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  1. Default Advise on trip from Newport Beach CA to Las Vegas to San Francisco via Yosemite

    Hi all

    Ive been reading through the forum here and picking up some great ideas and tips. A little background - we are a family of 4 (2 adults, kids age 13 and 11) from ireland doing a 5 week trip to the US next June-July. We fly into Chicago then onto Denver and then LA. We plan on being in CA from mid June and will stay with friends in Newport Beach. Originally the plan was to leave from there and drive up to the coast to Santa Barbara for 2 nights, then over to Yosemite for 2 nights and then back to San Francisco for 2 nights. The only accommondation we cannot change or cancel is in Yosemite as we have already paid for Half Dome village accommodation.

    Now we are thinking of changing it a little or a lot maybe, leave our friends in Newport Beach a day early and head over to Las Vegas for 2 nights, taking in the Mojave on the way. Then leaving Vegas and going through/by Death Valley to Yosemite but staying somewhere overnight in the middle to break up the journey.

    So i have some questions.

    Coast or desert?
    Are our driving plans too ambitious/long?
    suggestions of somewhere to stay between Las Vegas and Yosemite?

    All suggestions/advice greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Hmmmm... What Coast?

    Céad Míle Fáilte! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Here's the thing. There's not really a whole lot of 'coast' between Newport Beach and Santa Barbara. Most of that stretch is highly urbanized Los Angeles. So unless there's something really compelling that you want to see in Santa Barbara, I think you'd enjoy the drive through the desert to Las Vegas and then up through Death Valley and over the Sierra Nevada Range to Yosemite, rather than trying to navigate Los Angeles' freeways and the flat, endless farmland of the Central Valley.

    You can get plenty of beach time in Newport Beach. Your children might enjoy the Balboa Fun Zone as well. There's also great shopping at Fashion Island. Then on the way to Las Vegas you could make some time for Mojave National Preserve.

    It would be a very long day's drive from Las Vegas to Yosemite, but still with an early enough start in the morning you might be able to drive through Death Valley before it gets too hot and then complete the drive over Tioga Pass into Yosemite before nightfall.

    No matter which route you finally choose or how you apportion your time, be sure to ask about the Junior Ranger Program at each national park or monument you stop at. It will give your kids some age appropriate and (sshhh...) educational activities that will help them appreciate the parks a bit better and then reward them with some very nice (and free) souvenirs such as certificates and badges.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Places to spend the night between Death Valley and Yosemite would be Lone Pine, Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, June Lake, or Lee Vining.

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


    Being from the UK myself I would certainly recommend driving through the weird and wonderful landscape that is Death valley and then across the incredible scenery found along the Tioga Pass into Yosemite. I think Bishop or Mammoth would be a good overnight stop. Depending on how much Vegas appeals to you, you have the chance to add another wonder of the world to your list, Grand canyon NP. It would add some drive time so it depends on how well you travel as a family but you could go from Newport beach to Williams or Tusayan AZ for a night and then visit the South rim before heading back to Vegas for 1 night.

  5. Default

    thanks everyone, some great tips and food for thought. Will have another look at google maps and work out times and length of travel as don't want to spend all our time in the car. thanks also for the info on the junior ranger program, sounds great.

    thanks again, JJ

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