We are due to finish our RTW trip in America in April/May 2008. Planning on flying into L.A., spending a night or two there (I’ve heard it sucks, but I guess you have to see these things yourself), going to see the Grand Canyon then to San Fran, where we will stay with a friend for 5 days or so.
What do you think would be the best way to travel between these places? We’re not that bothered about seeing Las Vegas, so it would be straight from L.A. to Grand Canyon first.
So is it a car, bus, train or plane for us? Had a look at those tours that do Yosemite etc, but they all look really expensive! Any advice would be appreciated!
Hmm.. You could bus to Flagstaff, rent a car to get to the Canyon from there (there is no bus service except maybe tour packages directly to the Grand Canyon) and then bus on to San Fran. That is if you have time because the Greyhound is the slower mode of travel. You can scope that out on Greyhound's website and see if it works.
Or you could rent a car in L.A. (which is handy because it is definitely a commuter city - everything is far apart) and get the most out of your 2/3 days there or rent one at the end of your L.A. stay drive to the Canyon, stay a night, and then drive back and fly from L.A. to San Fran (a rough check resulted in some decent prices for flights). It's, I think, about a 6 hour drive or so to the Canyon from L.A. And I can't imagine the flight is long at all.
I'm sure others will have more suggestions. Good luck. Another option might be as well, if you are staying at a hostel, they might have some sort of cheap Canyon excursion package where a small bus or van is taken and you stay overnight somewhere. That way you share the costs and shed the stress of renting a car. Then you'd wind up back in L.A. to grab a flight to San Fran afterwards.
I know you said you weren't interested in Las Vegas, but there are plenty of super cheap flights between the two cities. I suggest you take a flight to Las Vegas and rent a car from there. You can get a car for under $25 a day. You would save a lot of driving time too. Enjoy the drive to the Grand Canyon (approx 2 hours through Hoover Dam) and take a couple of extra nights to drive around to the North Rim and then up into Utah to see Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. Both Zion and Bryce are extraordinary and well worth the visit. All of the parks have very nice camp grounds and if you buy an annual pass, you will save money when visiting all three. Zion is about a 2 hour drive back to Las Vegas where you can ditch the car and pick up another cheap flight onto San Francisco. Good luck with your planning and happy travels.