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Road Trip Itinerary Check - San Fran > Yosemite > Vegas

London
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Road Trip Itinerary Check - San Fran > Yosemite > Vegas

Hello!

I've trawled through various forums and sub forums on here and cobbled together an itinerary for myself and my boyfriend for late May/June next year. This will be my first trip to the US, so I'd love some feedback!

We're planning a road trip starting from San Francisco, stopping by Yosemite and then onto Las Vegas for a flight home. Approximately 10 days - 2 weeks (haven't decided yet.) We're both in our early thirties, both fans of the buzz and culture of cities, as well as beautiful scenery and hiking. Just want to get as much variety as possible, really. However, I'm worried that I don't want to put so many stops that we feel rushed!

Below is the route. At the moment I'm worried it looks a bit lake heavy. It would be great to get any accommodation recommendations. Moderate budget. More interested in character than posh hotels. I hear that Yosemite and the Grand Canyon gets booked up very quickly!

3 nights San Fran

1 nights Lake Tahoe

2 nights Yosemite (curry village?)

1 nights Mammoth Lakes

2 nights Furnace Creek Death Valley

3 nights Las Vegas

1 nights Grand Canyon

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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1. Re: Road Trip Itinerary Check - San Fran > Yosemite > Vegas

I think one night in Lake Tahoe might be too little and 2 nights in Death Valley in late May/early June too much. Cut down on Las Vegas as well. Here's my take:

Day 1, 2, 3 San Francisco

Day 4, 5 Lake Tahoe

Day 6, 7, 8 Yosemite Valley or Yosemite Valley 2 nights & Mammoth Lakes 1 night

Day 9 Mammoth Lakes or Death Valley or skip and head right to Vegas. Just too hot in Death Valley for a visit for more than a couple of hours in my opinion

Day 10, 11, 12 Vegas or Vegas 2 nights, GC 1 night

Day 13 Vegas to depart

San Francisco
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2. Re: Road Trip Itinerary Check - San Fran > Yosemite > Vegas

I'm going to swing the other way and say if you're going to Yosemite, you could eliminate Lake Tahoe from the itinerary entirely.

Three full days in SF = required.

If you want to see Death Valley then be prepared to get up early in the AM and do your walking around early. Don't try to be out and around outdoors in the middle of the day.

However, I might also suggest substituting the Big Sur coast for Death Valley/Mammoth. Go from SF to Yosemite and then to Monterey/Carmel to connect with Highway 1 through Big Sur. Stay a night in Monterey and Cambria. Then head east.

London
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3. Re: Road Trip Itinerary Check - San Fran > Yosemite > Vegas

Thanks for the input!

I think Death Valley has to be a definite on the itinerary as it's always been an ambition of ours, but noted about the heat. Reducing by 1 day might make sense.

Forgive my ignorance, but how similar is Lake Tahoe / Yosemite / Mammoth Lakes? I hear so many good things about Yosemite - is it better to put more days towards that, and cut out either Tahoe or Mammoth?

San Francisco
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4. Re: Road Trip Itinerary Check - San Fran > Yosemite > Vegas

Of those three places (Yosemite, Mammoth, Lake Tahoe) Yosemite has -- far and away -- the most dramatic scenery. The other two are very popular with skiers in the winter. Summers are nice as well but, again, I would give over time at Tahoe for Yosemite. Mammoth may work out as a good stopping point between Yosemite and Death Valley.

Still too bad about Big Sur. In summer I would take it over Death Valley in a heartbeat.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Road Trip Itinerary Check - San Fran > Yosemite > Vegas

This article by TA forum regulars might help. tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c182361/Califo…

London
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6. Re: Road Trip Itinerary Check - San Fran > Yosemite > Vegas

Thanks for the link AlTippet, I've had a look at that before!

Dahlia - is it logistically feasible to do Death Valley AND Big Sur....?

San Francisco, Ca
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7. Re: Road Trip Itinerary Check - San Fran > Yosemite > Vegas

I think this is do-able:

3 nights San Fran

1 night Monterey

1 night Cambria (driving via Big Sur)

2 nights Yosemite

2 nights Furnace Creek Death Valley

3 nights Las Vegas

1 nights Grand Canyon

I think you need 2 nights in Death Valley, since you won't arrive in DV until the hot part of the day, so you need the morning of that next day to enjoy the park at leisure, then see the remaining sights on the way out the next morning.

Edited: 29 December 2013, 19:34
London
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8. Re: Road Trip Itinerary Check - San Fran > Yosemite > Vegas

Thanks for all your help!

We've had a further think about it and we've decided we'd rather check out the Salton Sea and Area 51, and forgo visiting Big Sur, as I doubt we'd have time to do both. Figured if we drive this route (…about.com/od/topcalifornia/ss/san-francisco…) but once we hit Vegas, we use it as a base to reach out... What do you think?

So:

3 nights San Fran

3 nights Yosemite

2 nights Furnace Creek Death Valley

3 nights Las Vegas

1 nights Grand Canyon

1 night Salton Sea

... Bit of a funny route, I know!

Houston, TX
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9. Re: Road Trip Itinerary Check - San Fran > Yosemite > Vegas

Re lodging at Yosemite and Grand Canyon--the lodges begin accepting bookings a year in advance and May and June are hugely popular months, especially for Yosemite since those months are really the best to see the waterfalls. Be prepared to be online on the first of the month to get your preferred lodging. Use the official vendors for each place, not third party vendors who will charge extra fees. Use www.grandcanyonlodges.com, which is run by Xanterra for GCNP and www.yosemitepark.com which is run by DNC Parks and Resorts for Yosemite. For Furnace Creek Ranch or Furnace Creek Resort use www.furnacecreekresort.com.

London
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10. Re: Road Trip Itinerary Check - San Fran > Yosemite > Vegas

Thanks, will bear that in mind! Just need to lock down this itinerary!