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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, India
    Posts
    6

    Default San Diego, LA, Vegas, GC and SFO

    Hi,
    We are a couple with 2girls aged 5 and 11 looking at a 2 week holiday in south west USA.
    We love the beach, parks and driving. Not much of cities but would love them as a break.

    Will start from San Diego on May 10th 2014. Bring in our little one's birthday at Sea world.
    Need to fly out to DC from wherever on 23rd of May.
    Would prefer not a very rushed trip. Can drive, fly.
    Would like to visit Grand Canyon via Vegas, PCH drive beaches and SFO with day trip to Napa. Keen on seeing some Indian towns and do fun things like live in a ranch probably. Need suggestions on routes to take and get a mix of beaches, parks and cities.
    looking forward to hear from you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Some thoughts.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    If you have no need to be in a particular place at a particular time other than at the start for your son's birthday, then the most efficient routing for this trip by car would be to go from SD to the Grand canyon with possibly an overnight stop as it would be a long day on the road otherwise. Joshua Tree NP is popular and then you could look to stop at Lake Havasu City, Needles or Kingman or you could head towards Prescott and the red rock country around Sedona by taking I8 and cutting up to Blythe on I10 to US60/AZ71/89.
    Then Grand canyon to Vegas and onto San Francisco which again would require an overnight stop from LV to SF. In between you will find the amazing Yosemite NP and a popular route would be across Death valley and north on 395 to the Tioga Pass [CA120] across the Sierra Nevada into Yosemite valley. It would take an early opening for this to happen as Tioga Pass is at such high elevation it might still be snow bound from winter accumulation and that would mean going around the south of the mountains via Bakersfield. From SF you would then head south to LA taking a couple of nights to enjoy the coast on CA1 around Big Sur between Monterey and Cambria. You could fly out from LA to Washington.

    Note that if you were planning on taking a Vegas tour to Grand canyon then most of them do not go to the National park, the 'wonder of the world' area that you would have seen in film and photography. Tours tend to go to the West rim which is more expensive and nowhere close to the 'real thing'. Also it would be difficult to cover so much ground if you want to spend significant time in any one place such as the beach or living on a ranch.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, India
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thanks Dave.

    SD being our start is solely for kids. We have been to many Disney lands so thought the Zoo and Sea world and some surfing in SD would be a good idea. If there is any other interesting place around there could start elsewhere also.

    Can skip Vegas, not necessary, just thought of as a break for a night before we head to GC.
    More keen on the beaches and the old towns hopefully it won't still be very cold to hit them in May.
    Tioga pass was my plan but considering the time of the year, would be a bad idea.

    Is there a faster route to hit Death valley from SFO, would not like to do more than 6 hrs drive in a day. Maybe stay a couple of nights at some place.

    Guess your 1st option sounds good. Don't know how much of time it gives us to drive the PCH.
    Also, is there a possibility of taking in any town on the Route 66 from SD to GC?

    Else, San diego - LA - SFO (PCH with a night at Big Sur ) and then through Death valley to Vegas and GC and fly out to DC from Vegas.
    Have to figure where to stay between SFO and Death valley.

    Want to spend 3 nights each at SD and SFO and 2 at GC.
    Would help to know how many nights it gives us at the rest and where they should be.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Weather in May in San Diego at the Beaches: you'll probably find the sun finally hitting the beach after 12 noon. We get a lot of "morning low clouds and fog" in May and June, which starts to burn off about 11 am or so.

    At the Zoo, you'll have that morning low clouds and fog until about 10 am. The Zoo's Safari Park is considerably more inland and would have warmer air beginning around 9 am. Sea World is close to the beaches at Mission Bay, so they get similar weather to the beach.


    Donna in San Diego County

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default

    Tioga pass was my plan but considering the time of the year, would be a bad idea. -
    Is there a faster route to hit Death valley from SFO, would not like to do more than 6 hrs drive in a day. Maybe stay a couple of nights at some place.
    If Tioga is open it's a great idea ! It's also the quickest way to Death Valley. If you had to go around the mountains then Lake Isabella would break the journey from Yosemite valley to Furnace creek 50/50 with about 4 hours of driving each section, adjust accordingly. If Tioga is open then Bishop would make a nice overnight stop.

