I am travelling to the US in July for 16 nights. I fly in and out of LA no changes can be made there
Just looking for some advice.. I want to go to LA, San Francisco, Sacremento, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Las Vegas and San Diego.
Question Will this be enough time? & Which direction should I go ? ... If i start in LA where should i head to next.. Im thinking of hiring a car part of the way to get around. We are backpacking and staying in Hostels.
Any thoughts and suggestions will be appreciated
Probably won't be enough time, or very expensive if you choose to fly. Mostly I think San Francisco/Sacremento may not work out just because they are a bit far north from LA (6-8 hours by car). If you do find time to travel that way, Napa/Sonoma valley and Yosemite are fantastic stops that should be included. Actually I think you could spend the whole time just in Northern Cali.
From LA though, San Diego/La Jolla (2 hours by car), Vegas/Hoover Dam (4 hours by car), and grand canyon are all likely to be reached within your 16 days. You could spend about 4 days in each general location, but you might be rushed or won't get to see everything. LA is huge, and you will have to pay for parking everywhere. I don't know much about public transport in the city, but you can use trains and buses to get around southern cali LA -> SD.
Some people spend a whole week in Vegas and/or the Canyon. There are a lot of out door activities you can do in vegas .. so there is more than just shows and gambling. Also there is much more around the grand canyon that you'd think. There is the Skywalk, whitewater rafting, hiking, Havasu reservations close to the south rim, donkey rides ... also the North Rim is less touristy.
I suggest the following route (I'm going to suggest inland first and then coastal route on the return--but you could do it in the opposite order).
LA to San Diego, then north from San Diego to Las Vegas, over past Hoover Dam to the Grand Canyon and then return to Las Vegas. Then west through Death Valley, north along Hwy 395 to Yosemite. Take the road over Yosemite's cliffs and then onward to Murphy's and Angels Camp. North from here to Sacramento, west to Napa Valley and then south to San Francisco. South from San Francisco to Santa Cruz and Monterey and Carmel. Then because the road just south of Carmel is washed out now and won't be repaired for months, you'll have to go inland to Salinas, south to Paso Robles and then west on Hwy 46 back to the coast. Then south through Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo and on to Santa Barbara. Then onward back to LA and your return flight.
With 16 nights, I'd suggest the following places to stay:
Day 1 and Day 2 evening in LA area (to recover from your flight and to visit the LA beach areas--spend the first night in either Venice Beach or Santa Monica and the second night near Huntington Beach or Newport Beach).
Day 3 and Day 4 evenings in San Diego/La Jolla--visit Mission Bay, Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, and Sea World and Old San Diego.
Day 5 --drive to Las Vegas--leave early so you can get there by 7 PM and catch an 8 PM show.
Day 6 at the pool and visiting the sites in Las Vegas.
Day 7 drive to Grand Canyon, spend the night there.
Day 8 drive back to Las Vegas and spend the night there.
Day 9--drive west through the Death Valley, then north to Bishop, then on north to Mammoth Lakes (a gigantic ski resort area), where they actually get even more visitors in the summer months.
Day 10--drive through Yosemite National Park, then spend the night in Murphys or Angels Camp--be sure to visit both towns
Day 11--get up early and drive through Sacramento and over to Napa Valley. Spend the afternoon touring a few wineries.
Days 12 and 13--go to San Francisco and spend both night 12 and 13 here. Visit the Golden Gate Park, Fishermans Wharf, Chinatown, Embarcadero Area, Castro District, and the Golden Gate Bridge (on the drive there).
Day 14 Drive to Monterey and Carmel, then onward to Paso Robles. Hit a couple of wineries in the afternoon.
Day 15--Drive through Cambria, then Morro Bay, then Pismo Beach and on to Santa Barbara, where you can spend the night. If you want to visit Hearst Castle on this day (it's near Cambria), buy tickets before you leave your home country, and get the tickets for early in the day.
Day 16--easy short drive from Santa Barbara down the coast back to the LA Airport to catch your flight home.