Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. Default Family Road Trip - last two weeks September 2014

    Dear all

    We are planning a trip to the States and would like to take in some of the sights in California and Arizona and are looking for some advice.

    We are a family of 4, Dad, Mum, 10 year old daughter and 8 month old baby. We are going to fly into San Francisco, from Florida, and out of Los Angeles, onward to Asia. Ideally, we would like to see, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and possibly Vegas and have around 2 weeks.

    I have been reading through many of the posts and comments with great interest. We are considering a small camper van but some of the comments would seem to suggest that a better alternative would be a car and staying in motels and campsites.

    We would welcome all comments with regards our proposed route, which is currently very vague, and also the best way of travelling and accommodation on a tight budget.

    Many thanks


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'd suggest you'd actually be better off flying in and out of the same city (be it SF, LA, or Vegas). A trip like this really works very well as a loop. The most efficient way to do it is to go SF, down the coast to LA, over the the Grand Canyon, and then back through Vegas, Death Valley, and Yosemite to San Francisco. If you've got a little more time, you can also add in some more national parks in Southern Utah. This is the most popular and most discussed trip outline on this forum, so I'd continue to look around for ideas, and then ask any specific questions you might have.

    An RV can be a great way to travel, especially if you are focusing on natural areas, but it's something that's more about lifestyle and enjoyment. If you are looking for the cheapest way to get around, then no, they usually are not the best choice.

  3. Default


    When are you thinking of visiting? That will have some effect on what advice to offer you.

    Provided you're happy to share a room that has two double beds then using a car and motels would almost certainly be the least expensive option. Your highest accommodation costs would most likely be in city centres, inside national parks (which in most cases books up months in advance), and in towns close to national parks. You could stay in towns further from parks but then you'd have the cost and time of travelling to balance against any saving. It's to some extent a lifestyle choice (but then most things are). Outside of big cities Motel 6 is generally the best option if you're on a budget (safe, clean, comfortable, but a bit basic) or the mid-price chains such as Super 8 if you want a bit more comfort. And of course some people prefer to move further up-market - another lifestyle choice.

    Have you used Google Maps to plot a provisional route and check the daily mileages? If so, then doubtless you've realised that the Grand Canyon makes it difficult to form a neat loop, especially with only two weeks. It's not really feasible to drive to and from the Grand Canyon National Park from Las Vegas in one day, it would be a lot of driving and very little time at the Canyon. Grand Canyon West (also often called the West Rim) is generally regarded as a very poor relation compared to the national park. Helicopter flights from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon are very expensive and some only go to Grand Canyon West. So regrettably I think you might have to forego the Grand Canyon unless one of the experts here can come up with a cunning plan for you.

    With a baby, you might want to avoid the heat of summer if you have the choice, especially in the desert areas such as Las Vegas.

    Hope this helps a bit.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Creating memories.

    With your children, LV is not really a place to spend a great deal of time. On the other hand, the national parks of Utah are ideal, especially for your ten-year-old. You could skip LV completely, by going from LA to the Grand Canyon, out through the east entrance, through Monument Valley and make your way to Zion (and even Bryce if time permits). Then head straight for Death Valley, where I would merely drive through with a baby on board. Make sure she/he is well hydrated in the desert.

    Every national park to which you come will have a treat for your ten-year-old. Go to the visitor centre and enrol her in the Junior Ranger Program. This will not only give here (and you too) a great appreciation of the park you are visiting, but will give her some great souvenirs to take home.

    If you are not already planning a journal, be sure that your daughter keeps a daily journal of all the things which impressed her that day. 30 minutes at the end of each day. This can of course include drawings, pictures clipped from brochures and photos as well as her thoughts. Great for her to look back on in years to come.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Framework to Work From

    As others have noted, how your RoadTrip eventually shapes up is entirely up to you. But taking you at your word about your starting and ending points and what you want to see, let's set out a basic framework for your routing. You can then see what else you might want to add, either within that framework or within reasonable distances of it.

    Your main route would start out from San Francisco and head for Yosemite using I-580/I-205 to leave the Bay area and then CA-120 eastward from Manteca to Yosemite. After your time in the park continue east on CA-120 over Tioga Pass to US-395 south, a scenic route in its own right. At Lone Pine strike off on CA-136 to CA-190 into and through Death Valley National Park. When you come out onto CA-137 make a short jog to the right and take State Line Road/Ash Meadows Road/Bell Vista Road (all the same road- just the name changes) to Parhump and from there NV-160 into Las Vegas. While there you should at least consider a day trip up to Zion National Park.

    Next up would be your drive through Arizona. From Las Vegas, take US-93 down to Kingman and I-40 east. If you want a bit of an adventure, you can shortly after that exit onto AZ-66 and follow the longest stretch of the old two lane highway, Route 66, through Peach Springs and rejoin I-40 at Seligman. Then at Williams, take AZ-64 up through Grand Canyon National Park exiting to the east at Cameron onto US89 south into Flagstaff. Continue south on Alt-US-89 through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona and then use AZ-179 to get to I-17 and Phoenix. From Phoenix start out on I-10 west past Goodyear to AZ-85 south at Buckeye and take that down to Gila Bend and I-8 west through Yuma to San Diego. Finish off by taking I-5 up to Los Angeles.

    That routing will get you to all the places you listed, but it will also take you by a number of other great sites including Mono Lake after crossing Tioga Pass, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Valley of Fire State Park in the Las Vegas area, Hoover Dam, several National Monuments (Sunset Crater, Wupatki and Walnut Canyon) around Flagstaff, Yuma Territorial Prison State Park, the Salton Sea and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in south central California, Balboa Park in San Diego, and of course the beaches of southern California.


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

    Default Add on's.

    With 2 weeks and an outline as laid out by Buck above, it should lead you to an unforgetable trip. Much will depend on the pace you are happy to travel at, but if you decided to visit Zion NP, [which is a wonderful park] rather than doing it as a day trip from Vegas you would have the option of continuing from Zion towards Page AZ and then south to the Grand canyon. As well as Antelope canyon and Lake Powell near Page you would also have a couple of possible detours to Bryce canyon and Monument valley. It's a very scenic drive without the other detours and you would enter the south rim via the east kiosk and follow the natural path of the Colorado river into the main canyon along Desertview drive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default 2 million might disagree

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    With your children, LV is not really a place to spend a great deal of time.
    I understand your point of view -- just remember that Las Vegas is home to more than 2,000,000 people -- including a bunch of kids -- if the kids are young enough -- it's a nice place to vacation. It's tough for teenagers though.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    My own teens found Las Vegas to be fun -- but only because Mom and Dad bought them passes to the Astrodome. I ended up joining my teens, as I didn't find the casinos to be much fun at all.


Similar Threads

  1. Roadtrip August/September 2014 South and North West
    By Pier75 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 08-11-2014, 01:39 AM
  2. 4 weeks to travel from LA to NYC in June 2014
    By scomac in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 11-08-2012, 09:14 PM
  3. Family road trip - Vegas to Denver (two weeks+)
    By stephanym in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-14-2012, 02:27 PM
  4. Honeymoon West Coast Trip September 2014
    By Lyla Rose Graves in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-27-2012, 06:18 AM
  5. East Coast: 2 weeks trip from NC to NYC in September
    By marlenes in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-24-2010, 01:36 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name