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4 weeks honeymoon in WestCoast and NY


Apr 12th, 2017, 01:39 PM
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4 weeks honeymoon in WestCoast and NY


We are 28 years old couple from Europe and we are planning our honeymoon trip in USA. We are planning to spend about 4 weeks starting in mid August (28-30 days in total). 1 week in New York (this part of the trip is quite clear) and 3 weeks in the West Coast.
We read many topics in this forum and tried to create the trip schedule below. We would be more than happy if you could share your opinion/ advices regarding the trip.
Also we don’t have any flight tickets yet.

1-7 days - flight from Europe to NY. Touristic/chilling in NY - visiting museums, some tourist places and meeting some friends, attend some lindyhop/swing dancing events.
8 day – (this is where adventures start) flight from NY to LA. Getting around the city. Spending night in LA.
9 day – renting car and heading to LV. Visit a show (optional: Circue du soleil) and find cheap hostel near LV.
10 day – from early morning head to Grand Canyon North Rim – we don’t like very touristic places, so thinking that North Rim could be an option.
11 day – make a big hike down to canyon from early morning. Starting from North Kaibab, land to Redwall Bridge or Roaring Springs and then come back to North Kaibab (or make a night in Cottonwood Campground)
12 day – rest for half day, then head to Brice Canyon. See sunset. Reserve a lodge.
13 day – check sunrise in Brice. Then go to Zion. Maybe short hike in Zion or rest.
14 day – hike the Narrows in Zion.
15 day – take another hike in Zion. Sleep in Zion campground
16 day - wake up early and go towards to Mammoth lake. I am not sure if it is better to spend all day driving or to stop in Vegas and check one more show �� and then only next day finish trip towards the Mammoth lakes.
17 day Mammoth lakes hiking
18 day Mammoth lakes biking. Sleep next to June lake.
19 day Yosemite hiking/resting
20 day Yosemite hiking/resting
21 day Yosemite hiking/resting
22 day Calaveras. Sleep calaveras
23 day SF (Stu Dudley’s recommendations)
24 day SF
25 day Monterey
26 day Big Sur (the road is closed now, so is it worth going to Big Sur from Monterey, then do circle to Cambria?)
27 day Cambria or Paso Robles
28 day then not sure if we need to go to Sequaias national park (because we like such kind of nature) or should we come back to LA.

I read that Yosemite could be crowdy at this time, but we really want to visit it and stop at those beautiful lakes like Tioga and Tenaya (I am not sure if we will pass anything similar in other places).

1) We are not sure yet – should we do round trip, should we start from LA, LV or SF. I also see that flight ticket are cheaper when flying to/from LA. But I read somewhere that renting the car is cheaper in LV.

2) Big Sur (the road is closed now, so is it worth going to Big Sur from Monterey, then do circle to Cambria?

I would like to add, that our trip should be more budget one, by passing luxury restaurants and comfortable hotels. I can call us quite experienced campers – so as we are coming at hottest season of the year, we plan to buy some gear – like tent, and spend more nights at camping grounds.

3) Do we need reservations for camping sites? Is it possible to camp in all places we will be visiting? Maybe there are some limitations or bad conditions for example in Yosemite?

Also, we can add 3-5 days, but also we need to fit in the budget – around 6000-8000 dollars for the whole 1 month trip for two with flight tickets, food, car rental and stay.
Regarding NY – we are not picky ones, so we prefer local places or airbnb where I found some spaces in 30-40 dollars range per night for both. Also we have some friends so it is possible that we will stay few nights at their place.
Also most galleries and museums we planned to visit are free or not to expensive.
For WestCoat, 1500$ car rental + gas, let’s say the average for camping place or cheap hotel/hostel should be 50$ for both - 21x50=1050$. Food – for dinner we used to make a delicious pasta on camping site while traveling, also we can survive with Mcdonalds, Subway and other fast food industry: so lets say 1500 $
Flight tickets: 1200$ for both.
So total can start from 6000$ and we still have 1000-2000$ more if needed.

