Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Road trip from Miami to LA in December two weeks

Road trip from Miami to LA in December two weeks

Old Feb 12th, 2024, 12:25 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Road trip from fly/drive Miami to LA in December two weeks

Hi All
ihave an opportunity to meet my husband who is joining a sailing rally from the Canaries to GRenada
and am wondering if it’s a place I’d enjoy by myself waiting for him to arrive or if it’s better I meet him in Miami or elsewhere and we hire a car and head to LA
I’ve been to Miami, and Key West but I could meet him anywhere within reason
We are thinking of flying from Miami to say Denver and then driving to LA to get back to Sydney Australia
i would like to see mountains and lakes more than driving through Texas
we have been to Grapevine and Dallas and I really liked it

I’ve never experienced desert formations and I’m not looking at just flatlands
id love to revisit Palm Springs as I have only been during summer and my husband has never been
Neither of us have been to the Grand Canyon, either

I’m after local knowledge of a scenic route to take from somewhere we could easily fly from Miami to say, Denver or even New Orleans or phoenix or somewhere else and basically drive across
We would have about two weeks
not a lot of time but doable especially if we fly from somewhere closer to LA
We have visited LA and its coastline a few times so that’s just a point of departure

Thanking you in advance 😊

Last edited by lanejohann7115; Feb 12th, 2024 at 01:02 AM.
lanejohann7115 is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2024, 03:36 AM
  #2  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 12,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Miami to LA driving is 4500km - a long drive that would eat up a large portion of those 2 weeks just sitting behind a wheel. I've driven across the country, and it's not something I would choose to do again. From Miami you can get many places in the country non-stop flight, and essentially anywhere with one stop.

Some things to consider...I would decide what you want to visit first,and go from there. A one-way car rental is likely to add on a big cost. December is winter time across the entire US. Anywhere at significant elevation, even at southern lattitudes like Arizona you will encounter sub freezing temperatures and snow - that includes the Grand Canyon. Personally, I love the GC in winter but your hiking options are very limited unless you bring real winter hiking gear. Driving should not be an issue unless there is active snowfall, but once snow stops crews are good at clearing roads.

I'll throw out some ideas that come to mind.....Arizona - Phoenix, Sedona, GC, to Vegas.... Vegas & surroundings, incl Death Valley NP,Zion NP, etc. Palm Springs as you suggest. Texas hill country (around San Antonio), Many other options....

J62 is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2024, 04:21 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank u j62
ive been thinking Iíll give Grenada a miss and meet my husband in Phoenix
Iím thinking that two weeks or so will give us some time to explore a few areas in Arizona and Iím certainly not a fan of just driving for hours a day
I think he could easily fly into Phoenix from Miami and I think Iíd feel quite comfortable waiting on my own for him in a big city
just looking at Phoenix or Scottsdale to park myself for a couple of days
Iíd love to dip into New Mexico but will resist that urge and concentrate on the areas youíve suggested
Hiking is not big on our list
Walking, yes, but not if trails are isolated
Driving isnít a problem as my husband is Canadian and used to snowy conditions but Iím guessing that the touristy areas would be well cleared ?
im looking forward to seeing the mountains and rock formations

As for accommodation around the Grand Canyon, whatís your opinion: stay in park or do a day trip from somewhere not too far away?
We wonít do scenic flights
just happy to walk and look out at the viewpoints
Thanks again 😊
lanejohann7115 is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2024, 08:38 AM
  #4  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 12,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For lodging at Grand Canyon you have a few options.

1. IN the park, right near the South Rim. To me this is a no-brainer - stay IN the park if possible. There are two concessionaires who run the various lodges there. Yavapai Lodge is run by one co, and El Tovar, Bright Angel, Kachina/Thunderbird, and Maswik are run by another. My go-to choise is Yavapai - I've never had a problem getting a room there. Even if it seems sold out, there are large blocks of rooms reserved by tour companies, and they will release them ahead of time when they know they don't need them. That can be as late as a few days beforehand. Every time I've stayed there, even peak summer dates they've had at least a few rooms available for same day walk/call-ins. I would definitely book ahead, but don't be discouraged if at first you don't succeed.

Yavapai is set about 1/2mi back from the rim in the pine forest. You can park right near your room, which is handy.

The others are closer to the rim, which is nice for those who are mobility limited. Personally, I think a "canyon view" room is overrated. You're going to be out and about all day seeing the canyon, either from the rim, or better yet take at least a short walk /hike down one of the 2 trails - Bright Angel, or S. Kaibab. Of this group, Maswik is the largest, and cheapest. It's also a few hundred meters back from the rim. Once the sun sets there is nothing to see out your window anyway, and many of the rooms look directly out over the sidewalk below, so with your light, people there may see you..... just sayin... Those lodges at the rim are all right next to each other...

