San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas: 10 days Road trip
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Oct 1, 2012 7:49 AM Last Post By: lilyramone
Sep 28, 2012 12:18 PM
We're planning a 10 day road trip this November to visit San Francisco, then Los Angeles and finally Las Vegas.
I would really appreciate some advice on the best things to do/see in order to get the maximum out of these 10 days.
We're two friends (30 years old guys) from Europe, so we're interested both in visiting places with a genuine American feeling (e.g. we've been told to drive 101 from S.F. to L.A.) and also in doing some of the touristic "must-do/trap" things (e.g. visit Alcatraz and Hollywood). So we'd like to find a fine balance between these two things. We'll have a car so visiting places just outside the cities is also possible, if recommended.
Our preliminary plan:
- San Francisco: 4 nights. What to do/see? (is a visit to Yosemite worth the driving time?)
- L.A.: 3 nights. What to do/see?
- Las Vegas: 3 nights. What to do/see?
When being in Las Vegas, we're also considering to visit the Grand Canyon South Rim. According to Google maps, it's about a 5-hour trip. So do you recommend staying the night somewhere near the canyon and returning to Las Vegas the next day? In this case, do you know of any nice hotel near the Canyon?
Thanks for all the advice!
Sep 28, 2012 12:28 PM
You do not really have time for what you want to see. xSF to xLA, including the two, easily take 10 days, and you want to tack on xVegas and the Grand Canyon. Something has to give. What does will depends on your interests.
Sep 28, 2012 12:45 PM
2For a taste of the western U.S. your itinerary sounds pretty good - a little fast paced for me, but overall pretty good.
If you are looking for that "genuine American feeling" and travelling around November 22nd, you should find a restaurant serving a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner and feast on roast turkey, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes with gravy.
Yosemite is well worth a visit, but not with the time that you have and by November the roads may be snowy. Next time maybe.
Grand Canyon is also well worth the trip and I'd take the time off from gambling to see it.
Sep 28, 2012 1:05 PM
3Thanks for the tips!
Sorry bzookaj, I actually meant CA1.. Remembered it wrong, so thanks for the clarification.
I know we won't have much time, but we want to try and fit all this in the schedule.
Regarding what we're most interested in: Music, food and entertainment is for sure an interest. However, that can be done everywhere. So if there isn't something extra special about it, then I can take a drink back home too. However, seeing Alcatraz, Hollywood and Beverly Hills (for instance) is only something we Europeans get to experience through movies. So some experiences of this kind would be cool. However, being next to a huge mass of tourists the whole time isn't fun either. That's why we'll avoid taking tour buses etc., and we'll rent a car instead. So we can e.g. drive CA1 and get a nice feeling of the West coast. The same with Grand Canyon.. we are not "nature fans" going biking and hiking all the time, but natural wonders are smthg everyone appreciates.
I hope you can come with some tips now on what to do/see in each city.
Sep 28, 2012 1:53 PM
4A lot of driving in 10 days since that includes stops in each city. You don't seem to account for driving time of more than a day between any two points. The only one that would be comfortable in a day is LA-Vegas. I don't see when you'd fit the Grand Canyon in, especially 5+ hours each way and a night in the park.
Yosemite worth it? Depends on you. Can you get reservatins for accommodations? Just for one night, or would you want to drive LV-SF in one day, even via Yosemite? It's a long drive. IF Tioga Pass is open, http://goo.gl/maps/H5CrW If it's not open, even longer. http://goo.gl/maps/reH27 Even LV to SF without Yosemite is a long day's drive http://goo.gl/maps/V50uk
Sep 28, 2012 3:21 PM
Sep 28, 2012 5:47 PM
6Listen to Bazookaj- with 10 days you need to drop one of the 4 destinations- either the coast or Vegas. What kind of music do you like?
what flavor food do your like? And how much you want to spend on lodging in
San Francisco and LA? Cheap motels or are you more selective. Then we can give you
a much better answer..
Sep 28, 2012 7:03 PM
7Clodbod- one of our posters- wrote an incredible tour-by-car for the Hollywood/ Beverly Hills area in
the September 21 post "5 Days in L.A." Print it out and use it to see Beverly Hills and Hollywood as it
has a route only a local would know -- and it gives you the ultimate tour of Los Angeles!
Sep 28, 2012 9:08 PM
84 nights is just enough to see San Francisco and get a feel for it. Yosemite, at that time of the year, is icy and will add ten or more hours to your trip and won't be worthwhile. If you want to see iconic California nature, add a trip to Muir Woods. It's spectacular and close by. However, since you are considering driving Highway 1 to LA, that's about a 10-12 hour drive and will take you through Big Sur, which is filled with gorgeous redwoods and classic California coast. Up for camping? It's perfect for it.
In San Francisco, Alcatraz on the night tour (book way in advance) could free up one of your nights and also, it's very cool. Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, North Beach, various Piers, Market Street, and why not check out Haight Street? I think it's still interesting and historic.
