Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

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forks
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Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by forks » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:34 pm

I'm trying to plan a road trip from Phoenix to San Diego, possibly stopping at the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree National Park and Palm Springs. I've never been to any of these places except San Diego. Is it realistic to do this in 5 days? 1 day in Phoenix, 2 days Grand Canyon, 1 day Joshua Tree, 1 day Palm Springs. After that we'd spend more time in San Diego. This would be very soon at the end of June, with 2 little kids. I realize we can't see it all in 5 days, but is this enough time to hit some of the highlights without rushing too much?

SDLinguist
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by SDLinguist » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:59 pm

The route sounds very round about. I would suspect you would be driving almost the entire time without actually seeing anything.

SrGrumpy
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by SrGrumpy » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:12 pm

Depends a lot on where you are flying in and out if. I'd tend to focus on Grand Canyon and adjacent wonders - Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, etc. Phoenix itself has relatively little to offer, and if you insist on ending in California, laze by a pool in Palm Springs with a quick day trip to Joshua Tree (and more rocks). And then fly home out of Vegas?

forks
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by forks » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:23 pm

Flying into Phoenix and out of San Diego, but have about 5 days to get from Phoenix to San Diego. My preference is too see things I can't see any where else, so Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree are must-do. Phoenix, I can skip and drive straight form the airport to Sedona. I am happy to skip Palm Springs or just drive through there for a few hours.

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HueyLD
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by HueyLD » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:29 pm

Except for San Diego, all the places you mentioned (PHX, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree NP and Palm Springs) are very HOT in late June. O.k., maybe it is not so hot in GCNP.

I think you should just go straight to San Diego for June. Try to visit those hot places in the winter.

NoVa Lurker
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by NoVa Lurker » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:29 pm

If it were me, with two little kids in late June, I'd just fly into San Diego and stay there for a bit! Spend some beach time at Coronado, La Jolla, etc. Hike Torrey Pines. Walk around Balboa Park. Maybe hit 1-2 out of the zoo, wild animal park, Sea World and/or Legoland.

Late June is SO HOT in all the other places you're talking about. If you can, I'd plan a separate trip involving Arizona/Utah parks, based out of flying into Vegas, sometime in fall/spring. If you have to start in Phoenix and end in San Diego for this trip, then maybe just make a quick pit stop in Joshua Tree, then cut down and stop for a meal in Julian, and otherwise do the whole drive over two days.

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by NoVa Lurker » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:30 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:29 pm
Except for San Diego, all the places you mentioned (PHX, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree NP and Palm Springs) are very HOT in late June. O.k., maybe it is not so hot in GCNP.

I think you should just go straight to San Diego for June. Try to visit those hot places in the winter.
+1

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by sschullo » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:36 pm

NoVa Lurker wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:30 pm
HueyLD wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:29 pm
Except for San Diego, all the places you mentioned (PHX, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree NP and Palm Springs) are very HOT in late June. O.k., maybe it is not so hot in GCNP.

I think you should just go straight to San Diego for June. Try to visit those hot places in the winter.
+1
+2
The desert SW is a beautiful part of North America but it is too hot for folks, not accustomed, in fact, its hot for us desert rats too. But the beauty is spectacular, quiet and serene, especially in the Palm Springs area. I am biased as I live here.
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:40 pm

I was in Phoenix for training in April. It hit 100 degrees then. End of June? Probably 100 before breakfast. I mapquested your route and if driven non stop would be 11 hours 35 minutes. Phoenix to San Diego 7 hours, 43 minutes. Fly into San Diego and stay there....0 hours, 0 minutes.

If the goal is to see the canyon, then sure. I'd reserve in Flagstaff and go right from Sky Harbor into a rental car and head north. See the canyon rim and head west. The time is doable if your kids survive it. But then I've done multiple 12 hour drives.
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MP123
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by MP123 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:41 pm

HOT means 110-120 by the way.

I'm with the others, just go to San Diego.

forks
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by forks » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:45 pm

Yes skipping is an option. And SD is great, been there before and we will definitely enjoy it this time for about 1 week after the road trip. I know it will be hot. Which is why I want to do this road trip relatively quickly while taking a look at the Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree.

