Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. Default San Francisco -> LA -> Las Vegas - September

    Hello all!

    Looking for some help in planning our road trip for September. We are looking to fly to San Fran from the uk and make our way dow to LA then onto Vegas and then fly home total trip being 14 nights.

    What is the best route and itinerary to take? Want to do as much as see as much as possible in the 2 weeks! Also where is bestir car hire and any recommended hotels along the way would be appreciated!!


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

    Default A great loop trip.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Must you end in LV ? Why I ask is that this trip is almost designed to create a great loop and see some great highlights. You also have the benefit of being able to choose to start and finish from one of the 3 city's that offers the best flight deals from the UK. For car rentals it just makes sense to shop around and book on-line as that's usually the cheapest option for overseas visitors to the US. We have always found to offer the best deals so once you have found a good deal, compare it with them.

    Now back to the trip, why a loop works so well is that you get to see some natural wonders as well without having to zig-zag or back track, you will find loads of info searching the forums, but here is a popular trip outlined.

    SF to LA via the coast which will require at least one overnight stop, two for a more relaxed pace. From LA head to the Grand canyon NP south rim. Do not be tempted to take a tour from Vegas, most of the 'Grand canyon' tours do not go to the National park, instead they go to the West rim on Indian lands which is nowhere near as spectacular. Spend a night in GC and witness a sunset and sunrise. From GC to Vegas via route 66 through Seligman and Hoover dam. From Vegas drive across the amazing landscape of Death valley and head north on US395 towards Bishop and Lee Vining, plan to stop overnight. Then drive the amazing Tioga pass into Yosemite valley, a true great of natural beauty and spend a couple of days exploring before heading back to SF.

    There are many other options such as Monument valley and/or heading into Southern Utah for Bryce canyon and Zion NP's if you like to travel at a faster pace, so do your research and when you have some ideas and new questions crop up, just ask.

  3. Default


    Thanks you for your reply. Never really though of doing a loop...but now you have described it, it does seem a lot better.

    So how long would you advise staying in each area? Maybe 3 nights in San Fran, LA and Vegas and use the rest of the nights to stop off and do other stuff?

    Basically just want to know what the must see's are and an idea of best itinerary and we can build our trip around that.

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

    Default It depends on you.

    There is no single 'best itinerary' or single 'Must see', that's the beauty of creating your own road trip to suit your tastes. Of course we are here to help and if you want to spend a majority of your time in the city's that's fine, but that doesn't leave much time for anything for the travelling in between. As I mentioned, you would need at least one night to stop over between SF and LA to be able to travel the scenic coast road. It would be a full day to the GC from LA, so I would suggest 2 nights nearby to spend a full day there, although it's possible to spend 1 night and leave mid afternoon to drive to Vegas. From Vegas back to SF via Death valley and Yosemite would need at least 2 overnight stops and more relaxed with 3 to really enjoy Yosemite. A couple of nights in each city would be plenty for me as I prefer the open spaces and exploring the best of what nature has to offer, it's just a case of fitting your plans into the time you have available and whether your first night is your arrival day and what time your flight on the last. From wherever you start out you could get a convenient hotel for the night to rest after the flight and then hit the road next day and spend your last couple of nights exploring that city while winding down for the homebound flight.

  5. Default La -> la

    Hello everyone

    Still trying to plan best route to do the west coast in sept. Flights to LA are the cheapest for our dates so plan on doing loop from there. I stumbled across the below itinerary on Virgin and wondered if it was any good? Or anything you would add or not do?

    Basically want to do the best route possible in 14 nights LA -> LA

    Day 1: Arrive Los Angeles
    Fly to Los Angeles from the UK and on arrival pick up your hire car. Upon check in; please ask the hotel reception for your ATI Tour documentation pack which will include your tour essentials. Accommodation stay – 1 night at the Garland Hotel or similar.

    Day 2: Los Angeles - Palm Springs
    Make your way south towards Anaheim, Orange County’s fun capital. Spend some time enjoying the iconic characters at Disneyland Park, visit Knott’s Berry Farm, the nation’s oldest theme park, or take your pick of any number of Anaheim’s numerous attractions, before continuing your journey on to Palm Springs. Nestling beneath the slopes of San Jacinto Mountain, this desert playground provides the perfect blend of outdoor entertainment and relaxation. Try one of Palm Springs’ many restaurants, or take the aerial tramway to enjoy the panoramic views across the Coachella Valley. Accommodation stay – 1 night at The Riviera Palm Springs or similar. Driving distance 237 kilometres.

