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Road trip from Seattle to the Grand Canyon

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I have been reading quite a few forum topics and it seems like there are great answers out there, so I'm going to try mine. :)
My boyfriend and I have 13 days at the end of July to plan/go on a road trip and neither of us has ever been to the Grand Canyon. We would be driving from Seattle, but it sounds like there are a few sights in Utah that would be beneficial for us to stop at (like Bryce and Zion). Please help me in planning this trip! I am at a loss of which way to go. I know it's going to take almost 3 days to the Grand Canyon, so how much time or where are the best places to stop at in Bryce and Zion? Any suggestions? Like should we go through Utah and spend some time first, then the GC, and beat foot straight back? But then it sounds like it might even be better to fly to Vegas, rent a car and go to GC that way (but then we'd miss out on Bryce and Zion...right?)
Thank you so much for any advice given!!!


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    Bryce and Zion are quite accessible from Las Vegas - 2-3 hours in the case of Zion, another hour to Bryce Canyon.

    So a big loop - LV to Grand Canyon to Bryce to Zion to LV - or the reverse - is very doable, and it would save a lot of driving just to get there and back.

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    I was amazed the first time I used Mapquest to chart Vegas-to-Seattle, to find out that the path via Boise was the quickest.

    SO, with that in mind, you should definitely use the down/southward path to cover any sights you want to see along the path (because when you get there, and get toward the end of your trip, sometimes all you want to do is zoom home, and you forego things you'd wanted to see)

    So I'm sure you should start out going east... Ellensburg, Yakima, Tri-Cities, eastern Oregon, Boise... and then down through Utah...

    The 20 hours of driving time between Seattle and Grand Canyon, AZ isn't excessive, and is easily split into 3 days.

    With 13 days to spend, you have the luxury of more time than most. (oh, another bonus to driving inland is GAS PRICES are much cheaper).

    As for timing the nights, I think I'd gun for Boise, Idaho on the first night... indeed it is 500 miles, but unless you stall in some random port for some personal reason, it is a fairly speedy passage from Seattle to Boise.

    Boise is a pleasant area, with plenty of lodging options, and you're basically just passing through.

    It would be another 340 miles to Salt Lake City on the next day... and that's a nice area too, pretty, with lots of Utah's relatively pure society around.

    Then 250 miles from SLC to Cedar City, which is near to Bryce Canyon NP and to Zion.

    A night there and you're ready to explore either or both the next day, leaving a drive of 255 miles from the south end of Zion to Grand Canyon, AZ.

    IF you want to do those parks thoroughly then perhaps 2 nights in a row at/near Cedar City might be a good way to rest a bit after the longer driving days prior.

    (let me organize myself here: )

    night 1: Boise
    night 2: Salt Lake City
    nights 3 & 4: Cedar City, Utah area

    nights 5,6,7: Grand Canyon area (guessing)

    IF you are interested/inclined to go to Vegas for a refreshing short stay, then you do that next. You'd still have reasonable tiiiiiiiiime for another ad-lib enroute home, most likely along the California-ish path.

    All of the things you mention are doable by rental car from Vegas, and you really should price such an effort compared to the gas prices for the long drive starting and ending in Seattle.

    Flying to Vegas would put you immediately into the 'zone' of your interest, AND you could even stretch the trip the full 13 days with a few/several spent IN Vegas if you were to fly there and back. (you wouldn't need the rental car for time spent IN Vegas)

    As you already kinda know your 13-day window, you might first just price rental cars for, say, a period of one week, originating and returning in Vegas. You'd then have 7 days to go the 260-ish miles from Vegas to Bryce Canyon, and then to Zion, and then to the Grand Canyon, and back to Vegas. (easily doable).

    While the area in Idaho and upper Utah is pleasant in many places, the driving part just adds time and gas expense to the equation.

    IF you end up doing the long drive there and back, you could motivate yourselves to keep pressing along at a good clip by perhaps making time for a night or two in, say, San Francisco on the path back home.

    Should be fun to plan, and I think you are already well aware of the various considerations.

    Oh, and if you have/make cause to drive through Death Valley on the way from Vegas toward California, I think it is worth doing. (and it IS as HOT as you've heard!! )

    (LOL - I remember when my jaw dropped to see gas at just $1.78 a gallon at the last gas station before dropping down into Death Valley - this was in 1998, I think ) (it could be on the way toward $6 per now!!)

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    Thank you so much for your recommendations! I think we are going to stick with the "road trip" suggestions just because neither of us has been through Idaho or Utah and it would be great to see some new sights! We'll go through Idaho and Utah, then visit the north rim of Grand Canyon, and then up through California to visit some family that lives in Monterey. Guess I better get a move on finalizing some plans now since the trip is at the end of July :)
    Thanks again!!!

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