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mateonicola3 Jan 18th, 2016 05:05 PM

How many days to spend in San Francisco, LA & Las vegas?

I need tips on how to plan our 12 days California trip including LA, Las Vegas & San Francisco.

We arrive to LA on July 3nd, and fly back from LA on July 15th.
We will rent a car.

How many days shall we plan for LA, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and for the road trip between San Francisco and LA?. We also want to visit Yosemite National Park.

This is our first time in California.

Thanks a lot!

nytraveler Jan 18th, 2016 05:15 PM

It would help to know who and how many "we" are. And it's a pity that your fights are in an out of LA -since that requires you to waste time making a giant circle when you already have a very limited time for getting to o many different places.

I'm not an expert on this area so I won;t give you a lot of specifics - but just the basic numbers: you have 6 places in 11.5 days (depending on what time you land in LA). And that is less than 2 days for each - without counting in driving times (except for 2 days - minimal to get from LA to SF and see much of anything).

I think you will need to make some hard decisions - as to which places you will actually get to.

tomfuller Jan 18th, 2016 06:46 PM

What do you really want to see in LA?
If you must land at LAX, take a flight to Las Vegas and rent a car for a week. Go to see Yosemite and then Los Angeles and then return the car to Las Vegas (one week rental).
Fly from Las Vegas to San Francisco (or Oakland). Spend 3 days in the San Francisco area.
If you must fly home from Los Angeles take the Coast Starlight south from Emeryville in the morning and you will be in Los Angeles about 9PM. Fly out the next day from LAX.
Car rentals are much cheaper in Las Vegas than anywhere in CA.

janisj Jan 21st, 2016 07:50 AM

I would NOT futz around w/ multiple planes/trains/buses. (You have to understand tom will do ANYthing to avoid renting a car in CA so he devises some really <i>creative</i> itineraries)

Your biggest problem is you are flying round trip in/out of LA. Have you already booked your flights? If so -- you really don't have enough time for all of that.

Open Jaw into LA or Vegas and home from SFO would help a lot.

But if you are stuck in/out of LAX and if you do want to try squeezing it all in - at VERY minimum you'd need 2 days for LA, 2 days to drive up the coast, 3 days in SF, 2 days in Yosemite, one FULL day between YNP and Vegas. 2 days in LV, and another full day back to LAX.

It would be easier if you skip Las Vegas. You need to book Yosemite NOW.

MmePerdu Jan 21st, 2016 12:43 PM

I agree with Janice that your trip will be more satisfying without the detour to Las Vegas. Keep in mind I hate Las Vegas, but in this case, even if I didn't the advice would be the same.

It's hard to say what things to emphasize, knowing nothing about your interests, but in general, with 11 full days (12 nights), in & out of LA I suggest the following:

Leave northward immediately on arrival, 3 nights up the coast, 4 nights (3 full days with time for a side trip, maybe Napa/Sonoma) in SF, 2 nights to reach and visit Yosemite for 1 day. Then return to LA for 2 nights with a full day to buzz around before flying home. That's a decent trip for a 1st time in a very big state and just scratching the surface. Adding Las Vegas will only serve to diminish the experience.

suze Jan 21st, 2016 01:13 PM

Los Angeles 5
Yosemite 2
San Francisco 5
Las Vegas 0

janisj Jan 21st, 2016 01:30 PM

suze's division is good -- but you'd need 3 more days for the drives between the three destinations..

suze Jan 21st, 2016 01:34 PM

Thanks janisj.

Los Angeles to San Francisco is only 10 hours. I didn't realize Yosemite would add on 2 more days of driving time.

mateonicola3 Feb 4th, 2016 03:59 AM

Thanks a lot for all your comments!

I already booked my flights in/out LAX.

Do you recommend us to change visiting Yosemite for Grand Canyon?

What about cheap but comfort & safety hotels on those places?


janisj Feb 4th, 2016 08:17 AM

>>Thanks janisj.

Los Angeles to San Francisco is only 10 hours. I didn't realize Yosemite would add on 2 more days of driving time.<<

YNP doesn't by itself -- but LA to YNP is most of a day, YNP to SF is almost half a day, and SF to LA is a full day . . . so +3-ish days for transit.

>>Do you recommend us to change visiting Yosemite for Grand Canyon?<<

The Grand Canyon is farther from LA than Yosemite is.

jamie99 Feb 4th, 2016 12:59 PM

SF to LA or vice versa is only a one day drive if OP takes the 101 or the I-5 (boring unless you are a big fan of agriculture). I would drive Highway 1 along the coast with two overnight stays. That time of year it could be done with one overnight, but you will have to be VERY selective about any stops, especially ones that take time like Monterey Aquarium or Hearst Castle.

mateonicola3 Feb 5th, 2016 12:41 PM

Thank you so much for your help! I am really wondering why is everyone recommending NOT to do Vegas. Theres two of us on this trip. Me (24) and my girlfriend (22), we are from Uruguay (in South America) which is a really small country and only has quiet beaches. We haven't seen any busy city like Vegas, or any impressive park like Yosemite or Grand Canyon. The reason of our trip, is her cousin getting married in San Diego on the 2nd, so we would actually begin our road trip on the 3rd, from San Diego. Apart from the essential LA, SF and Yosemite, would you recommend staying in for example Venice Beach or any relevant place in between? thank you!

janisj Feb 5th, 2016 12:51 PM

>>I am really wondering why is everyone recommending NOT to do Vegas.<<

Some people just hate Las Vegas - while others love it and visit every year (sometimes 3 or 4 times a year). Both sides have good reasons.

Me personally - I'm somewhere in the middle. I find LV fun but only go there maybe every 6 years for 2 or 3 days. The only times generally I advise against Vegas are 1) when it is a family w small children, and 2) in the hottest part of summer.

For a couple your ages, you'd probably enjoy Las Vegas - just realize it will be very <B><RED>HOT</red></B>

In fact, since you will have been in San Diego and on the coast -- you'd maybe even prefer Las Vegas over Venice Beach.

HappyTrvlr Feb 6th, 2016 09:06 AM

Las Vegas in July means you will stay indoors in air conditioning. The desert is very, very HOT. I don't like Las Vegas but many do.

november_moon Feb 6th, 2016 11:11 AM

For a young couple from a small country, definitely go to Vegas. You guys will have a blast :)

jayne1973 Feb 7th, 2016 05:35 AM

I would head to Vegas first, spend two nights there, then two nights Yosemite, three nights San Francisco, then take the coastal highway back to LA, allowing at least one night somewhere along the way. Use whatever is left in LA.

janisj Feb 7th, 2016 12:47 PM

One good thing about LV in summer -- they practically give the rooms away.

curiousgeo Feb 7th, 2016 01:10 PM

LV in summer, the heat radiates off the sidewalks even at night. Still had fun though, a/c in the casinos and cold beer made it bearable.

MmePerdu Feb 7th, 2016 02:38 PM

But, unbearable, smoking is allowed in more places than not in hotels & casinos, which one must traverse to get almost anywhere in the big hotels.

MichelleY Feb 7th, 2016 03:18 PM

Jayne1973 gives you a good plan. From Las Vegas, head north up 395 towards Yosemite. Maybe spend the night in Bishop or Mammouth. Then head over to Yosemite over Tioga Pass. You may not be able to spend the night in Yosemite Valley as lodging books up way ahead of time. Then head to San Francisco and on down the coast to LA for the rest of your trip.

Distances in the western US are vast.

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