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  1. Default San Fran - Yosemite - Death Valley - Las Vegas - Los Angeles - New York (Honeymoon)

    Dear All,

    I was hoping you might be able to give me some advice on our honeymoon trip we are planning in August 2014. Although I have been to parts of USA before I have never been to the west coast and need all the help I can get! The plan at the moment is as follows (we have booked flights but nothing else so the itinerary can change based on your suggestions/advice):

    4th Fly to San Fran, transfer to city
    5th San Fran Day 1
    6th San Fran Day 2
    7th San Fran Day 3
    8th Collect hire car, start drive to Yosemite (accomm?)
    9th Drive to Yosemite, rest of day in Yosemite (accomm?)
    10th Drive to Death Valley (accomm?)
    11th Death Valley (accomm?)
    12th Drive to Las Vegas (accomm?)
    13th Grand Canyon & Hoover Dam (accomm?)
    14th Las Vegas Strip
    15th Las Vegas Strip
    16th Drive to Los Angeles? (accomm?)
    17th Los Angeles / Hollywood? (accomm?)
    18th Universal studios?
    19th Long beach? (accomm?)
    20th Los Angeles? (accomm?)
    21st Drop off car, Flight to New York
    22nd New York
    23rd New York
    24th New York
    25th Flight to London

    I feel confident about sorting out activities and accomm in the cities especially NYC (as I have been here several times with work) but any help on the driving part (especially which bits to see) and accommodation would be greatly appreciated. I am also a bit unsure about the Los Angeles part of the trip and any suggestions on time needed, activities, accomm would also be a great help.

    Thank you in advance.

    Kind regards,


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

    Default Things I'd change.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You have a great honeymoon to look forward to, congratulations !

    Ok, a few suggestions. You really don't need to break the journey to Yosemite, get there in one go and maximise your time there.

    As for Death valley, it is a wonderful landscape but it is going to be incredibly hot in August, I would consider spending the morning in Yosemite enjoy travelling across the Tioga Pass [CA120] and then spend the night in Bishop and then drive across Death valley next day to Vegas.

    I don't see the point in spending time in Vegas, going to the GC and then going back to Vegas before heading to LA. You could spend your time in Vegas and then go direCt to LA from the GC with an overnight stop in between. I would spend 2 nights at the GC and Yosemite to allow you at least a day and a half at each, these are unforgettable wonders of the world worthy of a romantic visit such as a honeymoon.

    If your budget can manage it, you can't beat actually staying within the National parks, but you will find cheaper options in surrounding towns

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    One thing that stands out to me is you need to shift another day to the Grand Canyon - you can't really drive there from Las Vegas, see the park, and drive back to LV in less than 2 days.

    What you could do is spend ALL your LV time in between Death Valley and the GC, then drive directly back from the GC to LA. This would be more efficient.

    You also may not want to spend too much time in DV - it's extremely hot in August.

  4. Default

    Thank you very much for your suggestions. I will do as you propose and drive straight to Yosemite and spend an extra day there. We will then drive to Bishop and stay there before heading through death valley and arriving at Las Vegas. We were planning to do a helicopter flight over the GC (from LV) so do you still think it is worth driving to the GC and staying there a day before driving straight to LA as suggested?
    Do you have any suggestions on where to stay the first night we arrive at Yosemite? Which route would be best if heading from San Fran?
    Thanks again for all your help.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default They don't go to the National Park.

    Helicopter tours from Las Vegas do NOT go to the National Park. These fly only over the West Rim, which is not as deep, nor as spectacular as the National Park. There are flights over the Canyon from Tusayan, if you really want to do a flight. These do go over the National Park.

    But it is not a substitute for driving there and actually standing on the rim.... taking one of the short walks into the canyon and watching a sunset and/or sunrise over the Canyon. Don't short change yourself. I'd be allocating at least two nights to the GC and have a full day there to really see all there is to see and completely absorb the ambiance of its granduer.

    You can visit Hoover Dam on your way from LV to the GC.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Gotta go to the NP !

    so do you still think it is worth driving to the GC and staying there a day
    Oh yeah ! Don't miss out.

    Do you have any suggestions on where to stay the first night we arrive at Yosemite? Which route would be best if heading from San Fran?
    You can't beat staying within the National park for the natural beauty, maximising your time in the park and just 'being there'. That comes at a premium though and you can find better value lodgings in nearby towns such as Groveland and Mariposa, depending on whether you head to the park on 120 or 140. There is little to choose from the two options, although I enjoyed the drive on CA120 over the Priests Grade section.

  7. Default Yosemite to Death Valley

    We did a similar trip last year but in "reverse" (Las Vegas - Death Valley - Mammoth Lakes - Yosemite - Carmel - SF).

    We love hiking so the real highlight of the trip for us were the 4 days we spent in Yosemite - we saw a brown bear from about 25m and some kind of cat (a lynx?). Personally, I don't think 1 day does it justice.

    Regarding where to stay Yosemite, if you can't book in the Valley, where most of the sights are, we stayed in El Portal at Yosemite View Lodge (30 min drive to the Valley). It is near the south west entrance of the park, which is probably the nearest to SF. It's quite far to the NE corner of the park, where you will drive through Tioga pass to get to Death Valley hence we broke up the trip with a couple of nights in Mammoth Lakes which is beautiful too.

    If you can, book dinner at the Ahwanhee Hotel as a treat (or if money is no object - THAT would be THE place to stay in Yosemite).


  8. Default Drive from GC National Park to Hollywood

    Thank you for all your comments. I have taken them all on board and we have changed our itinerary based on your suggestions. On the drive from GC National Park to Hollywood it was suggested that we stop over half way. Is there any suggestions where to stop? Anything worth visiting on route? looking at Google Maps, Lake Havasu City looks the about the half way point or trying to get as far as Barstow.
    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Some ideas.

    With a day on the road you could get from the South rim to Hollywood same day, but you do have options with an overnight stop.

    You could travel parts of original route 66 through the old towns of Seligman, Kingman and Oatman and stop over in Lake Havasu City, the second home of London Bridge that was delivered bit by bit from the capital of the UK. Next day you could detour again and drive through Joshua Tree NP.

    Alternatively you could drive south to Sedona and through Prescott and link up with I10 via AZ89/71/US60 and still have the option of visiting Joshua Tree NP.

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