Currently in the initial planning process for a (roughly) month long road trip next summer (2017) and in need of some advice and initial thoughts regarding our itinerary. We will be flying from London to either San Francisco or L.A. (return flights to L.A are currently just over £500 whereas return flights to San Francisco are around £900).
We are either post-graduate students/recent graduates so we will be on a low-end budget. Accommodation wise we will be looking to use a combination of Couchsurfing, camping, airbnb and cheap motels. Suggestions of where to find good campsites in each of our locations would be hugely appreciated.
This is our current plan:
Day 1-3: Explore L.A. Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Hollywood (hire car on the 3rd day). Would love to see a baseball/basketball/ice hockey game. How easy is it to get tickets for these?
Day 4: Drive from L.A to Joshua Tree National Park. Stay one night (recommendations?)
Day 5: Drive from JT NP to Grand Canyon.
Day 5-7: Thinking of staying in either Williams or Flagstaff as a cheap base. Is that recommended?
Is it possible to camp in/near the GC NP? Would Tusayan be a good option? (I've heard that's slightly more expensive as it's closer).
Would like to do one decent hike in the canyon as well as visiting meteor crater at some point.
Day 8-12: This is the part i'm having particular trouble with. We want to go from GC NP to Las Vegas via as many NPs as possible. Specifically, we want to see Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion NP.
Day 8: Drive from Grand Canyon to Monument Valley before moving on to Antelope Canyon (can this be done in a day?). Where do people stay if they want to explore Antelope Canyon?
Day 9: From Antelope Canyon to Bryce Canyon.
Day 10: Drive from Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park. Are there lots of camping options in Bryce and Zion?
Day 11: Extra day in Zion (Angels landing hike)
Day 12: Drive from Zion to Vegas
Day 12-15: 3 nights in Vegas. Is it possible to stay in Vegas on a budget? There are quite a few airbnb options but we were wandering where people stay if they're doing a roadtrip via vegas? Any recommendations of what we should definitely try and do in Vegas?
Day 16: Vegas to Lone Pine via Death Valley NP. Stay in Lone Pine 1 night.
Day 17: Two Options here. 1) Drive from Lone Pine to Sequoia NP. If I'm right, there is no eastern entrance into Sequoia and it would be a 4/5 hr drive? Camp there for 2 days and explore. 2) Drive from Lone Pine to Yosemite via the Tioga Pass, skipping out Sequoia, and camping in Yosemite for 2/3 days. Is Sequoia a must see? Would you rather take the Tioga Pass into Yosemite and just miss Sequoia?
Day 20(ish): Drive from Yosemite to San Francisco.
Day 20-23: Three nights to explore San Francisco.
Day 24: Take highway 1 from SF to Big Sur. Stay near there 1 night. I'm aware there is a forest fire in the area at the moment? How likely is that to affect things for next summer? Want to see Pfeiffer beach and Hearst Castle.
Day 25: Big Sur to San Simeon (Elephant Seals).
Day 26: San Simeon back to L.A.
Day 26-28: Couple of nights back in L.A before flying back home.
1) First off, does this seem like a reasonable trip? Have we given ourselves enough days? Are there any obvious issues with the route I have suggested?
2) Would the national park pass cover the NPs I have listed? Do you need one pass per person? Or one per vehicle?
3) Any suggestions of particular sights on our route that I may have missed?
4) Is day 8-12 practical? Do you think you can drive from Grand Canyon --> Monument Valley --> Antelope Canyon --> Bryce --> Zion --> Vegas in that time?
5) As Brits on our first roadtrip, is there any particular advice you would give about driving in America? I'm thinking in particular about driving in SF and LA - would you advise any particular times of the day to drive in and out of these cities?
Thanks so much in advance for any help/advice. I have seen some great posts on other threads on this site so I thought I would try my luck!