Please help with my Fly Driver - Self Made - Interary
Having not been in this part of the country before I want to make sure I'm making the best use of our time and visiting the places worth any salt.
Pick up rental
Overnight Palm Springs
3 Nights Vegas
3 Nights San Fran Fishermans Wharf
Overnight Santa Barbara
Biggest journeys are Phoenix/Scottsdale to Las Vegas and Las Vegas to Yosemite. As I drive for a living anyway it wouldn't bother me and seeing as the missus can fall asleep on the 15 minutes journey home from work it shouldn't be so bad.
I wanted to see a bit more of the open road rather than fly hopping between the 3 major cities and flying home from Vegas seems very very expensive as oppossed to LAX-LHR-DUB/SNN
Thoughts, help, advice? Suggestions of other cities?
Suggestions for hotels is a long way off because I cannot book that far ahead.
Thanks in advance.
is there any special reason you want to visit phoenix?? there isn't alot there and downtown phoenix is extremely quiet night and day, there is like one main bar downtown, skip it unless you have some reason to visit
the distances out west are massive so take that in mind, your trip involves lots of driving in only 12 days, personally i would fly between vegas and san francisco, i have travelled that journey by road and its very long, flying with someone like southwest on that route will cost you as low as $50-60 and takes just over an hour
for such a short trip i would definitely try and cut down on the driving though
I'd agree with that. There isn't all that much to do or see in Phoenix that warrants a 270 mile/6 hour drive out of your way imo. Then you have another one the next day. The heat in that part of the world can be brutal, so there is no getting out of the car for a nice stretch of the legs. The scenery is nothing but dry, barren dessert. If you have never been there before, its like you are inside of a John Wayne movie. It's spectacular enough at first, but then it gets really, really boring !
If I were you, I'd just go straight from Palm Springs straight to Vegas and use the additional day to see the Hoover & Glen Canyon Dams, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell & Lake Mead. That part of Arizona & Nevada has a lot more to offer than Phoenix does imo.
I wouldn't be too sure about going all the way from Las Vegas to Yosemite for one night. It will be a 6-7 hour drive for one night, which doesn't make much sense - you will barely get to see any of the park and it's huge!
Check out southwest airlines as an option for flying one or two legs to save travel time. Also - how about flying home from Vegas? It's the one part of your trip that is a little out so you could leave it until the end...just a thought...
Skip Phoenix and head up from Palm Springs through Amboy to Vegas 'the old way' Route 66 through the desert including amazing places like Roy's.
Loughlin is a good place to stay on the way to Vegas. This 'Vegas lite' town has great views - try for a room overlooking the river. Last time I got a 4* room at Harrah's for just $20. It is a easy skip north to Vegas from there.
Seriously, avoid Phoenix (sunbelt sprawl defined) - if you want to head somewhat east follow Route 66 to Flagstaff or Winslow area (Petrified Forest & Grand Canyon) - if you make it to Winslow stay at http://laposada.org/ La Posada. Easily one of the most atmospheric hotels in America and one of the best Southwestern restaurants around.
yeah add me to the "skip arizona" group. Besides you'd be driving all the way from Palm Springs to Phoenix in one day, staying overnight and then driving all the way to Vegas? Its not a freeway between Phx and LV either so it would be a long drive.
No Los Angeles?? Its the Second (or third) city of the USA. New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Its by far and away the largest city on the west coast. Entertainment centre of the country, Banking centre, the centre of the defense and aeronautical industry.
And its an amazing and beautiful city. beach and mountains, Santa Monica, Venice, Hollywood, beverley hills, rodeo drive.
I'm a huge fan of San fransisco, I lived in the Bay area for ten years, I'm a confirmed northern californian. But Los Angeles is one of the most exciting, unique and vibrant huge world class cities you'll ever visit. And it has its own special character, its nothing like London, Paris, tokyo etc.
I didn't say "skip Arizona" - I like northern Arizona, some great small towns - Flagstaff, Sedona, Winslow, Winona, Holbrook.
I haven't finalised it to be fair. I may have 2 nights in LA on the return journey because after Monterey I could take a nice drive along the PCH into LA, drop off the car and have some time here.
I haven't really opted for LA because its the kind of big city that doesn't draw me in as opposed to the others.
To the others, yes I think we will skip Phoenix Scottsdale and reduce Vegas and San Fran by 1 night each and increase our stay in Palm Springs to 3 nights, 3 nights Vegas, 1 night Yosemite, 3 Nights San Fran, 1 night in Monterey, 1 night in Santa Barbara and 1 night in LA(or 2 nights in LA)
The driving in no way bothers me. I love driving with a passion and managed to drive through 4 countries in one day on a 1600km one way journey. LOVE IT
Me too. I'm a two porsche owner now. Always had convertibles when I lived in CA.
