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  1. Default Hawaii --> Vegas to Phoenix + Tahoe/Aspen/other???

    Hi and thanks for all of the advice previously that made our last trip in April 2018 so amazing!!

    We are planning our next adventure and are limited to starting early March 19, for about 3 weeks.

    First stop will be Maui and the Big Island, before heading to the mainland. Looking to spend max 7 nights in Hawaii. Have done Waikiki previously.

    LAST TRIP in 2018: San Fran, Yosemite, Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes, Vegas via DV, and then back to LA. Had a ball and would do it again but would love to see new sights if travelling so far!

    Where should we start our adventure?

    Currently thinking of a few options...
    1-Start in Vegas, and end with a drive from Phoenix to LAX via Palm Springs and San Diego
    2-Start in Vegas and when we arrive in Phoenix (below), fly to Reno, stay in Tahoe, and drive back to San Fran to fly home
    3-Start in Vegas, end roadtrip in Phoenix, fly from Phoenix to **INSERT SUGGESTION**... maybe Aspen?

    We have been to South Lake Tahoe twice already and it is so tempting to go back. We aren't ski/snowboarders, I am a beginner. We just liked being able to drive around and see things, went up to Heavenly for the day on the gondolla to look around and sat in the cafe and just watched... stayed at Edgewood Resort so nice grounds to relax. I was hoping for a similar 'winter/snow' experience, and so Colorado came to mind but would love suggestions as I don't know whether it is a waste of time that time of year if we aren't going to be on the slopes all day. Are the NP's/sight seeing open in Colorado that time of year?

    Or, is there somewhere similar that would work better with the location? Tahoe would be so convenient I thought- can make it the last stop, then pick up a car and drive to San Fran either straight to the airport or stay for one night before leaving (absolutely craving another Pizza from 'Tony's' in SF!!)

    I am also happy for any other roadtrip suggestions- not looking to be on the road every day and for 6 hours per leg. Had my heart set on the more northern states to see Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone etc but seems March isn't the right time, so had to start from scratch. We aren't experiences snow drivers either as an FYI.

    So far my thoughts are....

    Las Vegas (third time!), pick up a car

    --> Drive to Springwood accommodation to see Zion (Bryce Canyon seems to be out in March?)
    --> Drive to Lake Powell accommodation as a base to see Antelope Canyon/Horseshoe Bend/Monument Valley and other activities
    --> Drive to Sedona accommodation
    -->Drive to Scottsdale accommodation


    Would be so appreciative of any suggestions, 'be aware' (especially re road closures etc), must sees, route suggestions, things to see between locations, or any suggestions on stops to add or remove.

    Thanks so much! So grateful for any and all suggestions and feedback!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-13-2019 at 11:20 AM. Reason: added link to last year's trip planning thread

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    11,298

    Default Initial thoughts.

    Hi and welcome back !

    I know exactly what it's like trying to choose between so many great options and although it's ultimately up to you, the good news is you can't go far wrong with any of them. Weather in March is possibly going to see many variations but it's just impossible to predict this far in advance. From what you have said it looks as though you will have around 12 days for your road trip accounting for flight days? If that's the case I personally would look at doing a Vegas loop trip following on from your thoughts so far.

    This would look something like this >LV>Zion NP (Springdale not Springwood)>Bryce canyon (It's likely cold at 9000ft but should be possible) > Lake Powell>Monument Valley>Grand canyon South rim> LV via Hoover dam and the route 66 towns of Williams, Seligman and Kingman. (Depending on time you could visit Sedona after GC or you may prefer it to Bryce and/or Monument valley)

    When considering driving and flying to different destinations it's worth considering the extra costs it may entail, not only the flights, but one way drop off fees on your car rental. Not to mention the fact you will see more on the ground. If you wanted to head towards Aspen I would suggest you still do a loop trip heading out via Zion and Bryce, perhaps visit Arches and Canyonlands as well on the way and travel back via the mountain towns of Ouray, Silverton and Durango along the Million dollar Highway and through Four corners to Monument Valley and Grand canyon South rim before returning to Vegas.

    These are only suggestions so I would sit down and go through all your options and once you have got a clearer picture of where you want to go we can help put it together.

    Enjoy the planning !

  3. Default

    Yellowstone?

    I heard that it is a great winter destination.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,768

    Default Unfortunately...

