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NZ Family with teenage boys December 2013

Auckland Region...
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NZ Family with teenage boys December 2013

We have a week from December 16 - 22 coming from Los Vegas and heading to South Lake Tahoe. We are keen to spend some time at the Grand Canyon and Sedona and have already been to Yeosemite and Death Valley. Any suggestions on what to do and where to stay, places to eat and whether to head down into the grand canyon or just the rim sites. We will have a rental car and are fairly fit outdoor people with 2 teenage boys aged 13 and 15.

tucson az
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1. Re: NZ Family with teenage boys December 2013

Lake Tahoe is about 750 miles (1200 km) and 12 hours of driving through some pretty blank real estate from Sedona. It will be winter at GCNP, Sedona and Tahoe. Cold days and freezing nights. Don't count on night driving to make up time as winter road conditions could be encountered.

This would be a tight week. You might fit 1 day at GCNP and 2 days at Sedona. Stick to the rim at GCNP so you don't have to worry about more than warm clothes. You will likely spend time in Las Vegas no matter our advice, but it's really not a place for teenagers except for a few exhibits and some expensive shows like Cirque de Soleil.

2 days at Las Vegas, and you would have not enough time left to drive to and do anything at Tahoe by the time you got there. You need to look at the vast distances involved and prioritize. I would drop Tahoe and stick to LV-GCNP-Sedona-LV. There are plenty of other things to do around GCNP and Sedona

Edited: 07 May 2013, 10:01
Wickenburg, Arizona
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2. Re: NZ Family with teenage boys December 2013

Agree, I'd hate going to Lake Tahoe in the dead of winter - In a way Death valley would be the place to go from LV - but you've been there - so plan on GC south rim and places south. Hike along the rim from and between the various viewpoints and maybe a short distance into the canyon and back - if the trails are not icy. You might also consider Zion from Vegas, but that's north of the GC, i.e. in the other direction.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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3. Re: NZ Family with teenage boys December 2013

Is the object skiing near Lake Tahoe ??? I have no doubt the boys would find more of interest in Tucson,Tombstone & Bisbee... With a return to 'Vegas... along the Colorado River... carracar

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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4. Re: NZ Family with teenage boys December 2013

First think I'd suggest is that you map out your route using a tool like mapquest or googlemaps. It's 1,600 miles of driving. With only 7 days, you're facing 4 hours of driving every day just to get to the locations. Probably not a realistic plan.

Tahoe is in the Sierra Mountains and, in December, you may or may not have snow for skiing. Otherwise, outdoor activities will be limited.

I would recommend re-thinking your itinerary as others have suggested. Build in some leeway to allow for weather.

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5. Re: NZ Family with teenage boys December 2013

Thank you for your suggestions, we will have already been in Las Vegas for 5 days as my husband has a conference. I took your advice and google mapped the route as we are committed to the South Lake Tahoe booking with the aim of arriving late afternoon on December 23. We are used to driving and the boys are good travellers but I am a little nervous of bad weather conditions. Rather than go back the way we have come I was thinking a night at the crater rim - GCNP, then to Sedona for possibly 2 nights - looking at Junipine resort or any other suggestions welcome, then the loneliest road - highway 50 with stops in Delta and Austin - any suggestions on accommodation and food welcome to break the driving and make sure we only drive in the day. Is this realistic? Feedback welcome

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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6. Re: NZ Family with teenage boys December 2013

Sedona... 89a to Flagstaff and the 89 to Salina UT. Pick up the US 50 West ... The two lane "Lonesome Road"r is even less traveled in Winter ... Understand... this is Basin(dry lake) & Range( mountains) country You will need todrive over several 7,000 plus... mtn, passes... If there is a winter storm passage in progress, seek another route... carracar

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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7. Re: NZ Family with teenage boys December 2013

I think I misunderstood your original post, so let me see if I'm now understanding your itinerary correctly.

> You're in Las Vegas for 5 days until Dec 16

> Travel to GCNP and Sedona Dec 16-22

> South Lake Tahoe arrival on Dec 23

Is that right? And what happens after Tahoe, do you have to get back to Las Vegas?

How comfortable would you be driving in snow? December is hard to predict but you should be prepared to drive in snow. Serious snow. I would do no less than reserve a big SUV. For the money, I would seriously consider flying from Las Vegas to Reno instead. (FWIW, I've driven from Reno to Lake Tahoe in mid-April in a snow storm and that was fun enough...) If you ask the Lake Tahoe forum, I think you'll get some good suggestions on driving routes and options.

Snow storms will be possibility getting to the Grand Canyon NP as well that time of year. I would book two nights at the Park (www.grandcanyonlodges.com) and the rest of the time in Sedona. Keep an eye on the weather forecast before leaving Las Vegas.

What are you planning to do with two boys in Las Vegas for 5 days? I know mine would be bored to tears in a day. Maybe consider taking them to Zion while your husband is at his conference?

Auckland Region...
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8. Re: NZ Family with teenage boys December 2013

Yes DetTiger Fan, the itinerary is as you have listed, we have a week over Xmas at Tahoe and then head to San Francisco and fly from Seattle to Honoluu before heading back to NZ late January. We ski a fair bit so have had some experience in snow driving. I have not got to the details of Vegas yet but it will be an eyeopener for the boys as they are rural oriented. We may do some day trips out. I think we will book 2 nights GNCP, then 2-3 nights in Sedona and then 2-3 days to get to Tahoe.

Re the GC what half day hikes what you recommend weather permitting or a short mule ride? - 3 out of 4 of us ride. Probably not realistic in December to hike/mule right down?

Sedona highlights to see - I notice Pink Jeeps pops up a lot, mid range accommodation suggestions welcome,. Should we build a visit to Jerome in?

Sedona, AZ
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9. Re: NZ Family with teenage boys December 2013

2-3 days for Sedona is a minimum for Sedona. Building in a day for Jerome would detract from the Sedona experience IMO.

At the GCNP you should expect winter conditions. Forget about a mule ride. You don't have time and the trips book a full year in advance. Plan to do most of your walking and touring along the rim. A short walk below the rim should be no more than 2-3 hours, understanding that one hour going down will probably require two hours to climb back up.

No way to predict the driving conditions between AZ and Lake Tahoe, but it is best to expect extreme winter weather and have a plan B.

10. Re: NZ Family with teenage boys December 2013

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