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Old 4th May 2014, 05:24   #1
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Default Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

Hello everyone,

I am planning a trip to Grand Canyon and then the west coast next week. Here's what I know for sure; we land in Phoenix at 11am on May 12th and we fly out of San Francisco at 1pm on May 21st, and we have a car rental for the entire duration.

Our earlier itinerary had us at Phoenix for the 12th and Grand Canyon on 13th-14th. We were then to go to LA for 3 days (including the GC-LA drive) and then 3 days at SF (including the LA-SF drive). But, a lot of people have told us two things: there's nothing to see/do at Phoenix, two days is a lot at GC if you're not hiking/camping.

So, I've some questions:

1) What's the best way to go about GC? I heard that the Grand Canyon Village and Skywalk are very far apart. Is going to the Village any worth at all if we're not planning to hike?

2) Do you suggest we stay at Village, if we do go there? Any recommendations for where we could stay?

3) What else could we do in that area?

Based on some discussions, here's the alternate plan I came up with:

May 12th: arrive in Phoenix, drive to Grand Canyon Village. Watch the sunset and spend the night there.
May 13th: drive to the Skywalk, spend some time there and then head to Las vegas, spend the night there.
May 14th: drive- Vegas - Hoover Dam - San Diego
May 15th-16th: San Diego
May 17th: San Diego - LA, spend the night in LA
May 18th: Drive- LA to SF through CA1
May 19th-20th: SF
May 21st: Fly out of SF

Any suggestions or comments about this plan?

Thanks for your inputs!
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Old 4th May 2014, 07:51   #2
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Default re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post

Based on some discussions, here's the alternate plan I came up with:

May 12th: arrive in Phoenix, drive to Grand Canyon Village. Watch the sunset and spend the night there.
May 13th: drive to the Skywalk, spend some time there and then head to Las vegas, spend the night there.
May 14th: drive- Vegas - Hoover Dam - San Diego
May 15th-16th: San Diego
May 17th: San Diego - LA, spend the night in LA
May 18th: Drive- LA to SF through CA1
May 19th-20th: SF
May 21st: Fly out of SF
Hi, i am not sure how much I can provide information, it is little old (6 years back), but In Grand Canyon nothing would have changed meantime. When we were in USA (mid-west), we did LA-San Diego (a conference was there)-Vegas-GC-Phoenix (opposite drive of yours). Two places we had enjoyed most were San Diego and GC. We opted GC village not skywalk, both are opposite sides of the river, crossing is not so easy and also time consuming. If at all, you can try white water rafting (in between these points I guess). In GC, we were stayed in National Park accommodation (about $100 in 2008). The view points, sun set in CG are the best I had seen in my life. We also spent two days, but we were very sad to leave the "Grand" valley you will not see anywhere else. I don't have any idea about skywalk, please do your own research.

My daughter was 4 years old then, we had many restrictions in CG trekking, Vegas games (the Land of law won't allow you to take kids near gaming tables), and rides in Universal Studio.

In San Diego, Wild animal national park is the best (it is far towards LA, so, plan while you are driving to San Diego) also Zoo, sea world, La jolla (pronunciation is tough for me "lahoya") beach. In LA, we had visited Getty center, Griffith observatory, Universal Studio, Santa monica and couple of mesuim, Malibu "Venkateswara" Temple (the drive was good). We skipped Walt Disney because we reserved that one in Florida, at it's own kingdom.

CA1 itself a wonderful thing to do, you may have to stop couple of places I guess. We spent 16 days for LA-SD-Vegas-CG. I guess your plan is little cramped. Plan well and choose the best to visit.
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Old 5th May 2014, 00:19   #3
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Default re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

^^ Thanks!

I spoke with some more people and called up one of the hotels at Grand Canyon Village to check for accommodation. Luckily, there was just a room available at the South Rim. I enquired about what we could do there (apart from hiking/trails) and she talked about the desert/sunset coaches.

So, now we'll stay at GCV on 12th and 13th night. Essentially, we'll leave out Vegas and most likely Skywalk as well.

