Hollywood, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Grand Canyon…each of these places were mentioned in so many songs and movies. And there is a reason. Sometimes the desire to drive a convertible from LA to Nevada singing loudly “Vivaaaaaaaa Laaas Vegas!” becomes irresistible and you already find yourself looking for tickets to States. (actually in Russia Aeroflot has non-stop flights to LA, which are not too expensive especially if you buy tickets 9-10 months in advance)
And to dispel all your last doubts, here you are — a route for the US west from burundukmedia.
0. The route
This route involves car rental because it’s not difficult, but not comfortable to make it without. The route itself is as following: Los Angeles – San Diego – Las Vegas – Grand Canyon – Hoover Dam – Sequoia National Park – Yosemite National Park – San Francisco – Los Angeles.
1. Los Angeles
The City of Angel is really worth spending there the most part of your journey. And the matter is not even in the fact that it has the very special atmosphere, ocean, respectable neighborhoods, Beverly Hills and the Hollywood sign. The best parks in the west of the country are all located in Los Angeles. But first, let’s arrive and look around.
The flight from Moscow arrives at 2:25 p.m. (local time). Waiting in a huge line for a border control, car rental and 12-hour flight itself will take the most part of the day and the energy for various activities. So you rent a car, drive to the hotel and if it is not too far from the beach, go (or drive) to the ocean. As you are in the west, you will see a stunning sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
Let’s suppose that acclimatization was immediate, and you slept all night. The best option is to go to the ocean: swim, walk, run, watch the Americans digging holes (they always do it, I do not know why it is simply unexplainable). On the same day it is possible to go to the center of Los Angeles: look at Staples Center (for sports enthusiasts), business districts of skyscrapers which are not worse than in New York.
Today we are leaving for the Universal Studious. Americans know how to make the best parks in the world! Although the ticket price is $ 110, you have to visit it and be amazed… Given that recently the World of Harry Potter (in addition to the World of Shrek, The Simpsons, Minions, Transformers, Jurassic Park, The Mummy, and others) has been opened, you have not any chances to miss this amazing place. You can spend the whole day in this park, and even in the end of the day you don’t want to leave it, but we have to be brave, don’t cry and don’t cling the guards, who are trying to show you the door, it’s just the third day and we still have a lot more to come.
We are not done with parks yet: let’s go to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Once again: Americans know how to make amusement parks. Dead loops, the ups and downs, water attractions. You are especially lucky if you are visiting this park on the Halloween eve. Then you will see the incredible transformation of the entire territory of the amusement park into the park of horrors after dark. It is really cool. Bravo!
We leave for San Diego, walk, relax on the beach. In the afternoon we return to Los Angeles, pass along the celebrities’ houses in the Beverly Hills and keep the path to the Griffith Observatory: an amazing place with amazing views of LA, and the Hollywood sign is also visible from there.
2. Las Vegas
Welcome to fabulous las vegas!
We get into the car and drive to Vegas. It takes several hours. After arriving you check in, take rest a bit and go out to the city at night. Las Vegas is unforgettable and it doesn’t make sense to explain why – this is a topic for a multi-volume novel. But here we are just discussing the route. So wonder, visit bars, restaurants, shops, and, of course, casinos, try not to lose your house, children, wife, mortgage, dog, kidney (underline whatever applicable).
You wake up, count the losses from poker and blackjack, promise yourself not to play anymore. In the daytime, it is not, of course, so much fun. But we are in Nevаda, remember? (the desert, if you forget). It’s hot, so we go to the swimming pool, take sunbathe, gain strength before the night. If you wake up early enough, go shopping to the Outlets (actually VAT in Las Vegas is lower than in LA, take profit). The evening comes and we go to the show. The choice is huge: if we talk only about ongoing Cirque du Soleil shows there are four of them!!! After the show, we go again to casinos, bars, restaurants, wondering again why no one understands the phrase “vse na zero”!
