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Yosemite or grand canyon in December or both?

Melbourne, Australia
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Yosemite or grand canyon in December or both?

I've heard both are beautiful places but I don't think we will have enough time to do both. So question is : Yosmite or Grand Camyon, or should we try and do both but spend one night only? There are six of us ( 2A 4 children between 13-17). Children aren't great fans of walking and the weather might be bad? Any hints or suggestions appreciated. We land in LA plan to drive up to San Francisco the need to end up in Las Vegas for our flight out . 12 days in total but need to allow time for Disneyland etc. And there will be a lot of driving but dont think we will make it back to USA

Brampton, Canada
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1. Re: Yosemite or grand canyon in December or both?

I would do Yosemite since it is on the way b/t SF and LV. Weather could be a problem and is difficult to predict. The Grand Canyon would be a very long drive past LV.

Wickenburg, Arizona
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2. Re: Yosemite or grand canyon in December or both?

Even though it's further away, I'd opt for the Grand Canyon. Be aware that a snowstorm can make it very difficult for you to get across the Sierras,might even keep you out of Yosemite on a given day you're planning for. Getting to the GC would be less iffy in winter weather. Have you considered adding Death Valley; this would be an ideal destination for that time of year.

At the GCNP you have the whole 'village' to spend some time if the kids don't want to hike much, as well as the shuttle bus to get to viewpoints, and the viewpoints further out are all accessible by car. You simply have way more options at the GC. Be aware that the nights will be absolutely freezing cold at either GC or Yosemite! Pack accordingly.

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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3. Re: Yosemite or grand canyon in December or both?

There is no wrong choice. Yosemite will most likely be booked full. Christmas at the Ahwahnee Hotel can only be booked as a lottery winner.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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4. Re: Yosemite or grand canyon in December or both?

Well the "etc" part of "...12 days in total but need to allow time for Disneyland etc." makes a big difference. Do you have an overall itinerary/route in mind? None of these places (San Francisco, Yosemite, Grand Canyon) are "on the way" between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

It's also pretty late to be planning a December Yosemite visit with 6 people. Make sure you understand the logistics of a winter visit there, such as chain requirements for the car, etc.

In December, Death Valley NP makes more sense to me.

Edited: 27 September 2013, 17:53
Houston, TX
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5. Re: Yosemite or grand canyon in December or both?

Be aware that you would not be able to leave Yosemite for Las Vegas using Tioga Pass--it will be closed due to snow. That would add even more time and distance on the way to LV from the park.

Uden, The...
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6. Re: Yosemite or grand canyon in December or both?

My first pick would be Grand Canyon NP and I find Zion equally as impressive as Yosemite and closer to Las Vegas, but with your plans, Yosemite definitely will be more on the way than Grand Canyon. And yes, Tioga Pass will be closed and even also Glacier Point and you must have chains in the car for Yosemite.

tucson az
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7. Re: Yosemite or grand canyon in December or both?

Unless you own the car, and you won't, rental car contracts do not permit the use of chains. If improperly attached, they can damage tires, the vehicle and things like brake lines. They are required inside Yosemite NP when there is snow and ice on the road, but not all the time, and you must know how to use them and have experience, which is highly unlikely in your case. This is not something to take a chance to plan a whole itinerary and then have to change at the last moment. I would drop Yosemite from your plans.

(BTW, it is possible to go from Yosemite to Las Vegas without crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and would be the only choice in winter, and takes longer and is boring drive.)

As Disneyland is on your itinerary, it makes sense to do that first rather than backtrack. It takes 2 days to minimally experience both Disneyland and California Adventure. You need a day on arrival in LA before D-land as you will want to go at opening time (actually arrive 1 hour prior). After Disney (or before) you may want to spend at least a day in the LA area. There are great museums, the ocean and lots more. The Getty is fabulous, and can take most of a day to see. It also has the most spectacular view of LA and the ocean that you will find in LA. Driving between LA and SF takes one day, and the CA Hwy 1 up the coast is one the world's most scenic drives.

I would suggest flying between SF and Las Vegas. If Yosemite is not accessible, this would make a boring most of 2 days' drive. As you must book lodging at Yosemite and GCNP well in advance, that's another reason not to take a chance on Yosemite being accessible without chains.

If the 12 days excludes travel to/from USA, you can do GCNP, ZIon and Bryce. If not, stick to LV and GCNP. Don't devote much time to LV. It has not much for children, and what it does have is expensive. 1 or 2 days should be enough there. GCNP needs 1-2 nights.

Plan your dates, and make reservations for lodging. For GCNP ASAP.

grandcanyonlodges.com

Edited: 27 September 2013, 22:30
Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: Yosemite or grand canyon in December or both?

Thanks for all the info . We arrive 9 dec in LA and leave fron LV on the 22nd at 8 am so we have 12 full days for this section. We hadn't originally included Yosemite( the travel agent added it in) and the weather does concern us. We have our accomodation booked so that is not a problem.we have had experience with snow chains but not much and way before kids. But we will have a hire car so that probably rules Yosemite out . I've added grand canyon on as an afterthought as I didn't realise it was do-able from LV..As for LV some of our friends ( with kids) love it but I just want to see the lights at night.We are leaving from LV. We are looking forward to the scenic drive up to SF. I hadn't thought of DV so I'll look into that. As it stands we have 2 nights San Diego , 3 nighs LA, 1 night Monterey, 2 nights SF, 2 nights Yosemite, 2 LV,( in that order) . So we could drop Yosemite and add GC ?( hoping we can get on the rim there : it is very late to be booking) Should we go to LV first then GC and would we need a stopover between SF and LV?would DV be the stop over? We are also going to Orlando ( hubby - work, kids - theme parks ) so they kids are going to have plenty of fun time.

Houston, TX
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9. Re: Yosemite or grand canyon in December or both?

Many people, myself included, would advise that you take two nights for that drive up the coast from LA to San Francisco. Pismo Beach or Cambria would make a good stopping point for the first night, then on to Monterey. The prettiest stretch of coast is between Cambria and Monterey, and you don't want to rush through it. That drive takes 2.5 to 3 hours without any stops, and there are many, many places to stop.

tucson az
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10. Re: Yosemite or grand canyon in December or both?

I would advise not to try to add anything to your itinerary. You need to lay this all out day by day. And you need to make sure you are allowing sufficient time between destinations for driving. In my estimation, you don't have time for all this. You have 12 nights in your plan, but quite a few will be the end of a driving day. I think that you have time for LA & SD, drive up the coast, spend a few days in SF, fly to LV, and drive to GCNP, and not any more than that.