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  1. Default 2 Weeks LA to LA Roadtrip planning

    Hi I am new here, but thoughtI would post, as I am soooo stuck with our RT.

    First off, i have never been tothe US so I am even more excited and want to see so many things. I know i rund the danger to wanting to do too many things at once, but I have been already cutting out a lot.
    On this trip we don't want to necessarliy go to the theme parks if we can avoid it and to our Party, we are Party of 4 my husband and I and my daughters 17 & 6. Out trip 18th aug - 1st Sep

    So far I planned:

    18th-21st LA (arriving later aft 18th) staying Hollywood area.
    21st - 23rd Kingman (fancy doing the R66 part and visiting oatman, maybe renewing wedding vows here)
    23rd-24th Barstow
    24th - 25th Sequioa (three rivers)
    25th - 27th San fran on way to pacific grove going to the Winchester House
    27th - 29th Pacific Grove/monterey
    29th -30th Pismo Beach
    30th - 1st Calabasas

    Now with the 2nd week I am too unsure. Should we really stay 2 day in san fran an monterey? Or rather plan it diffenrently? My husband did fancy going to Palm springs too, thought visiting Malibu would be good too.
    We initially fancied going to Grand Canyon, but thought at the end its too far out and we would loose 2 days only to rush seeing it.
    For me US is that Wild West Feeling and seeing the open road.

    Please can you Review the trip for me?

    thanks guys

    Yours Sally

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Towns v Grand canyon ?

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    Each trip is unique and it's up to you to make the final decision as to what works for you, but I am struggling to see why you would want to spend 4 days in Kingman and Barstow while thinking the amazing Grand canyon NP was to far away when it's only around 3 hours from Kingman. I know what I would choose ! If it were me I would also consider visiting Yosemite NP and if I had to choose I would prefer it to Sequoia even though that's a tough choice. A wonderful route from Kingman to SF would be to drive through Death valley on 190 and stop on the east side of the Sierra's around Bishop or Mammoth and then drive over the Tioga Pass [CA120] into Yosemite valley, an unbelievably beautiful place. It could be a perfectly relaxed trip but it as I mentioned it is up to you. While in SF you should consider taking a boat trip to Alcatraz Island.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    My thoughts were nearly identical to Dave's, in that it seems very strange that you'd rule out the Grand Canyon as being too far away when you're already going far as Kingman, and not only that, but you're spending a lot of time between Kingman and Barstow. Throw in the fact that arguably the the most preserved sections of Route 66 are between Kingman and the Grand Canyon, and going to GC seems like an obvious decision.

    To put it another way, With the 4 days you've already planned for that section of the trip, you'd could see both GC and drive Route 66, and still have spent more time on both than many travelers do.

    Similarly, it seems as if you're giving yourself a full week to drive from SF back to LA. While that's fine, that's also a lot more time that a lot of people take for it. Again, it's not that you couldn't really enjoy things at that pace, and perhaps that pace is just how you like to travel - and if so, that's great, but I think there's certainly room to consider places like the Grand Canyon and Yosemite that are so close to your current plan, that you aren't including right now.

    I guess I would also at least reconsider the idea of completely skipping the theme parks. Again, you know your family better than anyone, and certainly I'm as big of a supporter of enjoying nature on a roadtrip as anyone, but I also would be a little surprised if your kids wouldn't also consider visiting Universal Studios or Disneyland a top highlight of a trip to California. The larger point being, make sure your kids are taking an active roll in the planning. If it's not their thing, then there's no reason to go, but also be careful not to rule them out just because they don't fit into your idea of exploring the open road.

  4. Default

    Thank you both so much. I agree with you and I guess my inexperience Shows in the planning :-)

    The reason I cut out GC was initally we planned driving LA to GC was too far, at least it Looks on the map, then driving GC to SF too. I would love to go to Death Valley, but was told that it be far too hot and some renting companies wouldnt allow us to drive through it in August.

    We will go to Alcatraz ofo course when there, wouldn't like to miss it.

    Also someone had told me that we should stay everywhere if possible at least 2 nights, hence the 2nd week planning.

    BTW it should have been 2 days Kingman and 1 barstow. thought 1 day will be travelling to kingman getting there late , staying over and spending the day around there (Oatman etc) the leaving aafter the 2nd night towards Barstow. (stopping along the way, maybe calico). Leaving Barstow driving to Three Rivers as journey to SF or Yosemite would be too Long I thought

    Our original plan was LA-Palm springs or Lake Havasu - Phoenix-GC- drive through Vegas-Yosemite or Seq- SF- then Hw1 to LA.
    Then we were told that Phoenix is too far out, so we cut that out. Felt that GC we were then going to double up on us and loose time, but wanted to do still some part of it.

    GEtting really frustrated now with it, as I do want to see all, but none of us has been before and we are just going by hearsay and what we read. So I thought I would post here, hoping that you guys could tell me how and what I should do.

