West coast usa, info anyone - is this too much?

(52 Posts)
Bigwuss Sun 19-May-13 15:30:21

DH wants to see everywhere, literally everywhere, and I think we're trying to do far too much.

Plans so far are
Las Vegas -3 nights
Drive to Grand Canyon stay overnight
Drive to Phoenix stay overnight
Flight to LA
Anaheim 4 nights
Drive up the coast over 3 days
Looking to stay in Santa Barbara 1 night, somewhere near big sur, 2 nights.
San Francisco for 3 nights

What would you lose? Are the drives realistic given it will be summer?

Crutchlow35 Sun 19-May-13 19:39:56

that is a lot.

3 days in vegas ok - not enough but ok

takes 4 hours to drive to the canyon at least. overnight is good but you would be away almost immediately to get to phoenix.

i would therefore may be suggest a canyon daytrip from vegas.

Crutchlow35 Sun 19-May-13 19:41:32

why phoenix? you cant possibly see it in a day so base yourself in vegas and fly to LA.

you will never be out of the car travelling with your plans. that would drive me bonkers. especially if you get stuck in traffic and end up out of time.

As it is you'll spend the entire holiday behind the wheel of a car and will see very little. Driving distances are vast.

I like Phoenix very much but it warrants more than one day.

I would do a triangle of Anaheim, Las Vegas and San Francisco with say 4/5 days in each. Internal flights within the US are not as reasonable cost wise as they once were and they will charge you for any hold luggage.

mumblechum1 Sun 19-May-13 21:08:24

Yep, you will spend most of your holiday on the freeway. We went 2 years ago for 3 weeks and did 8 nights in Sonoma valley (Russian River), 4 nights San Francisco, 1 night Carmel, 8 nights Santa Barbara and that was plenty of driving.

In August we're going again but being lazy and spending 10 nights in Santa Barbara (thinking of buying a second home there), and 10 in the Santa Ynez mountains.

I'd suggest you do San Fran, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas, and a helicopter day trip from Las Vegas over the Canyon.

Have a fab time!

specialsubject Mon 20-May-13 09:57:10

San Francisco is wonderful, and has the advantage that you can lose the car.

Otherwise it is indeed too much driving. BTW if you want to stay at the Grand Canyon you need to book way in advance. Flagstaff is an hour or so away I think and makes a much better base. The helicopter trips don't see the 'main' canyon as flying is banned over it. Try to get to the south rim and use the shuttle bus along it for the various overlooks. A day there will be highly memorable.

to see Las Vegas - arrive mid afternoon, walk the strip at sunset and dusk (too hot otherwise), admire the big things, sleep, leave.

Lemonytrees Tue 21-May-13 06:25:30

I agree with others, I would drop Phoenix. We took a helicopter to grand canyon, stayed overnight and then back to Vegas.

The drive from LA to SF will be fine - we did it with 2 preschoolers and stopped twice (Carmel and Santa Barbara)

Vagndidit Tue 21-May-13 13:40:00

Definitely drop Phoenix. It's ok if you'll be in the area already but certainly not worth the 4 hour trek from the Grand Canyon ( assuming you're heading to the South Rim of the canyon)

I personally think that 4 days in Anaheim might be a bit much, but I've never been a fan of The Disney empire.

BreakfastCricket Tue 21-May-13 15:48:05

Remember that Anaheim need not necessarily be Disney it is also fabulously close to Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Venice Beach, Catellina Island etc and all the fun of the sand and sea... Because Disney is there you get the benefit of lots and lots of accommodation at more affordable prices.
Anaheim itself is not pretty.

Bigwuss Tue 21-May-13 18:16:24

Thanks all, you have helped persuade DH to drop Phoenix. We are looking at doing a day trip to Grand Canyon, which will be the longest day ever...so we get longer to drive up the coast.

Just got to find somewhere to stay now.....

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Tue 21-May-13 18:33:15

We've been to SW US 3 times and always do massive amounts of miles - I love driving there - both the long desert stretches and the (somewhat scary) canyon hairpins. Last time I had the car for 10 days and did 2200 miles.

Just read your last post - yes - you could spend longer on the coast roads - but all it is is looking at the sea - the canyons are far more interesting <not working for the National Parks Service honest Guv>

I was about to suggest Sedona which is not far from Flagstaff - it is the most beautiful town; you could use it as a base for the Canyon? (Maybe next time!)

With the Grand Canyon if I was driving there I'd want to stay overnight then have a full day there exploring, watch sunset, and sunrise the following morning, then blat on to the next destination. I would highly recommend Bryce Canyon as well if you can fit it in - it impressed me more the the Grand Canyon TBH.

There's a great thread on moneysaving expert:
forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=3248860 with loads of info and advice.

Crutchlow35 Tue 21-May-13 18:34:48

I highly recommend signature at MGM for Vegas. Ask for a room in tower 1.

In San fran I recommend kimpton argonaut hotel. Was fab!

lljkk Tue 21-May-13 18:36:41

What Vagndidit said.
LaBrea tar pits are cool.

BreakfastCricket Tue 21-May-13 18:59:21

HalfSpam- a serious thank you for linking such a wonderful thread. I had seen it before a long time ago but now it is far more relevant.