San Diego onwards the plan would be the same.
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Old 5th May 2014, 14:02   #4
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Default re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

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^^ Thanks!

So, now we'll stay at GCV on 12th and 13th night. Essentially, we'll leave out Vegas and most likely Skywalk as well.

San Diego onwards the plan would be the same.
That sounds good. Evening time go towards west of village to see the sunset and morning to torwards east to see sun rise. 14th Morning, you can drive to Skywalk, and then Vegas, that will be fine.

Have a wonderful trip. You may click more photographs than other place!!!
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Old 5th May 2014, 14:49   #5
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Default re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
Hello everyone,

I am planning a trip to Grand Canyon and then the west coast next week.

3) What else could we do in that area?


Any suggestions or comments about this plan?

Thanks for your inputs!
You have missed the biggest attraction. Sedona! Stay at least for a day at this wonderful place. Look it up in Google and re-plan your itinerary.
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Old 5th May 2014, 19:33   #6
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Default Re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

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That sounds good. Evening time go towards west of village to see the sunset and morning to torwards east to see sun rise. 14th Morning, you can drive to Skywalk, and then Vegas, that will be fine.

Have a wonderful trip. You may click more photographs than other place!!!
Would you recommend that we take the coaches or drive around on our own? I already have the coaches reserved but some mentioned that it's just as good as driving around yourself.

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You have missed the biggest attraction. Sedona! Stay at least for a day at this wonderful place. Look it up in Google and re-plan your itinerary.
Ah, Sedona's coming up quite often. I'll look it up and see how I can change the itinerary.

Thanks!
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Old 5th May 2014, 22:38   #7
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Default Re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

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Would you recommend that we take the coaches or drive around on our own? I already have the coaches reserved but some mentioned that it's just as good as driving around yourself.
Thanks!
We drove ourselves, I remember one stretch we had used free coach. That time very less frequent coaches, just now I had visited the website, it has every 15 minutes a shuttle.

However go ahead with coaches, you can relax, cover more and take more snaps I guess. This will be a life time experience, take a tripod to take your photos. There is a mountain called "Shiva mountain", I felt home after seeing that.
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Old 6th May 2014, 16:08   #8
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Default Re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

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Hello everyone,
.
.
May 18th: Drive- LA to SF through CA1
May 19th-20th: SF
May 21st: Fly out of SF

Any suggestions or comments about this plan?
Another input from my side. May 18-19-20th CA-1 drive to SFO: Include Hearst Castle in your plan. Its 250 miles both from LA and SFO. Set aside 2 hours at least.

Also, Monterey's aquarium is a must visit.

If you post your revised itinerary, I may be able to comment more.
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Old 7th May 2014, 00:23   #9
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Default Re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

Has any of you (or someone you know) taken the helicopter rides? Is it worth?


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Originally Posted by bsdbsd View Post
Another input from my side. May 18-19-20th CA-1 drive to SFO: Include Hearst Castle in your plan. Its 250 miles both from LA and SFO. Set aside 2 hours at least.

Also, Monterey's aquarium is a must visit.

If you post your revised itinerary, I may be able to comment more.
Will take a look at Hearst Castle.

The itinerary as of now is:

May 12th: Fly into Phoenix, 11am. Drive to Grand Canyon Village
13th: Take the Desert coach in the morning, Sunset coach
14th: Drive to San Diego, passing through Hoover Dam
15th, 16th: San Diego
17th: Drive to LA
18th: LA to San Francisco through CA1
19th, 20th: SF
21st: Fly out of SF

We've a rental right from Phoenix to SF airport.

I'll look at how I can fit Sedona in.
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Old 7th May 2014, 01:05   #10
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Default Re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post

The itinerary as of now is:

May 12th: Fly into Phoenix, 11am. Drive to Grand Canyon Village
13th: Take the Desert coach in the morning, Sunset coach
14th: Drive to San Diego, passing through Hoover Dam
15th, 16th: San Diego
17th: Drive to LA
18th: LA to San Francisco through CA1
19th, 20th: SF
21st: Fly out of SF

We've a rental right from Phoenix to SF airport.

