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Thread: la-gc-lv-sf-la

  1. #1

    Default la-gc-lv-sf-la

    Family of 5 (2 adults;3 boys) flying in to LA from Australia arriving 18 April 2011 (departing LA for Australia 11 May 2011). Will stay LA until 23 April, hire a car and then drive directly to Grand Canyon. Will book accom for LA (arrival and departure) and Grand Canyon before leaving Aust.

    Itinerary after GC is head to Las Vegas for a couple of days then driving through Death Valley on to Sequoia National Park up to Yosemite then to San Fran back down to LA.
    Fully understand from all I have read here there will be certain roads closed at this time of year and the stop-overs required Las Vegas up to Yosemite, via Death Valley and Sequoia National Park.
    Question. At this time of year can we afford not to pre-book accom and take a chance on finding available accom at a reasonable price for a family of 5 along the way, ie in Las Vegas, somewhere between Death Valley and Sequoia Nat Park and somewhere up near or in Yosemite Nat Park. Not sure what will be appreciated (liked or disliked by us esp boys in respect of the sightseeing) and where we'd possibly like to stay longer or shorter and would like the feeling of being able to change travel plans within limits of our timeframe. This would be the same for San Fran and heading along the coast road back to LA.

    My thoughts were re accom was to have a list of a few within each region we'd be looking at staying - just more concerned with availability (and for 5 people). There is the alternate that pre-booking can be cheaper and we'd then just have to stick to our itinerary. a decision for us to make dependant on what info you provide here. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Room for 5.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    There are pro's and cons for both, "winging it" and leaving your options open, or booking and knowing you have a place for the night. I don't think you will have much problem when travelling at this time of year to find lodgings as you go. When I don't book in advance I do exactly as you are thinking, and look for suitable places in certain areas and make a note of their details. This way you can call ahead earlier in the day to check availability, which can save you time searching for something that suits your budget and needs and lessens the risk of ending up in a dump.
    The only thing with your group of 5 is that many Hotels only have "normal" rooms that cater for up to Four people. You don't mention the age of your kid's, and it might be that you will get 2 rooms anyway, but some Hotels as I understand it will offer a "roll out" bed for an extra guest or a crib if one child is a small toddler, and finding those could save you quite a few dollars over the time you have in the US.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Works for Me

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    April/May is nowhere near the height of the 'tourist season' anywhere you'll be traveling, and so there should be plenty of vacancies everywhere you'll be. You might want to check with a few places around Sequoia and Yosemite just to make sure they'll even be open that early, and you should be prepared for snow still on the ground and cold nights at higher elevations, but otherwise your plan to have a list of possible accommodations that meet your needs and tastes is just fine.


  4. #4


    Thanks. I'll keep searching through the forum for suggestions on stop-overs, etc whilst also utilising Trip Advisor. Totally agree with the room for 4 as opposed to 5 - just having that extra child doesn't work!!!! (Ages are 11, 9 and 7 and they're not tiny). Did note certain parks this year weren't open until later due to snow (which would be exciting for the boys to see) but hampens the trip somewhat. If Sequoia and Yosemite are closed is there suggestions for making our way towards San Fran which would still provide some interest. If not, I'd consider having a plan B to include Bryce and Zion and after LV and Death Valley do a more direct route up to San Fran with the coastal road back down.

    I've trekked around the US in my younger child-free, husband-free days but it has been a while so I'm quite excited about returning. Just know there is so much to see and do but I had 6 weeks first-up and then summer camps and stayed for a while longer exploring up and down the East Coast. thanks again and for this site - very much appreciated

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Sequoia and Yosemite never close - it's just the high passes over the Sierras that do. You will have no problem visiting both parks from the west.

  6. #6


    Advice for accom (or suburbs) within close proximity to San Fran. Need to be able to park hire car and then utilise public transport in to San Fran. Thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Open.

    I'd consider having a plan B to include Bryce and Zion and after LV and Death Valley do a more direct route up to San Fran with the coastal road back down.
    Yosemite and Sequoia will be "open" and they are both quite spectacular. The waterfalls should be starting to flow in Yosemite and will be a spectacular sight for all of you. With the time you have available for your trip you could still consider Bryce canyon and Zion in plan 'A' while keeping things fairly relaxed. They too are quite spectacular, but different on the eye.

    San Fran Hotels, as you may have discovered, can have high parking charges in and around the City even when staying there as a guest. There are a few options along Lombard Street near to Van Ness that have parking available and free to guests and by comparison are budget friendly. We stayed here when we were last in town [albeit 4 years ago] and at that time we found it to be clean, friendly and good value. It is a budget hotel though, so no "frills" but good, basic lodgings and not far from the Pier's and Cable cars. Airport Hotels offer very good value for money, and such Hotels as the 'Best Western Grosvenor' has a free shuttle bus too and from the airport, where you can take the 'BART' train into the City. Although it is a well operated system it might be a little tedious over a few day's of use.

    If you are planning on staying a night in Death valley, it is another place you might want to consider booking in advance. Furnace creek, Stovepipe Wells and Panamint Springs all offer lodgings. If you are driving through then the Lake Isabella area would be a good place to stop, while giving yourself time to explore DV.

    If you had time on your hands you could head up the Kern river highway from Kernville and 190through Camp Nelson to Strathmore. Just past Johnsondale is a wonderful and less visited grove of Sequoia tree's called "The trail of 100 giants". It is a slow going mountain pass though and will take time, but it is very scenic !

  8. #8


    thanks Dave - we don't mind 'budget' accom at all as majority of time is spent out and about the accom is just somewhere to sleep so really appreciate your advice. Yes, I've looked some more at Zion and Bryce and may include within Plan A esp as I have not seen these 2 myself. Will fine tune our travel plans within the next week or so and will then place on here for a final look through. As you've provided great advice re accom within the areas we are travelling do you have any particular recommendations in Vegas. Tho' the Mirage looks 'ideal' this is certainly out of our league!! Somewhere within range of the strip and we'd likely only be looking at 2 nights. Have taken notes of Zion and Bryce from other threads. thanks again

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default RV 'er.

    Most of our travels are done in an RV and as such have only stayed in an RV resort in Vegas but there are a multitude of choices along the strip that are all fighting for your dollar, so finding a good deal shouldn't be that hard. The last time we were there, we actually tried to spend one of our nights in a 'Strip' Hotel and could not get a room, other than an executive suite for several hundred [or thousand] dollars. This was a weekend with lot's of top shows on, and we could of looked harder had we not had the RV, but was still surprised by this with so many rooms to be let.

    You might find RTA's 'sister' site Living Las Vegas helpful.

    Zion and Bryce are pretty amazing !

  10. #10


    Draft Itinerary
    18 Arrive LA
    19 Disney
    20 Disney
    21 pick up hire car then LA to Grand Canyon
    22 Grand Canyon
    23 Grand Canyon to Bryce Canyon
    24 Bryce Canyon
    25 Bryce Canyon to Zion then on to Vegas
    26 Vegas
    27 Vegas to Death Valley and on to Lake Isabella
    28 Lake Isabella to Sequoia Nat Park then on to Yosemite
    29 Yosemite
    30 Yosemite
    1 Yosemite to San Fran
    2 San Fran
    3 San Fran
    4 San Fran drive along Coastal Road - stop over (haven't fully decided where yet)
    5 Coastal Rd to LA
    6 LA - Universal Studio
    7 Venice Beach, etc with late departure home to Perth

    Having read a few other threads I'm thinking we should change the Bryce/Zion part of the itinerary driving Grand Canyon to Bryce and then on to Zion and have a full day there. Please advise. Thanks Randi


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