The evening comes and we go to the show. The choice is huge: if we talk only about ongoing Cirque du Soleil shows there are four of them!!! After the show, we go again to casinos, bars, restaurants, wondering again why no one understands the phrase “vse na zero”!
3. Grand Canyon
We are leaving Vegas, and get the direction to the Grand Canyon. We won’t be there in time to see the dawn, but watching the sunset is also worth to go. To save money, you can stay in one of the towns not far from the national park. We look at the Canyon, marvel, try to keep warm: although it’s Arizona with +40 C afternoon, at night it is pretty cool.
Going back in Las Vegas, we pass by the Hoover Dam. Let’s stop, take a look, take some wonderful pictures. This passage with an overnight stay in Vegas is needed just because it’s too exhausting to make a thousand kilometers in one day. And of course for regaining! if you’ve lost half a kingdom in two nights, then on the third night after you’ll definitely have luck!
4. National parks
We are leaving Las Vegas, and it’s Sequoia National Park (full of the trees of the same name) that is on our way. We’ll spend quite a lot of time driving, but there is nothing to do about it – we need to go round the mountains. In the afternoon we arrive in the park. Main activities: walking and trying not to be eaten by bears strolling.
Remember? Americans know how to make parks. Not only amusement parks. National parks are just of the same quality.
Let’s take a walk in the park in the morning, and in the afternoon we get into the car again and drive to Yosemite. The trip takes not so much time, by the way. We arrive, maybe check in in the Hotel in the nearby town and go to the park. Main activity: from time to time close your mouth because the surrounding beauty surrounding makes it open involuntarily.
We continue exploring of Yosemite, choosing hiking trail for 4 hours and arranging a little cardio in the mountains enjoying fresh air and rivers and waterfalls purity. You would like to stay here, but we have to move on. Our way lies to San Francisco, so in the afternoon we have to get into the car again to be on time in the gay capital of the west coast before the hotel closes.
5. San Francisco
So we are in San Francisco. Have you noticed that in the article I use both the pronouns “you” and “we.”? That’s because while I’m writing I have a strong desire to visit all those places again. … But we’ve digressed. To explore San Francisco in one day and not to have your legs dead (as this city is super hilly), first we go to the pier and eat crabs, trying to resist the seagulls (which are the same size as an average rhinoceros), look at the sea lions, and then take the City Sightseeing Bus and enjoy the ride. In San Francisco, it is certainly the best way to know the city, to visit all sights, including the famous “Golden Gate” bridge. And one day spent like this is quite enough for our route.
It’s time to go back to Los Angeles. We choose the picturesque road along the coast, although the way across the continent is faster. We arrive in LA in the afternoon. The main activity is being sad because tomorrow is our flight back. We reserved only two weeks for the trip. And if you, just like me, was not very lucky to win millions in Vegas, you probably can’t stay to live here forever, despite you want it desperately. You can spend your last day as you wish: driving through the city, visiting Lakers game, Paramount Pictures Park, the beach, restaurants or mini-golf — it’s up to you. As for me, I would prefer just being melancholy on the streets of LA. After all, it’s really sad to go away.
Some restrictions of the above route:
- The route is designed with a condition of having a car. Without a car, the trip in the US won’t be so pleasant. This country is made in such way that driving a car is nice and comfortable: big parking, good and safe roads, a lot of different services that are available right out of the car.
- You cross 3 states: California, Arizona, Nevada. Make sure that under the terms of a rental contract you have a permission to visit these states;
- Calculating travel time, keep in mind that the highways in the United States are much better than federal highways in Russia: two-lane roads of excellent quality with no oncoming traffic. For the oncoming lane, there is usually an independent road. That’s why there are much fewer accidents and speed is rather high.
- The route passes not only through the deserts but also in the hilly terrain. If you are traveling in winter, in Yosemite and Sequoia Park there may be quite snowy, but that does not mean that the fine quality of the roads becomes worse, even in mountains.
- The route does not pretend to be unique or “ideal”. But it was tested by personal experience.
More photos are always available in the Photo Gallery