    Most roads in Yellowstone are still snow-bound in March, not opening until late April or early May. There will also usually be intermittent road closures in the northern Rockies well into 'spring'. Instead, since the southern Utah national parks are on your radar already, the other place to look for worthwhile venues is northern Arizona. Besides the obvious, Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, there are half a dozen or so great smaller national, state and tribal parks including but not limited to: Petrified Forest National Park, Wupatki National Monument (NM), Sunset Crater Volcano NM, Walnut Canyon NM, Goosenecks State Park (UT), and Antelope Canyon in Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park.

    AZBuck

  5. Default

    Thanks so so much for the advice! Much appreciated. I think we have refined it to something like this... but just wondering if Iíve left enough time in each location. We have been to Waikiki, Vegas and Tahoe before.

    -4 nights Waikiki
    -Fly to LAX, 1 night LA (due to flight time)
    -Drive H1 north, overnight stay Monterey
    -Arrive SF, 1 night stay
    -South Lake Tahoe, 4 nights
    -Fly Reno to Vegas, Vegas 3 nights

    Pick up a car in Vegas

    -Drive to Zion , stay 1 night
    -Lake Powell, 2 nights
    -Scottsdale 2-3 nights
    -Flight home following morning


    Was planning on doing Zion the day we depart Vegas- is this enough time? Iíve read the only way in to Zion in March is via shuttle.

    Also, is H1 scenic and unmissable the whole way from LA to SF? If the best part is closer to SF, would you suggest we fly from Honolulu to SF and do it as a day trip?

    Appreciate your thoughts!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    11,298

    Default My 10 cents worth.

    The coast highway is pretty spectacular all the way and is well worth the drive although Monterey is a lot to do in a day, I would look for an overnight more in the Cambria/San Simeon area and spen an extra night in SF and perhaps 1 less at Lake Tahoe. I really don't see much point in flying from Reno to Vegas when you could drive from Tahoe to Vegas in a day. By the time you drive to Reno, drop off a rental and check in for flights and exit the airport in Vegas pick up another rental etc that will also take most of the day up and it will work out much more expensive when you consider the one way drop off fees on the rental and flights. You could spend just one night at Zion to break the journey up to Page AZ but personally I would look at leaving Vegas in the afternoon of day 3 and spend 2 nights and a full day in Zion, or one less in Scottsdale.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    The coast highway is pretty spectacular all the way and is well worth the drive although Monterey is a lot to do in a day, I would look for an overnight more in the Cambria/San Simeon area and spen an extra night in SF and perhaps 1 less at Lake Tahoe. I really don't see much point in flying from Reno to Vegas when you could drive from Tahoe to Vegas in a day. By the time you drive to Reno, drop off a rental and check in for flights and exit the airport in Vegas pick up another rental etc that will also take most of the day up and it will work out much more expensive when you consider the one way drop off fees on the rental and flights. You could spend just one night at Zion to break the journey up to Page AZ but personally I would look at leaving Vegas in the afternoon of day 3 and spend 2 nights and a full day in Zion, or one less in Scottsdale.
    I think you're right about the coast highway drive. I am having issues finding directions and travel times for LA-SF along that route but from what I can see in total it would be around 11 hours total driving time? So I am thinking landing at 3.40pm in LA is too late to get on the road. Assuming we sleep in Santa Monica, pick up a car in the morning to be on the road early, and head off- would two overnight stays on the way up before we hit SF be better? If so, where would you recommend?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie_Traveller View Post
    -Fly Reno to Vegas, Vegas 3 nights
    In the time you drop off your car, check in for your flight, go through security etc., fly to LV and pick up another car, you could have driven from Reno to LV, and not have to pay TWO one way drop off fees. It is both cheaper and much more interesting to drive.

    It's a lovely drive through the desert, easily done, lunch in Tonopah and when you get to Beatty, you may find the short side trip to the ghost town Rhyolite an interesting break in your journey.

    Lifey

  9. #9
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    Default

    Assuming we sleep in Santa Monica, pick up a car in the morning to be on the road early, and head off- would two overnight stays on the way up before we hit SF be better? If so, where would you recommend?
    It's a beautiful drive and in some ways two nights would be better but you have to weigh that up against sacrifice on another part of the trip. San Simeon (Hearst castle?) and Monterey could work with 2 overnights, or around Big Sur with a one night stop would make things enjoyable.

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