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San Francisco – Los Angeles – Las Vegas

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This can be a great trip as you get to take in Las Vegas, and also two more of the States great cities along the way as well as the famous Pacific Coast Highway.

The trip is best started in either San Francisco or Las Vegas and ended in the other city to avoid unnecessary driving time. Flying with an airline like BA or Virgin should allow you to book a return ticket that will let you fly into one airport and out another. Car hire with most hire companies allows a free one way dropoff between California and Nevada, just double check this is the case before confirming your plans as this can add an unexpected nasty cost to your holiday total.

Assuming a starting point of San Francisco a sample itinerary would be as follows:

3 nights San Francisco – taking in sites such as the cable cars, Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz prison. Tip – car parking at San Francisco hotels can be pricey so consider getting the excellent public transport system from the airport into the city and only collecting your hire car when you leave town (most hire car companies have central collection points so no need for a return to the airport).

San Francisco to LA via Pacific Coast highway. This can be done in a very few or a very many days depending on how long you have for your trip. I recently did the journey in 5 nights. It isn’t a very long drive between the two cities (very roughly 8 hours) but there is a lot to see enroute.

Ideas for places to stop and/or stay en route between San Francisco and LA.

·         Santa Cruz

·         Monterey

·         Pebble beach golf course and the 17 mile drive

·         Carmel by the Sea

·         Point Lobos State reserve

·         Big Sur (the area you will recognize from Pictures of the PCH)

·         Cambria

·         Paso Robles wine country (a little off PCH, but an interesting detour)

·         Morro Bay

·         San Luis Obispo

·         Pismo Beach

·         Santa Barbara

·         Malibu

You will arrive in LA at Santa Monica famous for it’s wooden pier.

3 nights Los Angeles – plenty to see and do here. A car is must to do LA properly. You may want to add additional nights if you plan to take in the theme parks such as Disneyland and Universal Studios.

From here you can drive up through the desert to Las Vegas (around 5 hours). Barstow is a potential stopover point if you don’t fancy the drive in one chunk. It has an outlet mall, many chain hotels and many chain restaurants. I have also used it as a lunch pit stop en route.

Primm is another possibility especially if your drive is on a Saturday. There are 3 casino hotels in Primm and the rates can be considerably cheaper than Las Vegas at the weekend, so to avoid pricey weekend rates in Vegas stop off in Primm (45 mins out of Vegas) and be in Vegas bright and early the next morning.