I'll look at how I can fit Sedona in.
May I offer you suggestion -

LA to SFO through CA1 will be very long and tiring (~400 miles). Agree the drive is spectacular but with a speed limit of 35 mph is most of the places with winding roads you will be spending lot of time on the road. I'd suggest you dedicate 18th & 19th to drive from LA to SFO through CA1. En route you can see places such as Santa Barbara, Solvag, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Hearst Castle, Monterey, Carmel, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, Pacifica and reach SFO.
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Old 7th May 2014, 08:00   #11
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Default Re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

If you're not planning on trekking/camping, I'd suggest you use your own car (rental) rather than the bus tour, etc. Don't miss sunrise & sunset and visits to the various view points, they offer amazing vistas and photo opportunities.
IIRC we stayed at a town called Flagstaff.

From Grand Canyon, drive to Las Vegas and on the way you can visit the Hoover Dam, must visit for it's architecture and the drive is enjoyable too.

Also, if you've never been to Las Vegas, don't drop that from the itinerary. Just going around the place and the Casinos will be great especially in the evenings when there are lots of spectacular light and sound shows (many of them free too). Do visit Venice, MGM, Caesar's, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Luxor. They are all on one long road so you can spend the entire day, till late night/early next morning just going around. We also went on the Stratosphere ride

At LA it's mostly the theme parks, Hollywood Boulevard, etc. If you have to drop something, maybe you can skip LA instead of LV.

San Diego - Beaches are good, Zoo is excellent, we also went to Six Flags. Be careful when you're driving, it's easy to unknowingly enter into the Mexican side without any checks/problems, but returning back to the US side will be difficult even though you've crossed over accidentally.

San Francisco - visit Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39, China Town, Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, Crooked Street (drive through this street, it's fun), take the tram rides (cable cars).

*Trying my best to remember things from a SFO-GC-LV road trip done 15 years ago!
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Old 7th May 2014, 11:09   #12
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Default Re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

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May I offer you suggestion - LA to SFO through CA1 will be very long and tiring (~400 miles). Agree the drive is spectacular but with a speed limit of 35 mph...
You are spot on. This is a 35 mph road with traffic...akin to an organized outer ring road in Bangalore. Perfect suggestion there...spending 18th and 19th on CA1.

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Also, if you've never been to Las Vegas, don't drop that from the itinerary.
.
.
If you have to drop something, maybe you can skip LA instead of LV.
Again, perfect words there.

libran...I think your itinerary is done here. Let me summarize.

Safe:
Phoenix-Sedona-Grand Canyon-Las Vegas-San Diego-LA-SFO (on 1/101).

Slightly adventurous:
Phoenix-Sedona-Grand Canyon-Las Vegas-San Deigo-LA (Transit only)-Yosemite(on 5/99)-SFO. You will get Six Flags on the way in this route. You can safely skip LA. Nothing much to see.
If you have time, add Monterey and a 100 mile drive on CA 1/101/PCH (while in SFO).

Last edited by bsdbsd : 7th May 2014 at 11:11.
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Old 7th May 2014, 11:23   #13
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Default Re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

When at SFO try to do the 17 mile drive as well. For a first time trip to SFO the places mentioned in earlier posts and this one are good.
If you get another opportunity/more time in the vicinity there are several national parks and driving there will be an amazing experience. Yosemite NP, Kings Canyon NP, Sequoia NP are some of the not to miss parks.
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Old 7th May 2014, 13:53   #14
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Default Re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

The best part of highway 1 coastal highway is near SF with the big Sur area and its numerous waterfalls(which are unfortunately dry) and the national parks. Its a long 10-12 hours drive of you count the stops, I suggest you stay the night a little ahead of LA rather than LA.
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Old 7th May 2014, 14:25   #15
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Default Re: Queries about a trip to the Grand Canyon & West Coast, USA

I found the Highway 1 from monterrey about 50mi down, a big drab. Nice but after pebble beach it wasn't awesome scenery, just plain nice, esp because everything was so dry (in Oct end).

Not WOW level, for me.
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