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  1. Default LA - San Fran - Las Vegas - San Diego

    We are travelling to the States during December/ January. We are doing a road trip from LA to San Fran to Las Vegas and lastly to San Diego. Any suggested routes. Want to stay 3 nights in San Fran and 3 nights in Vegas. Happy to stay along the way to break trip as travelling with 3 little ones. Any chance of going through Mammoth? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Basics of That Routing

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    This is a RoadTrip that comes up fairly often in one form or another, but usually not in the winter. Unfortunately your dates of travel will mean that Tioga Pass will be snowbound and you will not be able to really get to Yosemite or Mammoth Lakes without a great deal of backtracking, so I wouldn't try to include them in this trip. Instead, concentrate on what you can get to and where the weather will be more inviting than in the mountains. From Los Angeles to San Francisco, head up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH, CA-1) through San Luis Obispo, Cambria, Big Sur and Monterey. Your kids will especially like the seal and sea lion rookeries along the coast and the Aquarium in Monterey. An overnight is recommended on this leg particularly if you plan to visit either the Hearst Castle in San Simeon or the Aquarium.

    Next up would be the long leg from San Francisco to Las Vegas. You'll have to go around the Sierra Nevada to the south using I-5 down to Bakersfield and then CA-58 to cut over to Barstow and I-15 up into Vegas. This can just be done in one long (560 miles) day of driving. But with an early enough start, that's what I'd recommend. I'd also suggest that you take the family up into Death Valley one day while you're in Las Vegas as this is a case where being a winter visitor definitely works in your favor to keep the temperatures to a very tolerable level.

    Your final leg to San Diego is another place where you should plan on two full days and an overnight. That would allow you to take US-93 down to the Hoover Dam, cross it, and continue to the Grand Canyon for an all too brief but oh so memorable visit. Bed down for the night in Flagstaff and if you have time tour the Lowell Observatory (where Pluto was discovered) or the Museum of Northern Arizona. Then the next day drive Down through Phoenix, take I-10 past Goodyear and AZ-86 down to join I-8 at Gila Bend. I-8 will than take you through Yuma (take the kids through Yuma Territorial Prison) and on into San Diego where Balboa Park should be tops on your list.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 06-11-2014 at 07:21 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Time is key.

    If you are actually finishing yur trip in LA, I would consider going to SD first and then to Vegas, SF and head south down the coast. This would put the Ocean on your side of the road as you head south. I would allow for 2 overnight stops on this leg with Monterey and Cambria areas being popular choices.

    If you have the time available, which you haven't told us of, I would also recommend a night at the south rim of the Grand canyon NP. If you were planning on taking a tour from Vegas [often the case] then be aware that most do not go to the NP, instead they got to the west rim on Indian lands which is nowhere near as spectacular and is more costly. It would be a long day on the road from Flagstaff to SD with 3 young ones but not impossilble by any means. If you could break the journey with another overnight then you could visit Joshua Tree NP and stay in 29 Palms/Palm Springs.

    If you really wanted to stay in Mammoth Lakes you would have to continue north to US50 to get to SF as the other passes will almost certainly be closed for the season. You would have more risk of seeing ice and snow conditions near the mountains and seeing disruption. If you go around the south as mentioned by Buck, I would still break the journey up with 3 young ones in tow and visit Death valley between SF and LV rather than doing it as a day trip from Vegas. The Lake Isabella area could work well to break the journey and give yourself some time in DV.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Is Legoland the end reward of the trip?

    Definitely consider the routing Dave has suggested, though it may mean Legoland at the beginning, rather than the end of the trip. (With three little ones, I am assuming that is where you are heading.)

    See if you can stay a night in Death Valley to give the children a chance to see the stars like they have never seen them before. It is a wonderful sight.

    I'd also second the thought of going to the South rim of the Grand Canyon. Nothing else like it on earth.

    From where are you flying into LA?


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