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  1. Default Roundtrip from SF via LA, LV, GC, Tahoe and Tosemite

    Hi there

    I have spent the last few weeks reading forums trying to figure out an itinerary for a trip to San Francisco including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. I will be in SF for work in May and my boyfriend is flying over to join me.

    Our proposed itinerary starts on Thu May 19 (when I finish work and ends on Fri Jun 3 (allowing us a day or so to fly back to London and recover in time for work on Mon):

    Day 1 (Thu May 19) - San Francisco
    Day 2 - San Francisco to Los Angeles (drive or fly? - I would like to see the PCH however think we should fly to LA in the evening to save travelling time and also allow an extra day sightseeing in SF)
    Day 3 - Los Angeles (will rent a car while there)
    Day 4 - Los Angeles
    Day 5 - Los Angeles
    Day 6 - Los Angeles to Las Vegas (fly or drive?)
    Day 7 - Las Vegas
    Day 8 - Las Vegas
    Day 9 - Las Vegas to Grand Canyon via Hoover Dam (pick up rental car in LV and drive to GC in the afternoon, possibly stay somewhere enroute to GC)
    Day 10 - Grand Canyon
    Day 11 - Grand Canyon to Death Valley
    Day 12 - Death Valley to Mammoth Lakes or Yosemite

    depending on whether the Tigoa Pass is open

    Not open:

    Day 13 - Mammoth Lakes to Lake Tahoe
    Day 14 - Lake Tahoe
    Day 15 - Lake Tahoe to Yosemite
    Day 16 (Fri 3 Jun) - Yosemite to San Francisco


    Day 13 - Yosemite
    Day 14 - Yosemite or Lake Tahoe
    Day 15 - Lake Tahoe
    Day 16 (Fri 3 Jun) - Lake Tahoe to San Francisco

    The reason we have chosen to do it SF/LA/LV/SF is that we have family to visit in both Los Angeles and Lake Tahoe and I understand the Tioga Pass will be more likely open early June and understand this is an amazing drive. However I have a few queries:
    - I wanted to avoid staying in LV over Memorial Day weekend but question whether we should go to the Grand Canyon then - will it be a nightmare?
    - Between DV to LT/Yosemite we are flexible and would like to stay at Yosemite for longer if the Tioga Pass is open however I'm not sure of our chances of getting accommodation then?
    - Is it easier just to fly between SF and LA and LA and LV (we can get airfares for £80 each for these routes)?
    - We looked at hiring an RV but it seems more expensive than just hiring a car and staying at motels/B&Bs or just camping along the way? (plus I would prefer to take turns driving but don't fancy driving a large vehicle).

    If you have any comments/thoughts on the above please let me know.


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

    Default Some thoughts.

    Personally, I think driving the whole route would be time well spent, but that is your decision to make based upon how you want to spend your time. In and out of car rental offices and airports compared to hitting the open road with a little less time in the City, no contest in my book !

    Personally I wouldn't lose a night in SF, it's a lovely little City and would choose a night along the PCH over a night in LA, but again that's me. Why not go direct to Grand canyon from LA instead of going to Vegas and then having to go back through there on the way to Death valley ? It would save a few miles and some precious time.

    An RV will certainly be a more expensive and a slower option which wouldn't be that suitable for the City. They can be great but I don't think in your circumstance.

    Being a 'Foreigner', I have not travelled on Memorial Day weekend but from what I have read traffic and crowds can be a nightmare and would possibly be a good time to 'stay put' wherever you are. Someone else may be able to help out better there.

  3. Default

    This is an ambitious itinerary, but probably doable. A few points,

    Unless you are going down the PCH I would suggest flying to LA. Its a seven hour drive down the interstate 5, which while the valley is interesting (all those crops!) is a might intense and a bit boring. I assume you are flying into SFO because of the international flight. I might suggest changing planes directly and flying to LAX or one of the surrounding airports (depending on where you are going in LA, burbank, long beach, or ontario might be better options). If you are driving, definitely make the trip through monterey and down the PCH over two days.

    If you rent a car in LA, don't turn it back and fly to LA. Its a 4 hour drive to vegas during the week and a 6-7 hour drive with weekend traffic (friday afternoon/eve). The hassle of getting to the airport, turning in the car, renting one etc isn't worth it.

    If you go to vegas, and then the GC you will traverse much of the same terrain both ways. A little longer, but perhaps more interesting to go from LA>grand canyon>las vegas. That way you break up your city visits with some natural sights. you could go the I-40 and see more of the mojave national preserve and route 66, or take the I-10 through to Blythe and then up along the colorado river on the 95 (california or arizona side), or the less traveled route of I-10 to US 60 to Prescott Arizona and up.I would recommend the second one, but someone else may comment on the other route as this is getting far afield).

    Death valley will keep getting hotter and hotter. Although it may mess up your route, you may consider going SF>Death Valley>GC> Vegas>la.

    Or consider dropping DV from the route and going to Zion National Park.

    Memorial day crowds will vary. Anyplace that is popular for the holiday going crowds from the big city will be a problem as lots of city dwellers like to make a three day weekend. Death valley won't be a problem. Yosemite will be busy. GC may be in between as although popular it is a ways from bigger cities. You may have a problem getting a hotel at the GC on the rim, but should be ok.

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

    Default Same principal applies.

    but perhaps more interesting to go from LA>grand canyon>las vegas. That way you break up your city visits with some natural sights.
    you may consider going SF>Death Valley>GC> Vegas>la.
    I think the GC to LA/ LA to GC option would work best in either direction you travel. So rather than go from Death valley to GC and back on yourself to Vegas, simply head from DV into Vegas to GC and on to LA.

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