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  1. Default San Fran -> LA : 18 days July 2008 - suggested route


    Firstly, thanks for such a wonderful resouce as this site is - I'm planning our summer 2008 trip and I've learnt so much from this site. :)

    We're from UK, family of 4 with 2 kids (18 & 16). Been to USA for 10 of last 12 years (mainly North East, Florida, Carlolinas) but first vacation on West coast planned for June/July 2008.

    We arrive in SF late June and have 18 nights before departing LA. That's the only thing booked - now planning our route and stay. :)

    Below is my first attempt at a route with some brief explanation - I know its not novel as I've read many similar posts here but I'd appreciate any comments or particular routes to take, especially towards end of trip. We would like to 'chill' for a few days before coming home but don't where to do this!

    We've done the Disney/Univeral parks loads of time in Florida and not planning to take these in in LA. We like being near the sea but not beachy people. Like easy water-sports activites, eg hiring speedboad and crusing ands easy cycling. Not into hiking or mountin walks but like 'promenade' walks, sightseeing and visiting places of interest.

    Day 1 - arrive SF lunchtime, taxi to city. Overnight SF
    Day 2 - sightseeing SF. Overnight SF
    Day 3 - sightseeing SF. Overnight SF
    Day 4 - pick up car am. Overnight Monterey/Carmel.
    Day 5 - Drive to Yosemite. Overnight Yosemite
    Day 6 - sightseeing Yosemite. Overnight Yosemite
    Day 7 - drive Death Valley. Overnight Death Valley.
    Day 8 - sightseeing Death Valley. Drive Las Vegas. Overnight Las Vegas.
    Day 9 - sightseeing Las Vegas. Overnight Las Vegas
    Day 10 - sightseeing Las Vegas. Overnight Las Vegas
    Day 11 - drive Grand Canyon. Overnight Grand Canyon.
    Day 12 - sightseeing Grand Canyon. Overnight Grand Canyon.
    Day 13 - drive Palm Springs ? Overnight Palm Springs
    Day 14 - drive LA / Coast. Overnight LA / Coast (Santa Monica?)
    Day 15 - Sightseeing / Shopping / Rest and Relaxation. Overnight LA / Coast (Santa Monica?)
    Day 16 - Sightseeing / Shopping / Rest and Relaxation. Overnight LA / Coast (Santa Monica?)
    Day 17 - Sightseeing / Shopping / Rest and Relaxation. Overnight LA / Coast (Santa Monica?)
    Day 18 - Sightseeing / Shopping / Rest and Relaxation. Overnight LA / Coast (Santa Monica?)
    Day 19 - Sightseeing / Shopping / Rest and Relaxation. Home to UK

    Thanks :)


  2. Default what in LA would you like to see?

    Hello Ken --

    Basically your trip looks pretty good from a schedule standpoint -- not too crazy on driving, lots of places to see. The one question I think needs to be filled still is what in LA are you interested in sightseeing?

    One of the reasons I say this, is everyone seems to head for Santa Monica. But, I'm not really a fan of Santa Monica compared to other areas in LA. LA's a big place -- like 2 hours across at full freeway speed, If I had to pick somewhere to sort of lay back, relax and do a bit of shopping and sightseeing, I might pick somewhere closer on the southern edge of LA, in or closer to the OC.

    Santa Monica's a cool place -- home to a very nice beach, near Venice, the Santa Monica Pier, near the two Getty Musuems, and not too far from Hollywood. Some very good restaurants and some interesting places to wander.

    But for a kick back and relax place, as an alternative you might consider somewhere down on the south coast area, near the Huntington Beach/ Newport Bearch/ Laguna Beach area. There are a couple of world-class shopping malls (South Coast Plaza and Newport Center), lots of things to do a long the beaches from sailing to surfing to snorkling, and you're not that far from the rest of the LA area via freeway (as much or as little as anywhere else in the area). Laguna Beach in particular is one of my favorites -- a small artists colony. Plus you're within a day's drive from San Diego and La Jolla.

  3. Default Las Vegas -> Grand Canyon -> Los Angeles route


    As part of our 17 day summer vacation, we're planning to travel from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon (South rim) and then on towards Los Angeles Coast

    Few questions;

    1. It appears that the only way to get to GC from LV is via the I-40 - is this the only sensible route? Is there any alternatives to save having to drive back down the I-40 when he head for LA?

    2. The drive from GC is too much for us to do it one day - what route shoulds we take to LA and where should we stop overnight? Our options are to stay on the I-40 are stop around Majave Nat Preserve or else take the I-40 then 95, stop at Lake Havasu and then down the 62 through Twentynine Palms and on to LA.

    Any and all suggestions welcome!



