Looking for some help/advice guys...
Meeting the other half in LA 28th May, we have about 5 weeks in the states and a few ideas (some from this forum).
Basically starting in LA and finishing with a week in NY. We have already decided on the drive to San Francisco (PCH over 2 days, with a stop over night) and also want to visit Las Vegas (inc Grand Canyon).
What i need help with is:
A GOOD hotel in LA for the 1st 3 nights (1st time we will have seen each other in about 8 months...)
Ideas on time scales for LA/SF to see what is worth seeing (likely to spend a bit more time in SF)
What order to visit places (how long to travel to/from vegas, grand canyon, LA/SF etc)
Other places to visit that are unique to the states (National parks etc)
The timing of your visit places you at the traditional beginning of the US vacation (holiday) traveling season. Visits to any public facilities, such as national parks (with Yosemite and Grand Canyon in particular) will be heavy with visitors. Please keep that in mind. Cheers,
How are you thinking of getting over to NYC? Are you flying from a certain point?
5 weeks is a good length of time in my opinion. So taking out the week in NYC you have 4 weeks for your road trip assuming you're flying to New York?
I did a loop from LA - San Fran - Yosemite - Death Valley - Vegas - Canyons (Zion and Bryce) - Monument Valley - Grand Canyon - Vegas and flew to Chicago from there to move east. The loop took 3 weeks and we saw everything we wanted to without rushing.
I don't know about LA hotels, we stayed in a hostel called Orbit. It was quite nice, we got a large double room with en-suite which we were really happy with, but that was our version of splashing out! We camped a lot on our road trip.
We drove LA to SF in 3 days, with 2 nights camping. That was to give us time for photo stops along Big Sur. I'd really advise to book ahead if you can tho, we had to drive about 30 miles inland one night to find somewhere to stay, this was in June and everything was full.
From SF we drove to Yosemite which was wonderful (took 1 day to drive there), 3 days there then south thru Death Valley and into Vegas. The drive from Yosemite to Vegas took 2 days.
From Vegas we visited Zion and Bryce Canyons, they're well worth seeing - much easier to look at than the Grand Canyon and really amazing. I think it was about a 1 day drive between each place, maybe 2 but we had plenty of time so were dragging our heels. Monument Valley to grand canyon was 1 long day, and grand canyon to vegas was 1 day.
If you were adding anything to your schedule I'd really recommend Yosemite and the two smaller canyons, Zion and Bryce. If you wanted to travel a bit further monument valley is really worth it too. But then I loved everything!!
I hope this helps,
Stay in Santa Monica near the beach for the first two nights (maybe the Doubletree), and then spend the third night at the Magic Castle Hotel in Hollywood (which allows you to take advantage of visiting the magic castle next door which is usually only open to magicians and celebrities). It is also close to Universal Studios, which is worth a visit.
I'm presuming you'll be in the room (or together on the beach) more on the first two days and nights than on the third. If you are looking for romantic, consider meeting in Vegas and get a suite at Caesar's or at one of the other mega-resorts (expensive in the summer, though--although midweek is a bit cheaper). If you want a romantic place in LA, consider a suite at the Sheraton Universal (instead of the Magic Castle Hotel)--and then go to Santa Monica later--or stay at the Miramar in Santa Monica instead of the Doubletree.
I will help on your Vegas/Grand Canyon portion if you want/need help. Send me a PM.
Thanks for all your info/help so far guys
Internet is down at home and am too busy at work to reply properly, will get back to you all as soon as possible
Just another option for romance...if you have a car. There is a little-known, intimate, charming motel on the beach in Malibu called Casa Malibu. They have about 20 rooms surrounding a hidden garden. The more expensive rooms have nice decks right over the sand. The cheaper rooms ($129.00), reached along flower-vine covered passageways, are comfortable and romantic. You can walk to a variety of restaurants. The phone number is (310) 456-2219. They don't have a website. This is not a commercial! I love this place! My husband and I stay there for an occasional get-away even though we live close by. Malibu runs lengthwise along the coast so you need a car even to get to other lovely local beaches. If you decide on Malibu, send me a message and I can give you the names and directions to beautiful beaches that you have probably seen in movies.
If you prefer to stay closer to lots of fun beach town action and great shopping, I'd stick with Santa Monica. For a small hotel with style, check web for "Hotel California Santa Monica." It's decorated with surfboards and rooms are at least as reasonable as the big boxy hotels. Never stayed there so I can't speak for the service but it looks great from the outside.
Higher-end, trendy and cool hotels: The W in Westwood is a hip and laid-back place where you might see celebrities - excellent service. Consider the classic - Beverly Hills Hotel. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, right in the middle of Hollywood, is glamorous and exciting. Go there just for a drink after a visit to the famous Chinese Theater across the street. You'll feel like you are in a movie! There is also a Best Western right on Susnset Blvd. It was being remodeled the last I saw it, but worth checking out for city action at more reasonable rates.