). Because it's in the east, it's further away (20 mi) from things in San Diego, and depending on the time of the year, could be warmer out that way. (We have had a cooler summer than normal, according to our local weathermen.)

    Dos Picos is the furthest away from the San Diego action, located up Rt 67 in Ramona. There are some great tent sites there. Ramona is northeast of town and can be a little warmer than "down on the beach". Depending on the time of year, it could reach 95-100F out there, though unlike southern Arizona, it almost always cools off at night for sleeping.


    Donna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Another nice campground is in Lake Jennings Park. It's in Lakeside in the foothills not far east of Santee, and has close access to I-8. Tent sites are $28 a night, they have bathrooms, showers, and free wifi.

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