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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria, Bulgaria
    Posts
    2

    Default Road Trip in NV,AZ,CA Summer 2015

    Hello guys!

    I'm glad I found this website and I hope to find some help here!

    So, my girlfriend and I are planning to visit the US from 18 July to 07 August 2015. We are both students (22 and 23 years old).
    This is our plan

    18.07: Sofia, Bulgaria -> New York
    19.07: New York
    20.07: New York
    21.07: New York
    22.07: New York -> Phoenix. From there pick up our rental car and drive to Sedona.
    23.07: Sedona
    24.07: Sedona -> Grand Canyon National Park. Night in Bright Angel Lodge
    25.07: Gettin up early, watching the sunrise in GCNP and then driving to Zion National Park (arriving around 11am). Rest of the day in Zion. Spending the night in a hotel near by (already booked)
    26.07: Zion National Park -> Las Vegas (LINQ Hotel & Casino - hope the pool will be open by then)
    27.07: Las Vegas
    28.07: Las Vegas -> Death Valley National Park (just get off of the car for couple of photos in Badwater Basin, Dante's view and maybe one more place. 1 hour max in total. We hope we won't die from the heat :D) -> Night in Mammoth Lakes.
    29.07: Getting up early in the morning, Mammoth Lakes -> Tioga pass -> Yosemite National Park. Spending the day there and around 4pm leaving for Fresno,CA (night there)
    30.07: Getting up early, Fresno -> Sequoia National Park, just visit the main places for 2-3 hours -> San Francisco, hotel on Lombard Street
    31.07: San Francisco
    01.08: San Francisco
    02.08: San Francisco -> Monterey, CA
    03.08: Monterey, CA -> Cambria, CA
    04.08: Cambria, CA -> Los Angeles
    05.08: Los Angeles
    06.08: Los Angeles
    07.08: Los Angeles -> Sofia, Bulgaria

    As you may see, our schedule is quite tight. Could I ask for your opinion, what do you think about the trip? Our main concerns are:
    1. We have limited time, these are the maximum number of days we can spend on this trip. (from 18.07 to 07.08)
    2. Will only 2 nights be enough for Vegas, just to see the strip, visit some of the best hotels (Venice, Paris etc.)
    3. Will 3 nights(2 full days) be enough for San Francisco? Our musts there are: Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, Cable cars (don't know other things)
    4. 3 nights in LA? Some friends said that 3 nights in LA will be too much.

    Every kind of help and suggestions will be helpful. Every hotel reservation is with free cancellation (except this in Grand Canyon), so we are able to change the route a bit, if it will be better.

    Looking forward to your answers and thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Something needs to give.

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    Yes your schedule is tight and doesn't really afford you the time the National parks deserve. I would consider taking a day from SF and LA to balance it better. If that is not an option I would drop Sequoia NP and visit the giant trees in Mariposa grove in Yosemite. To try and drive from mammoth to Fresno is going to leave you such little time in Yosemite and when you arrive there, I am sure you will regret not having a night there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria, Bulgaria
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Mariposa Grove is closed this summer, I tought about this too. :/
    If I take 1 night from SF and 1 from LA it leaves me only 1 full day for each city.... completely not enough.
    I am able to take one night from either Monterey or Cambria and place it somewhere near Yosemite.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default It's Your Trip

    When I first read over your itinerary, the thing that struck me most was the amount of time spent in cities vs. the amount of time spent in nature. Clearly you envision this trip as a chance to really experience American culture and only sample our scenic wonders. If that's what you want, and your reply to Dave again indicates as much, that's what you should do. It is perfectly fine to spend just a few hours in each national park that you do get to, and there are activities and short hikes that can be completed in such short time frames at each of them so that you'll feel as though the visit was worthwhile. Understand that you'll still have to pay the full price of admission (typically $20) no matter how long or short you stay. Your present plan to see Grand Canyon, Zion, Death Valley, and Yosemite means that you'd just break even if you bought an annual pass ($80) at the first one you entered, so you should check each park's website for two things: entrance fees and short period activities. That will let you get the most out of your short stays there. I agree with Dave, however, that Sequoia/Kings Canyon really doesn't work for this trip. Instead, use that time to either further explore the cities you'll visit or check out another national park closer to one of those cities such as Point Reyes National Seashore just north of San Francisco or Joshua Tree which can be done as a day trip from Los Angeles.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I'm going to agree with Dave wholeheartedly: you are seriously shortchanging yourself when it comes to the national parks. For the vast majority of people, they aren't a "drive through". To really see a national park, you need to at least stop at the lookout points/scenic pullouts, get out of your car, and look. Some will ask you to walk a few hundred yards or even a little more to see something very worthwhile.

    First point: Sedona to GCNP in a day. It will be 110 miles of half-two-lane, half-four-lane, driving from one to the other. There's about 3 hours (at least), plus time to check in at your hotel and drop your stuff. The next day, it will be 275 miles of all 2-lane driving from GCNP to Zion. While electronic mapping programs tell you that you can drive this in just under 5 hours, don't believe it. Make it about 7. Then you have only what's left of the day to see Zion. You will have to take trams through most of the main part of Zion and GCNP, which takes up more time while you wait for one to arrive and take you to where you want to go next.

    As for Las Vegas, there are things you can do in one day (2 nights) there. You'll just have to decide on your priorities, because you won't be able "to do it all".

    And finally, LA. Once again, there's a place to see a lot or to set your priorities. Three nights, two days, will depend on what you want to see and how close they are to each other. One thing that amazes people is how far apart things are in that metropolis! Just driving from the Disneyland area up to the Hollywood area is a good hour to hour and a half.


    Donna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bra1nSicK View Post
    Mariposa Grove is closed this summer, I tought about this too. :/
    If I take 1 night from SF and 1 from LA it leaves me only 1 full day for each city.... completely not enough.
    I am able to take one night from either Monterey or Cambria and place it somewhere near Yosemite.
    In that case I think that Cambria, or nearby, would be the best area to break the journey down the coast.

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