For all of the lodging in the park, you pay a premium for 3 things. location, location, and location, and that comes with a price. You aren't paying for services, or ammities, or food options.... Historic El Tovar lodge is the highest end lodging, and there you do get some nice luxuries. The El Tovar restaurant is head and shoulders above any other in-park dining, but you don't need to stay at the lodge to dine there. Reservations required, except for patio/porch dining - which is a great option for sunset over the canyon.

2. Just outside the park at Tusayan. - many commercial options there, as well as far more dining options. My dining needs are simple, and I just love being able to take a long early am walk as the sun comes up, before the day trippers arrive - that's why I stay in park. Many families will find that a chain hotel in Tusayan works better for them. Either way, it's only a relatively short drive into the park from there.

3. Just outside the east entrance to the park, at Cameron Trading post. For some it's a destination of it's own.... Never stayed there. It's a longer drive to the main rim area of the park, but not a bad option.

4. Williams AZ. To me, this is the WORST option. Many hotels there will use the name "Grand Canyon this or that". It is a significant drive that is a waste of time you could better spend actual at the GC. You can do better.
J62 is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2024, 10:31 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 331
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I wouldn't spend much time in Phoenix (not very attractive and not much to see/do) but travel on to Sedona (Day Hike Capital of America & highly scenic Oak Creek Canyon) and then on to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Then I would go to Zion National Park which is a premiere national park (like Yellowstone and Yosemite). Next, you can easily travel to Las Vegas in two hours. En route to Palm Springs you can stop off in Death Valley NP. You could take a detour after the Grand Canyon to Monument Valley Tribal Park which has stunning scenery with sandstone masterpeices that tower at heights of 400 to 1,000. And you could go to the Hopi Indian Reservation. The Hopi Cultural Center on the Second Mesa will teach you about Hopi culture and history and you can eat authenic Hopi cuisine and buy pottery, and silver overlay jewelry. A visit to an ancient Hopi village may be possible.


Last edited by PrairieHikerI; Feb 13th, 2024 at 10:34 AM.
PrairieHikerI is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2024, 11:16 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 1,269
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Another option would be to fly into Albuquerque. Visit Santa Fe while waiting for husband or take a tour of Albuquerque. Eat some Mexican food. Then head across New Mexico and Arizona to Grand Canyon. Lots of places to stop along the way.

In addition to the regular sites for air lines, check out Southwest and Jet Blue who do not always show up on the consolidators.
oldemalloy is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2024, 11:26 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 1,269
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I prefer to stay in the park at Grand Canyonn because you get to be there before and after the day trippers. You also can see sunrise and sunset without having to drive in the dark when elk and deer are about. You are paying for location not fancy lodging. We have stayed at many of the choices, el Tovar was the nicest, but Thunderbird, Kachina and Bright Angel cabins are as close to the rim. Maswick and Yavapai are a little farther.
oldemalloy is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2024, 11:53 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 73,056
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Just quick -- definitely stay IN the park and at one of the places on the rim. As Oldemalloy says, El Tovar is nicest but also books up farther ahead. Any of the other three are fine and then you can walk the short distance to El Tovar for a meal/cocktails. (meals should be prebooked)
janisj is online now  
Old Feb 14th, 2024, 02:58 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you! So much great info!
so far Iíve booked phoenix for two nights ÖHyatt Regency
Iíll stay in LA for the first night
From phoenix Iíll move to Scottsdale and stay three nights at the Scott Spa and resort near Old Town waiting for my husband to arrive from Grenada
i donít drive when Iím overseas so I thought it might be good to divide up my time in phoenix
From Scottsdale we will head to Sedona I think
Husband will have rented a car upon his arrival in phoenix
I might play the Grand Canyon trip by ear ,,, see if itís too snowy to see anything (although in mid December it might be ok?)
From Sedona we will head towards Palm Springs
itís about an 8 hour drive from Sedona to LA so I think if we take four or five days to do it we can allot days to places of interest along the way
That will be next to research 😊
lanejohann7115 is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2024, 03:01 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Janis
was just thinking: would it be better to stay out of the park if it’s snowing heavily?
I think they put up signs if canyon isn’t visible but I don’t see the point of driving up to accommodation inside the park if we can’t see the canyon
Dont know when to make that call though ….
lanejohann7115 is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2024, 03:04 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes I thought of New Mexico…but just tonight I made the decision to book phoenix when I realised that winter is peak season 🥺
Ill just have to come back one day !
lanejohann7115 is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2024, 06:29 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 73,056
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Originally Posted by lanejohann7115
Thanks Janis
was just thinking: would it be better to stay out of the park if itís snowing heavily?
I think they put up signs if canyon isnít visible but I donít see the point of driving up to accommodation inside the park if we canít see the canyon
Dont know when to make that call though Ö.

Oh -- no. There is no possible way you could enter the park that you could not see the canyon. It isn'r really a canyon as such. It is basically a flat valley with the the granite looming above you on all sides. You enter the park say from El Portal and in a few minutes you are on that Valley floor. Not a chance it wouldn't be visible (unless there was think fog which is very unusual.)

