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Ideas-3wk trip: San Fran-Yosemite-Death Valley-Vegas

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Dublin, Ireland
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Ideas-3wk trip: San Fran-Yosemite-Death Valley-Vegas

Hi,

My husband and I are planning approx 3wk holiday in september- thought baout flying into San Fran, a few nights there, hire a car (mustang would be cool) and drive to Las Vegas, via Yosemite and Death Valley. Ending with a few nights (3-4 too little, too much?) in Las vegas, flying home to Ireland from there.

This will be our first trip here ( although I was in San fran a few years ago, loved it)

Basically, is 3 weeks too long? Or is it ideal for this trip?? Any suggestions on an itinerary that we can take, stopping off in few places along the way? We have no fear of the long drive, we are used to driving allover europe. Would it be worth including santa cruz or somewhere on the coast south of San Fran?

So any suggestions would be great?

Washington State
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1. Re: Ideas-3wk trip: San Fran-Yosemite-Death Valley-Vegas

Hi scdublin

This forum is the perfect place to plan your visit to San Francisco (abbreviate as SF) but is not the spot to plan a driving itinerary through the state and on to Nevada.

Let the SF folks know your specific budget, travel style, and such, and they'll help you out. Maybe you'll want to see a few new places since you've visited in the past.

When you repost your request for itinerary ideas on the California state forum, folks will be glad to offer ideas for this popular route. You've chosen a great time to travel!

Uden, The...
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2. Re: Ideas-3wk trip: San Fran-Yosemite-Death Valley-Vegas

Hi

With that much time I certainly would add the drive along the coast.

Day 1: Arrive SF

Day 2 and 3: SF

Day 4: SF to Santa Cruz and to Monterey

Day 5: Monterey to Cambria

Day 6: Cambria to Yosemite

Day 7 and 8: Yosemite

Day 9: Yosemite via Tioga Pass to Lee Vining or Mammoth lakes. Visit to Mono Lake and Bodie SHP

Day 10: Take all the time you can get for us395 and stay Lone Pine

Day 11: Lone Pine to Death Valley NP

Day 12: DVNP

Day 13: DVNP to Las Vegas

This only covers less than 2 weeks and you'll have time to explore. You're taking much longer than most people do and it's great to take that much time.

For your last week I'd add a trip to Grand Canyon NP and Sedona.

1. Las Vegas-GCNP south rim

2. GCNP

3. GCNP-Sedona www.visitsedona.com

4. Sedona

5. Sedona-Las Vegas

Day 6,7,8: Las Vegas or stay Las Vegas before your GC roundtrip. Or skip Sedona and stay Las Vegas longer.

You even could make a roundtrip including Zion, Bryce, Page and GC if you take shorter for your first 2 weeks. That also will be a fantastic trip and many people do this in 3 weeks but you also could spender longer along the coast.

Make you reservations in the National Parks. They sell out quickly. Death Valley still will be very hot in september. If you decide to make the longer roundtrip just let us know or try the Road Trips forum: tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567-Road_Tri…

Happy planning.

Tet

Little Sutton...
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3. Re: Ideas-3wk trip: San Fran-Yosemite-Death Valley-Vegas

Now I'm jealous,all that time,all great suggestions so far but you could also throw in Sequoia NP & Monument Valley.

Dublin, Ireland
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4. Re: Ideas-3wk trip: San Fran-Yosemite-Death Valley-Vegas

Thanks all!

PacificNW, thanks for letting me know, I will post this on the proper forum.

But Tet14, thanks for you reply, its a really big help!! The suggested itinerary sounds really good, once we can get the accomodation sorted we would probably spend 4 nights in Yosemite-maybe split between 2 places, and also the 2 nights in Death Valley. Seeing as we have the time to spare, I thinkwe would spend a night in Grand canyon too- I have heard that you can hike down into the canyon and camp?

Thanks for all the advice, getting excited now, just need to get the Visa out now!

Uden, The...
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5. Re: Ideas-3wk trip: San Fran-Yosemite-Death Valley-Vegas

Maybe check this for GCNP www.nps.gov/grca and esp. the overnight stays at the canyonfloor They often book out one year in advance and you really have to be in great shape to accomplish a hike like that.

Dublin, Ireland
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6. Re: Ideas-3wk trip: San Fran-Yosemite-Death Valley-Vegas

Hi,

thanks for all the advice to date.... we have now decided on a few specifics, so a little more advice would be great.

Arrive SF, 3 full days (4 nights) to spend 1 day cycling SF, the other 2 days to walk around the sights. Any suggestion on a hotel, I tink we will aim for cheapest deal in Union square.

