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  1. Default SJ - Grand Canyon - Las Vegas - Death Valley - SJ road trip with kids in December end

    I am planing a road trip with kids (3 and 9 yrs) from SJ - Grand Canyon - Las Vegas - SJ in the December last week.

    Here is a tentative plan that I was able to come up for now.

    Day 1 : Leave San Jose around noon, reach Barstow via I-5 & CA 58. Overnight at Barstow
    Day 2 : Leave Barstow around 10AM(PST), reach Tusayan 5PM(MST). - Need help in figuring out any local things that can be done?
    Day 3 : Grand Canyon south rim tour. Overnight in Williams - How will be the winter weather. Snow?? Are chains required for sedan type vehicles?
    Day 4 : Leave Williams and drive to Vegas. High Roller at Linq. Overnight fun in Vegas
    Day 5 : Local Vegas. optional Hoover Dam. Overnight in Vegas. Around new year eve.
    Day 6 : Leave Vegas at 10am and reach Death Valley around noon. Local sightseeing. Overnight around - I am not too sure about the Death Valley weather situation post flooding. Scotty's Castle though is closed. What all can be covered in the rest of the day. Also haven't been able to look for accommodation around.
    Day 7 : Death Valley to San Jose. Finally home.

    Trying to fit Sedona into the mix. Will have to leave of Zion & Bryce for a separate trip preferably in summer

    If not Death Valley then I plan to drive to Bakersfield as a break journey from Vegas to SJ. Any other option is welcome as part of break journey?

    Considering the kids and winter please help me review and fine tune the itinerary to add some scenic routes. Don't want to add any more days.


    Thanks
    Last edited by tobe; 12-09-2015 at 12:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Should Be Fun

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your itinerary looks fine and I particularly like the fact that you are allotting realistic times for the drives between various stopping points that will let you make the basic stops for food, fuel, and restroom breaks. So just a few thoughts that might be of help. At any national park(s) or monument(s) you get to, be sure to sign the kids up for the Junior Ranger Program; they'll get some activities to do, learn a bit, and earn some nice (free!) souvenirs. It would just be possible to fit in Sedona on the day you drive from Williams to Las Vegas if you don't mind just sight-seeing at Hoover Dam rather than taking the tour and getting in mildly late. You would need about six hours or so for the drive down through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona and then backtracking to Williams and on to Las Vegas. That would leave you a couple of hours or so to let the kids play a bit at Slide Rock State Park and maybe have lunch in Sedona.

    As for Death Valley, there are a number of short nature-trail type hikes that would be good for a family visit. As always, make your first visit a stop at the Visitor Center to find out what would work best for you on a given day and with current conditions, and to sign up the Junior Rangers. Ideally, you'd like to leave the park with enough time to rive to Bakersfield or thereabouts so that you have an easy drive home on your last day, although even Ridgecrest would be doable without too much trouble.

    As far as winter and chains go. If you're not used to driving in the snow or with chains, a time-constrained family trip is probably not the place to learn. It is possible that the Grand Canyon will see snow in December, but if conditions exceed your comfort level, you'd be better off delaying the visit until another time. To be honest, I actually think that you could do this trip as two separate week-long RoadTrips, one to northern Arizona since there is a ton of stuff to see and do in and around Flagstaff/Sedona, and another to Las Vegas/Death Valley where again there is far more to see than just the two sites you have noted.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 12-09-2015 at 03:33 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    Day 5 : Local Vegas. optional Hoover Dam. Overnight in Vegas.
    It would save you back tracking if you visited Hoover Dam on the way to Vegas from Grand canyon. You could also drive an old section of route 66 through the town of Seligman to Kingman.

    Day 6 : Leave Vegas at 10am and reach Death Valley around noon. Local sightseeing. Overnight around - I am not too sure about the Death Valley weather situation post flooding. Scotty's Castle though is closed. What all can be covered in the rest of the day. Also haven't been able to look for accommodation around.
    From Vegas you could take 160 to Pahrump and take Bell Vista Road just north of town to Death valley junction and onto 190 to Furnace Creek. There is a nice view from Zabriske point on the way and you could detour to Badwater basin, the lowest point in the USA from F. Creek. There are lodgings at Stovepipe Wells [nearby Sand dunes] and Panamint Springs or you could make it to Ridgecrest or Lake Isabella for the night. Check the Death valley NPS site for latest updates on road conditions etc.

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