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  1. Default South west loop from San Fransisco


    Myself and 4 friends are planning to do a three week long loop from SF down the coast to San Diego, then head towards Vegas/grand canyon and then back to SF via Yosemite, stopping for whatever/wherever we fancy.
    We're planning to do this as cheaply as possible, at the moment we are thinking of renting a minivan and buying a big tent from walmart or somewhere, then staying in motels/airbnbs for the bigger cities and camping in other places.

    Firstly, does this seem like a decent route to people that know the US?
    and is the time frame quite reasonable for us to take it at a fairly relaxed pace while seeing all there is to be seen on route?
    Is there anything else off route really worth visiting in your opinion?
    we think this works out a lot cheaper than hiring an RV the whole way, because of Rv hook-ups, extra fuel cost, and absurb RV rental costs. does this seem like a cheaper option?

    We would really appreciate your opinions on the route, things to visit, as well as anything cost related that I've mentioned.
    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Basics to Get You Started

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your proposed general route is one of the most popular and comes up for discussion often here. And three weeks is a reasonable amount of time that will let you see a good bit of what it has to offer without feeling overly hurried. As far as 'anything else' that covers an awfully large set of possibilities, so you'd have to be considerably more explicit about what it is you and your friends are looking for.

    Everything you've said you'll do to save money is good, particularly NOT using an RV. There are some more general tips here, although the numbers may be a bit out of date. Best of luck as you continue to plan, and don't hesitate to ask further questions as your itinerary firms up.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A map will show you where it all is.

    You are looking at going into one of the world wonders of nature. So many NPs and other attractions, three weeks will start to sound like 'too little time'.

    My first suggestion is that you check out the area on good paper maps. If these are not available locally, I would strongly urge you to purchase a Rand McNally road atlas - available from the RTA store at the bottom of this page. Order it now and you will have it in a couple of weeks. Once you have the maps of that area, you will begin to realise just how much there is and how often you can stop and explore. Bonus is, the most scenic routes are all hilighted.

    ... then head towards Vegas/grand canyon ...
    Be aware that you will see many tours to the Grand Canyon advertised in LV. Few if any of these go to the National Park. They normally go to or over the West Rim which is on Indian land, and is no where near as spectacular as the South Rim NP. Besides, there is nothing like standing on the rim to look over the canyon. Try to be at the Grand Canyon for a sunset and/or sunrise. Unforgettable experiences. If you would like to camp inside the NP, get onto the NP website now, and reserve a spot as soon as you have your dates worked out.

    Budgetwise you have a great trip ahead of you, but if you want more suggestions besides those linked above, check out this forum. There are also a few threads devoted to comparing the cost of car + hotel vs. RV. Those threads have some great money saving ideas as well.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    The route you describe is more than decent, it's amazing ! You should allow at least 2 days to get from SF to LA and take the coast road around Big Sur, spectacular ! From San Diego you should head to the Grand canyon south rim before going to Las Vegas to save some miles. You should consider an overnight between SD and GC and visit Joshua Tree NP and drive sections of route 66. It depends on the pace you want to travel at, but from GC you could first head north through Page into southern Utah and visit Bryce canyon and Zion NP's before heading south to Vegas. Either way, you could also consider driving out to Monument valley. From Vegas to Yosemite I would plan to stop on the east side of the mountains [Bishop, Mammoth] and drive across Death valley and into Yosemite on Tioga Pass from Mono Lake. (CA120)

    These are very popular spots and although you can easily find quiet places to relax, campgrounds and lodging get booked up early, especially around the National parks, so stopping as and when you please isn't always that simple. You will need to use designated campgrounds, or get wilderness permits which usually involves long hikes, but you can't just pitch your tent anywhere.

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