LV-LA-SF trip Time frame: Aug 19 - Sep 1

Mar 15th, 2019, 04:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2019
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LV-LA-SF trip Time frame: Aug 19 - Sep 1

Hello everybody,

I am planning a trip to show two 60+ ladies (my mother and my aunt) a little bit of the West.
No hiking, no exploring, no theme parks...just pure sightseeing with hundreds of pictures...
I can leave New York Mon Aug 19 and have to be back before Labor Day.
Could someone help with itinerary, must see places, advice on a budget to include famous places around LA, SF, Las Vegas + Grand Canyon, maybe some parks seen from car or view points...
I did not book any flights, hotels yet and planning to rent a car in CA.
marcinny is offline  
Mar 15th, 2019, 04:51 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,588
First you need to decide if you really think Las Vegas and the desert SW is a good idea at the end of August -- it s the very hottest time of the year and 115 - 120 or even hotter is common. It is a dreadful time to visit LV -- except they do practically give the rooms away. It will be too hot to be outside after about 9:30 AM.

Then . . . 11 or 12 days is not enough for SF, LA, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas.

>> maybe some parks seen from car or view points...<<

Do you mean other national parks?

Why not concentrate on just San Francisco, the coast and Los Angeles? That would easily fill 11-ish days.
janisj is online now  
Mar 15th, 2019, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Unfortunately August is also the foggiest month along the coast, eg San Francisco, Big Sur and Los Angeles. It can also be monsoon season in the desert. In fact, last August it was so hot and humid in Los Angeles that I took off for the Arizona sky islands where the elevation moderates the temperature. Lightning storms were spectacular. I would suggest flying to Las Vegas, (check Southwest, about $50 OW from LAX) spending your time inside the air conditioned hotels, using Uber or taxis, then rent a car from there and drive to the Grand Canyon for several nights. Its about a 4-hour drive and you really don't need to worry with modern vehicles. It should be mid-80's at elevation and you might catch some fireworks.

School is out so the national parks will be crowded. Book now!
mlgb is offline  
Mar 15th, 2019, 05:23 PM
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You are right janisj. I thought it would be a good idea to fly from NYC to LV (rent a car - someone on this forum mentioned the best prices in CA), walk around the Strip in the evening, spend a night and next day make a round trip to a rim of Grand Canyon, another evening and night in LV, hit the road in the morning.

I hoped at least drive or take a bus thru Yosemite Park/Sequoia Park.

It could be crazy probably impossible thats why I ask other people for help/advice.

It might be only one chance for them to visit West, so I am trying to do my best to show them as much as I can in limited time.
marcinny is offline  
Mar 15th, 2019, 05:39 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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>>I hoped at least drive or take a bus thru Yosemite Park/Sequoia Park.<<

That is also difficult -- Sequoia/Kings Canyon and Yosemite are pretty far apart and both -- especially Yosemite -- are VERY crowded in August.

>>next day make a round trip to a rim of Grand Canyon<<

it is a 4.5 hours drive each way so a difficult day trip -- plus you'd only be there in the middle of the day when every other day tripper is there and it gets really crowded. The time to be at the GC is in the mornings/sunrise and for sunset -- which requires an overnight.

Why not consider something like: 1 night in Vegas, 1 night on the South Rim, drive back to LV and stay 1 night, fly to Sacramento in the early AM, pick up a rental car and drive to Yosemite and stay 2 nights (in the Valley if you can get a room, or in El Portal otherwise), drive to Monterey/Carmel and stay 2 or 3 nights, drive to San Francisco and drop the car and stay in SF a couple of nights - fly home from there
janisj is online now  
Mar 15th, 2019, 06:08 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,588
OH - I notice you are a brand new member -- welcome to Fodors. Because you are so new, you are limited to posting again until tomorrow so think about our suggestions and then come back tomorrow with more questions . . .

Re my suggestions - here are some links to look over:

• If accommodations in Yosemite Valley are booked up for your dates (very likely) this place is in El Portal and ver convenient to the Valley

• this video shows Point Lobos just south of Carmel

• This is the Carmel travel site

• sunrise/sunset at the GC
(turn the sound down - the song is annoying but at least its short)
janisj is online now  
Mar 15th, 2019, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,084
The things that people go to see in Kings Canyon/Sequoia (SEKI) are the Giant Sequoias. There is a great grove of them in the SE quadrant of Yosemite. The National Park Service did a lot of work to make the experience at the Mariposa Grove a better one than it was in the past.
Janisj's plan is a good one. The only thing I might change would be to return the car to Sacramento where you rented it and take one of the Capitol Corridor trains to Emeryville with an Amtrak bus over into San Francisco. The buses make several stops in San Francisco so one of them should be close to your hotel. You don't want or need a rental car in San Francisco IMO.
If you truly want to go to Los Angeles, either fly or take the Coast Starlight south from Oakland.
tomfuller is offline  
Mar 15th, 2019, 06:19 PM
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Driving back to Sacramento merely to drop off the rental car might save a drop off charge but it is a heck of a detour from the Monterey area. Saving money is good, but IMO not at the expense of nearly an a full day's schlepp driving to Sacramento and taking the train back down to SF.
janisj is online now  
Mar 15th, 2019, 08:48 PM
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Things to do & see in the San Francisco area
San Francisco - Stu Dudley's Recommendations

