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Old 10-25-2009, 12:10 AM
34 posts, read 185,423 times
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Planning a road trip with some friends for our end of the year - new years trip. Starting from San Fran to LA to Vegas to Lake Tahoe back to San Fran, can anyone recommend what sights along the way are worth seeing?

Need some recommendations for the routes below:

San Fran to LA via I-5
LA to Vegas via I-15

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Old 10-25-2009, 04:55 PM
Location: Way on the outskirts of LA LA land.
3,051 posts, read 11,442,720 times
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I-5 is generally a very boring drive, since it's mostly straight, and there's not much difference in scenery along the way. About the only interesting places to stop along the way are Harris Ranch (near Coalinga) and Pea Soup Anderson's (in Santa Nella), both popular restaurants along the way. In my opinion, both are somewhat overrated. For a prettier drive, I'd recommend driving down the coast, since it's much prettier. If you haven't been there already, you might want to see the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I've heard good things about it, but haven't been there myself (yet). For amusement, there are several theme parks in the L.A. area, such as Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios, and Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Between L.A. and Las Vegas, there isn't much to see, unless you're a desert rat. If you are a desert rat and enjoy that sort of thing, the Mojave desert has a lot to offer, though it's prettiest (IMO) around March or April. If that sort of thing interests you, look up Mitchell Caverns, the New York Mountains, and the old Mojave Road.

If you are interested in taking a little longer route, you can follow a portion of Route 66, a.k.a. "The Mother Road," parallel to I-40 from L.A. to Needles, then head north along the Colorado River on US 95 and on into Las Vegas that way. That stretch of Route 66 doesn't have much in the way of amenities, but if you like the history of highway travel, you might find it interesting. You can also detour a little out of your way (at the junction with US 93) to see Lake Mead and Boulder Dam if you want to. I know this doesn't follow your plan of taking I-15, but I thought I would mention it anyway. It also takes you closer to those other places mentioned in the paragraph above.

About the only other things I can think of to suggest between L.A. and Las Vegas are Calico Ghost Town near Barstow, and the casinos in Primm, Nevada. This is where you will find the first casinos along the way, and it is also the home of the Desperado Roller Coaster at Buffalo Bill's casino.

Between Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe, there is a broad expanse of very sparsely populated space. Part of this includes Death Valley National Park. It is probably going to be pleasant in the winter, but again, I'd expect it to be prettiest in March or April, due mostly to the wildflowers. You might also want to check out Red Rock Canyon (Nevada) State Park, about 30 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

What kind of sights are you interested in? Most of what you'll find will be in the cities, but it depends on what interests you have. I've covered most of what immediately came to mind, but I might think of some other things if I have an idea of what you're interested in.
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