Stay IN Yosemite Valley (which is not the same as in the 'Park' ) or at El Portal. Except specifically for El Portal, every single other place that 'just outside the park' will be a very long drive from the Valley.
janisj is online now  
Old Feb 14th, 2024, 07:09 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,413
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Grand Canyon could very well not be visible during a snow storm. I don't know what signs you're referring to but we drove up last Wednesday and I didn't notice any signs indicating whether or not the canyon was visible.

Are you planning to take 4-5 days to drive from Sedona to LA? You could stop in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree but I'm not sure how much else would be of interest along the route.
Patty is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2024, 07:18 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 73,056
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Originally Posted by Patty
The Grand Canyon could very well not be visible during a snow storm. I don't know what signs you're referring to but we drove up last Wednesday and I didn't notice any signs indicating whether or not the canyon was visible.

Are you planning to take 4-5 days to drive from Sedona to LA? You could stop in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree but I'm not sure how much else would be of interest along the route.

Oh -- for some reason I thought the OP was talking about Yosemite but IF it was re the Grand Canyon - then my response makes no sense at all -- I am sooooooo confused Just ignore me . . .

janisj is online now  
Old Feb 14th, 2024, 07:31 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,919
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
From Phoenix I’ll move to Scottsdale
These cities abut, it isn't really worth a relocation. Downtown Phoenix is fine but there's not a reason to stay there especially. However, downtown does have access to a tram that can take you north on Central to the Heard Museum and the art museum.

Also, winter isn't really peak season in Phoenix, it can be cool and frosty. Peak season starts in March.

Snow can interfere with visiting the Grand Canyon but I wouldn't avoid it because of that possibility.
tom_mn is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2024, 07:59 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 1,269
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You do not see Grand Canyon until you are very near the rim. It is very beautiful after a snow storm, but visibility is limited by snow or fog. Once we were there when fog was flowing down into the canyon. You are really on the high desert in that area so snow and fog tend not to last too long.

You can wing it with lodging in the winter. A year ago we drove in and got a room at at a Bright Angel cabin. Of course if you worry, call ahead.

Last edited by oldemalloy; Feb 14th, 2024 at 08:23 AM. Reason: More info
oldemalloy is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2024, 04:24 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by janisj
Oh -- no. There is no possible way you could enter the park that you could not see the canyon. It isn'r really a canyon as such. It is basically a flat valley with the the granite looming above you on all sides. You enter the park say from El Portal and in a few minutes you are on that Valley floor. Not a chance it wouldn't be visible (unless there was think fog which is very unusual.)

Stay IN Yosemite Valley (which is not the same as in the 'Park' ) or at El Portal. Except specifically for El Portal, every single other place that 'just outside the park' will be a very long drive from the Valley.
WaitÖ Iím talking about Grand Canyon, not Yosemite
Iíve seen pics of GC in snowy conditions and you didnít seem to see anything
lanejohann7115 is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2024, 04:30 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by tom_mn
These cities abut, it isn't really worth a relocation. Downtown Phoenix is fine but there's not a reason to stay there especially. However, downtown does have access to a tram that can take you north on Central to the Heard Museum and the art museum.

Also, winter isn't really peak season in Phoenix, it can be cool and frosty. Peak season starts in March.

Snow can interfere with visiting the Grand Canyon but I wouldn't avoid it because of that possibility.
thanks Tom
yes I realise Scottsdale is very close to Phoenix
I wonít have a car
Iím by myself for a few days so I figured Iíd explore downtown ( basically get over my jet lag in those first two nights)
I think I read that public transport isnít that great and an Uber to Scottsdale from Phoenix was about $37
hence the relocation
lanejohann7115 is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2024, 04:36 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
[QUOTE=Patty;17535418]The Grand Canyon could very well not be visible during a snow storm. I don't know what signs you're referring to but we drove up last Wednesday and I didn't notice any signs indicating whether or not the canyon was visible.

Are you planning to take 4-5 days to drive from Sedona to LA? You could stop in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree but I'm not sure how much else would be of interest along the route.[/QUOTE

I read somewhere they put signs to warn you if visibility is poor


After Sedona we would head to Grand Canyon then down to Palm Springs via another town for the night ( yet to be decided ) and then stay in PS for three nights
lanejohann7115 is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2024, 04:38 AM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by oldemalloy
You do not see Grand Canyon until you are very near the rim. It is very beautiful after a snow storm, but visibility is limited by snow or fog. Once we were there when fog was flowing down into the canyon. You are really on the high desert in that area so snow and fog tend not to last too long.

You can wing it with lodging in the winter. A year ago we drove in and got a room at at a Bright Angel cabin. Of course if you worry, call ahead.
yes hoping to wing it !
just want to make sure weather is ok to see what happens with weather later on in the year
lanejohann7115 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -