San Francisco to Las Vegas: A US Road Trip
Six weeks today and we’ll be on the plane, all set for the biggest road trip I have ever undertaken, culminating in a much anticipated family wedding in Las Vegas!
The US had never really been on my radar, when I look at a map, my eyes are generally always drawn East. However, we were very excited about the Vegas wedding, and decided to make the most of the trip by undertaking a US road trip first.
We’ve literally just finalised the last of the details of the trip, so I thought I would share, in case it helps anyone else putting a plan together, or in case anyone had any feedback or tips for us!
One thing I have realised is that people book way in advance in the US! I thought we still had loads of time to book things, but actually even a couple of weeks ago (2 months before the trip) some of the lodges and trips we wanted were already fully booked on the dates we wanted – we even struggled to get a hire car and the ferry ticket to Alcatraz! So I would urge anyone thinking of visiting the States, to book things up as soon as possible – everything from hotels and transport, to tours and tickets!
We wanted to try and cover the coast as well as the national parks inland, so our planned route is not the most straightforward, but it allows us to cover everything we want to see:
Day 1: We fly to San Francisco (direct from Dubai)
Day 2: We go to Alcatraz and explore the city
Day 3: We have a day trip to see the giant redwoods at Muir Woods and an afternoon wine tasting in Napa Valley
Day 4: We pick up a hire car and drive down the coast, stopping at Carmel, Monterey, Big Sur, Piedras Blancas (to see the elephant seals on the beach), and stay in Morro Bay (approx six hours driving the whole day, but we’ll be stopping every couple of hours at some beautiful spots)
Day 5: We drive to Yosemite National Park (approx 4.5 hours)
Day 6: We do some hikes in Yosemite Valley to see Bridal Veil Falls and other sights, with a picnic lunch. In the afternoon we drive into the mountains to Mammoth Lakes (approx 2 hours) and stay in an alpine cabin
Day 7: We do our longest drive, but apparently with the most beautiful roadside scenery of our trip (7 hours straight – although I anticipate lots of photo stops!) to Kingman and maybe explore a local distillery
Day 8: Possibly check out Tombstone ghost town before leaving and getting on to Route 66! Drive to Grand Canyon National Park (approx 2.5 hours) and stay at the lodge inside the park
Day 9: Day to explore the Grand Canyon and stretch our legs on a few hikes! Hopefully catching sunrise and sunset
Day 10: Drive from Grand Canyon to Bryce Canyon (approx 5 hours) and stay at the lodge inside the park, overlooking the famous Hoodoos
Day 11: Explore Bryce Canyon on foot and by car, in the afternoon drive to Zion National Park (approx 2 hours) and stay at a lodge inside the park
Day 12: Hike to the Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock. In the afternoon, drive to Las Vegas (approx 2 hours)
Day 13: Possibly do an early morning helicopter tour of The Strip, Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. Stag and hen parties in the afternoon/evening, with the girls to take in a show and cocktails
Day 14: Recover by the pool and soak in the Vegas atmosphere!
Day 15: The crowning point of the trip – the wedding!
Day 16: Recovery brunch and probably more pool time!
Day 17: Early morning flight back, via Seattle, to arrive back in Dubai the following evening
Having literally just typed this out, and in looking at it in black and white, it does sound exhausting and a little intimidating, I have to admit! However, I know we’ll take our time with it, and that the complete change of scenery will be so refreshing – plus we’ll have the excitement of the wedding at the end, and seeing all of the family to keep us going (and a long flight to recover from all of the excitement on!)
If anyone has done anything like this before and has any tips for us, please do let us know! We’ve now booked all of the accommodation and the trips, as well as our Mustang convertible (if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it properly!!) and I’m keen for any advice to tips while we’re there, so please do share – thanks!