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San Francisco To Las Vegas Fly Drive

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San Francisco To Las Vegas Fly Drive

Hi Every body

I need some help with the route planning.

We are flying into San Francisco in Sept. After 3 nights at SF we hire a car and drive upto Las Vegas and Grand Canyon.

On the way we would like to see the following:

Yosemith National Park

Route:1 to Los Angeles

Death Vally

Las Vegas

Grand Canyon

Return Flight from Las Vegas

We have 15 days to do this route.

I am a bit confused with the route planning.

Can some advise me the best routem which will cover all these places and possibly more.

If I have missed any must see place/s then please let me know


Los Altos...
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1. Re: San Francisco To Las Vegas Fly Drive

Great trip. Skip L.A. Well, skip it if you are the type of person who likes to great, scenic, natural places. In my book, two weeks is not enough time to do the entire coast to L.A. AND allow time to see the rest.

These are glorious, drop-your-jaw places, and there are others along your route that you have not mentioned, but will want to see as you happen upon them along the way and you will be sorry if you are rushing from one to another.

This is also a lot of driving, not all of it freeway and not all of it fast traveling, so you should plan to accordingly.

Go to the Death Valley forum and Yosemite forum you'll see lots of threads regarding routes between these two places and onward to Las Vegas. It's a well-worn route and very worthwhile. Tet is particularly knowledgeable and helpful.

My suggestion (please help out with the rough parts, locals):

Day 1: SF to Santa Cruz or Monterey (relatively short drive, but lots of coast to see on the drive and lots to see/do once you arrive. This is a taste of the Hwy 1 coast. Pay special attention to Devil's Slide area around Pacifica; this is the most dramatic part of the coastal drive on this segment.

Day 2: Merced/Yosemite via the cut-across route on state Hwy 156 to 101 onward to 152 through Merced and up to Hwy 140 into Yosemite. I'm a little vague on the best local roads to take on this one because it's been a while, and I like meander when I travel, besides. For example, San Juan Bautista is off the track here if you actually do take 101 for a piece, but accessible, and if you've ever been a fan of Vertigo, this is where the mission bell tower scene take place!

Day 3-4 (or more, if you've booked the rooms): Yosemite

Day 5: Down Hwy 395 along the Eastern Sierra. Drop-dead un-figgin' believeable country. Don't miss this route. Overnight in Mammoth Lakes

Day 6: Meander down 395 to 136/190 toward Panamint Springs and Death Valley. Stay in Panamint or further into the park at Stovepipe Wells.

Days 7-8: Death Valley (allow lots of time; this is a big park)

Day 9: Head to Las Vegas via 190 and then, any number of routes that look good to locals.

Day 10-11: LV (this is where I fall down on suggestions, I really don't have much interest in this town). Around LV, I like Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire.

Day 12-13: Grand Canyon (wouldn't you really like to do more time here, or anywhere else along your route? Adjust accordingly.

Day 14: Go home.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: San Francisco To Las Vegas Fly Drive

BetterThanBigns' itinerary suggestion is a good one.

Most people - Americans included - don't realize just how vast the space is between places until they get into the vehicle and begin driving. TV and movies make the distances between popular destinations seem so small and in reality they are not. Having spent nearly 2 months on the road last fall, I found this out first-hand.

Death Valley is a HUGE park - there's so much to see and it can take more than an hour just to drive what appears to be a short distance on the map. Make sure you see Scotty's Castle and take the extra tour that is given of the house's interior. It's beautiful.

The drive time from Las Vegas to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is approx. 4.5 hours each way. The South Rim is a very popular destination so if you decide to add it to your itinerary, check to see if there's accommodation availability. The Valley of Fire State Park is a great spot to see,too, and is close enough to be a quick day trip.

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3. Re: San Francisco To Las Vegas Fly Drive


I do not live in the area, but visit Las Vegas at least 2 times a year. And when we go we always take a couple days and do a car rental trip close by. I love the Grand Canyon, but You may want to look into Zion National Park. It is so beautiful and Bryce Canyon. Check out my pictures Zion a few years back on a spring day.

You did not say when you are going, it will make a difference as to which of these places you want to visit. Different times of year make a difference as to what is open or not.

This link has a few photoshows of mine, but look at the Zion/Vegas show. It has lots of good pictures of Zion.


