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  1. Default HELP! San Fran - LA - Santa Fe - then where??

    My boyfriend are from the UK and I are planning a road trip for September 2010. We are going to do Route 1 San Fran to LA, then we have friends in Santa Fe so would like to go there. Desperately in need of some advice on....

    - how best to spend the 18 days we have
    - whether we should try to do a loop, or drop off the car in ??? somewhere in Arizona, or Vegas - we need to be able to fly back to London from there and also dont want to incur too much one way drop off fees.
    - we love nature and want to spend time in national parks - which would fit best with our planned route - Yosemite? Gramd Canyon? somewhere else?
    - is there a good loop we could do if we wanted to drop the car off in Flagstaff - so flagstaff to New Mexico back to flagstaff but doing different things on the way there and back?

    Is this totally crazy and should we be doing a different trip entirely???!

    Thanks so much

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Some possiblities

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Doing this trip as a one way trip pretty much means you'll have no choice but to pay some sort of a one way drop fee. How much that fee will be depends on where you end up dropping it off - so you might want to star just by comparing car rental rates (along with airfare differences) between a few cities. Leaving it in Las Vegas would probably result in a pretty small extra fee or you might even get the fee waived, since SF-LV is a very popular trip with lots of competition, while leaving it farther away in say Albuquerque or Phoenix would be a bit more, and I'd guess that Flagstaff would be the most expensive simply because it is such a small airport with limited flight and car rental options.

    Based on what you've suggested so far, one option might be to head down the coast then go from LA and make the straight shot out to New Mexico on I-40. That would take you past the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and a few other National Parks and Monuments. Then you could loop back to Las Vegas by going up into Southern Colorado and Utah, visiting some combination of places like Mesa Verde, the Million Dollar highway, Monument Valley, Arches, Bryce Canyon, and/or Zion National Parks.

    You'll have to figure out your own pacing and make some decisions because I don't think you could fit all of those places into 18 days but you could certainly get a nice variety.

    Those options do leave out Yosemite and Death Valley. If you wanted to visit those two great places, you could simply continue your loop and visit them while you drive back to San Francisco (although I suspect that will really get to be too much for 18 days) or instead of visiting LA, you could start your trip by going down the coast as far as about Cambria - then cut over to Yosemite, across Tioga Pass, to Death Valley, and then keep working your way out to New Mexico.

    That's just a few of the options, but hopefully that gives you a place to start working out a plan that fits your tastes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default So many options.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You have enough time to have an enjoyable trip but with so much to see and do in this area there are many, many different options open to you and most of them are very good options, so it is a case of sitting down with a good map and searching the RTA pages to find what appeals the most.

    To hit the spots you have listed it would certainly be possible to head down the coast on route 1 between SF and LA and make you way to Santa Fe, and perhaps return to Vegas by way of Monument valley and Grand canyon. A loop from Vegas away from the coast could take you through the outstanding scenery and National parks of Utah, Colorado, into New Mexico and back through Arizona.

    To help you get started here are some of our favorite threads for the Southwest and here are some great suggestions around Santa Fe. You will find many more using the search function to help lay out a plan, when you have done so I am sure we can help piece it together.

  4. #4


    There is a good (and brand new) resource for you to use in planning your trip. Go to the Home tab on the menu above and click on the map. Then click on the map section you plan to travel in and read the route articles there. These are being added every week. I have three, with a fourth to come shortly. They detail a four day loop from/to Las Vegas that could be called 'The Canyon Tour".

    There are several others in that Southwest section and the Far West section. Look them all over and you should be able to work a lot of those day trips into your itinerary. And keep going back to the map during the next month or so to look for new articles and ideas.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise

    Default Route 66

    Sounds like a good time to get on the old Mother Road, Route 66.

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