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  1. Default Plan for month in California


    It's long been my wife's wish to travel around California. She turns 50 this year and I want to surprise her with a month's visit. She wants to rent an rv but in reality I think us and our three children in one of these would not be the dream she has pictured!!!

    Here's my thoughts:

    Fly to LA
    2 nights staying in motels on the way up the pacific highway
    4 nights San Fran
    2 nights Yosemite National Park
    1 night in motel in a village in the middle of nowhere!
    3 nights las vegas (day trip to grand canyon by plane)
    7 nights anaheim (disney, some of LA and orange county)
    7 nights San Diego
    2 nights LA
    Fly back to the Uk :-(

    I want to be more relaxed towards the end of our stay when we are probably exhausted. We aren't likely to ever have the money to come back though and so I'm trying to pack a lot on whilst also being realistic about timings.

    Any help gratefully received :-)


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


    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I want to be more relaxed towards the end of our stay when we are probably exhausted.
    Although there is plenty to see and do, your pace is among the most relaxed we see so I doubt exhausion will be an issue. ;-)

    I would actually recommend travelling to the Grand canyon by car and spending a night or 2 there, it will be a memorable occasion. A lot of the trips from Vegas do not go to the National parks and instead head to the west rim on Indian lands which is nowhere near as spectacular and you can't beat witnessing a sunset or sunrise at this wonder of the world.

    With that in mind I would reverse the direction of your trip and head south down the coast to put the ocean on your side of the road and to avoid having to drive through LA traffic more than you have to. So you could head from LA to SD and then >GC [with an overnight stop]>Las Vegas>'middle of nowhere' [Death valley, Bishop?>Yosemite >San Fran>2 nights on the coast > LA.

    There is also much more you could see and do if you didn't necessarily want to spend 14 days in LA and SD.

  3. Default

    Thank you, that's really helpful :-)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default You're welcome.

    You will find a lot more info searching the forums, the Southwest is one of the most popular topics. You can also scroll down this page to find 'Similar Threads' and repeat as amny times as you need.

    Here are some of our favourite threads covering the area.

    Enjoy the planning and keep asking questions as you go.

    [I hope you got all of my previous post as I pressed send to soon and added more detail staright after.]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default North of SF.

    The loop Dave has suggested, is to be highly recommended. However, with a month, you might like to include some of the sights north of SF. There is Sacramento, the State capitol and the old city. Napa Valley, if you are at all interested in wineries. Point Reyes National Seashore. A bit further north there is Humboldt Redwoods SP with the Avenue of Giants. A magnificent place to walk among trees hundreds and even more than a thousand years old. And a bit off the beaten track, but just to say you've been there... Cape Mendicino - the most westerly point of continental US.


  6. Default

    Thanks all.

    Been looking at the journey from Yosemite to Las Vegas. I had thought about stoping in Tonopah but now considering Death Valley.

    Do you think this is wise in August?


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Wise?

    In the words of Noel Coward, if not Rudyard Kipling, only "mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun." This is especially true of Death Valley where mid-day temperatures can often reach 120+║F (50║C). While this is something one might want to experience just for the ability to say you had, it wouldn't be pleasant and you're placing a fairly heavy reliance (and strain) on your car's air conditioning unit. Wise? I wouldn't say so. Foolhardy? Not quite. People do visit Death Valley in August. You'll simply have to weigh the risks and rewards yourself.

    From the national park's website:

    Summer starts early in Death Valley. By May the valley is too hot for most visitors, yet throughout the hottest months, visitors from around the world still flock to the park...Most summer visitors tour by car to the main points of interest along the paved roads but do little else due to the extreme heat.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default I would drive through DV, unless......

    With a modern rental car you are unlikely to experience any problems running your aircon and enjoying the wonderful landscape from the comfort within. Personally I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to drive through the park, but would not choose to stay there either, which makes Bishop a good overnight stop between LV and Yosemite if you decide to drive through.

    She wants to rent an rv but in reality I think us and our three children in one of these would not be the dream she has pictured!!!
    If you decide to go with an RV then Death valley would not be an option as most companies ban you going through there during the summer. An RV can be a wonderful experience in the National Parks and a great family experience, but not so great for prolonged stays in the City. I previously mentioned other options being available if you did not want to spend so much time in the City and other than those mentioned by Lifemagician, you could take a look at Southern Utah and the NP's of Bryce and Zion. Here's one such loop in an RV where you would have time to include LA and the coast as well.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Before the midday sun.

    As mentioned above, only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. The wise ones go early and are out before midday.

    If you can get to Death Valley by (or even before) dawn, you have three or four hours to enjoy the place, get to the major points of interest and get out of the car without feeling as though you will perish. One of the great attractions in Death Valley is the night time sky. Amazing how many and how clear and bright the stars are. For that reason, a stay in DV is worth it.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Never underestimate the hot conditions

    As a Las Vegas resident, who considers Death Valley my personal "back yard" park, I can tell you many tales about the number of times I have stopped at trailheads and unloaded dozens of water bottles to tourists who "knew better than the rangers" and still accepted fresh water when they reached their personal limits because of the hot conditions. Virtually all of the NPS service trucks carry oxygen and other specialized rescue gear for those tourists who insist that the hot weather won't affect them when they go hiking....

    First rule of hiking in Death Valley in the hot months -- drink water every 10 minutes.


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