From here we will collect hire car (found a great price for convertible mustang) drive to either Napa or Sonoma- I need advice for this- which wine region. We do need to keep the cost down, so is sonoma the cheaper option? Plan to stay only one night-arrive early and do a wine tour and tastin, dinner that night. Is this enough? Any suggestion for a B&B?

From here drive to Yosemite, stay somewhere in Yosemite for 3nights- suggestions of a good base, perhaps near mammoth lakes? Or 2nights and 1 night split bewteen 2 locations?

Following this, drive to death valley- stay here 1 night- suggestion where?

Then drive to zion national park, stay one night- suggestion?

Drive to monument valley-should we stay one night?

Drive to Grand canyon, stay one night-suggestion? Need 2 nights?

Finally, drive to las vegas, deposit car, spend 4 nights in Vegas- arriving late the first night, gives us 3 full days. Too much? Or party on and enjoy the tackiness and whackiness? Bellagio or Venetian or MGM?

thanks

Uden, The...
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7. Re: Ideas-3wk trip: San Fran-Yosemite-Death Valley-Vegas

Hi again.

We're not much into wineries, plenty of them in Europe, so we only drove via Sonoma on our way to Yosemite. Not much help I'm afraid. For lodging maybe check TA's hotel section.

Sorry to say, but Mammoth is nowhere near Yosemite Valley. Nice area though. Maybe stay in Yosemite for 2 nights, then drive Tioga Pass to Lee Vining and south on beautiful us395 to Lone Pine for the night. Lone Pine has a great location at the foot of Mount Whitney. Maybe try classic Dow Villa Motel.

Death Valley will be hot but millions have survived, esp. Europeans in summer. It's a fantastic NP, largest NP in the 48 states. You can stay in DV at Stovepipe Wells Village or Furnace Creek Ranch. Both are centrally located. Reservations can be made via www.xanterra.com Both have pools and reasonable good restaurants. Stove Pipe wells has the great sunsetviews on Stovepipe Wells Dunes from your porch and has a more "Western" feeling. Stargazing is superb.

You don't need to stay in DV but you also can drive in one day from Lone Pine to Las Vegas with short stops at places like Stovepipe Wells Dunes, Zabriskie Point, Devils Golfcourse, Badwater, Artist Drive and Dante's View. Will be a long day then. Don't let anybody keep you away from Death Valley NP. Always bring water in the car and drink lots of it. A modern (rental) car will have no problems driving through DV. It's a unique park.

As you are visiting Las Vegas at the end of your trip maybe stay DV for the night and drive to Zion next day. That will be a 5+ hours drive. I'd stay Zion for 2 nights.

You want to drive to Monument Valley after that. Are you skipping Bryce and Page? There are roadworks in Zion and Zion to MV is some 5 hours of driving, longer if you have to take a detour because of the roadworks. Page has many places for a visit like Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, Horeseshoebend, Glen Canyon Dam etc. Monument Valley has 2 hotels, The View and Goulding's Lodge. For cheaper lodging try Goulding's Lodge cabins. You'll need a reservation. If booked, some hotels in Kayenta but don't miss sunset/sunrise in MV.

MV to GCNP south rim is 3.5 hours. Plus the time you'll need for the stops along east rim from Desert View to GC VIllage. Reservations needed again. Maybe try Yavapai Lodge or Bright Angel Lodge. Cheapest option. www.grandcanyonlodges.com

GC to Las Vegas is a 5 hours drive but will take longer with stops in Seligman (R66) and Hoover Dam. 4 nights Las Vegas? That would be far to long for us but we all are different. I'd spend more time for the NP's etc.

If you are looking for cheap lodges, Bellagio and Venetian are not the places for that. LV offers many deals. Maybe ask the LV forum.

Tet

Little Sutton...
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8. Re: Ideas-3wk trip: San Fran-Yosemite-Death Valley-Vegas

Still jealous,one point glad you've got a good deal on a Mustang,just one point the luggage space on those things isn't great(especially if you get a convertable,somebody did put a great post on TA showing the trunk & it's dimensions,I know when we had one the luggage lived on the rear seat.

You mention Mammoth Lakes,another beautiful place,we were there last summer,more known as a ski resort they were making big noises about it now being a summer place now too but not that much was open,we enjoyed it tho & there is good,free public transport to get you round the place,the drive down 395 is superb.

Like Tet says,don't let anybody put you off Death Valley(some people seem to get almost paranoid about the place),it is absolutely stunning,you'll never forget it!

Uden, The...
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9. Re: Ideas-3wk trip: San Fran-Yosemite-Death Valley-Vegas

"Paranoid"!! That's the word. Thx Snaefell.

Little Sutton...
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10. Re: Ideas-3wk trip: San Fran-Yosemite-Death Valley-Vegas

My pleasure Tet!