Could use some advice with a USA 2 week 5 city itinerary :)
Replies: 42 - Last Post: Jul 17, 2012 10:13 AM Last Post By: quimiorlando
Jun 28, 2012 11:16 AM
15With just 2 weeks and the majority of your needs can be filled on the west coast, forget Florida, Orlando is not worth the trip with so many theme parks in Cali.
Speaking of parks, the west has so many lovely, beautiful state and national parks, no need to go any further than Denver.
Though I live in Chicago and love the city, why fly 4 hours to cold and windy city that is best toured on foot, bike or boat...as above suggest. Hop on hop off tours are not the way to enjoy Chicago, or NY or San Fran, or just about anywhere IMO.
Focus on LA, San Fran, Sante Fe, Grand Canyon and maybe Yosemite or another area in the mountains. That will still be a lot of moving around but each area has so much to enjoy. You could spend a week in the Bay/Wine country alone.
Texas? I moan every time I go there, in 24 hours I am bored to death...Austin is nice though...
Jun 28, 2012 3:38 PM
16We quite enjoy rides and entertainment though so I know we would have fun spending a few day doing these. But I dont want the whole focus of the trip to be on them, hence the desire to experience history, landmarks and nature too.
Fair enough ... therefore I would agree with SoloHobo (and others above) - just create a wonderful two-week loop itinerary from Southern California, through to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, Zion NP / Bryce Canyon, back through Las Vegas to say Lake Tahoe and into San Francisco (the road from the east into Yosemite NP may be closed), and back along the coast to Los Angeles. A great trip in your time.
So drop Florida, Texas, Chicago, and even Colorado and Montana (which are wonderful indeed, but take time to enjoy). Apart from the short time you have, domestic air travel in the US (as you probably well know) is not the relatively straightforward process it usually is in Australia - it is fantastically crowded, with delays possible, and you burn up a lot of time doing all the transfers to and from airports, motels, etc.
Just rent a car and stay on the ground, in my view. Plus there is the possibility of striking the Thanksgiving Holiday - go in early November if you can plan it.
Jun 29, 2012 4:30 AM
17Thanks again everyone. With your suggestions and some research on the best national parks to visit in November ive put together another idea to run by you all;
Im not giving up on the idea of visiting Orlando, i would still like to dedicate 5 days there. But am thinking of dedicating our other 10 days for around California.
Sequoia and Kings NP looks lovely and similar to Yosemite and has good reviews for Nov travel.
So i wondered whether a Los Angeles - Fresno - Sequoia/Kings NP - Death Valley NP - Las Vegas NV - Grand Canyon - Phoenix AZ - San Diego CA route would be achievable in 10 days (incl at least 2 days for LA)?
Given that I would like to have a few days for sightseeing in LA. I have a feeling you all might still suggest there's still not enough time for this if i keep Orlando, so its also possible for us to skip the Grand Canyon as Dad expressed that he can go without seeing this, although Vegas would be fun we would both be okay with missing that to, or limiting it to one full day. Phoenix just seemed like a good inbetween stop, not sure how much time we should devote there, and the interest in San Diego is mainly for the Zoo but ive heard lots of people express their love of the city so im open to what else we should see there. Whats your thoughts?
Im not even sure whether Dad is interested in doing a self drive trip, he's no stranger to long drives though. I'd have to look into one way rentals, and whether the car could need tyre chainsin the fall for the NPs?
Jun 29, 2012 4:49 AM
18So i wondered whether a Los Angeles - Fresno - Sequoia/Kings NP - Death Valley NP - Las Vegas NV - Grand Canyon - Phoenix AZ - San Diego CA route would be achievable in 10 days (incl at least 2 days for LA)?
I think that is all a pretty dreadful (or at least very far from optimal) drive around California (plus NV and AZ), for lots of good reasons (such as Sequoia/Kings Canyon requires time (not being a drive-through experience), and then it's a long hike from there around to Death Valley NP).
And apart from some long drives, plus some backtracks, and very ordinary outcomes at the end of some of the driving (like Phoenix), you simply do not have the time - if you're also dedicating five days to Florida.
I'll sit back and see what others say.
Jun 29, 2012 5:20 AM
19Oh dear haha. Im trying! Living in country Victoria ive been used to driving a 4 hr round trip to University a few days a week but maybe im being too keen for this holiday haha.
