Help....i'm Italian, first time in USA. I have planned a trip in april with my boyfriend arriving to LA. We would like to stay 2 days in LA and then with car to San Francisco, then Las Vegas visiting also some National Park and Dead Valley....Unfortunately We have just 8 days...Can you suggest the best way to visit all these places??
Stay in CA
Personally, if I only had 8 days, I'd spend most of it in the LA area. There is plenty to do there and see to take up most of the 8 days. If you want to spend a couple of days driving up the coast highway to San Francisco, that is very doable as well. I think you're pushing it to get out to Vegas and the other locations in that timeframe. It is doable but you'll just be zipping by things and won't really have a lot of time to explore much.
Or you can skip San Francisco and up the coast and go to Vegas instead.
But doing both San Francisco and Vegas is probably a bit too much, IMHO.
re: Stay in CA
Thank you Judy for you suggestion. I think you have a point! The problem is that i do not want to spent to much time in the same place especially because everyone told me that the rout between SF and Las Vegas is geat! I was thinking to spent 2 day and 1/2 in La than driving the coast to SF and spent there 2 1/2 days. How long do you think is going to take from SF to Las Vegas? Do you think we can make it the remaining 3 days to visit one national park,dead valley and Las Vegas? I wont to spend just a night in Vegas not more.
What highway were you considering?
The fastest route from San Francisco to Las Vegas is 8 hours, and although I like the drive, it is not particularily scenic. Do you know which highway you had planned to use?
Death Valley is a national park a couple of hours west of Las Vegas -- There is a lot to see in Las Vegas -- you might consider spending a couple of nights there.
Personally, I like a fast roadtrip and that's exactly what you'll be getting if you do your planned route. You won't have much time to explore any particular place but that doesn't mean it won't be fun. It will certainly give you an overview of the scenic features of our country.
If the purpose of your trip is to get an overview of this part of the US, your trip should be OK. But if you want to explore and relax a bit....well, you won't have time to do any of that.
Maybe this information will help you put your trip into perspective:
From LA to SF along the coastal highway: 450 miles
From SF to LV via Reno and down through Nevada: 663 miles
From LV to LA via Barstow: 270 miles
So now your trip looks like this:
LA - 2.5 days.
1 day to drive to San Francisco - now you're at a total of 3.5 days.
San Francisco - 2.5 days - now you're at a total of 6 days.
1 very, very long day (about 12 hours driving time with no stops) to drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas for a total of 7 days.
Spend the night in Vegas and then turn around and drive back to LA on the 8th day.
So, again, if your desire is to just do a quick roadtrip to see the landscape, your trip to Las Vegas is something you can squeeze the time at to do but it would be a very rushed trip. And that 12 hour day of driving is solely driving time. Plan longer for gas breaks, bathroom breaks, meals, and for stretching your legs a bit. And the parts of Nevada that you would be driving through aren't really all that scenic. In fact, once you get past Reno/Tahoe area, the landscape doesn't change much. Flat, dry, with a few tumbleweeds here and there. You will come across a few prettier sights when near a river but that's about the only change you'll see during a long, hot day of driving.
The drive back from LV to LA via Barstow is a bit more scenic, IMHO.
Personally, while I do like a quick roadtrip myself, I still think you are cramming too much in to really have a quality trip. I would do LA-LV-LA or LA-SF-LA but not both if it was me. Each trip has their strongpoints.
But, then again, I think I could also just spend the entire 8 days in LA and have a great time. There is a LOT to do there.
Heck, for that matter 8 days is not too long to explore just any of the three cities.
You could spend 8 days in San Francisco and its immediate vicinity: Napa Valley, Monterey, north to the Redwoods, etc.
You could spend 8 days in Las Vegas and its immediate vicinity: Grand Canyon, Death Valley, etc.
The choice is your's but I think you will come back from your proposed trip of all three areas feeling like you rushed it and a bit exhausted from it all. All in my humble opinion, of course!