Take a long trip: Road tripping the US’s West Coast through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and California

2018-11-06 06:30
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Yosemite Merced River el Capitan and Half Dome Panorama (Photo: iStock)

If you’ve decided to group all your leave days together (and even take some non-paid days off) in order to take a real, long (and well-deserved) break in 2019, let us get your planning juices flowing with this long-adventure trip ideas.

We’ve done a few and have tried to highlight some of the best reasons for doing this one. If you’d like to follow along on our travels, you can do so on Instagram or over on our blog.  

Long Trip: A road trip along USA’s West Coast (visiting the states of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and California)

Best for: Anyone looking for the ultimate American outdoor adventure.

Overview: What’s more iconic than an American road-trip in a camper van? You could do the much-talked-about Route 66, or, like us, you could venture out to the South-Western side of the country, visiting many natural beauties in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and California. We suggest flying into Las Vegas, driving from there, and ending up in San Francisco. From giant Redwood forests and the spectacular Pacific Highway One, to towering riverine cliffs and the Grand Canyon, you won’t want to stop exploring this part of the world.


Spots you have to include on your trip:

1. Bryce Canyon in Utah. The red hoodoos (as the locals call them) are unique rock formations that can only be described as otherworldly. 

2. Antelope Canyon in Arizona. This unique slot canyon was carved out by water, and it truly is a site to behold. Take note – you can only explore it with a local guide, and we highly recommend booking the photography tour for the best photo opportunities inside the canyon.

3. Grand Canyon in Arizona. Missing the opportunity to see the world’s largest canyon would be a shame, so make sure to add this to your itinerary.

4. Yosemite National Park in California. A nature lover’s dream, and with so many different parts in the National Park to explore, you may want to give yourself longer than you think to see it all. You may also be fortunate enough to see a black bear, so here’s hoping!

5. Big Sur in California. It’s a wild coastline you’ll come across whilst driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco, along Pacific Highway One. One of the most scenic roads in the world.

What to know if you go:

Where to stay: We chose to rent a camper van and found camping sites the entire way, obviously choosing to stay in the National Parks for longer. You are not allowed to simply park your car on the side of the road, so allow yourself enough time to get to a camp site early enough to book a spot. You have to pay for most camp spots, so budget anywhere from $15-$60 per night for that. If a camper van isn’t your cup of tea, you could always rent an all American Mustang, and work you way around the must-see spots, spending your nights in Motels and Hotels along the way.

Quick tip: Always give yourself more time than you think. You tend to stop along the way, as there is always something interesting to see, so rather aim to do less, but better, instead of trying to cover the most part of the four states.

Best time of year to go: Off season is always a good idea. Late summer would be our best choice (around August-September) as you’ll still have warm days and slightly cooler nights.

Paperwork: South Africans need a Visa to enter the United States. The US Visa cost in South Africa is US$160 (approximately R2 200 depending on the exchange rate).

TRAVEL PLANNING: UK, US and Australia visa costs: What South Africans can expect to pay in 2018