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  1. Default California road trip Itinerary suggestions

    Hello,
    I just discovered this forum and going through all the relevant threads and planned the below Itinerary. This is just a starting point and would like to see if you suggest anything different. I will be travelling with my wife, in-laws and a 3 year old.
    The trip will be in June and hopefully the Tioga pass is open by then.

    Day 1 Fly into Vegas from East Coast
    Day 2 Las Vegas
    Day 3 Vegas - Death Valley - Tioga Pass - Yosemite
    Day 4 Yosemite
    Day 5 Yosemite - Napa and overnight in Napa
    Day 6 Napa - San Francisco
    Day 7 San Francisco
    Day 8 San Francisco - Los Angeles ( Pacific Coast Highway )
    Day 9 Los Angeles
    Day 10 Los Angeles
    Day 11 Los Angeles - Phoenix
    Day 12 Phoenix
    Day 13 Phoenix- Grand Canyon South Rim
    Day 14 Grand Canyon - Las Vegas - Fly out at Night

    Any advise is greatly appreciated.. Thanks.

    -Sam.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've got a couple days that are challenging to impossible.

    Vegas to Yosemite in a day is possible, but it's very much an all day drive. You would basically only be able to drive through Death Valley on the most direct route, without time to stop in DV, at any of the towns along US-395, or even to enjoy the views along Tioga Pass. I'd really recommend spending a night along the way here.

    San Francisco to LA in one day is only possible if you skip the coast. If you want to travel via the Pacific Coast, you need at least 2 full days to factor in the slow travel times and traffic, not to mention to have any time to enjoy the views.

    There's really not an obvious spot I could tell you to cut, but I'd probably look at eliminating Phoenix as being the easiest way to make up a little bit of time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Is there a reason you're going to Phoenix? That could be one idea to get more time: eliminate Phoenix. Like Las Vegas and Death Valley, it's HOT there in June. There are a few things to see and do there, but you'd pretty well want to be looking at indoors stuff.

    Michael is also correct about the Las Vegas/Tioga Pass/Yosemite day. It's also a possibility that you'd have to go around the "long way" if the Pass is closed. I've been to Yosemite 3 or 4 times, and have yet to get to go up that way. The road/pass has been closed every time, and two of those trips were in June! Still, with the winter we've had here in CA, it's quite a possibility that the Pass *could* be open. So you'll want to plan for both contingencies.

    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

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    Between Death Valley and Yosemite, Bishop has the best selection of hotels, and it's only about 2 hours into Yosemite from there. If you have to go around the long way to the south, look at Lake Isabella. Between SF and LA, look at everything between San Simeon and Morro Bay.

    LA to the Grand Canyon can be done in one day.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Freeing up a little more time.

    Agreed, unless Phoenix is a must see for you, it would be the most obvious to eliminate. To loosen up a little more time, you could skip Napa Valley, unless you are all really wine buffs. Or you might take a day from LA.

    The problem as you have it is that you would spend all this time (and money) to just rush through all these magnificent places without actually have time to see and enjoy them.

    In Death Valley there are several places you will want to see. But with a three year old you will not want to spend too much time out of the airconditioned car. It will be very very hot in June. Leave LV at the crack of dawn.

    For the rest I'd follow the advice above. Bishop is a lovely place.

    Lifey

  6. Default

    Thanks for all the great replies. The only reason I was planning on going to Phoenix is to visit some relatives who are not going to be happy If I plan a west coast trip without Phoenix. :(.
    If I can eliminate Phoenix, I would take up the advise to stop at Bishop assuming Tioga Pass is open.
    Any particular place along Pacific Coast that we can stop mid way through LA? Also, Can we leave early from Yosemite and visit a vineyard in Napa and reach SFO by night or is too ambitious?

    Thanks again for all the quick responses and I am glad that I found this forum.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    If Phoenix cannot be dropped to visit relatives - I quite understand. What about LA? Is that a must see? You could go down the Pacific Coast Highway, stop half way and then head inland to by pass LA and head directly for Phoenix/Grand Canyon. That would free up time to really enjoy the national parks, and Napa and give the three year old more time out of the car..

    Lifey

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

    Default

    Any particular place along Pacific Coast that we can stop mid way through LA?
    I posted this before:

    Between SF and LA, look at everything between San Simeon and Morro Bay.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Phoenix to LA ?

    Have you considered flying into Phoenix and out of LA ? The upside is you would have a little more time by going Phoenix >GC>LV>DV>Yosemite> SF>LA but the downside is possible one way drop off fees on your car rental. Might be worth pricing up.

    If not, you may be able to make up the night between SF and LA by driving from Yosemite to Napa and into SF same day.

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