Classic USA Road Trip: San Francisco, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Los Angeles
This is my route and guide to the most classic USA road trip, that we all have either already been on and wants to do again, or dream about doing. I take you through our stops, our budget and our time spent. I will cover the classic and best sightseeing stops, best Instagram spots and must-sees on your road trip.
Please note that we were on this road trip in May, which was out of peak season, which is June-August.
There is so many ways you can do this road trip, but it all has the same stops. Most people either start and stop in LA and do a loop, or start in LA and stop in San Francisco or the other way around. We flew into San Francisco and started our trip from there.
We had decided to take 3 days/2 nights in SF, where we had booked a cute little Airbnb out in Daly City. We chose to stay a bit out of the city centre since it was way cheaper and we had a car anyways, so it was easy to just drive into the city.
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We landed around noon, so we picked up our car from Sixt and drove to our Airbnb, so we could check in. After loading off our luggage we drove into the city and found a parking garage near China Town. We walked a bit around and ended up just going back home short after, as we were tired after the travels.
The next day, we had breakfast at our Airbnb before driving into the city. We found a parking garage by the harbour, that offered all day parking for around 30$ (which is just the price in SF). We strolled along the harbour until we came by Alcatraz Cruises and decided to book a trip to Alcatraz the same day, where we just had to wait 1,5 hours for available spaces. This was extremely lucky - if you travel in peak season during the summer, you have to book tickets in advance! We paid 40$ and it included full access, an audio tour and lets you stay as long as you want! It was really cool and such a good experience!
The second day we parked at the same parking garage, since it was very central and safe. We walked along the harbour again, towards North Beach and Pier 33, which is the famous one with all the sea lions! From here we decided to rent bicycles and bike up to Golden Gate Bridge, which was really fun and such a good route! There's bicycle lanes the whole way, so it's a safe trip for all ages.
Best Instagram spots in San Francisco
The Painted Ladies
These colourful houses are CUTE! And perfectly located, as there is a park just in front of them, which makes it easy to take photos with the houses in the back. We were there just in the late afternoon and there was not too many people.
Golden Gate Bridge
No visit to San Francisco without photos with the Golden Gate Bridge! There's many good spots to catch the bridge from. We biked towards the park and just went to the beach and took a few photos. We also drove across the bridge to the Golden Gate View Vista Point, which was really good. Unfortunately we came just before sunset, so it was a bit too dark, which is why you have not seen me post any photos from here, since they turned out being a bad quality.
Pro tip: when parking on the street in SF, you have to turn your front wheels towards the curb! If not, you will be fined! (we got 3 tickets in 2 days, because we had no idea!)
We left SF and started driving down the coast towards Big Sur National Park. On the way we stopped in Santa Cruz for lunch and took a walk along their cute boardwalk, which has a little carnival too!
We also made a stop to watch the famous elephant seals at San Simeon on our way to Morro Bay where we spent a night at a Motel 6, which was our accommodation of choice on the whole road trip. Motel 6 is located everywhere and the price is decent in all of their locations. Morro Bay was a cute little beach town and we saw otters swimming around while walking along the harbour.
I don't know if this is just a Danish must-see on this roadtrip, but I can recommend the Danish settlement city Solvang to everyone! It's located close to Santa Barbara and it's the cutest little historic place, where there's tons of bakery shops and Danish interior items. I have to admit though - their "Danish" pastry is not real Danish pastry and we don't have half of it in Denmark, haha. I definitely recommend you stopping in this city and just take a little stroll around, eat some pastry or find a place to eat lunch!
No Cali road trip without Santa Barbara! Gosh, I wish I could move there! The whole city has such a cool surfer vibe and so many cute restaurants, cafes and bars. We took a stroll out on the boardwalk called Stearns Wharf, before wandering up State Street and had lunch at Santa Barbara Craft Ramen - which I can really recommend. Santa Barbara was a bit too expensive for us to stay for the night, so we drove a bit further and slept at a Motel 6 in Palmdale, which is just outside of LA so we avoided the crazy LA traffic.
Finally we arrived at Las Vegas baby! Hotels in Vegas are surprisingly cheap, so we spoiled ourselves a little and booked 3 nights at Luxor on The Strip. We were really looking forward to having more of a base and a pool for a couple of days. For these 3 days we did not do much, as we focused on relaxing. Here's some things I can recommend you to check out in Las Vegas, such as where to eat and catch a show - or both!
Dick's Last Resort
FUNNIEST restaurant I've ever visited! It's located in the Excalibur Hotel Visit Dick's if you're open to laugh your ass off while you eat or as a good step before going out. They will give you paper hats with fun writing, give guests a lap dance, and be downright rude. And it's HILARIOUS! Keep an open mind and you'll have so much fun!
If you're looking for good Italian food, go here! Eataly located in the MGM Hotel and can give you a real European vibe. We had the pizza and it was probably some of the best pizza we found in the US.
A complete must-see if you're in Vegas. The Bellagio Hotel's fountain is a Vegas legend. The fountain goes off every 15-30 minutes every day to there's plenty of opportunities to see it.
Catch a show!
There's tons of great shows in Las Vegas and it can be hard to choose! Take a stroll around The Strip and into the many hotels and you'll get a good peep of your many options, that stretches from male strip, cabaret, magic, and whatever else you can imagine.
The Las Vegas Sign
This is one of the best Instagram spots in Las Vegas. The sign is located at the end of The Strip and I recommend you to go early. I went at 8 AM and there was already a line. I waited only 10 minutes, but if you go later, I've heard that the line can be hours long.