Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back
We are coming over from Australia in Late September/Early October and are looking for some advice. Our proposed trip is to spend a week at Disneyland,Anaheim (with maybe a trip to Newport Beach, big OC fan) then we want to travel to Las Vegas, Grand Canyon then to LA staying at a beach area such as Santa Monica. Can you guys out there tell me the best way to drive this route, must sees along the way and approximate driving times. We basically only have 6 days to go from Anaheim to Las Vegas to LA. We were thinking a night at the Grand Canyon, 4 nights Las Vegas and 2 nights Santa Monica. Does this sound OK. Any advice appreciated especially as we will have to concentrate on driving on the "wrong side of the road" too.Thanks, Nicole
You can do the drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in under 6 hours (depending on where in LA you're starting from and how long it takes to clear the metropolitan area) so that should not be a problem. It's just a straight shot up Interstate 15.
The drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon is 5 hours 'plus'. But the 'plus' is tough to predict. The route crosses the Hoover Dam, and ever since 9/11/2001 this crossing has been problematic. All cars crossing the dam are subject to search and on busy weekends traffic can back up quite a bit. They're building a new bridge so that traffic can cross the Colorado River without using the dam, but that won't be anywhere near ready by the time of your trip. Conversely, it's about 6 hours to the North Rim of the Canyon, avoids the dam, and gives you at least the option of making a quick visit to Zion National Park as well.
If you're returning to Santa Monica from the North Rim, just return to Las Vegas and retrace your path back down I-15 to LA. If you return from the South Rim, take US-160 and AZ-64 south to I-40 and just follow this west until it joins I-15 south. This later route will take a full day, about 8-9 hours to drive plus whatever time you spend eating, resting and sightseeing.
So you can do everything you propose in the time you've alotted (about 2 weeks, right?) but you may have to readjust how long you allocate to staying in a given place and how much time you budget to driving.
....And you're going to learn to drive all over again in LA?! Good Luck