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Request for Road Trip Advice - California, Nevada, Arizona (1 Viewer)


Hi there. I am an Australian planning a trip to America for the first time. I am flying in and out of San Francisco - my main interest is nature based with scenery, wildlife and particularly birds being my key focus. I am trying to plan for my trip at the end of the month (and include the odd bit of non-nature based distraction). I arrive on Boxing Day and have 20 days to play with.

I am seeking some advice on a few fronts.

Firstly, I welcome any feedback on the itinerary i've created and whether I should consider rejuggling somehow - for each location I've tried to list the locations that have captured my interest but don't expect to have time to visit all of these so if there's any you suggest i leave out or are must dos then please share with me. There are an additional 3 places I was keen to go to but do to time constraints I think I will have to miss out on Arcata Marsh, Redwoods NP/SP and Yosemite NP (part of the reason I've chosen to leave them out is due to the amount of time it would take to get there and in the case of Yosemite the possibility of driving in snow).

Secondly, I am contemplating renting a campervan type vehicle (lostcampers have got basic vehicles with a mattress in the back). I realise it is winter in January so I'm not too sure whether i'm being foolish to consider this possibility. I like the flexibility of this option and imagine it will be significantly cheaper than car+hotels though I'm not sure that I will be showering as often as i would like. Has anyone done the campervan thing in winter ?

Finally, I wanted to check whether my current itinerary would require driving in regions that attract a significant chance of snow or the potential for road closures due to storms.

Proposed Itinerary Dec 26 - Jan 14 (20 days)

"San Francisco (3 nights)
Point Reyes
Pescadero Marsh
Rodeo Lagoon
Marin Headlands
Southeast Farallon Island (SF Co.)
Presidio--Battery Godfrey
Lake Merced
Coyote Hills Regional Park
Golden Gate Park"
"Monterey (2 nights)
Elkhorn Slough
Moonglow Dairy
Point Pinos
Andrew Molera SP"
"Las Vegas (2 nights)
Desert NWR--Corn Creek (Field Station)
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve"
"Grand Canyon/Sedona (3 nights)
Grandon Canyon - South Rim
Watson Lake and Riparian Preserve
Oak Creek Canyon
Cathedral Rock
Red Rock SP
Devil's Bridge Trail"
"Phoenix (2 nights)
Riparian Preserve at Gilbert Water Ranch
Desert Botanical Garden
Boyce Thompson Arboretum SP"
"Palm Springs (3 nights)
Salton Sea
Joshua Tree NP
Anza-Borrego Desert SP
San Jacinto Wildlife Area
Big Morongo Canyon Preserve"
"Tucson area (3 nights)
Sweetwater Wetlands
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Patagonia Lake State Park
Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve
Madera Canyon"
"Los Angeles (2 nights)
Huntington Central Park
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary
Sepulveda Basin"

On Day 21 I will drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco to catch flight.

Places I want to see but think I will have to miss out :
Yosemite NP
Aracata Marsh
Redwood NP and SP

Many thanks for your time and thoughts.

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