I think you'd be suprised by LA, its one of the few genuinely car-friendly cities. In fact its essential to have your own car there, and the city is really spread out and linked by freeways, its really remarkable and unique.
But I wont push it!
Sorry! yes. Skip Phoenix I should have said!
Here's 400 miles of good stuff LA to Vegas through the desert.
I see what you were thinking taking I-10 through to Phoenix, but I recommend avoiding the interstates, you get to see much more taking the backroads.
I've just done a 10 day roadtrip with my girlfriend. I'm in San Diego for work and did a lot of research online and asking my American friends and this is what we did.
1) San Diego -> Cambria This is about a 6 hour drive although with LA traffic nothing is ever certain, we ended up in a 2.5 hr traffic jam between LA and Santa Barbara. I've been to LA many times before and I would advise just spend a few hours there, it's enough. Drive up the sign and around beverly hills/ rodeo drive and then move on. Beaches near LA are nice but there are better things to see on a trip.
Cambria is half way between LA and San Fran, great wine region and Hearst Castle is worth checking out. It's bizarre but cool (book in advance online). stayed overnight at Courtesy inn, basic but clean. My favourite part was Elephant Seal beach first thing in the morning, these beasts are awesome to watch. They fight and make some amount of noise.
2) cambria -> San Fran
Another 5 or so hour drive, The big sur is the coastline south of monteray and is stunning.
3 nights in San Fran, if you are driving you will find san fran expensive. hotels don't provide free parking and you will pay $40 a day for the pleasure! We stayed in castro, gay part of town which is cool so long as you're comfortable with that. really nice b&b's there and free street parking nearby. trolley/tram downtown and fishermans wharf is right there too.
make sure to get to smitten ice-cream. they use liquid nitrogen to make the ice cream in front of you. its the best. also a trip over the bridge to marin heads give you the best views and sausalito for some seafood is a must. alcatraz is great but book in advance if its a weekend.
We didn't have time but north of sausalito is the sonomo and nappa wine regions and are supposed to be stunning.
3) San fran - Yosemite
Your 1 night in yosemite would be a stretch. it's a good 4 hours from san fran and it's 8 hours from vegas, we stayed 2 nights.
Yosemite you cannot book in advance due to their ridiculous reservation system which means the whole season gets booked out in 10 minutes months before it even opens. there are campgrounds that don't allow booking, use these. Tamarack was great, we got a spot there fine and it was memorial weekend. just try get there early, and you can collect your own firewood here and its only $10 a night. drive the tioga pass too, great drive. mariposa grove is great (massive sequoias) the valley gets packed and is hot, if you are up for trekking there are some great long treks. watch your speed. the rangers stopped us twice but let us go.
4)Yosemite -> Vegas
it's a hell of a drive! long but cool if you've never driven through desert. I did it all myself as the missus napped. watch speed going through towns, i got done in beatty doing 61 in 25 zone, it was only few hundred yards before the 70 sign leaving town but they obviously make their money catching tourists leaving town. $357 fine.
5)vegas 3 nights. Love vegas. keep an eye on deals but midweek is way cheaper than weekend and it's always a good night out.
we decided to cut the drive to grand canyon out of our trip and do a helicopter tour with Pappilon, they fly you over hoover dam, to the canyon and you land and have 30 mins food and drinks in the canyon then fly home. sunset too, all for $325 each. well worth it and got amazing photos. otherwise it's a long ass drive.
6)back to SD which i'd recommend over LA, it's a nicer city with more to see.
If you are hiring, I can recommend Avis, I have a rental with them for over 5 months now and they don't care about little scratches etc so no worrying about checking over the car before you rent. Also if you rent from the airport. they add on about over 20% in fees for the convenience.
It's a lot of driving, but great views make it all worthwhile.. oh and make sure to get a satellite radio for your car. it's the best thing ever. think its $25 a week extra but it's so worth it. over 200 channels and it works even in the dessert. alt-nation is great .
hope that helps!
Op lake tahoe in my opinion is worth a night or two, place is unreal. agree with leaving out phoenix. Also is palm springs worth stopping in? i would recommend a drive though death valley... if i were you, Id do a loop, LA, up coast to SF, aross to tahoe, down through yosemite, death valley, vegas, LA... you plan on packing a huge amount into a short time, i know when i last did that, it took away from enjoyment of trip...