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  1. Default LA to San Fran, taking in Grand Canyon and Las Vegas

    Hi All

    I am new to the forum, but I have spent a long time reading all of your posts and ideas whilst trying to work out a route for our road trip in July 2010. We are flying in LA and then flying back from San Francisco 16 nights later. Please can I have any comments on the following route you may have?

    Day 1 - Land in LA
    Day 2 - LA (Universal Studios & Grauman Chinese Theatre)
    Day 3 - LA to San Diego (Along coastal route) - 2. 5hours
    Day 4 - San Diego (San Diego Zoo)
    Day 5 - San Diego to Wickenburg (via Yuma - anything to see along this part of route?) - 6 hours
    Day 6 - Wickenburg to Cameron (via Sedona) - 5 hours
    Day 7 - Cameron to Kingsman (Taking in the Grand Canyon) - 4 hours
    Day 8 - Kingman to Las Vegas (Hoover Dam) - 3 hours
    Day 9 - Las Vegas (Take in a show)
    Day 10 - Las Vegas to Ridgecrest (via Death Valley NP) - 6 hours
    Day 11 - Ridgecrest to Fresno (Sequoia NP) - 6 hours
    Day 12 - Fresno to Yosemite Village - 2 hours
    Day 13 - Yosemite Village to Lake Tahoe (via Tioga Pass) - 4 hours
    Day 14 - Lake Tahoe to San Francisco (Via Sacramento) - 3.5 hours
    Day 15 - San Francisco (Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge)
    Day 16 - San Francisco
    Day 17 - Fly home

    I have a few concerns:
    Are we trying to be too ambitious and fit too much in a short space of time? If so, what would you suggest missing out and where to spend more time?
    Are my timings approximately correct?
    We want to try and be a little bit flexible with our plans, so have not booked any accomodation yet - Are there are any areas where we should definitely book for this time of year?
    Are there any areas of interest which I have missed out and should definitely include?
    I have budgeted around $75 a day for food (for 2 people) and around $400 for gas (using the tool on here). Do you think these are fair approximations? We realise that we won't be able to eat a nice sit down reasturant meal every day and are prepared to eat fast food for the majority of the time.

    That's it for now, I look forward to hearing any suggestions or feedback you might have for our trip.

  2. #2
    blueshift86 Guest


    mate you missing out sequoia national park! Best thing ever! I think it's a little rushed to be honest. I'd personally add more days, or cut down on itinerary so it doesn't feel rushed:)

    I'm trying to find people to do NYC to LA to no avail!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Blind Ambition

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    On the whole, I don't think you're being too ambitious, but yes, you are being ambitious. Your trip will let you see a lot, but will also leave you wishing you had a couple of months rather than a couple of weeks. This will definitely be a 'once over lightly' survey trip. Your drive times look like they cam directly from a computer mapping routine which does not allow for gas stops, lunch breaks, biologically necessary stops, or traffic. As such you need to add about 20% to any timer estimate over a couple of hours, and considerably more where there will be known congestion or road delays such as crossing Hoover Dam or driving through National Parks. Your budget is probably in the ballpark, but you can do better, both in terms of finances and health, by buying a cheap cooler and stocking it from grocery stores along the way rather than relying on overpriced fatty foods from fast food chains. As for other stuff to see/do. you don't have a lot of unaccounted for time, but you can check out these discussions of other trips in the area.


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

    Default Busy, busy !

    I agree with Buck, you are being ambitious but the trip is doable, however I think you could tweak it a little better.

    From Cameron [Cameron trading post I presume] I would stop just outside the South side of the Grand canyon in Tusayan or Williams [for cheaper lodging] and maximise your time at this wonder of the world. You still have time to stop at the Hoover dam and get to Vegas next day without stopping in Kingman, and you could hop on part of original route 66 through Seligman as well.

