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Old 03-18-2013, 04:27 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: new jersey
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3 week road trip- California, Vegas, Grand Canyon?

Hi. My family (me, DH, DS18, DS13, DS6) is planning a 3 week road trip for August (2014). Unsure about the itinerary though. We'd be flying from New Jersey and would have about 3 weeks. This would be our last 'hurrah' before our oldest leaves to college... sniff sniff

We'd want to see the Grand Canyon & spend a couple of nights in Vegas too. We'd also want to travel the state of California if possible- Anaheim/4 days in Disneyland. San Diego. Universal Studios, a few days in LA. A few nights in san francisco, night in Yosemite.

Where do we start? Can we rent a car at the airport & drive all over the place? (we are used to long road trips, so hours on the road isn't an issue for us)

This would be a 'once in a lifetime' trip, so we really would like to see whatever possible. We've only been to California once before- and that was when my oldest was then 3 & we only did LA & Disney.

Thanks for your advice!!!!

January '86- my first trip
July '95- DISNEYMOON!!!!
August '98- First trip for DS
August '99- First trip to disneyland
October 2000- preggie trip
January 2004- First trip for other DS
January 2006---- SURPRISE TRIP, pop century
January 2007---- another surprise trip pulled off, all star music
January 2008--- Hmm, can we pull of another surprise trip? Pop Century!
January 2010---- Yay, going to CBR for DS #3- 1st trip!!!
January 2011!!! Back to Pop!
January 2012 All star sports
JANUARY 2013 Pop Century
JULY 2014 Disneyland
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:04 PM   #2
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What we did last summer. We flew to Vegas, did 5 nights there, then drove to Grand Canyon, was to late to book anywhere, but spent a few hours there, then drove to prescott for 3 nights had a western theme there, we visited Sedona and Jerome there, before heading to Palm Springs area for a week. we then drove to SF for a few nights which was prob my fav part as loved SF, left there and drove back down PCH, which was LONG stopping overnight in Cambria, before going to LA and on to palm springs, we then spent 2 dsays in Big Bear camping which was nice, before going back to Vegas for our flight home, we did visit Knotts Berry Farm, but this was the only park we visited. last time in California we camped 5 nights at Sequoia Ntl Park, which was amazing.
we have done all the parks in Florida, so was not worried about doing them in California
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:17 PM   #3
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Stacey - We are also planning a 3 week road trip...but will be driving from MN! It is for the same reason as you because DD will be a senior and enlisting in the military. Who knows when we will get another opportunity like this again!

Our plan takes us from MN to CO where we will spend a night in Denver. Then we are driving to UT to camp 2 nights in Moab and 1 night in Bryce Canyon. We will then drive to Las Vegas. We decided to stay 2 nights at Mandalay Bay. I got a great deal for that hotel and the kids love the lazy river and pools there. We will then drive to DL where we are staying 5 nights at the DLH. We will then drive to Huntington Beach for surfing lessons one day and drive up to Pismo Beach to camp there that night. The next day we will drive up to Half Moon Bay and camp there a night. Then it is on to San Francisco for one night in the Best Western at Fisherman's Wharf. More driving will take us to almost to Yellowstone and some hotel for one night. Then Yellowstone for a couple of days (we are camping again). Finally, we will head for the Badlands for one more night of camping before we head home. It is tons of driving and a lot of camping but we are super excited.

We started by making a list of what we all "wished to do". Then, I created a shared spreadsheet where I had everyone rank all the choices. Finally, we narrowed it all down and created the itinerary. Some people might think it is a lot of driving but we are fine with it.

I would check out rental car rates (try using codes from MouseSavers to help save some money) and see what you can find.

We picked to stay at a couple of Best Western Hotels because they offer a free hot breakfast and that will help save some money as well. Plus, if you join their free club, for every 3 nights you get 1 free. I know a lot of hotels have special deals like that so I would watch for those.

I have created a blog for planning our vacation and am already writing a pre-trip report sort of deal as we continue to narrow everything down and get things finalized. It has been exciting because we have most of it in place now.

Good luck and I can't wait to hear what you all decide to do!
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Old 03-29-2013, 01:39 AM   #4
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Add Death Valley to your list!
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Old 04-05-2013, 01:30 AM   #5
I know EXACTLY how he felt...
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Definitely do the Grand Canyon if you have never been. But you have to decide whether to do the North Rim (cooler weather in August, less people, more rustic, close to Zion National Park which is worth a trip by itself) or the South Rim (more trails, more developed, bigger WOW factor). Either way, if road trips are not an issue, this is one I would not miss from Vegas for sure.
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