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West Coast 12 Days - via New York

Mannheim, Germany
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West Coast 12 Days - via New York

Dear Road Trip experts,

we are planning our first trip to the US, and we have choosen the West Coast.

We have to fly via New York, because after our trip I will stay there for 3 months. This will cost us some time, but we have no other choice.

What do you guys think about this routing:

Early Arrival San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco - Monterey (17 Miles Drive)

Monterey - Cambria

Cambria - Santa Barbara - LA

LA - Palms Springs (Indian Canyons)

Palms Springs - Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon - Lake Powell (Horseshoe Bend) - Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Late Departure Las Vegas

We will travel from 07/20 till 08/01 so Yosemite seems really booked out and very expensive.

Any suggestions?

Uden, The...
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1. Re: West Coast 12 Days - via New York

Hi

First of all make your bookings for Grand Canyon NP @ www.grandcanyonlodges.com If all booked you can phone for cancellations 303 297 2757 (from outside the USA, inside 888 297 2757) As a back up there's lodging in Tusayan at the south entrance of the park www.tusayanhotels.com

Instead 17 miles drive I'd visit Point Lobos SR unless you are interested in millionaires houses and an expensive golf course.

Palm Springs will be very hot so are Indian Canyons. The areial tramway is great from Palm Spings up in the moutains but PS to GC still is a 7 hours drive. Kingman will be more on your way. But why don't you spend another day in LA?

GC to Page and to Las Vegas same day will mean 8 hours in the car and limited time for places to see. Suggest to add a night to Page maybe instead a 2nd night at GC and also viait one of the Antelope Canyon.

Zion is more or less on the way between Page and Las vegas but you won't have mucht time. I still suggest to drive through it though. It's a wonderful drive on ut9

Tet

Lewes, United...
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2. Re: West Coast 12 Days - via New York

Hi

Based on a quick skim, your route seems fine. However, at the bottom you mention Yosemite. I don't see Yosemite in your itinerary, and I have no idea where you had thought to add it?

While there are tour bus day trips from SF to Yosemite, you will see hardly anything, spending more time in the bus than exploring the park, so I'm not sure they're good use of time or money - but it seems lots of visitors take those tours. Yes, Yosemite does book up really early - at least most if not all the well known places to stay within the park. However, if you can show where you'd fit it in your trip plan, or tell us where you'd change the current plan to add it (which will mean forfeiting other stops - but I can see ways of achieving that - without ruining the rest of the plan) we can comment further. Do know that if you visit the Yosemite park destination forum, the local experts might be able to point you at some less well known places where you can stay within the park, or not too far from the entrance gates).

The other possible snag I see in your plans as you travel soon and in peak summer season - is that along the Pacific coast, some places demand a 2 night minimum stay requirement.

SWT

Mannheim, Germany
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3. Re: West Coast 12 Days - via New York

I wrote about Yosemite because I got this recommendation from the California forum:

SFO - SF - {pick up car} Monterey - Cambria - Yosemite {in via South Entrance / 41 & out via Tioga Pass Entrance / 120} Lone Pine - {drive thru Death Valley} - Las Vegas - South Rim Grand Canyon - back to Las Vegas / LAS

That's why I wrote that the accomodation at Yosemite NP is meanwhile really limited. Then we decided to do the Coast / LA routing because we thought that we are more flexible and its easier to find accomodation on our way.

Mannheim, Germany
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4. Re: West Coast 12 Days - via New York

What is a fair price during this time for an overnight stay in this region?

We don't need something special, just a clean place to sleep.

Lewes, United...
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5. Re: West Coast 12 Days - via New York

Yes, that can work, too, and what I had in mind, perhaps.

You'd miss LA and Palm Springs, but it's your choice of trip. For myself, I'd opt for Yosemite, but then I'm no fan of LA, others have different preferences.

SWT

Lewes, United...
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6. Re: West Coast 12 Days - via New York

As we don't travel in summer season, I cannot say for sure. However, if you're not fussy and happy to stay in basic motels, do a search on the websites for the cheaper motels chains such as Motel6 or Super8. To check the individual locations are convenient from a tourist point of view, that that particular property is run well and not in an undesirable or unsafe location, and other details, cross reference the addresses with TA reviews, each place is different because most are franchises.

However, do bear in mind that all cities and stays within national parks will always be more expensive. California in general is more expensive than it's neighbouring states, but will be cheaper than NYC.

SWT

Tacoma, Washington
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7. Re: West Coast 12 Days - via New York

For Yosemite you likely need to look outside the park like in groveland and mariposa.

Grand canyon also will be difficult. You will have to look just outside the park where there is a best western and holiday inn express.

Are you trying to do a one way rental or a loop trip?

1-3 SF

4-5 Yosemite. Night of day 5 in bishop

6 death valley

7-8 Zion/page/ Bryce

9-10 south rim grand canyon

11-12 Vegas

Uden, The...
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8. Re: West Coast 12 Days - via New York

Yosemite is not my favorite place in summer. Far too crowded but Zion is a bit like Yosemite but with totally different colors. You still need a reservation there also that time of year.

Mannheim, Germany
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9. Re: West Coast 12 Days - via New York

Thank you guys for your tips. Its really hard to decide. Coast Route or via Yosemite...mhm

I tried to built in your suggestions:

Early Arrival San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco - Monterey

Monterey - Cambria (California State Route 1)

Cambria - Santa Barbara (lunch) - LA

LA - Palms Springs (Palm Canyons)

Palm Spring - Grand Canyon (Early Morning Drive)

Grand Canyon - Page (Late Evening Drive)

Page - Antelope Canyon - Lake Powell (Short Stop -> Horseshoe Bend) and Zion (drive through) - Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Late Departure Las Vegas

And Dan P your suggestions sounds also very nice, I will think about it!

Mannheim, Germany
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10. Re: West Coast 12 Days - via New York

Here the other routing on Dan Ps suggestion:

Early Arrival San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco - Mariposa

Mariposa - Bishop

Bishop - Death Valley

Death Valley - Zion - Page

Page - Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon - Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Late Departure Las Vegas

What do you guys think? Which would be more relaxed? Which route would deliver the best impressions forr a first US Trip?