Whats the best way of getting in some good national park time from LA then?
To strip it back to bare minimum id be happy with have some decent time in LA ie 3-4 whole days, then the ability for a couple of days at a NP that will be decent in November. Then maybe a trip to San Diego Zoo one day. Im sure that is more than manageable in 10 days.
Maybe if we start at the basics then add to it I might be able to start getting this together!
Jun 29, 2012 5:33 AM
20Are you living in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Shep, Wang? I live in Essendon (but am a Bulldogs supporter).
I still think the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, and Yosemite are your best bet from LA ... even if your father has no real enthusiasm for the Grand Canyon (and in some respects could be considered "over-rated") it is still very very good and worth a day (two nights).
Death Valley NP (even just on the bitumen) and Yosemite NP are fantastic as well, but you do take on some extra driving if Tioga Pass into Yosemite is closed by snow by your time. But not a huge issue - Hwy 395 along the Eastern Sierras (both north and south) is wonderful too.
Jun 29, 2012 5:41 AM
Jun 29, 2012 5:44 AM
22I think you need to take a look at a map.
A "4 hour drive" is a short drive for this area. xYosemite to xLas Vegas, for example, is a minimum 7.5 hours should the pass be closed, and that doesn't include time for stops. So you're looking at essentially two days to get to and from the xYosemite.
I think you're best bet, if you want to keep xOrlando, is likely something like:
3 days LA
Fly/drive to Vegas.
1 night Vegas.
Rent a car.
1 day (and night) Grand Canyon.
1 day Bryce.
1-2 day Zion.
1 night in Vegas.
Fly to xOrlando.
You may encounter snow in the deserts after xVegas.
Jun 29, 2012 5:47 AM
23I would still forget Orlando, its really not a great place compared to all the other places you can enjoy, in fact, I would go to Chicago or NYC or Wash DC before Orlando...
Oneways are expensive, though there might be some fair prices in a given state like California between LA and SF, and possibly LA and Las Vegas, but thats about it.
Think big loop...
Jun 29, 2012 8:07 AM
24Check out car insurance through traveljigsaw.com.au, it gets good reviews on another travel forum from Australians, includes all the necessary insurance and often is able to get one way dropoff fees waived. They only rent from the major car rental companies if this is a concern.
I'd go to the theme parks in California, Disneyland is the original and the one that Walt built and Universal in LA has the working studio. You could also do a studio tour (no rides) at Warner Bros. or Paramount or Sony/;MGM although the Warner tours are much more frequent. San Diego Zoo is very nice. The other good thing about Disneyland is that there are many motels and hotels within walking distance of Disneyland in all price ranges (there is also the ART shuttle if your father has mobility problems) whereas with Disneyworld to have the best experience you pretty much have to stay at Disney owned hotels.
I loved Santa Fe and have been there 3 times, lots of great Pueblo Indian reservations to visit and the food in New Mexico is totally unique to anyplace else in the US. Nothing much to see or do in Phoenix. If you feel you have to go to Arizona, Tucson is much better. Have a great trip.
Jun 29, 2012 8:57 AM
25Thanks for the tip!
Warner Bros studio tour is already nice and high on the list.
Santa Fe has been mentioned a lot in this post, ive never heard much about the place before. I dont want to be confined to one state for the trip so it might be a good option.
Ive seen that many tour companies do 3+ day tours from LA to Vegas/Grand Canyon and the like. So they might be a good way to experience the main points of interests too.
Jun 29, 2012 9:12 AM
Jun 29, 2012 9:30 AM
27Here is Lonely Planet's page on Santa Fe
Take a look at LP's Arizona, New Mexico & the Grand Canyon Trips. You can look at the table of contents & intro for free, and can buy individual chapters to download. Make sure to change the location at the upper right to Australia, so you are looking at Aus dollars not US dollars.
These are road thrips with themes. For example:
A Slice of Native America
Written in Stone: Utah’s National Parks
Day Trips from Santa Fe & Albuquerque
Jun 29, 2012 9:39 AM
Jun 29, 2012 1:45 PM
Las VegasBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$94.00 per night
Las VegasBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$95.00 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$149.00 per night