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by audioaxes » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:10 pm

I'll just add that I just did a impromptu one night getaway in San Diego last weekend and my kids had a blast. Found a great deal on a $97 4 star Marina Hotel with Hotwire mystery room which turned out to be a slightly dated 2 story room at Sheraton with a view overlooking the Marina and free breakfast buffet. We went to beach, walked downtown, did a 4 seater surrey bike rental on the harbor, and shopped. Also another thing worth checking out is the San Diego fair.

BBQ Nut
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by BBQ Nut » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:31 pm

San Diego resident here....

If you do make it to SD by the end of June, keep in mind that the Del Mar Fair will still be going on thru July 4.

Could be a fun day with the kids - just be aware of Fair traffic in/around Del Mar (and Torrey Pines) and on the I-5.

Shuttles are available from surrounding pickup points, or if you have a car, get there early on a weekday and you're good to go.

You also have Sea World, Cabrillo Monument, and all the other usual SD attractions.

Another option would be to make a day of it in Mission Beach; beach, beach front walks/shops/restaurants - and Belmont Park with its fully restored wood roller coaster.

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by Easy Rhino » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:36 pm

We did the drive from grand canyon to San Diego and yeah, it's a solid 8 hours. so that's pretty much and entire day.

I live in San diego, it's fun. I've been to the Grand Canyon, it's fun too!

How old are the kids though? We went hiking down the trail a bit with a 4 year old. very excited and ran down the hill until we stopped to turn back up. Then she got hot and wanted to be carried. And was hot and sweaty and slippery. Me and my brother in law and cousin took turns carrying her back up the trail.

... i'm saying there's sort of a minimum age where a kid will be able to take advantage of it. My daughter's favorite thing of the ENTIRE TRIP was probably the s'mores over the campfire.

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by obgraham » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:32 pm

What a bunch of naysayers we have here!

If those are the places you want to go, OP, your trip will be just fine. Sure, it is 108 right now (Thursday 1530hrs) in Phoenix. So what? You can see Grand Canyon easily in 2 days -- it's not like you are going to hike to the bottom with 2 kids. Joshua Tree is mostly a drive-by place, maybe a short hike if it is early in the day. Millions of people exist and function just fine in southern Arizona, even when it is hot hot hot.

If you go up via Flagstaff, the volcano just north of Flag is an interesting stop also, and the temperature will be milder there.

All that said, San Diego is a great place also. If it were me, I'd skip Palm Springs.

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by sedonashine » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:15 pm

Please be up on all the "monsoon safety rules". The season is just kicking off in Arizona . Not trying to be a naysayer...but tourists without monsoon smarts can get in trouble quick. Wherever you end up (I live in Sedona) ...Bell Rock Pathway... easy hike with lovely scenery and Slide Rock State Park(natural red rock water slide) are great for kids~have fun!

roamin survivor
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by roamin survivor » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:50 pm

Kinda in the naysayer column as well. Driving from Phoenix to San Diego is quickest taking the 8, but there's nothing of interest down there except for the sand dunes.

It also seems out-of-the-way to drive north from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon and back down to get to the 10 for Joshua and Palm Desert and you'd be driving a lot in open desert landscape for most of the time as well. Perhaps condense it to a single route? Like Grand Canyon to Las Vegas hitting Lake Havasu, Mead, and Hoover Dam on the way? Or stick to the 10 to hit Joshua and the desert towns on the way to LA?

forks
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by forks » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:29 pm

Thank you for all the replies. If I do fly into Phoenix, I'm leaning towards skipping Phoenix, visiting Sedona and Grand Canyon for a couple of days, then Joshua Tree and then on to San Diego. Alternatively, I might fly into Palm Springs, visit Joshua Tree and drive to SD. Either way, I think we'll have fun and plan to spend about 5-7 days in SD after. I've never been to the Grand Canyon or Joshua Tree and have always wanted to go. I'm trying to fit them in on this trip, and I hope to revisit them in the future as well.

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:41 pm

In Arizona, altitude is climate.

So when Phoenix is absurdly hot, Sedona is hot, and Flagstaff is warm in the day and cool at night.

Now at the Canyon, the south rim is roughly Flagstaff altitude. Probably not bad, especially since most people do not spend much time walking around. Now if you are planning to hike INTO the Canyon...that's a whole other story and you are already a hardman, or misinformed.