    With having Kids it is of course bit difficult to run in and out of the car and drive 10 hour days. So we try to make it comfortable

    How would you suggest it makes sense. We would of course like to see as much as we can. It is our 10th wedding anniversary and we have been looking Forward to this trip so much.

    If we go to a theme park it will be Universal I think, as the ques are supposed to be shorter then the Disney ones and it gives us more "Age" variety, with my daughter bein 17 Disneyland might not be her thing :-)

    thanks to all your Input it really is helping me.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by Sallysdream
    Also someone had told me that we should stay everywhere if possible at least 2 nights, hence the 2nd week planning.
    I don't think that's the best advice on a trip like this. The idea behind it isn't a bad one - if you stay every place at least 2 nights, you're much less likely to overdo things, and it gives you a chance to dig into an area. When I'm doing a camping trip, I find it's also helpful, just because it eliminates some setup/tear down time.

    However, for you, when you're doing a loop, I don't think it's as important - especially when driving new roads is a lot of what you are looking to do. For example, if you want to explore the section of Route 66 east of Kingman, you could drive it, and then double back to Kingman so you can spend 2 nights there, or with roughly the same amount of driving, you could just finish your day at the Grand Canyon.

    Now, there will still be times where you may want to spend 2 nights - for example, if you plan to get to the Grand Canyon after a day of exploring Route 66, then it would make sense to spend 2 nights there, so you have all of the day to explore the park.

    I've never heard of a car rental company restricting access to Death Valley. Its not uncommon with RVs, but I didn't get the impression this is an RV trip.

    I've never thought of Disneyland as a place just for younger kids - especially not with the number of friends I have in their 20's and 30's who don't have kids, and regularly do Disney for their vacations. However, my larger point with the theme parks is that you should be talking with your kids about what they want and they should be taking an active roll in the planning. The more they are involved, the more they'll get out of it.

    Don't let the planning get you frustrated - it really can be a fun part of the process as you debate which things you should do, and get excited for all of the possibilities.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Suggestions.

    Hey your trip will be fine, there are no bad choices so enjoy the planning ! Death valley will be hot but it's a great landscape that can be enjoyed just driving through with a couple of brief stops.

    Here follows one of many alternatives which might help you to plan while 'tweaking' it to suit your own preferences.
    From LA to Kingman you could have a nice drive through Amboy and Oatman with a possible trip through Joshua Tree NP. From Kingman it's not far to the south rim where you could spend the night in, or close to the park. Tusayan or another route 66 town of Williams. So that would be the 23rd I believe.
    24th. Drive towards Death valley, stay Boulder, Las Vegas or overnight in Pahrump. Drive another section of route 66 to the 'quirky' town of Seligman.
    25th. Continue through Death valley and north on US395 to Bishop, Mammoth Lakes.
    26th.To Yosemite Valley.
    27th. Yosemite and onto San Fran.
    28th. San Fran
    29th to Monterey
    30th. To Cambria/Pismo Beach.

    As I said it's only meant as a guide to help you see how you could include Grand canyon and possibly Joshua Tree and you could also consider leaving LA during the afternoon [avoiding rush] of the 21st and drive to Palm Springs or Twenty Nine Palms for the night. Maybe then drive direct to the Grand canyon and make an extra day in the coast.

  7. Default

    thanks so much. I have been looking at your Suggestion for a few days now and have a question.

    Do you mean

    18-21st LA
    21-22 Kingman
    22--23 GC
    23-24 LV
    24-25 Mammoth Lakes
    25-26 Yosemite

    To me that is a lot of 1 day trips, with Kids packing -unpacking could become a bit of a nightmare.
    Also is it possible to dive mammoth to yosemite over the 395 to the 120 to San Fran? when i put it into Google maps it never gives me the Option to drive the 120, just the 395 till Fales Hot Spring.

    Thanks again for the advice

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Google likely isn't giving you the option of going over 120 right now because that is Tioga Pass, which is closed for winter.

    I wouldn't do Mammoth to SF in one day because it means you'd basically be driving through Yosemite without having time to stop and enjoy it. You could drive from Vegas to Yosemite in one day, without the stop in Mammoth. If Vegas isn't a priority, you could also look at driving from GC to Death Valley in one day.

  9. Default

    todrive through vegas is totally fine.
    Where in Death Valley would you stay ? then leave to yosemite is the better Option and try and stay somewhere agian for 2 nights instead of one nighters.

    Will 2 nights be enough in san fran? to do the usual GoldenGate, alcatraz, see some City ...maybe cable cars

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    To me that is a lot of 1 day trips, with Kids packing -unpacking could become a bit of a nightmare.
    You'll learn to bring in only what you need from the car and live out of the suitcase, most likely. When we traveled with our kids, that's when "packing light" was a good motto. We'd bring in the overnight suitcase and anything that might attract someone to break into our car. This is a much better alternative than staying two nights somewhere where you don't have much planned for the full day between.


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