We rented a car in San Francisco and drove to Yosemite (stopping at Fresno for the night), then Death Valley (stopping over at Bakersfield for one night and Pahrump for two), then on to Las Vegas and driving out to Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire while we were in the area, then on to Los Angeles, and back up the coast to San Francisco (stopping for a night in Monterey). We hit 2000 miles somewhere on the coastal road back to San Francisco.
As the non-driver in the car I can tell you that renting a car is an awesome way to see America- obviously it gives you the freedom to go where you want and when you want that a car normally gives. But America was made for driving, the roads are long, open, and easy to drive, the cars are automatics making them a doddle to use (according to boyfriend), and all the awesome things you want to see will be separated by vast distances. It sort of boggles the mind coming from a country that is about 88,700 sqm and therefore could fit in California about twice.
Of course you could stay in New York or Los Angeles for two weeks and walk, bus, or taxi everywhere and never run out of things to do. But you’d be missing out on the incredible scenery along the roads that just doesn’t seem to exist in Britain, it sort of seemed that everything in America was just bigger!
- Pay attention to where you can park, we weren’t aware of local rules and parked in the wrong place, we got towed and ended up paying about $650!
- Get a map! We were without the internet but luckily my boyfriend was able to download maps in advance. However, it did mean we were without sat nav. If possible take America compatible sat nav or gom old school with a paper version!
- Check seasonal road closures as some major roads will be closed through winter due to snow.
- Remember to look out of the window once in a while at the views!