Any your advises to this trip draft are more than welcome!
Petermorro is offline  
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Apr 12th, 2017, 03:44 PM
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 547
Quick observation:

Your schedule does not allow any time for a Honeymoon which should the sole purpose of this trip. This rushing may result in an argument and a divorce!

August is a hot month in Utah. North Rim Grand Canyon is cool.
Suggest delaying Utah to mid-September. OR dedicate August trip to California and Utah for your 1st Anniversary.

Camping - Purchase all equipment at a Wal-Mart store. While not the highest quality, it is inexpensive and you can leave it in the US at a charity store.

Good Sam and Woodalls sell a book that lists all the campgrounds in U.S. They are available on the Internet, but probably not available in Europe.
1) 2017 Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide (Good Sams Rv Travel Guide & Campground Directory) $19.00 on Amazon
2) Woodall's North American Campground Directory, 2012 (Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory) Paperback – January 24, 2012 I could not find a Woodall - 2017. I think they also sell a Western version

Suggestion: Have your friends in New York purchase one of the above. Good Same membership provides a 10% discount for their campground.

This is my standard book recommendation.
There are several books that truly address Utah's parks.

1. Hiking (serious): Books by Michael R. Kelsey. We have his entire collection. http://kelseyguidebooks.com/
2. Hiking (family): Wow Utah Canyon Country - Very good book
3. Backroad 4-wheel driving: Canyonland National Park Favorite Jeep Roads and Hiking Trails. White Rim Trail (road) is the premier scenic area in Island In The Sky. This book has an excellent description of that 110 mile road.
4. Touring guide focusing exclusively on Utah Parks for driving, hiking and Mountain Biking: Zion to Escalante, Utah and its companion Escalante to Moab. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument covers North Rim Grand Canyon and other sites near Kanab Utah.In Kindle and paper back format. This book gives a life-saving mile-by-mile driving guide.

5. As above, but less detailed for Utah: Fodor's Utah: with Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Capitol Reef & Canyonlands National Parks (Travel Guide)

6 Fodor's The Complete Guide to the National Parks of the West (Full-color Travel Guide) Paperback – May 10, 2016

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Apr 12th, 2017, 03:53 PM
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Get a flight from New York to Las Vegas even if there is a connecting flight. You don't want to drive through the Mojave Desert when you are tired from LA to LV.
The rental cars are also much cheaper in Las Vegas than in California.
There are cheap hotel rooms in Las Vegas (not hostels).
One of my favorites is the Fiesta in Henderson NV.
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Apr 12th, 2017, 04:03 PM
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Yes it's still worth seeing the section of Big Sur that's accessible. You can drive 26 miles south from Carmel before having to turn around. The state parks along the route should be reopened by the time of your trip. August is a very busy time of year and Labor Day which is a 3 day holiday weekend is the first weekend in September. You'll need reservations to camp.
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Apr 12th, 2017, 04:08 PM
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Why go to Los Angeles for only 1 night?
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Apr 13th, 2017, 02:01 PM
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RVvagabond - appreciate your observations. Very good points regarding camping equipment, excellent book list (we already started looking them) and yes, looks like we really need to add few more days in the trip for the rest and lazy stay.

Patty – good tip for the Labor day, we need to think about that period when planning our stay.

tomfuller and suze – our flight from US to Europe most probably will be from LA, just because there are no suitable flights with good price from SF and LV, that’s why we took LA as our destination point.
Also we thought that car rental would be cheaper for round trip, that’s why we decided to start from LA too. But now I see that car rental price is almost the same if we take it from LV and leave it in LA (I hope I am not wrong). So now we really can take flight from NY to LV, do whole trip and finish at LA. You just saved 1 day ��
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Apr 13th, 2017, 03:46 PM
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>>There are cheap hotel rooms in Las Vegas (not hostels).<<


You may, however, be able to find a hotel room that costs less money.

Lee Ann
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Apr 13th, 2017, 10:06 PM
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Your English is impressive.
I assume you are from either Sweden or Denmark?