Joshua Tree is low altitude and will be very hot. The drive from Phoenix to San Diego goes through places like Palm Desert and Yuma that are actually a bit hotter than Phoenix. Definitely don't pick a black car.

Be aware that this has been a very dry spring and that large areas are under fire or access restrictions. The only really cool places are up in the mountains and some of these are off limits now.

I recommend limiting the driving and choosing stops based on likely temperature.

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weltschmerz
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by weltschmerz » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:57 pm

I did a road trip around the Southwestern US in late June of last year. I got to areas around Sedona, which was beautiful and totally worth seeing, but it was >100 degrees, so I didn't even get out of the car to do any hiking. Flagstaff was a bit cooler (It's 7000' up there).

If you're driving from Phoenix to San Diego, I recommend checking out the Imperial Sand Dunes. Take the 10 west to Blythe, then get on route 78, takes you right to the dunes. It is otherworldly. The road itself is like a roller coaster, lots of ups and downs! It also can be hot as an inferno, I recorded the highest temp I had ever been in on that drive. I even took a pic of my dashboard:

Image

I live in San Diego, so if you only have 5 days, you can absolutely find enough stuff here to keep you busy, especially with 2 little kids (Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Sea World, Torrey Pines beach, Balboa Park, etc.) Joshua Tree can be skipped, it's neat but it's mostly a paradise for rock climbers, not much to do otherwise.

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Artsdoctor
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by Artsdoctor » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:02 pm

Palm Springs in the summer? No. Even our most "diehard" Palm Springs advocates leave. You'll be relegated to going from place to place with misters trying to keep you cool, and you can forget about hiking (which is one of the most beautiful things about Palm Springs). I've lived in Southern California for decades and I'm not a naysayer, but the most wonderful things in the desert are definitely not experienced in the summer.

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by Cyclesafe » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:20 pm

Torrey Hills resident and native southern Californian here.

With kids, do yourself a favor and just fly to San Diego. There is plenty to do with the family and (along the coast) it won't be hot.

Grand Canyon is better enjoyed when the entire family will appreciate it and - as repeatedly mentioned - in the Spring or Fall. Same with Joshua Tree, but frankly, although quite nice, it doesn't come close to the Grand Canyon. Your children will not appreciate being cooped up in the car for long.

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by an_asker » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:47 pm

obgraham wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:32 pm
What a bunch of naysayers we have here!

If those are the places you want to go, OP, your trip will be just fine. Sure, it is 108 right now (Thursday 1530hrs) in Phoenix. So what? You can see Grand Canyon easily in 2 days -- it's not like you are going to hike to the bottom with 2 kids. Joshua Tree is mostly a drive-by place, maybe a short hike if it is early in the day. Millions of people exist and function just fine in southern Arizona, even when it is hot hot hot.

If you go up via Flagstaff, the volcano just north of Flag is an interesting stop also, and the temperature will be milder there.

All that said, San Diego is a great place also. If it were me, I'd skip Palm Springs.
I am surprised no one asked OP where he/she is from (unless I completely missed it). As long as everyone is inside the car and the car - and its A/C - works well, they should be ok.

And yes, Grand Canyon is most certainly doable in a day or two especially if you aren't planning a hike down. I am not disputing that a week or two is not enough to experience the beauty of this whole AZ/UT area, but middle of summer with two small kids is not the ideal time for sure.

My suggestion:

Day 1 - land in Phoenix ; drive to Sedona and spend the night there.
Day 2 - drive to Grand Canyon south rim via Flagstaff (and the Sunset Crater National Park, IIRC); overnight somewhere around the Flagstaff area
Day 3 - drive to Grand Canyon south rim once more if kids liked it and felt like they wanted to spend more time there (else skip this)
Day 4 - drive to the dunes and down south (I haven't been to the dunes, so have not much of an idea) towards Joshua Tree (another place I haven't been to).
Day 5 - drive to San Diego

One note of caution: deer are out in numbers; be careful driving in the Grand Canyon area.

PS: Edited to add/ask - we are from Central Florida, so are used to the heat. We visited in June with kids then aged 7 and 3. Yes, most of our trip was like a drive-by trip, but we had fun, though kids did get cranky once in a while. We did spend nearly a week in the area, but then we also drove to Bryce and Zion. Glad that we took the chance to do so, as we haven't had the chance to be back since then! Though it's still my dream to hike to the bottom and back up ... on the same day if possible!

