Hi! It's my first time on RTA and I've been looking for similar road trips to help me with mine, but I guess it's better if I ask for help.
We are planning for an early December trip. We start in San Francisco and then make our way to Yosemite, Death Valley, and Grand Canyon. I'm from the Philippines and have never been on a road trip in the US, much less during winter. Though, I've heard early winter is an ok time to go. I've outlined my concerns below:
1. What would be the best route? We will have a week, but we can extend to 8-9 days. We are planning to rent a car. Would it be more efficient to loop back to SF or should we leave the car in LV after our last stop, Grand Canyon? We have to fly back to New Jersey after everything.
2. How many days should we spend in each stop?
Day 1 - Leave SF in morning, arrive in Yosemite
Day 2 - Yosemite
Day 3 -Yosemite, leave for Death Valley after lunch
Day 4 - Death Valley
Day 5 - Leave for Grand Canyon in the morning
Day 6 - Grand Canyon
Day 7 - Leave for LV in the morning, back to LV and either spend one night in LV or fly back to NJ at night
Day 8 - Fly back to NJ (if staying in LV for one night)
I still need to research more on what we can do at each stop during this time of the year, so my timeline is very rough.
3. Are there any better areas to visit (or visit along the way)? I've seen threads similar to mine that mention Big Sur, Monterey, Lake Tahoe. If so, would we be able to pass by them with the sched we have or do we need to add more days?
4. We would like to try camping, but will it be too cold? Should we just stay at lodges/hotels?
This is all I can think of for now. I'm sure I'll have follow-up questions later, but any extra advice you can give me is welcome. Thank you in advance for all the help! This website is a life-saver, especially for a foreigner (and a city girl!) like me.