    Day 3: Palm Springs - Phoenix/Scottsdale
    After a relaxing morning enjoying the many delights of Palm Springs, you’ll set off through the Coachella Valley, heading east towards Phoenix and Scottsdale. Two of Arizona’s most popular destinations, you’ll enjoy the contrast today between the skyscraper-filled skyline of Phoenix, set against the famous backdrop of Camelback Mountain, and the old west charm of Scottsdale, described by many as the place where the old and new west meet. Accommodation stay – 1 night at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa. Driving distance 430 kilometres.

    Day 4: Phoenix/Scottsdale - Grand Canyon
    Turning north towards the Grand Canyon National Park today, you’ll enjoy what is surely one of the greatest panoramas on earth. Unrivalled in its sheer grandeur, the Grand Canyon is over a mile deep and almost 280 miles long. Spend the day on the South Rim, enjoying its numerous lookouts points and hiking trails. Walk along part of the Rim Trail and climb to the top of the watchtower, to take in views that, on a clear day, extend for over 100 miles. Accommodation Stay – 1 night at the Yavapai Lodge East or similar. Driving distance 370 kilometres.

    Day 5: Grand Canyon - Las Vegas
    Leaving the grandeur of the Grand Canyon behind, you’ll head west today, following a route that takes you through Williams and Kingsman and the heart of the historic Route 66. The journey takes you to the Hoover Dam, the largest single public works project ever undertaken in US history. Straddling the mighty Colorado River, the dam project provides much needed water and power to the entire Southwest. From here you’ll then continue on to Las Vegas, a city that needs little introduction. Accommodation Stay – 2 nights at the Paris Las Vegas or similar. Driving distance 444 kilometres.

    Day 6: Las Vegas
    You have an entire day today to enjoy one of America’s most iconic cities. The self-styled entertainment capital of the world, Vegas is a dazzling mix of kitsch, colour and casinos. Dine in world-class restaurants, catch one of the latest shows, or place a bet in one of the world’s most famous casinos. There are a dazzling array of shops to explore, rollercoaster’s to ride or, if you just want to relax, plenty of opportunities to simply lay by the pool.

    Day 7: Las Vegas - Death Valley
    After a chance to photograph the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, your journey continues west today, towards the fiery furnace of Death Valley and the lowest spot in the Northern Hemisphere. Amongst the dramatic landscapes of the Death Valley National Park, the Mojave Desert is at its most spectacular. Stop at Zabriskie Point to enjoy the views across the vibrantly coloured badlands and this evening take a look at the skies, to enjoy some of the finest stargazing anywhere. Accommodation Stay – 1 night at the Furnace Creek Ranch or similar. Driving distance 224 kilometres.

    Day 8: Death Valley - Yosemite
    Turning north into the High Sierra’s this morning; you’ll drive along the Tioga Road and through the highest navigable pass in California. Your destination is the sublime setting of Yosemite National Park, home to impressive waterfalls, expansive meadowlands and some truly spectacular rock formations. One of America’s first wilderness reserves, you’ll have a chance to enjoy ranger-guided walks, discover the giant sequoia groves and explore something of the park’s 800 miles of hiking trails. Accommodation Stay – 1 night at the Cedar Lodge Yosemite or similar. Driving distance 525 kilometres.

    Day 9: Yosemite - San Francisco
    Leaving the wonders of Yosemite behind, your journey west today takes you through the heritage of California’s Gold Rush era. You’ll take in Sacramento, the bustling state capital, before moving on to San Francisco, one of America’s most engaging cities. Accommodation stay - 1 night at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District or similar. Driving distance 214 kilometres.

    Day 10: San Francisco - Monterey/Carmel
    Turn south this morning and head out along the spectacular Highway 1 towards Monterey. With breathtaking oceans views to accompany you along the way, you can stop off and explore Monterey’s famous downtown district and the historic waterfront of Cannery Row, which was the inspiration for John Steinbeck’s book of the same name. Moving on to charming Carmel, you’ll then have a chance to enjoy the scenic beauty of 17-Mile Drive between Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach. Accommodation stay – 1 night at the Hyatt Regency, Monterey or similar. Driving distance 210 kilometres.

    Day 11: Monterey/Carmel - Santa Barbara - Ventura
    Continuing down California’s Pacific Coast Highway this morning you’ll follow a meandering coastal road down through Big Sur, where the mountains plunge down into the waters of the rolling Pacific Ocean. As the landscape changes from ragged cliffs to oak-studded hills, your journey takes you past Hearst Castle and Morro Bay, before turning into the Central Coast region. As you pass through the lovely countryside of the American Riviera, you’ll pass through Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara, before ending the day in the classic beach town of Ventura. Accommodation stay – 1 night at the Crowne Plaza, Ventura or similar. Driving distance 451 kilometres.

