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  1. Default [Seeking advice on planning/priorities] 3 weeks - 4 southwest states

    Hi everyone! Thanks for this great forum, it's provided us with a lot of information so far.

    A couple of weeks ago we, a Dutch/Finnish couple, booked our tickets and will be flying from Amsterdam to LAX in May for 23 days. We've been trying to figure out how to spend our time and have come up with an itinerary and would greatly appreciate some input about our division of time. While we've read a lot about the different parks and cities, for an outsider it is quite hard to judge what is not really worth visiting (because it is too similar / time can be better spend) or which spot needs way more time than we have planned.

    Below is our itinerary, feedback is greatly appreciated :) We promise to make an awesome travel blog with photos and tips for future travel-planners who wanna take learnings from it.

    Days 1-4
    Arrive in Los Angeles (LAX) 15.00
    Driving to San Diego in the evening of day 4

    Days 5-6
    San Diego
    Driving to Phoenix (or Scottsdale) in the morning / afternoon day 7

    Days 7-8
    Phoenix/Scottsdale in the evening of day 7 / morning of day 7
    Driving towards Grand Canyon afternoon / evening of day 8

    Days 9-10
    Grand Canyon
    Driving towards Zion National Park in the evening of day 9

    Day 11
    Zion National Park
    Driving towards Las Vegas in the evening

    Days 12-13
    Las Vegas

    Day 14
    Driving through Death Valley

    Days 15-16
    Yosemite National Park
    Driving closer to San Francisco in the evening of day 16

    Days 17-19
    San Francisco

    Day 20
    Driving down the coast - stop at Monterey and sleep somewhere along the way

    Days 21-22
    Santa Barbara / Oxnard / Malibu area

    Day 23 Return day
    Flight back from LAX (18.00)

    Thanks,

    /Richard
    Last edited by HowMuchFurther?!; 01-24-2016 at 11:39 AM.

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

    Default Enjoy time in the National parks.

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    You have a nice trip to look forward to and have obviously done your research. when you say "Driving towards in the evening " I am not sure how far you plan to get, but the Grand canyon for instance, you should stay in or close to the park to get time to enjoy it fully. The same goes for Yosemite, why leave on day 15 when you don't plan to be in SF until day 17. Just stay at Yosemite and enjoy these magnificent National parks. Also remember that distances are often further than you think in the US, and although your trip is doable don't be fooled by travel times you might find on Google maps for example, it's usually best to add at least 20% travel time plus any sight seeing.

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

    Default

    Days 5-6 San Diego Driving to Phoenix (or Scottsdale) in the morning / afternoon day 7
    Allow 7 to 7-1/2 hours for this drive from San Diego to Scottsdale, depending on where in SD you are starting. A good halfway point is Yuma, with many restaurants and gas stations right off Exit 2. Of course, it will be HOT once you come down out of the mountains that are east of San Diego (easy drive).

    Days 9-10 Grand Canyon Driving towards Zion National Park in the evening of day 9
    I think you mean you're staying in Grand Canyon for the full day of Day 9 and then driving on the 10th day toward Zion? Bear in mind that's a 260 mile trip on non-interstate quality roads, through some gorgeous country.

    Day 11 Zion National Park Driving towards Las Vegas in the evening
    Personally, I think you're short-changing yourself here. Zion is gorgeous and deserves a full day. It's about 160 miles from Zion down to LV, through another beautiful scenic area called the Virgin River Gorge. If you do that at night, you won't see it.



    Just my opinion. There's so much difference between Grand Canyon, Zion, and Virgin River Gorge, that I would never get tired of any of the 3.


    Donna

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    You have a nice trip to look forward to and have obviously done your research. when you say "Driving towards in the evening " I am not sure how far you plan to get, but the Grand canyon for instance, you should stay in or close to the park to get time to enjoy it fully. The same goes for Yosemite, why leave on day 15 when you don't plan to be in SF until day 17. Just stay at Yosemite and enjoy these magnificent National parks. Also remember that distances are often further than you think in the US, and although your trip is doable don't be fooled by travel times you might find on Google maps for example, it's usually best to add at least 20% travel time plus any sight seeing.
    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for the taking the time to read & reply!

    Regarding "Driving towards Grand Canyon" we had not decided yet if we would want to spend the night around Sedona, or closer to the Grand Canyon/GC Village.

    In the section Yosemite it should have said "Driving closer to San Francisco in the evening of day 16" instead of day 15, so you are definitely correct we want to spend more time here.

    The driving time is indeed something I was worried about because we have nothing to base it on besides google maps. Will take your 20% rule into account!

    Appreciate your input.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Allow 7 to 7-1/2 hours for this drive from San Diego to Scottsdale, depending on where in SD you are starting. A good halfway point is Yuma, with many restaurants and gas stations right off Exit 2. Of course, it will be HOT once you come down out of the mountains that are east of San Diego (easy drive).

    I think you mean you're staying in Grand Canyon for the full day of Day 9 and then driving on the 10th day toward Zion? Bear in mind that's a 260 mile trip on non-interstate quality roads, through some gorgeous country.

    Personally, I think you're short-changing yourself here. Zion is gorgeous and deserves a full day. It's about 160 miles from Zion down to LV, through another beautiful scenic area called the Virgin River Gorge. If you do that at night, you won't see it.

    Just my opinion. There's so much difference between Grand Canyon, Zion, and Virgin River Gorge, that I would never get tired of any of the 3.

    Donna
    Hi Donna, of course also greatly appreciate your time and input :)

    Noted your tip about the SD - Scottsdale drive.

    If I understand you correctly we should try to schedule in more time around, and in, Zion park? We still have a bit of extra time that we can allocate so we'll look closer into that. Completely agree on the night-drive - had not thought of that!

    Thanks a lot!

    /Richard

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Bit Urban-Centric

    Welkom! Tervetuloa!

    If you look at the variety of places you plan to visit, then by simple numbers you have a good mix of cities and natural attractions. But on closer inspection it seems as though most of your time, roughly two-thirds of it, is spent in the cities or in the process of driving between sites. If that's really what you want to do then that's fine, but you are traveling to an area of the world that has a number of nature's finest scenic wonders and my own experience in travel has been that more often than not a city is a city is a city. If I were planning this itinerary, I'd send less time in Los Angeles at both ends of it as well as in Phoenix and use that time to explore more of the national parks/monuments/preserves in northern Arizona, southern Utah and the California deserts.

    Anyway, that's my take on what "is too similar" and where "time can be better spent".

    AZBuck

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