Also check out this hotel


ask for a riverside upper room. you will have the best view of the mountains. It is such a nice place to end the day after a day in Zion Park.

All the scenery in the area is great.

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4. Re: San Francisco To Las Vegas Fly Drive


Thanks for the reply. It appears two weeks is simply not enough to see all these places. We like to see the cities like LA, SF. I am mad about scenic natural places but again we don't want to miss the glamorous LA and SF. We will have to do miss out on some of the famous places. We don’t want to skip Yosemith NP and Death Valley but is it really possible to do both and see other places as well. We don’t want to miss the “Route:1” either. If we had to skip Yosemith NP or Death Valley which one do you think we should skip?

On Google map I noticed the “Route:1” from SF to LA. What is the distance like? I have read that this is an amazing route. We do appreciate that USA is a big country and places are far apart. But what we love most are those wonderful places and people who live in there.

Thanks also to others for suggesting some of the other places like “Zion Park” which we didn’t know about.

Please keep responding to this thread………..

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5. Re: San Francisco To Las Vegas Fly Drive

Hi Sidwhite:

First of all I am not from California, but have been traveling there to see relatives since I was a baby. San Fransisco and San Diego are my two favorite large cities in California. LA just dose not do anything for me. One thing you may want to try if you would consider skipping LA, (not to offend anyone as there is nothing wrong with it, but if it was your first visit to California I don't know if I would recommend it first on the list) I just thought of something you may want to consider.

Maybe fly into San Fransisco, do all you want to do there (you do not need a car in this city) Then possibly fly to Vegas. virginamerica.com Virgin airlines is anywhere between $50 and $70 one way.

In Vegas you could rent the car, do Grand Canyon (2 hour drive with a 14 mile gravel road near the end of the drive.) one day.

You could do Zion national park 2 to 3 hours from Las Vegas nice highway to travel to get there. If you do Zion I would highly recommend staying 1 night, as it is so large. Endless hiking trails to hike if so desire. Or just drive through it.

Then you could take the rental car back towards San Fransisco and catch Death valley on the way back, and From San Fransisco Yosemite is 2 1/2 to 3 hours. During the return to San Fransisco after Yosemite you could drive north up the coast depending on how much time you have left on the trip. North of San Fransisco is very beautiful drive. Highway 1 to Pointe reyes National Seashore or even as far north as Tomales Bay, which is nice. Then fly home from San Fransisco. That way you would only rent the car in Las Vegas and return it in San Fransisco. This is just a suggestion, unless you really have your heart set on LA.

In Vegas they have day trips to Grand Canyon if you don't want to drive there.

I think you still did not say when you are going, that could make a difference as to what people suggest. Sometimes roads are not open during winter months, and sometimes certain places may be so crowded that people would not recommend them.


Happy Travels


Ps I will be in California and Vegas this October for 13 days myself. Can't wait. I am sure I will be back for San Fransisco advise again myself before then.

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6. Re: San Francisco To Las Vegas Fly Drive


In answer to your question about which place to give up if you don't have time. My vote is to do Yosemite before death valley. Yep there never is enough time to do it all

great trip to you, and enjoy NYC "that's a great city"

But its one of a kind thats for sure.

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7. Re: San Francisco To Las Vegas Fly Drive

Thanks for the tip and really good advice.

This is our first time in California and the problem is we don’t want to miss anything.

This is what we have planned and it appears we will be doing a lot of driving and touch many places. We love driving and hopefully we will enjoy…….

1. We arrive first week of Sept. and spend 3 nights in SF.

2. Drive along the HWY:1 to LA with over night stop.

3. Spend one or two nights in LA; don’t want to miss the glamour of LA.

4. Drive LA to Yosemite Park, 300 miles; spend a night

5. Drive Yosemite Park to Death Valley; Spend a night in the middle.

6. One night in Death Valley

7. Drive from Death Valley to Williams near Grand Canyon; one night in Williams.

8. Early morning drive to Grand Canyon; spend 2 nights at Grand Canyon.

9. Drive to Las Vegas via Hoover dam

10. Spend 2 nights at Las Vegas.

11. Depart Las Vegas next morning for NYC.

This is the plan but we are very flexible and we may have to change the plan if we can’t do it.

What do you think of my plan?

8. Re: San Francisco To Las Vegas Fly Drive

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