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Paulseward Jul 18th, 2012 02:19 AM

Driving Las Vegas-Los Angeles-San Francisco-Las Vegas in 17 days ?
Hi, i am planning a trip next summer 2013, the trip will be for 17 days, and we will flying into Las vegas, hiring a car and hope to travel to the grand canyon, then onto Los angeles, then up to San Fransisco via the coastal route, then back to Las Vegas via the inland route and fly back to the uk from there.
Any tips and suggestions would be helpful, is this too much ? Where to stay ? What to do and see ?
We are hoping to visit friends at Newport Beach on the way from LV to SF, that is a definate stop we want to make, however as for the rest of the trip we are open to suggestions.
This is a totally new thing for us and although we have visited Las Vegas, we are totally blind for the rest of the trip.
Any help would be appreciated, Cheers.

emalloy Jul 18th, 2012 04:57 AM

That is a lot of driving, but certainly can be done in your time frame. Do compare the cost of flying to Vegas, picking up a car for the GC, returning the car to Vegas and then flying to SF or LA for the Newport Beach visit and coast drive, then flying home or back to Vegas and then home.

Generally it is less expensive to return a rental to the original point and factor in the gas prices too. There are usually some pretty low fares to/from Vegas and LA, SF.

janisj Jul 18th, 2012 08:14 AM

If you haven't booked the flights yet, I might consider something like Flying into LAX and home from SFO (or Vice versa).

You could do Vegas and the Grand Canyon as a 2 or 3 day excursion from LA. Fly from Orange county or LAX to LV (checkout Southwest - they don't list on sites like Orbitz or expedia) and either hire a car for a couple of days or take a tour to the GC.

That leaves you two full weeks for Orange County, LA , the coast (Santa Barbara, Big Sur, Carmel, etc), Yosemite, and San Francisco.

tracys2cents Jul 18th, 2012 08:39 AM

Is there a reason you want to drive back to Las Vegas? Airfare should be about the same if you return to the UK from California. And there are no one-way drop fees for UK citizens when hiring cars from Hertz, Alamo or National.

You probably already know that Las Vegas is very hot in July and August and room rates are highest on Fri and Sat. You probably do not want to drive the LV to LA route between 11am Sunday and 11am Monday as traffic can be very slow. Also you don't want to be approaching Los Angeles headed to Newport Beach at any time of day other than 11am to 2:30pm or after 8:30pm. For Newport Beach to SF, drive early on Sat or Sun morning, or leave NB after 10am if it's a weekday. For routes and what to see, just plug "Californa Coast" into the search forum box as it is a much-discussed drive.

supergliderider Oct 19th, 2012 02:10 PM

That sounds like quite the drive! If you ride motorcycles, it'd be even better on the bikes. ha ha

You should add "Reno" to your list if you keep that original itinerary, as that would create a large box (Vegas->LA->SF->Reno->Vegas). The other option is to drive SF->Vegas through Yosimite which might actually be preferable for you.

Vegas to Reno is about 8 hours, Reno to SF is 3 to 4 hours, so I assume the same holds true on the other half (SF to LA = 8 hours, and LA to Vegas = 4). Very, very doable in 17 days. In fact, sounds like you'll have PLENTY of time on the trip to stop to smell the desert roses, so to speak.

Hope you do the trip, as you'll be visiting a beautiful and diverse part of the U.S.

While in Vegas, add to your list to check out Valley of Fire, and Red Rock Canyon. While near Reno, you should take a little time for Lake Tahoe. Add those to your Grand Canyon adventure, along with some sights in California, and you'll be in for a great time!

Safe travels

Toucan Oct 27th, 2012 04:43 PM

Sounds like a great trip plan. One suggestion and a couple of cautions may be helpful.

On your way to Grand Canyon, take the time to stop at Hoover Dam. Park and walk out on the new bridge walkway to get a great view of the dam from about 1600 feet above the river (unless you are bothered by heights, then never mind).

Vegas is hot but nothing you can't handle. Death Valley on the other hand is so hot it can be dangerous for those who don't come prepared by having enough water and who venture off the main roads. There is no cell phone coverage in most places in DV.

Also late July and August are the monsoon season in the Mojave Desert (Vegas to GC to So Cal). When humidity gets high enough, afternoon thunderclouds develop quickly and absolutely pour rain in typically very localized areas many times causing heavy flash floods. You will probably not be caught in a heavy down pour but just be aware and if you are don't ever try to cross flooded roads.

tomfuller Oct 28th, 2012 09:31 AM

I drove over the new bridge (US 93) last month. I don't think you can walk on the bridge. The side walls are over 4' high.
Drive across the dam to the Arizona side (free parking) and walk over the dam to the visitor center.
You might want to return the rental car to Las Vegas and fly to either San Francisco or Los Angeles and rent another car for your California adventure.

janisj Oct 28th, 2012 12:41 PM

The OP started this and one other thread back on July 18 and has never returned to either one. Doubt he is still looking . . .

Toucan Oct 28th, 2012 10:03 PM

Yep. Should check the dates before posting.
As for the bridge, I live near the dam and have been on the bridge walkway several times. It is a pedestrian walkway built specifically for pedestrian viewing of the dam from the bridge vantage point. It is seperated from the traffic but you can see the pedestrians from the traffic lane.

garyt22 Oct 28th, 2012 10:52 PM

probably never made it through the desert... rip...

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