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  1. Default Help! First Timer going from LA - San Fran - Las Vegas - San Diego - LA

    A big hello to all the forum members and contributors from Scotland! Myself, wife, daughter (24) and son (10) are travelling from Scotland to your lovely country for road trip holiday. I see from other threads on here that you guys would prefer to see the full trip so you can advise accordingly (as opposed to me breaking it down into chunks). The loose plan at the moment is as follows:

    1) Hire car at LAX when we land at 7pm on the 5th April.(Looks like we've got a Ford Escape - hope this is man enough for the trip...advice welcome!) Stay in LA for 2 nights.

    2) Leave on the 7th am and drive up Highway 1 to San Luis Obispo, with a stop at Santa Barbara or anywhere else we see along the way (again, advice welcome!). Stay the night of the 7th in San Luis Obispo

    3) Drive to Monterey and stay there the night of the 8th. Do the aquarium (the wee fella loves sea creatures!), then drive to San Francisco late afternoon/evening.

    4) Stay 3 nights in San Francisco (suggestions welcome on what to do whilst here- Alcatraz and Pier 39 on the cards so far), then drive to Las Vegas

    5) Depending on advice from the good people of this forum, I'm looking to see how long we should take to go to LV. I would love to see Yosemite NP and Death Valley, but not too sure of what is possible at this time of year. Do it in a day - 1 night, 2 nights? I don't want to miss anything major....I'm reading that the Tiago Pass will be closed in April.

    6) Going to spend a few nights in Vegas, then drive to San Diego (the wee fella wants to do the zoo!), then back to LA for a flight home on the 19th.

    I'm looking for any suggestions, comments or ideas on the above from the experts on here. I think we are reasonably well sorted for the first part of the trip from LA to San Fran....but the rest is a bit harder.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A couple of ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by marcoos_1 View Post
    A big hello to all the forum members and contributors from Scotland! Myself, wife, daughter (24) and son (10) are travelling from Scotland to your lovely country for road trip holiday. I see from other threads on here that you guys would prefer to see the full trip
    Welcome to the Road Trip Advice forums! And thanks so much for reading some of the threads before posting!

    I want to go to Scotland someday soon -- you might be surprised to find me on your doorstep.

    LA is a pretty fascinating sort of place -- so much variety -- beside the zoos, what sorts of things interest you the most in urban settings?

    I would actually suggest staying overnight at Cayucos -- it's friendly and relatively inexpensive

    Definitely, go to Steamer Lane and the surfing museum What is really unusual -- is that the surfing break is almost on the rocks and you can see world-class surfers (if the conditions are right) right from the walkway.

    Tioga Pass will certainly be closed. But you should be able to get through on US-50 and then US-395 to Death Valley. I really enjoyed the Dow Villa at Lone Pine -- a good stop on your way to Death Valley. Don't miss driving through the Alabama Hills!

    Las Vegas is my home town. Lots to do here too.

    Enjoy the planning!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I would advise you to reverse the direction of your trip, so you will be driving southbound along the coast. That way, the scenic pullouts will be on your side of the road.

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

    Default SF to LV. 3 nights would be good.

    You will need at least 2 nights to go via Yosemite and Death valley but that's not really enough to enjoy the natural raw beauty of these places and that's taking into consideration your home is Scotland ! I would take 3 nights, spending one in or close to Yosemite, another a little way south of Yosemite after a day of exploring [perhaps Fresno area] and then if you want to visit the Alabama hills as recommended by Mark, in the town of Lone Pine. [Alabama hills are cool ! ] Then you can drive across Death valley to Vegas. That still has you driving right by Sequoia NP from Fresno if you don't mind long days, or better still can spare one more night.

    The waterfalls will be flowing in Yosemite and it will be an amazing sight !

