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  1. Default Las Vegas to San Francisco or LA

    Hi there

    ive been searching this forum for the right answers for a while now. Now ive thought the right thing to do is ask directly :)
    We will be in Las Vegas for a couple of days at the end of march. After our stay in Vegas we are going to san francisco. Between those two stops we have about 2 days.
    The Question is now what should we do, our first idea is to drive from Vegas to San Francisco and visit some cool things on the way or maybe some (or one) national park. Is this possible? What can you recommend for this trip. I know there has been certain threads about this but we are also unsure about the weather at this time of the year. Are the roads open etc.
    Our second idea is to drive to LA from Vegas, spent almost two days there and then drive to SF.

    I woud be very happy to hear some opinions or tipps for our case. Were really not sure what to do :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Keep in mind, it's a full day drive from Vegas to SF, so if you've got 2 days to spare, you've got about one day to enjoy yourself.

    With that in mind, I'd rule out LA from the get go. You'd be adding another half day of driving, so all you'd have is about a half day in LA.

    There are a few options for things closer to the direct route. Certainly, you could spend a day at a National Park. Death Valley, Sequoia, and Yosemite are all within range and you could really visit any one of them. Keep in mind, at this time of year, you'd have to go via Bakersfield to get to either Sequoia or Yosemite, and as both are in the mountains, both have the chance of seeing snow, but both are open year round.

    Another option would be to drive straight over to the coast, around Cambria, and then drive up through Big Sur and Monterey. That would also be a pretty full 2 day trip.

  3. Default

    Thank you for your answer.

    LA is just another option. Either we visit the national parks OR we go to LA. Thats the main point we cant decide on. Wich option is the better one.

    So you would recommend to go from Vegas to Bakersfield, through Death Valley? And then from there to Sequoia or Yosemite?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    It really depends upon how much time you have.

    You originally said you had 2 days available to get from Vegas to SF, and if that's the case, as I said previously, I don't think you have enough time to make the detour to LA worthwhile.

    I also think if that's the case, then you really need to pick just 1 National Park, so you'll have time to enjoy it. If you try to do DV and Sequoia or Yosemite then you'll really only have time to drive through those parks, barely stopping to even take a few pictures.

    Now, if you have more than the 2 days you previously mentioned, then that changes things dramatically.

    If you have more time, then picking between LA and National Parks is completely up to you and your tastes. Myself, I'd pick the National Parks every time, but that doesn't mean that your tastes match mine. If you like exploring cities, and want to see LA, then that might be a good choice, if you have enough time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Another thing to note about LA: the area of urban sprawl is HUGE. It can take 2 hours to go from one point in southern LA to another in northern LA, the city is big and the traffic can be horrible. If you only had a half day to "see LA", you won't see much unless it's all within the same few square miles. I live in San Diego County, go up to LA periodically for a one-day thing, but it takes forever to cross the metropolis of LA's Orange County and the County of Los Angeles.


  6. Default

    Im so happy that this forum really helps big time. Thank all of you :)

    Maybe i wasnt so clear about our schedule. Our plan is to leave Vegas Monday the 28th of March very early in the morning. And we should be in SF the Night from Tuesday to Wednesday. So we have about two days.

    If we choose the National Parks we are clueless about what is the most scenic route at this time of the year. And wich route goes with our time schedule. Whats better DV and Sequoia or Yosemite or something else :)?

    If we choose to go to LA its propably easier to plan but i think our favorite option is to see some nature as well as just cities :)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I think you've been pretty clear on your timeline, and as such our advice really isn't going to change much. I suspect you aren't really appreciating how much time you're going to need just to cover the miles no matter what you plan to do.

    I don't think LA will be easier to plan, because by the time you factor in the drive time, you'll hardly have any time left to actually explore the city. You'd really only have half a day, and in a place as large as the LA area, that's not much time at all.

    Again, you could do any one of the three National Parks mentioned, but I certainly wouldn't try to do more than one, or all you'll have time to do is just drive through them.

    If it were me, I'd probably pick Yosemite, especially being that a spring trip is prime time for waterfalls in the park. If that's your choice, then I'd spend your first day driving from LV to Yosemite, going via Bakersfield, which will take nearly all day by itself. If you can, stay inside the park, that will give you the next morning to explore, before having to depart for SF early in the afternoon.

    You could do something very similar for Sequoia, or if you wanted to do Death Valley, then your first day would mostly be spent exploring the park, but you'd need nearly all of the second day to drive to SF.

    I'd really recommend you spend some time looking at the National Parks website and learning more about each of the parks, so you can decide which looks the most interesting to you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I would forget about LA given your schedule, of the 3 parks I to would head to Yosemite Valley which is spectacular. The only other option would be to take a direct route to the coast and then drive up to SF around Big Sur and enjoy the stunning coastline.

  9. Default

    Thanks again.

    I think the drive from LV to LA takes about 4-5 hours. So if we leave Monday morning we will be there at Midtime on Monday and have until tuesday evening because we can leave LA late and drive through the night to SF. So that would be one and a half day to explore LA. Its still not much time but at least we can visit some places. But like i said, we like the other plan more and will go for the National Parks.

    Thank you for you advice, i will check the Websites of the National Parks. I think Yosemite is the best and its also very good to know that this time of the year is the prime time waterfalls. Our Schedule is really not the best for a road trip but we will make the best of it :)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    No, you would have to leave LA before afternoon rush hour to drive straight through to SF - not a good idea and you won't see anything interesting on I-5. If you wait till evening rush is over, you won't get to SF till 3am, this is NOT safe after being up all day and you won't see anything. Either go to Yosemite (via I-15/CA-58/CA-99/CA-41) or drive from LV to Cambria (via I-15/CA-58/CA-99/CA-46) then up the coast the next day.

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