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Apr 14th, 2017, 10:10 AM
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No need to stay in a hostel in Vegas. Las Vegas has VERY cheap rooms in summer especially on weekdays. They practically give rooms away except for the very poshest of the resorts. (There is a reason -- it will be bloody HOT. Like 115º+F/46º+C)
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Apr 15th, 2017, 07:34 AM
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Definitely look/book campgrounds now. A number of them will already be sold out especially the Labor Day weekend (first Monday in September). Look for camping just outside the national parks or in nearby state parks. Be flexible with your dates.
Make sure you read about water recommendations. You may be hiking in high heat and need to be prepared.
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Apr 16th, 2017, 11:40 PM
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I'm a Central Californa native so I'll focus on your Cambria/Paso Robles and Sequoias trip. I live near the gate to Sequoia National Park. The park is beautiful, but I would honestly suggest tying it into your trip to Yosemite if you plan to do it. The gate the Sequoias is about 3 1/2 hours from Paso Robles...add an hour for Cambria. Yosemite NP, Kings Canyon NP, and Sequoia NP all border each other. I think you'll get your scenic national park fix in Yosemite though.

Cambria is a very quiet little town. It's more popular with the older crowd, but it's closer to your other destinations...plus it's near San Simeon, which is where Hearst Castle and the elephant seals are. Hearst Castle is worth it but you have to pay for several tours in order to see the whole thing. The pool is also currently drained to fix a leak and it has been that way for several years.

I am more partial to Paso Robles. I spend several weekends a month in the area. Paso has excellent wineries (may I suggest Graveyard Vineyards, Tablas Creek (do the tour), and Tooth and Nail. I would actually stay in San Luis Obispo rather than Paso. SLO is a fabulous little town about 30 minutes away. Stay in one of the motels on Monterey State (Motel 6, Peach Tree Inn, Travellodge, Lampliter Inn). From there you can walk down Monterey to their excellent downtown with awesome restaurants, one of the California missions. Thursday nights are Farmers Markets. You can also hike Bishop's Peak for an awesome sunrise or just overall view. There is also excellent night life at The Frog and Peach, Bull's, The Creeky Tiki, Mother's Tavern, and Marvin's. During the day you can visit Avila Beach which is usually always nice weather. It's my favorite local beach, but you do have to be prepared to walk if you get there after noon on the weekends. There was a major oil spill about 20 years ago. They rebuilt the entire town, but didn't plan parking well. If it's hot you can head down the road to Pismo Beach instead.

My husband and I are newlyweds and we head to San Luis Obispo every chance we get. It's not overly touristy-there's a university there, so you get good college prices on everything in a town with a small population.
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Apr 18th, 2017, 02:30 PM
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Answering to the question on top – RVvagabond was very close, we are from Norway. We really try our best to make the text clear as possible, that you could understand it and help us with your experienced hints. And we are very happy because still receiving many good tips!
Thank you for advices regarding the hotels and campgrounds, also nice review from nkm1 about Central California region. We will update our plan accordingly.

Last but not least, we still have some doubts regarding the trip plan. First, after spending 3 days in Zion our next big destination is Yosemite NP. We planned also 3 days driving to that point, of course with nice big stops. There are multiple ways from down to top: road through LV and then DV, next one is road 95 through Big Pine without going through DV and last one is road 93 and 6 through Crystal Springs and Tonopath. Since we have time for few nights, what could be the best route or recommendation? Maybe we skipped really nice places? Our plan A is spend almost all day driving and then relax nearby Mammoth Lakes.

Question number two is – should we drive to Calavera Big trees park for 1-2 nights? Maybe it is better idea to stay longer there and skip Sequoias NP as advised above? Actually, we added Sequoias because we hopped to find something similar to High Sierra Camp like one close to Mitchell Peak (we read nice trip review about that place) – a nice rustic place to spend few romantic nights surrounded by nature and stars.
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Apr 18th, 2017, 02:59 PM
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With your plan I would skip Sequoia and add a night or 2 to the Calaveras area. You will have seen LOTS of high country/back country during your time in Mammoth and Yosemite. Calaveras will give you the opportunity to see Big Trees without having to criss cross back across the state from the coast to Sequoia.