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by peterinjapan » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:11 pm

If you go through Gila Bend, because of speedtraps, they are famous for them

forks
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by forks » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:18 am

Ok - so you naysayers convinced me! We are going to skip these hot parts this time, and visit Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree on another trip in the fall. This was supposed to be an add-on to our SD trip. I think we are now going to visit Sequoia National Park. Looking into flying into Fresno, spend 2-3 nights in the Sequioa & Kings Canyon National Parks and then drive to SD, spend a 5-6 nights there and fly home to the East Coast. Any tips for Sequoia?

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by shawndoggy » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:55 am

forks wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:18 am
Ok - so you naysayers convinced me! We are going to skip these hot parts this time, and visit Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree on another trip in the fall. This was supposed to be an add-on to our SD trip. I think we are now going to visit Sequoia National Park. Looking into flying into Fresno, spend 2-3 nights in the Sequioa & Kings Canyon National Parks and then drive to SD, spend a 5-6 nights there and fly home to the East Coast. Any tips for Sequoia?
Personally what I'd do -- fly into fresno, spend a day driving through yosemite over tioga pass and stay in Mammoth Lakes (on the east side of the sierras). Late june is abolutely the BEST time to be there with a little bit of snow on the peaks, warm long days and cool nights. Then drive down 395 to SD (past Mt. Whitney, definitely stop and see Manzanar) avoiding 90% of the snarl of LA traffic too.

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by Cyclesafe » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:37 am

If Yosemite is indeed an option, it is far, far better to go there than Sequoia. Still a huge drive back down to San Diego. In the West, distances are vast and, worse of all, the scenery between the good parts is boring at 60-80 mph. And as mentioned a couple of times above, very hot in Summer. I'd still recommend just chilling in San Diego with your family.

shawndoggy
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by shawndoggy » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:01 am

Cyclesafe wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:37 am
If Yosemite is indeed an option, it is far, far better to go there than Sequoia. Still a huge drive back down to San Diego. In the West, distances are vast and, worse of all, the scenery between the good parts is boring at 60-80 mph. And as mentioned a couple of times above, very hot in Summer. I'd still recommend just chilling in San Diego with your family.
eye of the beholder and all that, but for those who haven't seen much desert, the 6ish hour drive from Mammoth Lakes to SD is pretty amazing/stark/desolate/beautiful. Just the open vistas... especially if you are from the east with it's oppressive tree cover. YMMV. And while the route isn't through joshua tree NP, there are certainly a bunch of joshua trees to be seen. And then who can forget the smog cloud as you drop in over cajon pass...

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:43 pm

"Oppressive tree cover"..... I've never heard that term before. Pretty funny.

Anyways.....if you're in SD with kids, head north for a couple days to Legoland. Bring your AAA card. We got the 2nd day free with it. I assume it's still there.....brought the kids maybe 10 years ago.
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forks
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by forks » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:20 pm

Yes it would seem silly to go this far and not visit Yosemite! Would 2 days in Sequoia & King Canyon and 2 days in Yosemite be enough? Assume flying into Fresno at noon on Day 1, then Day 3 and 4 in Yosemite, and Day 5 long road trip to San Diego via Mammoth Lakes, stopping along the way. We would then have another 5-6 days to relax in SD.

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by RudyS » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:35 pm

I've been to Yosemite 8 times, and Sequoia/Kings Canyon twice. That might say something. With the limited days you have, I'd spend all in Yosemite and skip S/KC. Problem with timing is that you would not find lodging in Yosemite, and then spend some time driving in and out from (likely) El Portal. Although there are a few small places on the south end, technically not in the park itself. But Yosemite is a must-see!

Cyclesafe
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by Cyclesafe » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:53 pm

forks wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:20 pm
Yes it would seem silly to go this far and not visit Yosemite! Would 2 days in Sequoia & King Canyon and 2 days in Yosemite be enough? Assume flying into Fresno at noon on Day 1, then Day 3 and 4 in Yosemite, and Day 5 long road trip to San Diego via Mammoth Lakes, stopping along the way. We would then have another 5-6 days to relax in SD.
This would be a good plan. You can drive to Yosemite from Sequioa NP, spend at least two nights (preferably 3) in Yosemite Valley, then go over Tioga Pass ending up in Mamouth. Spend one full day in Mamouth, then drive around LA to SD.