Bigwuss Tue 21-May-13 20:56:08

Great link, thanks

I'm so looking forward to it.

sweetestcup Tue 21-May-13 21:38:39

You will have a wonderful time, we are doing something similar apart from Vegas. 4 nights San Francisco, 1 Monterey, 1 Santa Barbara, 4 LA and 4 Laguna Beach.....cant wait!

I live in LA and would just say 4days at Disney sounds horrid! Do 2 at Disney then get yourself into LA proper, it's awesome

HappyAsASandboy Sat 25-May-13 07:38:05

I have done a very similar trip.

I would stick with 3/4 nights in Vegas, but take a day trip flight to the Grand Canyon and not stay there or in Pheonix.

I wouldn't stay so long at Anaheim. We did a single (long!) day with a night either side at Anaheim.

Spend the days you save in Anaheim in LA or San Framsisco. I don't know anything about Santa Barbara, but I'd head to San Fransisco. It's one of my favourite cities in the world smile

Have a fab time whatever you do smile

lljkk Sat 25-May-13 07:47:19

I don't get this either, but people from outside SoCal can happily spend small lifetimes at Disneyland. It's a daytrip to me, too, and cannot imagine why anyone would want to drag it out longer, but Nowt as Queer as Folk.

likestoski Sat 25-May-13 07:53:23

We went a few years ago and spent most of it driving!!! Flew into Chicago and then straight onto San Francisco. Had 4 days there and the drove to Los Angeles. Had 2 days there and drove to Las Vegas, which took 8 hours, stayed there for 4 days and then onto Grand Canyon, stayed over night and then the biggest journey was to San Diego. Took almost 10 hours!!! Had 4 days there and flew home from San Diego.

Instead of driving to canyon, we should have taken a helicopter ride.

ComtessedeFrouFrou Sat 25-May-13 08:24:51

You don't mention DCs in your post, so I guess from that you aren't taking any. 3 days in Vegas is plenty IMHO unles you are really inveterate gamblers.

Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon is very reasonable and cheap if you want something adequate, small and not too fancy. The other hotels (MGM like someone else suggested) would be better if you want lots of in-house amenities, but we have been twice and never felt that was necessary.

We stayed at the Inn at East Beach in Santa Barbara - again, motel style, but good rooms right on the beach.

When exactly are you going. We went to California last May and it was foggy by the coast and ROASTING in SF and Vegas. We had a convertible and it was actually too hot for us to put the top down much (although we are both quite fair shade lovers).

flipflump Sat 25-May-13 08:45:03

We started in LA, spent 3 nights, could have stayed forever. Short drive to Vegas, had 2 or 3 there was plenty either way. Then drove to Yosemite, fav part of the trip, it was breathtaking. 3 nights there but wanted to spend a week. We then went to Sonoma, lovely but would miss this part out. Then onto SF, fantastic 3 nights there, it's a wonderful place. It was absolutely freezing when the sea fog came in. We then drove to Big Sur for 2 nights, could have stayed FOREVER!!! Stopped at Carmel, Monteray etc on the way back down but wouldn't stay there. We then did a couple of nights in Santa Barbara, nice way to relax at the end of an adventure. Then back to LA to fly home.

For us it was perfect, full of happy memories. It was just DH and myself so the driving wasn't an issue and we took everyday in the car as another adventure, more to see and do.

Sorry for hijack but I nearly started a post like the OP's then I saw this. We have arranged our LA road trip (well when I say we, I mean I have organised everything...) And then dh pipes up last night "you don't think we've got too much on, do you?" I tore him off a strip at the time - as he just nodded and agreed as I was booking, but obviously not listening - and now I'm worried sick he might be right. Especially now I've read the op and replies.

We're flying to Vegas, staying overnight then straight to San Diego for 2 nights (incl zoo)
2 nights Anaheim incl Disney
2 nights LA incl universal studios
2 nights Santa Barbara
1 night san luis for Hearst Castle
2 nights monterey
3 nights San Fran
2 nights yosemite
1 night bishop on way back to LV
2 nights LV
Home

Tell me where I can cut things down and where to stay put longer! The dds are 11 & 8.
I'm so worried now! (Not least that dh was right hmm )

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Mon 27-May-13 07:44:47

Vegas-San Diego is a full, long day's drive. If you only have 1 night in Vegas after landing and then do this you could be v tired.
Our last hol was into and out of Vegas, we did Vegas - LA (easy drive), and the other big drive was San Diego- Monument Valley, and we broke that journey with an overnight in Sedona.
All the rest is fine I think, but post on the MSE SW USA thread (link above) and they will have suggestions too.
We did 2 nights San Diego, loved it there, zoo is great. DP wanted to nip down into Mexico but I told him it would invalidate our car insurance (stories of Tijuana scared the crap out of me)

flipflump Mon 27-May-13 09:03:51

Itchy, if I were you, I'd knock Santa Barbara down to 1 night, it would be plenty. It's a short drive from LA. I'd extend LA by 1 night, there's a lot to see plus you're doing universal so need time. You're current plan is 5 nights between LA and San F, that's quite a lot. You've got an incredible trip planned, I'm jealous!!!

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