    Day 12: Ventura - Malibu - Santa Monica - Los Angeles
    Your drive south takes you along the Malibu coast today, through Oxnard and Santa Monica, as you head for journey’s end amongst the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles. Enjoy the iconic trapping of one of the world’s most enigmatic cities with a stroll along the Walk of Fame or a drive through Beverley Hills. Check out the Hollywood sign and do some window shopping down Rodeo Drive, before enjoying a final evening amongst the bright lights of the City of Angels. Accommodation stay – 1 night at The Garland North Hollywood. Driving distance 120 kilometres.

    Day 13: Depart Los Angeles

    Moderator note] Please keep all questions regarding this trip in one thread.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 07-02-2016 at 05:04 AM. Reason: Merged threads.

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

    Default What do you want to do ?

    The best route is the one that you decide upon, not some guide tour, or from us. We can help you, but it's important you do research and tell us what you really want to see and then we can help piece it together. There is no Generic 'best' of anything. There is nothing wrong with that tour if it's where you want to go, but if it were me I would be looking at time for Zion NP in Utah, perhaps Monument valley and Bryce canyon. I would achieve that partly by heading more direct to the Grand canyon. I would want to have more time in Yosemite, perhaps drive through Death valley and get as far as Bishop or Mammoth and then leave for SF on the morning of day 10, not day 9. Other people will look at it differently and that's the beauty of the road trip, it's unique to the individual but needs input from that person. I don't know if you took the time to consider things from my previous post as you didn't respond, but if you are just going to follow a guide book tour rather than decide what works for you we can't help much.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    My thoughts were similar to Dave's....what do YOU want out of your road trip? A guided plan from an airline gives you an idea of how much to plan, but it will often lead you to places that make you wonder, "why did they send me HERE?" It's your trip, not theirs.

    One of the things that jumped out at me on their plan, for instance, was that they suggest you spend a lot of the day at a theme park, then drive another 3 hours out to Palm Springs. My husband and I would find that not-doable. First, theme parks are expensive, so you want to spend the full day there. You will be tired from all the jostling around, and at least for the Disney Parks, part of the magic is the night show and fireworks.

    I also wonder if the airlines get a kickback from the hotels that they mention on that plan.

    I'd be making my own plan.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default It's not about the best sites or hotels.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    I also wonder if the airlines get a kickback from the hotels that they mention on that plan.
    Absolutely no doubt. A tour designer's first responsibility is to make as much money for the company as possible. The places chosen will nearly always be the ones which pay the highest commission. The actual wishes of the traveller come a long way down the list.

    As everyone here will tell you, do your own research, name the places you decide you want to see and choose the routes between them which you would enjoy the most.

    Have a great trip.


  9. Default

    Thank you so much for all your help so far.

    The problem we have is September isn't too far away...we know we want to do LA, Vegas and San Francisco. We want to go to Gran Canyon, Yosemite and Death Valley. Want to drive the Big Sur and stop at a beach (can't remember which one we say but looked small and amazing) Where else would you suggest? We are typically city types but would revel in the drive and i presume the views we would get during the drive? We probably would want to do the theme park either that was just an example. Would that type route be best? Also have any of you been on any similar routes?

    Thanks again for your patience and help!

  10. Default

    For me the problem with that route from Virgin is that you don't really spend any time at the locations. I did a similar trip last year and decided to cut LA and LV from the route to devote extra days in the Grand Canyon, Zion NP and Yosemite. The above trip has you drive from Death Valley to Yosemite (we arrived at YS just before midday having left DV at 8ish, but that is just the park entrance it is a long drive through the park to the valley floor) and then leave the next day to do a similar trip to San Fran. You won't see much more of YS than from your car window and there are so many great hikes in the park. There is a similar issue with the Grand Canyon part of the trip too. However if this is a once in life time trip and you don't intend to ever come back then it maybe a great way to see a bit of everything, just make sure you have more than 1 driver!

Similar Threads

  1. Las Vegas - San Francisco - Los Angeles - San Diego - Las Vegas
    By Wyreflyer in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-24-2011, 11:08 PM
  2. Replies: 6
    Last Post: 06-22-2011, 06:50 PM
  3. San Francisco to Las Vegas - September Trip
    By HarleyD in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 02-22-2011, 03:13 PM
  4. San Fran - Las Vegas September 2010
    By Devdav in forum Going to Las Vegas!
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-03-2010, 01:21 PM
  5. San Diego to Las Vegas end September
    By WestAustralian in forum Going to Las Vegas!
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-29-2007, 09:20 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name