You HAVE to account for LA traffic. It can take six hours to get from one side of LA (area, not city) to the other if there's traffic, which there basically always is. Wherever you stay in LA, make sure you understand that the traffic can be seriously slow, and there isn't much in the way of public transportation. Personally, I've been to LA dozens and dozens of times and never much found anything to do that was interesting since it's mainly urban sprawl. I do like Venice Beach alright, and also, West Hollywood (but don't stay in a hotel there, bad scene at night). When I go, I tend to stay in Culver City since there are some inexpensive hotels and it's pretty central, plus easy to take surface roads, thus avoiding a lot of traffic. I'd make it two nights and then... there's nothing much I can recommend other than these... now...
...drive the four hours to Las Vegas, which is a very cool drive, I think, with a lot of classic "American" character and great pit stops, but watch your car so it doesn't overheat since the speed limit's up and cars tend to through here, then stay there for two nights, take your pick of Casinos on the strip (I like Bill's Gambling Saloon because it's cheap, the Mirage because it's fun and has a great pool but won't break the bank, and Caesar's Palace because it's a classic, plus these are all center-strip). Then I would drive the five hours to the Grand Canyon, spend the night, and drive back the next day. You can just spend two days walking around Vegas with no destination and have an excellent time, especially on the Strip.
So maybe that would work and might feel less like a time crunch. I've spent a lot of time roadtripping sometimes too fast, especially on the West Coast. I'm not sure it's a great way to see America, especially after a nine-day dash across the U.S. where it literally all looked about the same from the Interstate, however, if you get out of the car and stay, it's fun. Except like I said, I've had one too many trip where I don't remember one State to the next because we were driving for twelve hours, day after day after day.
If you decide to take I-5 down from SF to LA, especially after rush hour, maybe splitting the trip in half, you will miss gorgeous coast, but you could cut your drive time down to maybe five or six hours (I've done it in under five hours, personally, but that was at breakneck speeds in the middle of the night).
I think you need two more days, personally.
Sep 29, 2012 5:20 AM
94 hour drive to Vegas from L.A. would be on Interstate 15. A big, nondescript highway. Classic American drive with great pit stops? I'd like to know what those are. Side trips, adding time, such as to Amboy, might be interesting. Some people might feel that the "Zzyzx" sign or the big thermometer in Baker are worth seeing, but overall I find the drive boring (and I like the desert, including quirky towns like the old mining town of Randsburg, not on this route).
Sep 29, 2012 11:12 AM
10Great tips and advice, thanks guys!
Shekinah_75: I appreciate your detailed answer.
So Highway 1 from SF to LA will take 10-12 hours. Then it sounds like a good idea to split that journey and stay a night somewhere in the middle of the route. Any nice place to recommend between SF and LA, incl. a nice hotel? Our hotel budget is around 200 USD/night (for a room with two single beds).
So as we loose one day/night on our trip from SF to LA, then we'll stay in LA only two nights (instead of three).
Kenko mentioned a post by Clodbod that describes on a nice tour in LA. Do more people recommend that route? Any direct link to that post?
Then we'll also cut down on one night in LV and spend that night in the Canyon instead.
So again, any nice place and hotel that people can recommend?
Finally, besides the casinos, we also want to visit a nice strip club in LV. Which one do people recommend?
Thanks a lot again guys!
Sep 29, 2012 12:58 PM
Head east at xSan Luis Obispo. Visit xDeath Valley on your way. Add a stay in xMonterey.
Sep 29, 2012 7:49 PM
12Type in "5 Days in L.A." in the "Search All Forums" box at the upper right side of this page and MAGIC!!
you can print out Clodbod's driving tour of L.A. I used to take out-of-state relatives on similar routes to show them the real LA .With just a few turns here and there you'll get a lot more out of being in LA.
For Las Vegas you guys should just cut to the chase. Stay at the Hard Rock Hotel. The scenery at the
pool is awesome. Hit a couple hotel clubs like Bond (dancers) in the Cosmopolitan Hotel and XS in Caesar's. Larry Flynt's Hustler Club is good, from what I've heard. A lot of the strip clubs are just designed
to separate you from whatever is in your wallet- Cheetah's, The Platinum Club.
The coastal drive down through Big Sur (stop at one of the State Parks and take in the giant redwoods)
demands an overnight somewhere along the way. If it's Cambria/San Simeon you can see Hearst Castle
the next morning before continuing south on Highway 1. You might like Santa Barbara although most of the
doesn't happen until you hit L.A. Have Fun!
Sep 29, 2012 7:52 PM
Sep 30, 2012 2:27 PM
By the way, is there anyone who recommends taking a helicopter or airplane tour from Las Vegas to see the Grand Canyon South Rim? In that case any special company that you recommend?
Otherwise, we're considering to drive there and stay the night close to the Canyon, and drive back to LV the next day.
(0 star Hotel)
From US$44.03 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$130.37 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$142.16 per night