(Sorry if I picked the wrong topic for my first post, this could be either in the Vegas topic or the Fall & Winter topic I guess)
Me and the girlfriend are planning the roadtrip of a lifetime, obviously the most discussed here on the forum: LA to SF on Highway 1, then on to Vegas via Yosemite. We fly in from Sweden and land in LA on October 16th (Saturday) in the afternoon and leave on the Saturday morning two weeks later (oct 30) from Vegas. A two week trip that is. I have read dozens of threads here om RTA about this particular roadtrip so I think I have the basics covered and the consensus seems to be that two weeks should be enough but not plenty. We hope to keep a hotel budget of around $80-$120 per night on average, including parking. As for what to see and do we are interested in the usual things: parks&views, food&wine, and we donít mind a hike to get a great picture.
My first idea for a plan has 8 stops (my planned number of nights next to each):
- Los Angeles (2 nights)
- 1/3 of the way to SF. Suggestions? (1 night)
- 2/3 of the way to SF. Carmel? Other Suggestions? (1 night)
- San Francisco (3 nights)
- Yosemite (2 nights)
- Bishop? (1 night)
- Death Valley: Furnace Creek/Stovepipe Wells (1 night)
- Vegas (2nights) + (Grand Canyon 1 night)
Is this the best way to fit this into 14 nights? Are we staying too long somewhere and rushing through something else? The only real constraint is that we have to spend the last night in LV since it is an early morning flight, and also we probably want two nights in LA to allow for a full day there while waiting for our lost luggage to arrive from Newark :)
Other than that I have a few questions about each stop below
- LA is huge. What is a good area to stay and use as a starting point while exploring LA by car? Hotel recommendations welcome. The first evening we will probably just pick up the car, find the hotel and then deal with the jetlag.
- Is two night stops about right for Hwy1? Recommendations for the stops, hotels and activities welcome!
- Second stop, somewhere after Big Sur (Big Sur looks scenic but accommodation seems expensive and scarce so we shouldnít stay there, correct?)
- We probably want two full days in SF, three if one is used for a wine country day trip. Hotel recommendations? if possible somewhere with free or cheap hotel parking. I think we want to drive less and walk more while in SF.
If we want to drive around Napa/Sonoma and see some wineries, would that be better as a daytrip from SF, as a night stop on the way to Yosemite, or possible to squeeze into the same day as driving to Yosemite (a detour) without rushing? Could we skip it entirely and catch a winery or two on the shortest way to Yosemite?
- Iím thinking we need two nights near Yosemite in order to get a full day at the park, that is, arrive in the evening somewhere within an hour from the park, spend the whole next day in the park and then return to the same hotel. Next morning drive over the hills. Is this unnecessary, could we spend a day in the park and drive to Bishop, even if Tioga is closed? Or could we leave early from SF and still do the park and only spend one night near Yosemite? Suppose we do spend two nights, how close would you recommend we stay? Itís hard to estimate the driving times from the park to the closer places (like Wawona) and the cheaper and more remote (like Midpines). Being from northern Sweden Iím more than used to driving on snow and Ice, but Iím confused about the snow chains too: where do we buy them and how do we know when they are required? From what I understand there is kind of a donít ask donít tell arrangement concerning rental cars and snow chainsÖ?
- Would Bishop be a good place to stay on the way to Vegas, or could we drive all the way to a night stop in Death Valley while still sightseeing and possibly having to take a longer route over the mountains? Ideally a single stop would be best, but not if we have to hurry and there are things to see on the way.
- We do want to stay I night in death valley, right? Sunset and sunrise I understand is the thing here. Choosing the right town and hotel is the question.
- We donít know how we are going to get to Grand Canyon but we understand it is more than a day trip. One option is just passing through Vegas from DV and continuing to somewhere closer to the canyon for the night (where?) Then see the canyon and return to Vegas and stay two nights there. The other option is an overnight excursion from Vegas (Vegas hotel on Vegas day 1 and 3 and somewhere near the canyon on day 2). Third option if we are really sick of driving we could even opt for a flight or other organized tour. I hope we can leave this decision for when we arrive in Vegas or shortly before? This would mean not bothering at all with a hotel reservation in Vegas, but I assume Las Vegas wonít be sold out, and prices wonít be sky high in the last minute? Perhaps we could even find a bargain? Regarding Vegas hotels: the south point gets great reviews but this is more than walking distance from the more famous parts of the strip, right? Any recommendations for a more central hotel if we should opt for that?
Thanks for any help!