Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. Default USA South-West road trip (SEPT/2014)

    Hi Guys,

    we, group of 4 people (21-25years) from Europe are planning trip for 15days in the western part of U.S. Here's the map. Planning this trip for first half of September with rented car and as you can see it should be combo of U.S. nature and cities too. Shortly, we want to see as much as is possible :P

    Preliminary plan is:
    - 2 days in San Diego then to LA (accommodation in San Diego)
    - 2 days in LA then to Grand Canyon South Rim (accommodation in LA)
    - 1 day of travel (accommodation somewhere near GC)
    - 1 day in Grand Canyon and Antelope Cayon (accommodation somwhere there)
    - 1 day in Bryce and Zion national park (accommodation somwhere there)
    - 2 days - travelling to and staying in Las Vegas (accommodation in Las Vegas)
    - 1 day of travel through Death Valley and Tioga Pass to Yosemity national park (accommodation somewhere near the Yosemity)
    - 1 day in Yosemity NP (accommodation somewhere in Yosemity)
    - 1 day of travelling from Yosemity to Palo Alto/Moutainview to check how Apple/Google guys working there (accommodation somewhere there)
    - 3 days - travelling to and staying in San Francisco (accommodation in SF)

    What do you think? It's doable? :D Or any advices? As you can see I'm not sure about accommodation in/near the national parks. We don't need nothing special, some advice for cheap option there? :)
    Thank you guys for your responses. :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    Welcome to RTA!

    Accommodations near the national parks rather than inside them is definitely possible. You should try to get your schedule set now to be able to reserve. Even in September, the towns outside of the parks get reserved in advance!

    For Grand Canyon south rim, you could try places in Tusayan first. Williams and Cameron are both quite a bit further. For Yosemite, try El Portal or Oakhurst. For Zion, try Springdale.


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

    Default Initial thoughts.

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    That's a great trip you have planned a good time of year to do it ! Most car rental companies charge a young drivers fee for all drivers under 25 years of age, so that's something to consider when booking.

    Between the GC and Vegas you are a bit rushed, it's not easy to see and appreciate both Bryce and Zion the same day and after a full day of travelling to the GC, you will need most of the following day to enjoy it, so travelling to and trying to do an Antelope canyon tour is going to be stretching it. I would add a day here at least, or perhaps concentrate on the GC and Zion NP.

    As you drive from Vegas to Yosemite via Death Valley either Bishop, Mammoth Lakes or Lee Vining would be good options to stop for the night before driving over Tioga into Yosemite Valley. You should check the website for lodging info in the parks although it can be quite expensive and cheaper alternatives can be found outside, although that can add to travel time. In Yosemite for instance, they have tent cabins that could work as an alternative, but National park and cheap lodgings don't really go together in the same sentence unless you camp. You could look at buying basic camping gear and donating it at the end of your trip to a charity.

  4. Default

    Thank you, so we will probably add 1 day for Antelope/Bryce Canyon area and pick accommodation rather outside of parks too. Should we expect any additional cost other than - car rental costs, fuel costs, accommodation, food, Annual Pass for national parks (and of course some costs in sightseeing in cities)? What about tolls, what amount to expect? Parking in the national parks, it's free or expect fees? Thanks for any other "hidden fees" of this trip :)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    As was mentioned, renting a car when you're under 25 could be a little more costly. You might try a European consolidator such as, as they are often able to waive such fees as young driver fees, one-way charges, and more.

    Fuel costs -- in CA, expect gas to be between $4 and $4.50 a gallon in most places. Fuel up BEFORE you go into the parks as stations in the parks can be higher priced. Tolls would mostly be bridge tolls in the areas you are driving in. Parking in the national parks is free. However, if you don't turn in your vehicle before the hotel in San Francisco, you could get a huge parking fee there (Generally $10-15 per night).

    Don't forget to allot for souvenirs!