    I would also suggest you push on past Ridgecrest to Lake Isabella or beyond [Porterville area] so that the next day you could drive through Sequoia NP and continue to Oakhurst so that you can maximise the little time you have in Yosemite. With all the lovely viewpoints and possible stops it could easily take four hours to get from the valley floor to the exit of the park over the Tioga pass and on the way in you really should detour up to Glacier point for the jaw dropping, beautiful views. From a personal point of view, I would rather spend a little time relaxing and taking in the scenery in Yosemite with time to "soak it up" and skip Tahoe just to make it more manageable, but that's me !

  5. Default Super - thanks!!

    Thanks for the advice Southwest Dave and AZ Buck. I was thinking the same about skipping Lake Tahoe to spend more time in the national parks. I do really enjoy the natural wonders of the world. I dodn't know if it was wrth the visit to Tahoe or not. I take another look at the maps and try to tweak it as you suggest.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    1. As already said, try to maximize your time in the Grand Canyon. If $100 a night for lodging is okay with you, stay in Tusayan. You will be paying that much in Cameron anyway. Otherwise, you will have to go to Flagstaff or Williams for budget accommodations.

    2. I think I'd streamline the rest of the trip after Las Vegas. Go through Death Valley and stop in Bishop. Then you can enter Yosemite from the east over Tioga Pass. This would miss Sequoia but there's the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite. It's a half day drive to SF from there.

  7. Default I've done some tweaking!

    H Guys,

    I have done some tweaking to the trip - what do you think? My rationale for this is that my previous route is alot of driving between San Diego and Grand Canyon without really seeing anything. I know we will be passing through Vegas twice, but it is less mileage and we will get to see the Joshua Tree NP on the way. I have also modified the route as per GLC's comments to pass though Bishop and skip the Sequoia NP and visit the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite instead. We will maximise our time in the NP too by skipping Lake Tahoe.

    Day 1 - Land in LA
    Day 2 - LA
    Day 3 - LA to San Diego (Along coastal route)
    Day 4 - San Diego
    Day 5 - San Diego to Las Vegas (Via Joshua NP)
    Day 6 - Las Vegas
    Day 7 - Las Vegas
    Day 8 - Las Vegas to Grand Canyon
    Day 9 - Grand Canyon
    Day 10 - Grand Canyon to Las Vegas
    Day 11 - Las Vegas to Bishop
    Day 12 - Bishop to Yosemite NP (via Tioga Pass)
    Day 13 - Yosemite NP
    Day 14 - Yosemite NP to San Francisco (Via Mariposa Grove)
    Day 15 - San Francisco
    Day 16 - San Francisco
    Day 17 - Fly home

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default adjustments

    A couple things I'd keep in mind and suggest.

    First, there really is no coastal route from LA to San Diego. Once you get past Orange County, I-5 really becomes your only option and there really is no view of the coast for most of the trip.

    If you want to see the coast, you might try to find another day or two, and head from Yosemite down towards Cambria and then work up towards San Francisco.

    I know we will be passing through Vegas twice, but it is less mileage and we will get to see the Joshua Tree NP on the way.
    I think that's a decent idea, but I'd cut things even farther. Rather than going all the way up to Vegas here, I'd head directly toward the Grand Canyon from Joshua Tree. Staying somewhere like Laughlin, Kingman, or even farther east towards Williams will save you a good 100 miles of driving.

  9. Default Good Idea!!

    Thanks for the reply Michael. I like your idea better as I just realised that if we did my suggestion, the bulk of our stay in Vegas would be over the weekend when the prices are hiked up. If we switch it around and do Vegas after the Grand Canyon we will save on accommodation costs. I am struggling to find some decent cheap accommodation in the Grand Canyon Area - any suggestions?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Flagstaff.

    The nearer to the Grand canyon the dearer ! Flagstaff would most likely offer the best range of reasonable lodgings and have a look at Williams also. If you stay in Flagstaff I would recommend heading towards Cameron on the 89 and enter the Canyon from the East kiosk. The rim drive along Desert view drive offers great viewpoints as the Colorado river enters into the National park area. There is a lodging option at Cameron, the Cameron trading post, which also has great shops but it isn't a budget option.

    You can find the National park options, here.

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