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  1. Default West Coast Road Trip

    First of all Hello!

    My wife an I are planning a trip from South Africa and are looking to experience the sights and sounds of the west coast. We are looking to travel late August / early September. Flying Into/Out of San Francisco.

    This is the route we were thinking!3e0

    We have 18 Days all in all

    San Fran 2 days stay
    Cayucos 1 day stay
    Santa Barbara
    Los Angeles 2 days stay
    (I feel there needs to be a stop over on the way to GC not sure where though or really if it's needed)
    Grand Canyon 2-3 days
    Las Vegas 2 day
    Death Valley 1 Day
    Yosemite via Toiga pass 2 day
    Napa Valley 2 day
    San Fran 1 Day

    This leaves us with 2 day's spare.
    Is this being na๏ve with the distance/timings and I need to relook at what/where we go?

    Thanks for any help!

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

    Default Good job !

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    It's quite obvious you have done your homework and come up with a nice plan. You could get to the GC same day from LA, or at least as far as Williams and travel into the park the following morning. If you didn't want such a long drive you could also look at Kingman. With 2 days spare and possibly a third if you only stayed at the GC for 2 days you could consider heading from GC through Page to Zion NP and then south to Vegas on I-15. Monument valley and Bryce canyon are also possibilities to consider. When you leave Vegas you could consider driving through Death valley and staying the night in Bishop or Mammoth as Death valley will be extremely hot ! It still makes a great drive though with little stops to get out and enjoy the views, just have plenty of water and sun cream and hats.

    From Vegas you can take the 'Locals route' to Death valley by taking 160 to Pahrump and then take W. Bell Vista Ave just north of town to Death valley junction.

    Before crossing the Golden gate bridge, drive up the Marin headlands on Conzelman road for great views of the bridge and city.

    Non of your travel days look to much, but of course you do have to account for the travel time between destinations.

  3. Default

    Thank you for the great advice.
    Would adding Monument Valley after GC make the loop too big? From there Zion then Vegas?

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


    You would leave the South rim along Desertview drive [lots of great viewpoints] to get to Monument valley and then you could travel on to Zion NP. As I mentioned, if you spent just the two days at GC then the extra day and 2 spare days would make MV and Zion viable. For some it would be too much and for many not enough, so it's a case of finding what you are comfortable with.

  5. #5


    Having commuted into Washington, D.C., for thirty years, and around the greater DC metropolitan area (encompassing north of Baltimore to Fredericksburg, Virginia), one of my #1 goals in retirement was to avoid traffic. Two of your major destinations on the west coast leg of your trip are two very large metropolitan areas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The timing of your departures from and into these cities is critical to maintaining a quality-of-life on your road trip!

    Even though traveling west from South Africa favors you in making early morning stops you will still be adjusting to time zone change/jet lag. Recovery periods vary from person to person and your time zone travel experience. Factor this into your planning around major metropolitan areas such as LA and SF. You probably want to arrive to the San Francisco area a day before your flight departure home (even though you may have an evening flight).

    Leg 1, SF to Cayucos via Carmel: Not knowing your exact departure point in San Francisco, I'd suggest Rt.1 (CA-1) via Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Monterey/Carmel (including the 17 Mile Drive on the Monterey/Carmel Peninsula) and continuing on to the Cambria / Cayucos / Morro Bay night stop over. This is a much more scenic drive and will enable a wider experience than the concrete jungle/agricultural valley of Palo Alto / San Jose / Gilroy route. Santa Cruz and Carmel both have old Spanish Missions ( Monterey has a wonderful aquarium. Splitting Leg 1 into two segments, SF to Monterey and Monterey to Morro Bay, will provide a good pace and time to enjoy the sights and sounds of coastal Central California. Cambria and Morro Bay are suggested nightover lodging stops, both good for parking your car and walking around town and to/from dining.

    Leg 2, Cayucos to LA: Once you arrive to Ventura the route on US-101 to Los Angeles is mostly concrete jungle and traffic (unless it is super early in the morning or super late). Once you arrive into greater LA (Simi Valley/Thousand Oaks) all bets are off. Expect delays. Think carefully about choosing lodging in some proximity to your intended destinations. An alternative routing from Ventura to LA is the coastal highway, CA-1, starting from Camarillo (exit at the Camarillo airport/Camarillo Premium Outlets onto South Las Posadas Road and drive until you reach the Pacific Coast Highway, CA-1). PCH will take you to Santa Monica and I-10 via Malibu. Ventura is a good place to stretch your legs and a meal -- plenty of options on the main drag of Main Street (near the San Buenaventura Mission). Easy to get to right off the freeway. Also nearby is a large surfing beach, Surfers Point Park / Ventura Fairgrounds and a long walking area from the pier to the point.

    Have fun!

  6. Default Updated!

    Thanks for the advice, here is the updated route taking into account all suggestions.

    23rd Arrive San Fran 17:00 - stay over
    24th explore – stay over – pick up car
    25th head to Morro Bay . Stop off Monterey , Carmel by the sea. Then onto Morro Bay. Total driving time 5:30 , route , stay the night
    26th Head to LA via Santa Barbra – Total driving time 3:45 (will be longer due to traffic in LA) route , stay the Night
    27th explore – stay over
    28th Leave for Grand Canyon – 8 hour drive route stay night
    29th explore – stay night
    30th Head to monument Valley – 3h drive - route stay night
    31st Head to Bryce Canyon national Park then Zion national Park – 6 hr drive – stay night route
    1st Vegas Baby!! – 2hr 40 drive - route – stay Night
    2nd Vegas – Stay Night
    3rd Death Valley to mammoth mountain lakes - 6 hr drive Route – stay night
    4th explore – stay night
    5th Yosemite – 2hr 42 – route – stay night
    6th explore – stay night
    7th Napa valley 3hr drive – route – stay night
    8th explore
    9th San Francisco via golden gate 2hr – route – stay night
    10th explore – Fly home : 15:50

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Looks good !

    You have a lovely trip to look forward to and I am sure you will enjoy it. We hope you come back and share some of the highlights and pictures with us. [It helps to keep us sane when we are not on the road ourselves]

    Note] Sorry for the delay in reply. The number of links in your post made our Spamware suspicious and held your post in moderation.

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