You will have trouble booking a hotel in Yosemite Valley in June. You might want to consider one of the "housekeeping cabins" which is actually camping in a shelter. Fun for kids perhaps. A very traditional thing to do.....

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by Carefreeap » Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:13 pm

shawndoggy wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:01 am
Cyclesafe wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:37 am
If Yosemite is indeed an option, it is far, far better to go there than Sequoia. Still a huge drive back down to San Diego. In the West, distances are vast and, worse of all, the scenery between the good parts is boring at 60-80 mph. And as mentioned a couple of times above, very hot in Summer. I'd still recommend just chilling in San Diego with your family.
eye of the beholder and all that, but for those who haven't seen much desert, the 6ish hour drive from Mammoth Lakes to SD is pretty amazing/stark/desolate/beautiful. Just the open vistas... especially if you are from the east with it's oppressive tree cover. YMMV. And while the route isn't through joshua tree NP, there are certainly a bunch of joshua trees to be seen. And then who can forget the smog cloud as you drop in over cajon pass...
I want to highlight this post and your prior one. This is great advice.

Note to OP Mariposa Grove in Yosemite has reopened today. Fabulous sequoias there. There are other sequoia groves as well. Shawndoggy is right about lodging in Yosemite being scarce this time of year. You might look at a renting a house in the Yosemite West development. It's a private in-holding near Glacier Point. I've rented a couple of houses over the years and enjoyed it. You can find them on VRBO.

And BTW I wouldn't have caved so fast on the desert drive. I've done the PHX to SAN drive many, many times often in the summer. The desert is kind of eerie when it's that hot. Your sweat evaporates so fast you never feel it.

Do bring a gallon of water with you when you drive just in case. Much of 395 is high desert but it still gets hot. You want to be prepared if you have any kind of car trouble.

Enjoy your adventure!

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by shawndoggy » Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:32 pm

;-) the reason I suggested Mammoth is that there's plenty of cheap/nice lodging there this time of year (vs trying to get a place "in" Yosemite). You should be able to find a nice ski condo for $150 a night or less.

Plus it would require you to drive out of Yosemite on the backside, which is frankly part of the park that not a lot of people see (and the views are mind blowing).

If you do it, watch chinatown first (old 70's jack nicholson flick) so you can think about how LA "diverted" all of the water that used to run down to the owens river valley. ;-)

forks
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by forks » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:41 am

So many great tips here, thank you. I just booked our trip, and we are leaving for Fresno in less than a week! I'm thinking 1 night near Sequoia & Kings Canyon Park, 2 nights near Yosemite, 1 night in Mammoth Lakes if we need it, and then drive to SD. I know accommodations will be tough, but we'll find something. Since we have little kids in tow, we won't be able to do any of the challenging hikes at Yosemite, would appreciate easy hikes and things to do in Yosemite.

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by boglegirl » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:30 am

Don't let the naysayers about Sequoia/Kings Canyon sway you! We love those parks and have spent way more time in them than Yosemite. On weekend days, there can be a long line to enter Kings Canyon, but nothing like what I've heard about Yosemite lately. It's one of the national parks that's being loved to death. :(

There are plenty of easy hikes and beautiful changing scenery in SNP/KCNP to keep your family occupied for 3-4 days. They have high meadows, low valleys, dark cool caverns, fire lookouts. Now I'm missing it and can't wait to go back. :)

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by JW-Retired » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:10 am

obgraham wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:32 pm
If those are the places you want to go, OP, your trip will be just fine. Sure, it is 108 right now (Thursday 1530hrs) in Phoenix. So what? You can see Grand Canyon easily in 2 days -- it's not like you are going to hike to the bottom with 2 kids. Joshua Tree is mostly a drive-by place, maybe a short hike if it is early in the day. Millions of people exist and function just fine in southern Arizona, even when it is hot hot hot.

If you go up via Flagstaff, the volcano just north of Flag is an interesting stop also, and the temperature will be milder there.

All that said, San Diego is a great place also. If it were me, I'd skip Palm Springs.
OP
If you will be driving near Palm Springs there is a top notch aircraft museum there that shouldn't be missed. As I recall most of it is indoors too.
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Carefreeap
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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by Carefreeap » Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:18 am

shawndoggy wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:32 pm
;-) the reason I suggested Mammoth is that there's plenty of cheap/nice lodging there this time of year (vs trying to get a place "in" Yosemite). You should be able to find a nice ski condo for $150 a night or less.