  4. Default san fran to vegas in June

    We like to visit the National Parks.Unfortunately , we only have 8 days and I am trying to set up the itinerary. At the moment, we figure 2 nights in SF, 2 nights in Yosemite, maybe one in Sequoia/ Kings Canyon, one around Death Valley and 2 nights in Vegas area. any suggestions, about routes and where to stay.

  5. Default What time of year are you going?

    The first question and comment on this, is what time of year are you going?

    If you're going to Sequoia National Park, you may not have this option -- but there's a road just north of Yosemite that takes you over the crest of the Sierras through the Tioga pass, and brings you down near Mono Lake on the east side. However, that pass is closed in the winter by deep snows, and not opened until late spring at the earliest.

    Secondly, Death Valley can be very warm (HOT!). If you do in the summer, just be prepared for the heat -- lots and lots of people visit in the summer, but you need to be prepared for heat that may peak during the day in excess of 120 F.

  6. #6


    Giving advice on travel is nearly as hard as suggesting what is best for someone to eat :-)

    Picking up on a couple of things.
    “We like being near the sea but not beachy people.”
    You don’t go into detail but assume at Monterery/Carmel you’ll be heading inland to Yosemite missing out on the Big Sur coastal highway. Missed opportunity is my feeling - you don’t get much better experiences on a road trip of the sea. A choice would be to travel the Big Sur to Cambria and then turn inland towards Yosemite (200 miles away)
    “GC from LV is via the I-40….alternatives…to I-40”
    Yes there are alternatives; first no need to drive but take one of the many flight trips to the GC from Las Vegas and spend time there. It is a well worth option for some. Or from Death Valley (never understand the fascination of the place considering what else there is around – Kings Canyon and Sequoia NP for a start) you could loop northwards – say along ET Highway 375 – to Zion NP / Bryce Canyon (top parks ) From Zion to GC is about 250 miles. Then along 1-40 to LV.

    Decisions, decisions…….
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-28-2008 at 11:50 AM. Reason: added quotes for format clarity

  7. Default


    Thanks for your insight :)

    Just to explain ... “We like being near the sea but not beachy people.” ... we like staying near the coast but we don't really spend time on the beaches - the sea is the attraction, not the sand :)

    I'll check out the run to Cambria and see how it fits in with out schedule - we have hotels reserved ay Yosemite (which are in high demand) so it may not suit as well. We may have to opt to go down part of the Big Sur and then come back up.

    We considered a flight to GC from LV but we actually want to stay a night at GC for sunset or sunrise - we have a canyon-view night already booked at Kachina Lodge on the South Rim but I'll look into moving it back and possibly see about squeezing in a night near Zion NP / Bryce Canyon and dropping one of the final LA coastal nights.

    Any suggestions where to stopover on route from GC to LA?



  8. #8


    Appreciate the time constraints – it so difficult with all the available choices.

    Understand about the sea attraction rather than the beaches. In my opinion the Big Sur is all about unforgettable vistas of the sea and coastal scenery. Definitely not a place for Baywatch fans :-)

    And as for staying near the sea, Moonstone Beach Drive at Cambria comes to mind. It overlooks the sea, with a number of footpaths and boardwalks to enjoy the wonderful scenery of the sea and amazing sunsets – weather permitting of course. I stayed at the BW Fireside Inn (would go there again), but there are a number of hotel choices along the road.

    Is Las Vegas was one of your stops? If you went from Death Valley taking a north-east loop route to Zion/Bryce you would miss it by approaching the GC via Kanab. Assumed after visiting the GC on this route you would then go to LA via Las Vegas.

    However, if you went direct to LV from Death Valley and missed out Zion/Bryce a way back to LA from the GC without travelling the 1-40 can obviously be done. My first thought would be via Sedona, Phoenix/Scottsdale and Palm Springs - many things to see and do on the way. But it is about 100 miles further than going direct along the 1-40.

    Comes down to personal choices about time / mileage / places.

  9. #9

    Default Universal

    We too have done the Florida theme parks umpteen times, and Disneyworld is bigger and better than Disneyland, so you're wise to skip it. However, Universal Hollywood is better (in my view) than Universal Florida, mainly because of the Backlot tour. In Universal Hollywood you get to see real outdoor sets - including the Bates Motel (Psycho), a set from Karloff's Frankenstein, plus some recent stuff (a set from War of the Worlds - Tom Cruise - last time we were there). There's new stuff appearing all the time, and they're the real thing. Since you have a lot of time in LA (and you have kids) it might be worth considering if that's your kind of thing.

    Barstow is a useful stop-off point between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, but find a hotel remote from the railway lines (see Google Earth or the satellite images on Google Maps). They run all night and are very noisy.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    The Netherlands


    Definitely stay at least one night at the rim in GCNP. Is your timeframe for Los Angeles set in stone?
    Between GCNP maybe drive through Mojave desert via Amboy and stay the night in Twentynine Palms. You could add a bit of Joshua Tree NP to your trip and also see some of the Twentynine Palms murals.

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