For the drive from Zion to Yosemite -- Me personally I'd go via Death Valley and Mammoth. Do understand the Death Valley will be very VERY Hot.
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Apr 20th, 2017, 10:11 AM
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All area east of Mammoth Lake is a desert which could be very attractive to those from Norway.

Longer route:
Bishop> highway 6 to highway 95. This is a scenic route through a wide valley. It ends at Tonopah. Tonopah is a growing community driven by a massive solar panel installation northeast of town. Tonopah was one of the larger gold mining towns. http://www.tonopahnevada.com/history.html

It retains much of its history charm including a fully restored hotel that I HIGHLY recommend staying . Hopefully, by this time you are still married. If true, you MUST stay at the > Lady in Red Suite <. See web site: http://www.themizpahhotel.com/

Since you are not from Denmark, it may not be of interest that there is a micro-brewery (they make their own beer) in town. Also in town, is an excellent Mexican food restaurant named El Marques. Don’t purchase gasoline at the first station. Drive through town for cheaper prices.

South of Tonopah is another gold mining town named Goldfield. It does not have the tourist services of Tonopah, but still retains most of its mining history.

From Goldfield south it is a boring drive to Las Vegas.

Caution: Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley, off highway 95, is closed due to water flood damage.

Alert: You will pass highway 160 to Pahrump to the west. A few miles further, to the east, is an area known as Mercury. This is where U.S. tested its nuclear bombs during our cold war with USSR. You cannot drive into that area, but tours are/were offered through the Atomic Bomb Museum in Las Vegas (worth a visit).

NEXT driving option is via Big Pine to highway 95 via highway 168, through Deep Spring and Lida to highway 95. It is a paved road, but of minor scenic value. The mileage difference between the two option is about 40 miles with Big Pine being the shortest.

Las Vegas – You can avoid Las Vegas by taking Durango road east to highway 15 by driving on highway 215. If you are going into L.V. their MOB Museum is interesting. http://themobmuseum.org/

My favorite casino to tour is The Venetian.
Like Venice, Italy, they offer canal boat ride though a replicated St. Marks Square with opera singing oar man. Romantic .https://www.venetian.com/

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Apr 20th, 2017, 12:52 PM
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If you found airbnb accommodation in New York for $30 you should post them here, sounds like you will be in an undesirable area a long distance from NYC. Make certainthat your airbnb choices have several (maybe 15+) reviews and pay close attention to what those reviews say about location and nearby subway transportation.
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Apr 20th, 2017, 01:00 PM
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>>Regarding NY – we are not picky ones, so we prefer local places or airbnb where I found some spaces in 30-40 dollars range per night for both. <<

I was concentrating on the west coast bits so skipped over the above passage. That would be HIGHLY unlikely. And if it was 'real' it would almost certainly be an illegal apartment.

Care to provide links to some of the ones you are considering.
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Apr 20th, 2017, 04:42 PM
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The scariest motel in Tonopah (perhaps the US) is the Clown Motel. Yes, it is next to the old cemetery.
I stayed there one night and lived to tell about it.
Goldfield was the site of the longest prize fight in modern history (33 rounds).
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Apr 20th, 2017, 06:14 PM
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Did not know that. Have not seen a sign in Goldfield to that effect:
To the north of town, two blocks from the hotel, one can see where a flood wash has flattened the earth. On that site, 82 years ago, a Goldfield saloon owner, Tex Rickard, built a 7,000-seat wooden arena around a boxing ring. For nearly three hours one day, Sept. 3, 1906, all telegraph wires in the United States were connected to Goldfield, Nev.
... On Sept. 3, 1906, lightweights Joe Gans and Battling Nelson fought for $34,000 in Goldfield.
... But 82 years ago, $34,000 was by far the biggest purse offered for a boxing match.

Another fight of the Century was in Reno: Johnson - Jefferies:

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