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  1. Default Planning a west coast road trip

    I am planning a road trip in Aug for me and my family (wife, 2 kids 9 & 11).

    We want to go to San Francisco, LA, Las Vegas and take in sights (coastal highway, Death Valley, national parks) and stops en-route. On the way home we will be planning to fly to Boston and then back to the UK. We have 18 days on the west coast.

    At the moment we don't know whether to start in LA or San Francisco and fly from Vegas to Boston.

    Open to some ideas and tips as flights have not been booked yet and we are quite flexible.

    Looking forward to some responses, thanks in advanced!

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

    Default A loop can work best.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Eighteen days is a nice amount of time to explore the area and it might just be that a loop trip will suit it better by starting and finishing in the same City, the one that offers you the best flight and car rental costs when adding the two together.

    Starting from SF for example a popular route would be, SF to LA allowing at least a couple of nights to explore the coast, then LA >GC south rim >Las Vegas > Death Valley > Yosemite [via Tioga Pass]> SF. You could add to this trip depending on how long you want to spend in each place you visit. Between Grand canyon and Las Vegas you could first head north to Page AZ [lake Powell, Horseshoe bend, Antelope canyon] with a possible detour to Monument valley and then vist two of Utahs wonderful NP's in Bryce canyon and Zion before heading down to Vegas.

    The loop trip can actually work out better than heading back and forth to hit all your 'hot spots'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Actually, loop trips tend to work better than dealing with one way trips, and they tend to be cheaper too.

    A basic loop, that would fall under the category "most popular trip on this forum" would take you around from LA to the Grand Canyon to Vegas to Death Valley and Yosemite to San Francisco, and then back down the coast to LA. Of course, since it is a loop you could start and end in SF, LA, or Vegas, based on where you can get the best deals for cars and flights, and there are some other places you could also throw in depending upon your pace. Here are some of our favorite threads on this basic outline.

    If you have more specific questions, just let us know.

  4. Default

    Just be aware that summer temperatures in Death Valley often top 120°F (49°C) in the shade with overnight lows dipping into the 90s°F (mid 30s°C). This is not a park to do much outdoor activities in the summer except maybe tour from the car. Even when driving in the park in the summer carry plenty of water!


  5. Default

    Thanks again for your prompt responses, you have certainly given us a few things to look into over the next few days.

    I'll also be checking out some of the threads that you mention above.

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default The children.

    Be sure, whenever you get to a National Park, even Death Valley, that you make a point of going to the Visitor Centre, and have the children join the Junior Ranger program. This will help them get a great appreciation of where they are, and earn some free souvenirs to take home.

    The other thing which my grandchildren all do, is make a journal of the trip. Get each child to take along a plain note book and before bed, just jot down their impressions of the day. They can include drawings, entry tickets and brochures... or really, anything they want to. It makes a great momento. If not sure, their school teachers will probably be able to give some guidelines.


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