    Sightseeing in the cities will depend a lot on what you want to see. If you are at a theme park in San Diego (such as Sea World or the Safari Park), LA (Disneyland, Knotts, Magic Mountain), you will be faced with daily admission AND parking fees. If you want to see Hollywood, parking will be $10-15 (more than that in Beverly Hills). Some of the beaches will have parking fees as well.

    The national park pass is $80 for the year and includes anyone in your car to any park that accepts it. I believe it's accepted at every park you are going to. You can buy it at the first place you go to.


  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Petto10 View Post
    1 day in Bryce and Zion national park (accommodation somewhere there)
    I would suggest that's not long enough. Bryce needs a full day, Zion at least one full day, preferably two or even more. But if your time is limited then a brief visit is better than no visit.

    In summer the most scenic part of Zion is only accessible via the park's excellent free shuttle bus system. This is the road which runs alongside the river in the canyon itself, where there are a number of hiking trails of all levels difficulty.
    I'm not sure about accommodation in/near the national parks. We don't need nothing special, some advice for cheap option there?
    Outside the parks, you might want to try the budget motel chains, Motel 6 and Super 8. Of the two, Motel 6 is the simpler and cheaper but in my experience both chains offer totally clean, comfortable and safe accommodation, making them ideal choices for overnight stops on a roadtrip holiday. If you prefer something a bit more upmarket then there are numerous choices such as Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn, etc. Independently owned "mom and pop" motels can also be good value for money. Try searching on Google Maps for:
    motels near St George, Utah

  7. Default

    Thanks again for all of the advices here. Probably my last question, it's highly recommended to book all of the nights in advance or not? I'm considering that I book just motels/hostels in cities and those nights outside of parks will be more like "its time to sleep now, lets find some budget motel chain around" style. I tried to check prices of Motel 6 today and prices was about 70$ per night per room for 4 people (I checked Grand Canyon and Zion NP area). What to expect in case of no booking in advance?

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Petto10 View Post
    it's highly recommended to book all of the nights in advance or not?
    I don't think there's any need to pre-book in September except for popular places where accommodation is limited. That gives you much more flexibility regarding route and timing, at the risk of having to pay more occasionally.

    Close to the Grand Canyon (South Rim) there's Tusayan but the towns of Williams and Flagstaff aren't all that far away. Flagstaff has a big range of accommodation.

    Near Zion there's Hurricane, Cedar City and St George, of which St George has the biggest choice.

    It's a good idea to keep a few days ahead of yourself with unconfirmed bookings which are automatically dropped if you don't show up by a certain time, especially at weekends.

    Of course, if the budget chains are full then you'll need to cruise around in the hope of finding a suitable independent motel, or accepting that you'll need to use one of the more expensive motels for one night.

  9. #9


    I agree with John as far as Bryce and Zion, both beautiful parks that deserve a full day. The only other thing not mentioned is our Labor Day holiday on Aug.30,31& Sept.1. That is usually a very busy weekend, as it's the last 3 day weekend before most kids go back to school. Anytime after that you should be good to go. In fact my wife and I homeschooled our kids, and I always took my vacation in Sept. as there were less crowds especially in our parks.

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


    Near Zion there's Hurricane, Cedar City and St George, of which St George has the biggest choice.
    I would check out Springdale and see if you can find affordable lodgings. It's a wonderful place, the closest town to the entrance and the shuttle bus takes you into the canyon from town.

Similar Threads

  1. Roadtrip August/September 2014 South and North West
    By Pier75 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 08-11-2014, 01:39 AM
  2. 2014 West coast road trip.stuck already.
    By Tekka in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 05-04-2014, 11:52 PM
  3. Replies: 6
    Last Post: 11-02-2013, 10:07 AM
  4. Replies: 13
    Last Post: 04-09-2013, 09:03 AM
  5. West Coast Road Trip - Sept '07
    By kluther80 in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 04-19-2007, 09:10 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts