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Driving from San Francisco-Las Vegas-San Diego-Los Angeles

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Jan 31st, 2014, 12:13 AM
  #1
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Driving from San Francisco-Las Vegas-San Diego-Los Angeles

Hi,

I'm from Singapore and would be travelling to the US in June. Our first trip to the US. My tour group would be a group of 6 adults and two children (2 and 5 yr olds). Would be touching down on the 8th of June.

I'm think of doing a California with Las Vegas trip by car. I would be driving a Ford Econoline (or similar).

Initially I was thinking of doing SFO (3 nights)-LV (2 nights)-SD (2 nights)-LA (4 nights) (8-19 June). What do you think? Is it doable?

I'm just worried about the SFO to Las Vegas drive. Is it possible to do it in one day? I'm just interested in getting to LV. Alternatively I was thinking of doing SFO to SD (possible to do it in one day? Also just interested in getting to SD and don't mind not stopping except for toilet breaks) and then to LV and finally to LA.

Help!



Charles
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Jan 31st, 2014, 04:33 AM
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Assuming you are flying back from LA - and are not planning to drive the California Coast - why not fly from SF to Las Vegas - and then from there - either rent a car and drive to SD or LA (4 to 5 hour drive)- or fly to either place and rent a car there.

Short flights from California to LV are not that expensive and would save you driving time (may be a little more of a challenge with two wee ones), and part of the rental car expense as you don't really need a car in San Francisco.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 04:37 AM
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BTW - SF to Las Vegas is a looong one way drive. We broke it up by spending a night in beautiful Yosemite (4 hours from SF) - and then headed east - out the Tioga Pass/down 395 and over thru Death Valley - and I haul tail when driving - but an Econoline van would take longer than the 8 plus hours it took us on the second leg.

Even going down 5 and over at Bakersfield is a long day - again, especially in a van.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 06:47 AM
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I also second the suggestion of flying from SF to Las Vegas. I would also fly from Las Vegas to San Diego and then pick up the rental car. You don't really need a car in SF or Vegas. The drives are pretty long for little ones, gas prices are relatively high in California in the summer and the Southwest flights are frequent and inexpensive. I am not saying that flying will be cheaper but it will be a much better use of time.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 09:13 AM
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While SF to Las Vegas is a long drive, it can definitely be done in a day. I've done it several times and typically get into LV in the late afternoon.

Unfortunately, I don't think you'll save enough money on a shorter car rental to pay for the flights, but I do think it's a good option.

A better option would be to avoid LV completely, particularly since you have the little ones. Instead, I think you'd enjoy a few days in Yosemite so much more, doing it as a destination not just a stopover. Alternatively, I think a more leisurely drive down Highway 1 from SF to LA would be great, allowing you to stop over in Big Sur or Santa Barbara or both on the way south.

LA in June is horribly hot (albeit not as bad as July and August) and not at all conducive to kids. Plus, there's little of note to see there except casinos.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 09:14 AM
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Sorry I mistyped .. it's Las Vegas (LV) that's horribly hot in June.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 12:17 PM
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No you cannot drive from SF to SD in one day unless you take the boring I5. Take 2-3 nights and drive Highway 1, one of the most beautiful drives in the US.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 01:16 PM
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Do SF to LA to San Diego, and then decide if you want to take a trip to Vegas from there. You probably will nix the idea, not enough time/too much to see and do in California.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 01:17 PM
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June is "low season" in Las Vegas with plenty of availability so you don't have to worry about booking in advance.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 01:49 PM
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That was my idea too. Don't design your trip around Vegas. Do SF, the coast/Yosemite and SoCal . . . And IF you then decide you want to pop over to LV, it is a much easier drive (or very short flight) and thousands of rooms will be sitting there empty so you can get last minute bargains. . . . Though I'd personally skip Vegas in the summer, and especially with two very young children.

There really is very little you can do in Vegas with toddlers.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 08:58 PM
  #11
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Dear All,


Thank you all for the suggestions! It has definitely given me a better idea of what to expect on this trip.

Firstly I must clarify the reason for going to LV. We're going there because I thought we could have a view of the Grand Canyon/Hover Dam and etc while we are in Cali. Is it possible to still do so from Cali. or a shorter drive to the desired destination from Cali instead of the long one from SFO?


