In our nearly 3 weeks journey though the West of the United States of America we saw a lot (even if we had to spend a lot of time in the car). Here are the main points of our Tripp
- Las Vegas
- Lake Powell
- Monument Valley
- Pach Springs
- Panamint Springs
- South Lake Tahoe
- San Francisco
- San Simeon
- Paso Robles
- Los Angeles
1. Las Vegas
If you are going the first time to Las Vegas you should take at least 4 Days in the City and the surrounding countryside.
Las Vegas is separated in the OLD Vegas and the New Vegas with its well know Las Vegas Strip. The distances are really far and you will be happy to have a rental car. In the most hotels you can park your car for free if you don’t use the valet parking.
A few cool spots beside the classic tourist tour you should check our are:
Breakfast, The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas (Link)
You should reserve a table to minimise your waiting time. The pricing for the Breakfast is about 40 $, but you will get everything wha you can imagine for breakfast. Starting from Sushi and Steak up to Pizza and great sweets
Ghost Town, If you have a rental car you have to see the Nelson Ghost Town. (LINK) This Ghost Town is only 45 minutes from Las Vegas and offers you a lot of great foto opportunities. Only a few driving minutes more you can walk to a small beach of the Colorado River
Marina, Getting a coffee at the Harbor House Cafe in the Lake Mead Marina (LINK) feels really relaxing an brings you out of the typical busy Las Vegas life. You will be surprised how big fish’s can get.
Gambling, My favourite Casino is the Hooters Casino, now OYO Hotel & Casino (LINK), they still use no automatic shuffle machines for the Blackjack tables and you have cheap tables there, starting at 2 Dollars.
Show, You have to go to a show in one of the big Casinos. Check out which show you would like, but nearly all of them are great. Cirque du Soleil offers stunning stunts and wonderful shows.
Rental Car, I always book my car in advance at an online service like check24. You can add there all your insurance packages and when you pick up the car at the rental company you just take the car and deny every service they want to charge you extra for. They will ask you for a special package that all your toll fees are paid by the rental company. Do not take it…. you will not need it.
Fire Canyon, When you have the time you should take the one hour drive to the Fire Canyon. I like this one more than the Red Rock Canyon. Try to be there in the evening to see the sunset and the strong red colours. Wherever you see a Visitor Center, take the time an visit it. They host a great overview of what you will see in the National Park or the Area.
2. Lake Powell / Page
Our next target was the Lake Powell, where we stayed in the Lake Powell Resort which is the middle of a national park. When you travel by car, i would recommend to buy the annual pass of the National Park Service ~80$ (LINK), with this pass you can get in every public national park without paying extra fees. From the Lake Powell Resort you can visit the local attractions:
Antilope Canyon & Antelope Canyon X, In our first year we got tickets for the Antelope Canyon and this year for the Antelope Canyon X. I would say that they are booth great and you can experience the same feeling. Some people only want to go to the „real“ upper or lower Antilope Canyon but i lied the Antelope Canyon X more, because you are allowed to go a little bit „off-road“ with your car when you follow the guide vehicle to the attraction. (If you don’t want to go with you car, you can take the ride with he guide vehicle). I would recommend to buy the tickets in advance (LINK). Because of Corona we had to wear masks which prevents us to get great pictures of ourself in the Canyon.
Lone Rock, 2019 we have been here the last time, and since then the water situation changed a lot. The Lone Rock was surrounded by water, but this year 2022, the West of the US suffers from a water shortage and nowhere else can you see it so clearly. On the Lone Rock Beach you are allowed to drive off-road with your car.
Horseshoe Bend, Probably one of the most famous landmarks of the Midwest of the USA is the Horseshoe Bend. The Colorado River has cut the stones for many thousands of years and created a speculate view. I would recommend to go there early in the morning to enjoy the rising sun. It is a little walk from the parking spot to the attraction, don’t forget to take some water with you and don’t go near the rock edge.
Antelope Point Marina & RV Park, Enjoy a boat tour in the Antelope Marina (like everywhere try to get your tickets in advance). You will find a cool Marina with big house boats and 2022 the water was so low that it was a kind of an Antelope boat tour trough the mountains. The Bridge to the pontoons of the Marina was broken and they took us with golf cars.
3. Monument Valley
One of our big goals for this journey was to see the Monument Valley. The best time to visit the area is in the morning. If you try to find some hotel near to the are but to too expensive you will fail… We choose the Goulding’s Lodge which offers a great service for private tours through the area. You are allowed to drive with your own car, but only on the official roads. With group or private tours you get picked up and brought to the not that crowded places. Don’t forget to have enough to drink and take a cap with you. The sun is very aggressiv. If you are lucky you can see wild horses.
4. Pach Springs / Grand Canyon Skywalk
The Grand Canyon is in every tourist guide one of the must sees in the area. When you want to see the Skywalk you have to pay the General Admission and the Skywalk Fee – around 68$ (LINK). I would say, it is not worth it.. you have to wear slippers over your shoes but the glas floor is already very scratched that you don’t have a feeling of the high and you are not allowed to take your phone or you camera with you. The area it self is very nice but you have to take a tour bus to travel between the different locations in the area. The Cabins at Grand Canyon West are a really cool hotel where you can take wonderful night pictures, because there is very little disturbing light.
5. Panamint Springs and going north
Panamint Springs Motel & Tents is a cool place to stay for one night. You are in the middle of nowhere. Check the restaurant opening hours if you want to eat something for dinner, if this is closed and the gas station is closed too you will not get something to eat this night. There is nothing else than desert, the famous death valley. All night photographers love the place because you can see the stars and you’re able to get Mad Max pictures when you visit the old plane wreck near to the gas station. We had one night here and then headed up north. Following points got our attraction on the route.
Cerro Gordo Ghost Town, Near to Panamint Springs is the Ghost Town Cerro Gordo, maybe you know them from their Youtube videos or have read about the crazy single lane road up the hill from under 1000 meter up to 2500 meter over sea level. Don’t forget to give your car a break when driving up the hill, and i would recommend that you do the tour only with a „elevated car“. You do not need a 4×4 but it would not be a bad decision. Up on the hill you can park you car in one of the small parking slots and walk up to the building with the US flag. There someone of the town will welcome you and will be happy if you buy something in their store to support them. Enjoy the area walk around and take some great pictures. When you drive down, don’t forget to use your gears and drive careful.
Mono Lake, The Mono Lake has a lot of salt figures around its beaches. You can hike small trails down to the water and enjoy the nature. The lake was used for many years as drinking water reservoir for Los Angels. Over the years the water level degreased so much, that only the salt stayed.
Yosemite National Park, we have been in this area in April, in this time the park is still closed, but don’t be put off by the signs you can (and you are allowed to) drive until you see the official entrance in the area. The way up into the snowy mountains is great. You are nearly alone and you can enjoy the nature all by your self. Later in the year this roads are very crowded.
6. South Lake Tahoe
The Lake Tahoe is based in the Sierra Nevada on the boarder of Nevada and California. The area is surreal because you have a big sweet water lake surrounded by mountains with ski areas.
Riva Grill On the Lake, we enjoyed the dinner at the Riva Grill which is based at the Lake Tahoe Habor. You can enjoy a walk at the beach and relax then at the
Memorial Point Scenic Overlook, when you drive north the Tahoe Blvd you have a lot of wonderful places, direct at the water. We like the Memorial Point Scenic Overlook (Google Maps Link) a lot and relaxed on the abraded stones.