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  1. Default First Road trip - Ideas

    Hi all,

    Myself and my boyfriend are planning a 3 week road trip to the west coast of America.
    We are looking around July onwards 2017 however would be looking into our planning and budget now!

    I'm personally very vague on exactly where places are and the best ways / time effective ways of visiting places.

    The main places we are wanting to visit are; San Francisco, LA, Yosemitie Park, Death Valley, Gran Canyon & Las Vegas.

    Our personal choices would be to spend at least 3 days in LA & Hollywood & the same again in Vegas. We would also like to include 3 of the days spent in NY, understanding that there will be an extra flight involved in that.

    My main question is the best way to travel to all those places along with any other great sites or places to see along the way? We aren't worried about doing a loop back to where we started as where ever we end up will be taking a flight over to NY anyway.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    A loop generally is the best way to cover all of those places. Such a loop is also the single most popular topic on this forum. Here are some of our favorite discussions about the subject from over the years. Spending a little time reading old threads should give you a good starting point, and then we'll be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

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

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    MAPS. You need paper road maps. They will help you see where things are, in more detail than you'll get by staring at a 15" or even a 5" screen. You can get a good atlas from the RTA store - our personal favorite is the Rand McNally, though others like the other brands.

    Since you are considering budget, a loop trip is usually best on the budget. Fly into the city with the best air fares. Rent (hire) a car there, and do your loop around the West Coast, returning to the city where you flew in. Turn in the car and you won't have a one-way drop fee, which can often be quite expensive on top of your vehicle rental fees. Then fly on to NY from there. BTW, if you're both 25, it will cost you less to rent a car in many states.


    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise
    Posts
    527

    Default

    If you pass by an In 'N Out Burger restaurant, definitely stop and give it a try.

    And, if you can catch some Route 66, well worth it as well, especially Oatman, Arizona.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Perspective of where things are.

    As well as getting good road maps, you might like to get a wall sized map of the USA. Put it where you see it every day, and you will soon get a very good idea of what is where, and the relationship of cities and attractions to each other. I see mine every morning when I wake up.

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 04-13-2016 at 07:12 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default An outline to help get you started.

    As has been said, completing a loop would work well for the list of attractions you want to visit and that way you can see which of the 3 city's offer the best value flights. Your personal choices are the only ones that matter and those at the moment have you spending 10 days in 3 citys including the flight to NY leaving you 10/11 days for your trip. Wherever you start from I would plan it so that you are heading south down the coast between SF and LA as that will put the Ocean on your side of the road. I would certainly recommend you travel the coast highway, but CA1 is slower going so you will need at least 1 overnight stop and might enjoy 2. As well as the natural wonder you might enjoy Monterey and Hearst castle near San Simeon. From LA you would first go to the Grand canyon, which you could do in one day, or you might like to break the journey. Two nights and a day and a half is a nice amount of time at the canyon [south rim] and then you could head to Vegas. After your time in Vegas you could take a drive across the wonderful landscape of Death valley and stop in one of the towns on US395. DV will be very hot but can be enjoyed from the car with short stops, but carry water and sun protection. From US395 you would enter Yosemite via the Tioga Pass [CA120] that crosses the mountains, an amazing drive and should allow plenty of time to have a stroll and enjoy the views. I would recommend at least 2 nights and possibly 3, it's a wonderful place. That leaves you a bit of time over where from Yosemite you could head to Sequoia NP, or north of San Francisco to [Napa valley, Muir woods, Point Reyes] and drive over the Golden Gate bridge. If you done this, before heading over the bridge you could drive up the Marin Headlands on Conzelman road for spectacular views of the Bay area, bridge and City. If we rewind a bit, instead you could instead consider leaving GC to the east and visit Monument valley and then drive through Page AZ to Zion NP before heading to Vegas. You have a good link in the first reply and once you have studied the maps and researched and decide how to go about it, we can help piece together your trip together.

  7. Default

    Thanks everyone for your help.
    Doing a bit more research I think we've decided to fly into Vegas, head over to Death Valley, onto Yosemtie, San Fransisco, LA, possibly San Diego, over to the Grand Canyon then finish back in Vegas.
    If anyone would be so kind I would be interested to know the best (scenic or quickest) routes to take between each of those and possibly places to visit on the way. I can always look at the stop offs or overnight stays between the major stops once I have further ideas of what's around.

    Again thanks for your help, I look forward to any responses!

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

    From Vegas you can take the 'Locals route' to Death valley. Take 160 to Pahrump and just north of town take W. Bell vista Ave to Death valley junction and pick up 190. From there I have described the journey to Yosemite, SF and LA and it's a case of researching for finer detail. There are no 'best' routes, just options and like in the case of Yosemite to SF, you would first need to know where you are setting off from as you could take CA120 or 140. From SD to the GC you may want to break the journey in which case you could visit Joshua tree NP, or you could do the journey in one long day with basic stops. If you have specific questions about any part of your trip, just ask.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    From Vegas you can take the 'Locals route' to Death valley. Take 160 to Pahrump and just north of town take W. Bell vista Ave to Death valley junction and pick up 190. From there I have described the journey to Yosemite, SF and LA and it's a case of researching for finer detail. There are no 'best' routes, just options and like in the case of Yosemite to SF, you would first need to know where you are setting off from as you could take CA120 or 140. From SD to the GC you may want to break the journey in which case you could visit Joshua tree NP, or you could do the journey in one long day with basic stops. If you have specific questions about any part of your trip, just ask.
    Thank you Southwest Dave!!
    Your information has been very helpful, I will look into each route in more detail and if I have any further specific questions I will let you know!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
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    Default Scenic routes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Minnie1992 View Post
    ... I would be interested to know the best (scenic or quickest) routes ...
    Check your maps. You will see all scenic routes marked on your maps and in a road atlas. There is no shortage of them, and in places you will have the choice of more than one.

    Lifey

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