    Depending on how much time you wish to spend in Vegas, you may want to consider visiting the Grand canyon NP at the south rim, spend a night and then go direct to San Diego. If you are considering a tour from Vegas keep in mind that most do not go to the National park, instead they go to the west rim which is nowhere near as spectacular as the 'real thing'.

  5. #5


    Marcoos, you made the correct choice driving Rt. 1 from/to LA. Be sure to time your departure before rush hour if possible (early a.m., like 6am, if possible unless you are north of Santa Monica). Most of the traffic flow is headed south into LA, but until you clear the Malibu Pier there will be congestion. You can grab breakfast & coffee in the Point Dume Plaza Shopping Center area.

    The Malibu Pier is worth a stop if you can find parking and traffic isn't too bad.

    San Luis Obispo is home to one of the old Spanish Missions. Also a good town for grub & suds. A good engineering university resides in SLO.

    Another lodging option is further up the road in Morro Bay and Cambria, both nice towns for sleep overs and stretching your legs. Morro Bay is on the ocean, great haystack.

    Have fun!

  6. Default

    Hey All,

    Thanks for all your input thus far, it is very much appreciated. I hope I can advise you all on a road trip to Scotland one day!!! (apologies, I should have said my name is Mark). Ok, this is very fluid and I have yet to add in some of the suggestions you guys have made, but I'd like your thoughts on the overall "feasibility" of what we have put together so far. I'm trying not to aim for too much driving each day (I would if I were on my own, but I need to think of the others in the car!). The times and mileages I have here are from google, and obviously don't take into account traffic and stops along the way. It does give me an indication of exactly how many miles I NEED to do each day to reach my destination/hotel. I'm going to try and post this as a word table....hope it works. As always....ideas, suggestions, criticism all welcome....

    Date Destination Mileage Drive Time (approx.) Route
    Tues 5th Land in LA 0
    Wed 6th Stay in LA 0
    Thurs 7th San Luis Obispo 189 3hrs 10 mins 101
    Frid 8th Monterey 142 3hrs 15 mins Highway 1
    Sat 9th San Francisco 119 2hrs 11 mins Highway 1
    Sun 10th San Francisco 0
    Mon 11th San Francisco 0
    Tues 12th Camp Richardson? 186 3hrs 20mins 50
    Wed 13th Lone Pine 237 4hrs 24mins 395
    Thur 14th Las Vegas 232 3hrs 50 mins 395, 190, 373, 95
    Frid 15th Las Vegas 0
    Sat 16th Las Vegas 0
    Sun 17th San Diego 331 5hrs 12 mins 15
    Mon 18th San Diego 0
    Tues 19th LAX for return 124 2hrs 8 mins 5, 73

    OK, it didn't work....I hope it makes sense all the same...

  7. Default

    sorry guys....I did format and tab all the above info into the correct columns, but it disappeared when I posted it....

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

    Default Camp Richardson ?

    So have you decided to drop visiting Yosemite or is there a Camp Richardson nearby ? The one I know of is near South Lake Tahoe and between there and Lone Pine you will be on the wrong side of the mountains to visit Yosemite valley.

  9. Default

    Hi Dave,

    Its very fluid at the moment. The part I'm struggling with is the fact that Tiago Pass will be closed, so on the advice of the forum it's going the long way round on 50, then down the 395. My wife doesn't want to take three nights from San Fran to Vegas,so I was trying to break it into manageable chunks. We would certainly like to see Yosemite though. Can you propose a suitable route for this, or does that require a 3 night trip? Going the long way around I guess is part of the the 120 is shut...and I don't think any of the other "cut across roads" suh as the 88, 4 or the 108? This is probably a stupid question.....but looking at my map is there any other way in or routé to Yosemite if coming down the 395?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    As I explained in my earlier post, staying south of Yosemite would be the way to go if you want to see Yosemite. With only 2 nights you won't have a lot of time, but if you left SF early enough you could drive around the valley with a few short stops and then head to Oakhurst in the evening. You would then continue south via Bakersfield to Lone Pine.

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