    Nine days in SD, SF and GC leaves you a little tight on time to enjoy both the coast and Yosemite with travel time. If you want to explore the coast and GC more, I would consider flying into SFO [if it's still an option] and then head down the coast through LA to SD [which would put the coast and it's scenic pull outs on your side of the road] and then go from SD to GC and fly out of Vegas. That would be 3 in SF, 2 down coast, 1 or 2 in LA, 2 or 3 in SD, 1 towards GC, 2 in GC and 1 or 2 Las Vegas.

    It would be a shame to miss out on Yosemite, but if you want to spend that much time in the 3 places mentioned and drive down the coast, something might have to give.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Another kids attraction.

    Quote Originally Posted by ustripmay14 View Post
    SD being our start is solely for kids. We have been to many Disney lands so thought the Zoo and Sea world and some surfing in SD would be a good idea. If there is any other interesting place around there could start elsewhere also.
    Have you considered Legoland. My grandchildren loved it.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, India
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thanks all.
    Have reworked our itinerary and plan to fly into Vegas. Pick up a car and drive to San Diego.Stay around there for 4 nights and do a day trip to LA.
    Drive to Grand Canyon with a 2 night stop at Lake Havashu OR Jerome.
    Have to decide depending how scenic the route will be to either and an interesting day trip.
    Move on to Grand Canyon.Stay 2 nights. Need suggestions on places to stay to visit the south rim. Looks like the park lodges will be full by now.
    Drive to Vegas. Suggest interesting route to drive, is it possible to do in a day easily? if not, what is a good stop midway.
    Drive back to Vegas and fly to SFO.
    Waiting to see all the comments! Thanks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    The most convenient place to stay outside the park to visit the South Rim is in Tusayan, but it's expensive. There are a few hotels. Try to reserve a park lodge RIGHT NOW. Other options are the Cameron Trading Post on US-89 out the east entrance, the Quality Inn in Tuba City on US-160, then Williams and Flagstaff.

    Easiest way from the GC to LV with a bit of sightseeing is AZ-64 to Williams, I-40 to Seligman, then a detour onto old Route 66 to Kingman, then US-93 to LV. Driving straight through on this route takes about 6 hours, so you would have some time to visit Hoover Dam on your way in.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Airport or amazing coastal drive ?

    First of all I think you might be underestimating distances, it would be near to a 250 mile round trip to LA and then it will be slow to get around the city, it's not a journey that's worth it as a day trip from San Diego in my opinion.

    Your re-worked plan adds up to around 1400 miles including the day trip to LA and then you have a flight which adds time when you consider getting to the airport, check in time and getting your luggage etc the other end. For the same amount of mileage you could go from Vegas to the Grand canyon to San Diego to LA and continue to San Francisco. In the time you would spend going back and forth and at the airport you could be enjoying some of the worlds most amazing coast highway [CA1] drives around Big Sur. Between the airport and the coast I know where I would rather be spending my time ! ;-)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    As a San Diego County resident, I have done my share of "day trips" to LA. It really depends on where you want to go in LA, whether it's worth it as a day trip or not. If you're going to Anaheim (1-1/2 hours, but you say you're not interested in Disneyland/California Adventure), it's one thing. Hollywood area (Burbank, Walk of Fame, Universal Studios) is a good 3+ hours one way, depending on how you drive up and if you hit traffic at all. I've been going to workshops and seminars that are in the North Hollywood/Pasadena area, and on Saturday morning it takes me 2-1/2 hours to get up there, but over 3 hours to return home as the traffic gets lots heavier.

    Here is a description of one of my adventures up to LA, on a weekday. It describes a day visiting the Hollywood Walk of Fame and going up to Malibu. The references are to the actors and places involved in the old TV show, I DREAM OF JEANNIE. However, the information about travel and parking in the area are there. Click here.


    Donna

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