Plus it would require you to drive out of Yosemite on the backside, which is frankly part of the park that not a lot of people see (and the views are mind blowing).

If you do it, watch chinatown first (old 70's jack nicholson flick) so you can think about how LA "diverted" all of the water that used to run down to the owens river valley. ;-)
I want to rent a house in June Lake (or one of the surrounding communities). Looks absolutely idyllic!

Came back from a camping/backpacking trip beginning of June. Our meet-up camp was at USFS Aspen CG off of 120 just outside of Lee Vining. What a find!

And if the OP does go out 120 to 395 a mandatory stop at USFS office at Mono Lake is required. As a California native I'm embarrassed to say it's only been within the last five years that I've spent some time in the area.

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Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by shawndoggy » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:19 pm

Carefreeap wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:18 am
As a California native I'm embarrassed to say it's only been within the last five years that I've spent some time in the area.
It's really the best part of the sierras... easily accessible high country without the crowds on the other side. North of Lee Vining towards Bridgeport is real nice too.

RudyS
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:11 am

Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by RudyS » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:41 pm

forks wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:41 am
So many great tips here, thank you. I just booked our trip, and we are leaving for Fresno in less than a week! I'm thinking 1 night near Sequoia & Kings Canyon Park, 2 nights near Yosemite, 1 night in Mammoth Lakes if we need it, and then drive to SD. I know accommodations will be tough, but we'll find something. Since we have little kids in tow, we won't be able to do any of the challenging hikes at Yosemite, would appreciate easy hikes and things to do in Yosemite.
With limited time, I'd do the following in Yosemite.
1. See the Sequoias near Wawona.
2. Drive to Glacier Point - check locally, may need to take a shuttle from Badger Pass, but Glacier Point is a must-see.
3. Yosemite Falls in the Valley.
4. The hike (or walk) from Happy Isles in the Valley to the footbridge at the base of Vernal Falls.
5. Walk around on the way over Tioga Pass.
Parking and traffic in the Valley is a mess, but there is a free shuttle that goes "everywhere."

forks
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:21 am

Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by forks » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:22 am

Update: Going to Sequoia and Kings Canyon for 2 nights, Yosemite 2 nights. Was luckily able to find lodging within the parks last minute. We plan to exit Yosemite from the East Side and drive down 395 after checking out Toulumne Meadows, and Mono Lake. Are we better of spending the night in Mammoth Lakes or driving further down 395 and possibly stay somewhere more interesting? Any desert/ghost towns worth stopping at or staying near for the night? After that 5th night in Mammoth or somewhere else down 395, we will be in San Diego for another 5 nights.

shawndoggy
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:01 pm

Re: Drive from Phoenix to San Diego

Post by shawndoggy » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:38 pm

forks wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:22 am
Update: Going to Sequoia and Kings Canyon for 2 nights, Yosemite 2 nights. Was luckily able to find lodging within the parks last minute. We plan to exit Yosemite from the East Side and drive down 395 after checking out Toulumne Meadows, and Mono Lake. Are we better of spending the night in Mammoth Lakes or driving further down 395 and possibly stay somewhere more interesting? Any desert/ghost towns worth stopping at or staying near for the night? After that 5th night in Mammoth or somewhere else down 395, we will be in San Diego for another 5 nights.
Congrats! That's huge to get lodging in the valley!

bodie, ca is nearby, but north of lee vining / mono lake by a bit, not south. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=509 (well preserved ghost town). You can't stay there, but if you want to see a whole ghost town, it's a good one. That said in my experience, ghost towns are pretty boring after the first 10 minutes.

You could probably carry on to independence or lone pine, but it's gonna be hot AF down there. Just check the temperature differences between Bishop and Mammoth Lakes to see. Bishop is only 40 minutes away but 20-25* hotter.... and it only gets worse than that the farther south you go. If it were me I'd stay in June Lakes or Mammoth rather than Independence or Lone Pine. YMMV.

Definitely stop in Manzanar if you have even the remotest interest in US HIstory. Really high quality museum there (and the cleanest bathrooms for 150 miles).

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