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Mar 16th, 2019, 12:23 PM
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12.5 days is not a lot of time for all that there is to see and do. If I had to drop something it would def be Vegas & Canyon because of the heat, even an airconditioned car is not very comfortable ...especially once you get out of the car to look around.

But you could fly into Las Vegas and fly home from (San Francisco or San Jose). On Aug 21 there are $49 flights (bags included) on Southwest from Vegas to Los Angeles. Then you could start your drive along the coast of California....2 nights LA, a night near santa Barbara, 2 nights central coast and then Yosemite. (Car rentals northbound are cheaper than southbound).

Since timing will be tight , best to decide on the 4 or 5 things that you most want to see/experience and then try to work out a schedule that works based on your must-sees. If you decide on Vegas, I don't think it makes sense after that long long day back and forth to the Grand Canyon to then get in a car and drive for 6 or 9 hours more the next day. So a flight to San Diego or Los Angeles or the San Francisco area would be my recommendation.

American Airlines has a 7:45am nonstop JFK to Las Vegas.($180 per person) . Returning from San Francisco, Delta has a 2pm nonstop back into NY at 10:30pm. ($250 per person)... or Alaska out of San Jose airport has a 7:20am flight nonstop to JFK 3pm ($210 per person)
clarkgriswold is online now  
Mar 16th, 2019, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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In response to the usual "you can't do all of that" postings, this is what I'd plan for your time frame.

Day 1-2
Fly out August 19 to LAS (if from JFK Delta or Jet Blue). Flight time nonstop about 6 hours, but you pick up a few due to the time change. Transfer to your air-conditioned hotel. Since the 19th is a Monday, go for a 5 star hotel in the middle of the strip, like Caesar's Palace or the Bellagio (which has a lot of on-site stuff for sightseeing). You won't even have to walk outside. Even though I'm not a fan of Las Vegas, I sort of like the Fremont Street Experience, if you want a late night activity.

Day 2-4 After breakfast on the 20th drive toward the Grand Canyon, via I-40 (about 3 hours). Take the short detour to Seligman on Rte 66 if you want. When you get to Williams, you'll already be at nearly 7000 feet altitude and temps won't be ridiculous. I've often spent the first night of a GC trip in Williams just to see the neon signs at night. From Williams it's another hour to the Grand Canyon Village, but allow time for any delays. Try to arrive at checkin time (I think it's 3pm) especially if you need to catch a shuttle to the rim. But if you book now, you can probably get a room at one of the hotels near the rim. I would allow 2 nights on the rim, so you'd have two sunsets and two sunrises. And a little time to relax, since all of the National Parks are hectic in summer. You can use the full day to drive east to Desert View and/or take the shuttle all the way to Hermit's Rest. Also, you don't wan't to drive west back to Las Vegas in the me!

Day 4 or 5 Aug 22 or 23 Head back to Las Vegas airport . Fly back to LAX (try Southwest which won't show on Kayak etc). Or spend another night and fly in the morning, depending on your preference.

Aug 23 to Aug 25 Los Angeles (give or take a day) Around LA I prefer to do the weekends sightseeing when traffic is better.

Aug 25 to Aug 28 plus or minus a day. Drive up the coast to the Bay Area. If you don't want to go all the way to Pacific Grove in one day, you can stop somewhere on the Central Coast. I don't really care much for Santa Barbara, personally. Spend a night in Pismo or Morro Bay (I prefer the latter), another in the Monterey Bay Area (I like Pacific Grove) or Santa Cruz along the coast (for example). Some hotels around Monterey might want two nights, but I think you can find some that don't especially mid week. (Asilomar should work). None of these drives are particularly long or difficult. Especially if you are nervous on mountain roads, its less frightening heading northbound though Big Sur since you're mostly away from the edge. That's also a drive that's better during the week than on weekends.

August 28 to Sept 1. Four nights in San Francisco (3 full days). Fly back the eve of Aug 31 or on Sept 1, depending on what you find for flights and hotels.

Yes it can be done. Easily.

And you couldn't PAY me to go to Yosemite in August.

Last edited by mlgb; Mar 16th, 2019 at 03:11 PM.
mlgb is offline  
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