If it's not possible then we might just stick to Cali. I've dedicated as mentioned in my first post some days for SFO/LA/SD. I wonder if there are noteworthy places where we could stop for a day before hitting the big three.

The tentative plan is to drive from SFO to SD and go to LA last. So I wonder instead of driving all the way through from SFO to SD, is there a place where the family could stay? Doug_Stallings mentioned Big Sur and Santa Babara. Which would be better?

Finally I read somewhere in the forum that it would take nerves of steel to drive through the coast (HWY 1). Is that true? Is it dangerous for a van, bearing in mind that I'm from the part of the world where the driver sits on the right side of the car. Thank you all again in advance for all your help!
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Feb 2nd, 2014, 02:44 PM
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>>Doug_Stallings mentioned Big Sur and Santa Babara. Which would be better?<<

Totally different types of places.

Big Sur is VERY small and isolated. Kinda funky at times - reminds me of the 60s. We have been going there 1-2 times a year since the late 60s. Places to stay vary from Super luxury, to campgrounds. We stay at the Big Sur Lodge, after we grew out of the camping era of our lives and after we decided that spending all the $$$$$$ for the super lux places was not our style. One goes to Big Sur to walk in the redwood trees, experience nature, view and visit the picturesque beaches, have lunch or dinner at Nepenthe and sit by the huge bonfire on their deck after dinner with Irish Coffees.

Santa Barbara is just the opposite - nice beach city with shopping malls, restaurants (chain & other), and many nice sandy beaches to sun yourself on. The weather in Santa Barbara is likely to be much better (less fog), than Big Sur - but, IMO, not a scenic.

>>Finally I read somewhere in the forum that it would take nerves of steel to drive through the coast (HWY 1). Is that true? Is it dangerous for a van, bearing in mind that I'm from the part of the world where the driver sits on the right side of the car.<<

We've driven Hwy 1 between San Simeon & Carmel many many times. So I'm not the best person to comment on this. If you drive south to north, you'll be on the inland side of the road - so it will be less risky.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 2nd, 2014, 04:42 PM
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You will be fine driving.
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Feb 4th, 2014, 12:27 AM
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I, personally, hate the drive from North to South on the coast drive. On the right you have the steep drop off to the ocean for a good part of it and on the left you have oncoming traffic.

I prefer and will now only do the South to North drive. I prefer to be on the inland side and am much more comfortable and nerves aren't frayed.

I just met a couple from Germany sitting in a cafe. They made the drive from North to South and said it was scary and and wished they had known before they had done it.
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Feb 4th, 2014, 09:08 AM
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>>Finally I read somewhere in the forum that it would take nerves of steel to drive through the coast (HWY 1). Is that true? Is it dangerous for a van, bearing in mind that I'm from the part of the world where the driver sits on the right side of the car.<<

Those of us who are very used to this drive (and even hairier ones) sometimes poo poo some drivers' concerns.

This drive is one of my favorites anywhere - in either direction. However, I have driven it w/ friends and relatives from the midwest or other countries who were absolutely terrified/white knuckled by it. I've had friends from the UK ('other side of the road') who actually turned around mid-Big Sur and returned to Carmel because they were worried the rest of the drive would be worse (they had actually finished the hairiest bits but didn't know that)

So to say 'not to worry' is not so easy. In a large van and if you are already nervous -- it might be a problem . . . or it might not. Just being honest.
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Feb 8th, 2014, 07:42 AM
  #16
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Thanks guys! I'm still contemplating on whether it is wise to do so. Just wondering, would the fog block out the road? That would make it worst!
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Feb 8th, 2014, 07:52 AM
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I've never seen the fog block out the road - just views of the ocean.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 8th, 2014, 10:13 AM
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"You will be fine driving"

It's the passengers on the right who will be scared shetless.
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Feb 24th, 2014, 12:05 AM
  #19
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Change of plans guys. We would be flying to LV from SFO and driving from LV to SD. And from SD to LA. How long do you reckon it would take to drive from LV to SD?
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Feb 24th, 2014, 05:57 AM
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Well, it's almost 350 miles, so I'd guess at least 6 or 7 hours with traffic, perhaps longer if you stop along the way.
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