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Advice needed on driving times and itinerary

Travel Forums North America Advice needed on driving times and itinerary

1. Posted by NZTravellr (Budding Member 2 posts) 10y

NZTravellr has indicated that this thread is about USA

OK,
Here is the itinerary that my partner, her 7 year old girl and I plan on taking in July 2006. Is this feasible and if yes, any suggestions? - specifically the driving time between San Diego and the Grand Canyon...

Jun 28th - Land LAX, pick up hire car and drive to San Diego
Jun 28th-30th - Sea World and the Zoo
Jul 1st - Tijuana
Jul 2nd - Drive San Diego to Grand Canyon via Phoenix (what's the travel time???)
Jul 3rd - Grand Canyon
Jul 4th - Drive to Las Vegas
Jul 5th-9th Las Vegas
Jul 10th - Drive Vegas to Yosemite National Park
Jul 11th - Yosemite
Jul 12th - Drive Yosemite to Lake Tahoe
Jul 13th - Lake Tahoe
Jul 14th - Drive Lake Tahoe to San Francisco (via Muir Woods???)
Jul 15th-16th - San Franisco
Jul 17th - Drive San Francisco to LA via Pacific Coast Highway
Jul 18th-27th Los Angeles doing the theme parks and sights etc.

Any hints, tips or opinions you may have on how good/bad or how it could be improved are appreciated. Note that the start date and the end date are not able to be moved...everything inbetween is movable though.

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4808 posts) 10y

I'd take at least two days for the drive from San Francisco to LA, there's just so much beauty to be seen along the coast there, especially around the Big Sur area, and a place like Santa Cruz is easily worth a half day stop to look around and eat clam chowder on the pier.
I'd recommend an extra day in Yosemite as well, although I realize you might be limited in the amount of walks you can do with the girl.

Otherwise it looks like a pretty feasible itinerary to me, although there are parts of it that I've never done, so don't really know about.

3. Posted by hitesh_g (Budding Member 18 posts) 10y

Kia Ora!

Few tips from some of my past trips in that area.....

San Diego: Try to visit La Jolla beach, a small drive from Sandiego. At night-time you may visit the 'Glass Quarters' in the city (I think that's what its called)

Grand Canyon: If you have some spare time, try visiting the Sedona national park. You can also drive on the historic Route-66.

Las Vegas: Unless you're big on gambling, you can enjoy most hotel decors in 2 days or so. Hoover Dam (couple of hours drive) is worth seeing.

Yosemite and Tahoe should be awesome !

I'd recommend a sight-seeing bus-tour at San Fran. I am not a fan of organized bus-tours, but doing one in San Fran. can give you a quick snapshot of all the spots - you can later re-visit the ones you want to spend more time at on your own.

Great itinerary overall -- good luck !!

4. Posted by gagnon (Budding Member 27 posts) 10y

You can also check out mapquest.com. It has pretty reliable driving times and distances, along with a map. Have fun!

5. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 611 posts) 10y

Hi There,
This is pretty much the itinerary I did exactly 3 years ago, but with a couple of extra things in there.

I have to say we bit off more than we could chew and underestimated the distances a little. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but do as much homework as you can on each place and think hard about whether you will spoil your time in one place because you're trying to see everything.
For example, we only allowed 1 day for Yosemite, missed the bus from the campsite because we lay in, and so saw almost nothing. This made the detour on our way from San Fran to Vegas seem like a mistake.
Also bear in mind that Yosemite has roads which can close at this time of the year - on the eastern side I think, ask someone who knows it better.
Also, the PCH from SF to LA will take ALL day and you will not be able to stop for much at all. Great drive though.

I don't know much about San Diego really - because we chose not to go there due to the shortage of time, and the fact that it's south of LA and everything else is north and/or east.

6. Posted by Reece Sanford (Travel Guru 1368 posts) 10y

9 days in LA personally id cut that right down.I had 4 days there a few months ago and even that was to long.

7. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4808 posts) 10y

Quoting -reece-

9 days in LA personally id cut that right down.I had 4 days there a few months ago and even that was to long.

I was going to say the same thing, but you have to take the seven year old girl into account. Doing a theme park a day, I think you can easily spend two weeks in LA. Probably not as much fun for the grownups, but then, they'll have had three weeks before that without too many fun activities for the girl. :)

8. Posted by NZTravellr (Budding Member 2 posts) 10y

Quoting NZTravellr

Jul 18th-27th Los Angeles doing the theme parks and sights etc.

Agreed with LA...I think that you can do the sights in two days (we'll have a hire car), however here it is in more detail.

Jul 18th - Hurricane Harbor Water Park
Jul 19th - Universal Studios
Jul 20th - The cities sights
Jul 21st - The cities sights
Jul 22nd - Wild Rivers Water Park
Jul 23rd - Raging Waters Water Park
Jul 24th - Disney California Park
Jul 25th-27th - Disneyland

Our little girl is a real water baby...;)

9. Posted by UK (Budding Member 33 posts) 10y

Quoting NZTravellr

OK,
Here is the itinerary that my partner, her 7 year old girl and I plan on taking in July 2006. Is this feasible and if yes, any suggestions? - specifically the driving time between San Diego and the Grand Canyon...
Jul 2nd - Drive San Diego to Grand Canyon via Phoenix (what's the travel time???)

Jul 10th - Drive Vegas to Yosemite National Park

Jul 17th - Drive San Francisco to LA via Pacific Coast Highway

Jul 18th-27th Los Angeles doing the theme parks and sights etc.

Any hints, tips or opinions you may have on how good/bad or how it could be improved are appreciated. Note that the start date and the end date are not able to be moved...everything inbetween is movable though.

Jul 2nd - 560 miles and about 9 hours continuous driving. If you factor in meal stops and stops to let your little girl stretch her legs I think this is way too long in one day

Jul 10th - If you go the 'quick' way around the bottom of the Sierras and up the western flank this will be a drive of 470 miles and 8 hours continous driving. It will take longer if you go through Death Valley.

Jul 17th - 450 miles and 8 hours continuous driving down PCH

I would split all of these days journeys into 2 and take the days out of the LA stay at the end.

UK

10. Posted by tbug (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y

The drive down the PCH from San Francisco is gorgeous! Especially the Big Sur area where the Redwoods meet the coast. There is this beautiful waterfall that cascades on to the beach at Julia Phieffer park thats definetly worth seeing. If you get a chance to stop for lunch, Nepenthes in Big Sur has phemoninal panaramic views from its outdoor deck and you can sometimes see whales migrating from there. I wouldn't race through here on my way down to LA. If you can afford an extra day it's definetly worth enjoying. Las Vegas gets really old fast. There's a ton to see but after 2-3 days you're usually burnt out and have had your fill. As for LA, I would maybe cut a day or two out and extend my stay in Yosemite. It's absolutely amazing there, but its hard to enjoy when you only have one day to do it. I live in San Diego and I think the Wild Animal Park is a great choice. it's totally different than the traditional zoos that I've been to. If you end up going to the Zoo as well, it's right next to Balboa Park which is a really neat place to walk around. The Gas Lamp district is a great place for dinner and is just a few miles away. Someone mentioned the La jolla cove earlier. That would be a fun stop for a seven year old since there are a bunch of seals that lounge around on the beach during the day. Your trip sounds awesome and I'm sure you'll have an amazing time. Good luck and drive safe!!