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Help me plan my trip to beautiful California!

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Hi everyone, we are travelling to California over the Christmas holidays for 2 weeks with our 2 young children. We'll be spending 1 week in LA (doing the usual sightseeing and theme parks) then San Diego and last Las Vegas.

I would lke to do some national parks but we want to avoid long hours in the car (our youngest is 2 1/2). The grand canyon seems too far to me from LV and so does death valley, joshua tree from LA...

We'll be only 3 days in SD so we'll concentrate on the town.

Where would you suggest going from LA and from LV , without too many hours in the car, maximum 2, to have a good idea and feel about the desert or NP? The more I read the more I get lost on places and beauties of the area!!

Thanks for your help!!

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