I made this road movie during my 1 month stay in Western USA.
In 28 days I drove 5083 km , through 5 states (California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Arizona) and visited 8 National State Parks (Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Mesa Verde and the Grand Canyon) and 2 Navajo Parks (Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley). Long hours on the road with nothing but the horizon in sight ended up in cities buzzing with people and natural parks of unworldly beauty. These were the highlights of my 1 month Western USA road trip.

Los Angeles

A lot of people I met disliked Los Angeles. They said is was a concrete city taken up by the film business.
I actually think Los Angeles is a great city. I decided to stay a little longer to live like a local and see different areas such as Downtown LA, Hollywood, Venice Beach, Griffith Park and Beverly Hills.

Venice Beach Los Angeles

Duration: 1 day at the start of the trip + 3 days at the end of the trip.
Accommodation:
– Westin Airport Hotel: don’t stay at the airport if you don’t have to
Banana Bungalow – Vibe Hotel in Hollywood: a hostel for those who love to party

Air bnb at Venice Beach: staying with a local is a great way to get to know the neighborhood

Highway 1 – Big Sur

Highway 1 stretches along the pacific coast and is one of the most beautiful highways to drive along. I wouldn’t mind visiting these enormous cliffs, coastal towns, berry farms and redwood groves again.

Highway 1 Big Sur

Highway 1 Big Sur

Duration: 2,5 days (I would do it again and stay an extra 3 days)
Must do:
visit the San Louis Obispo, the happiest town in America and stay at the lighting house in Pescadero.
Accommodation:

Youth Hostel San Louis Obispo: A hostel located in an old Victorian house that makes you feel right at home.
Lighting house Youth Hostel Pescadero: This hostel is located at a remote lighthouse tower. It also has a hot tub installed at the cliff edge.

San Francisco

Fisherman’s wharf, Pier 39, the Golden Gate bridge, Alcatraz, the cable car, … San Francisco has so many touristic sights and highlights that are worth visiting. Do rent a bike and visit 3 iconic neighborhoods such as The Haight-Ashbury, The Castro and The Mission. Go to Fort Mason on Fridays to enjoy as much street food as you can at Off the Grid.

Alcatraz San Francisco

Cable car San Francisco

The Height San Francisco

The Mission Dolores Park

Duration: 3 days
Accommodation: Fisherman’s Wharf Youth Hostel : This very laid back youth hostel is set at the waterfront and overlooks the San Francisco Bay with views of Alcatraz and The Golden Gate Bridge. It’s also a former United States Army Post building. Very cool location !

Yosemite

Yosemite had me running around with my mouth wide open for three days. It’s strenuous hiking trails (The Four Mile Trail & Panorama Trail and The Upper Yosemite Falls) ruined my knees but left me going to sleep with a big smile every night.

Yosemite Hiking Half Dome

Yosemite Falls

Duration: 3 days
Accommodation: Camp Curry tents : Dazzling location. This is glamping at it’s best !

Death Valley

Death Valley is more than a desert. Read about how Death Valley surprised me with singing sand dunes, crawling rocks and salt flats. It’s also the hottest place on earth. So don’t be stupid like me and keep yourself hydrated !

Death Valley

Death Valley Salt Flat Badwater Basin

Duration: 1 day
Accommodation: Stovepipe Wells: It’s too hot in here. Thank god for the refreshing pool and free bag of ice.

Las Vegas

After 4 days of hiking through nature, Las Vegas was a smack in the face. This is the city for adult entertainment at its extreme.

Gambling in Las Vegas

Bellagio fountains Las Vegas
Duration: 2 days
Accommodation: The Golden Nugget: Don’t stay downtown, you want to be on the Strip. The shark tank was a little disappointing.

Zion

Zion is made for extreme hikers. It has drop off to your death trails like Angels Landing and waist-high filled water canyons (The Narrows).

Zion National Park

Zion The Narrows
Duration: 2 days
Accommodation: B&B Under the Eaves: These guys have the most lovely Bed & Breakfast and garden. If you prefer a house without kids this is the place to be !

Bryce Canyon

The Bryce amphitheater, filled with red rock hoodoos, is probably gorgeous at any point of the day. Hiking down from Sunset Point to Bryce Point via the wall of windows is just impressive.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon The Window Section

Duration: 0,5 day (did a short hike and left for Moab)
Accommodation: none : You can see most of it in half a day.

Moab

Moab has great hiking options with two nearby National Parks as well as wild water rafting possibilities.
I went to see Arches National Park and Islands in the Sky in Canyonlands.

Canyonlands National Park Moab

Mesa Arch Canyonlands National Park

Duration: 2 days
Accommodation: Rustic Inn : Rooms aren’t pretty but very spacious + they have a pool. We were lucky to find this place after nightfall.

Mesa Verde

The old pueblo indians left their rock dwellings ages ago. Up to this day the reason they left is still a mystery unsolved.

Mesa Verde National Park

Duration: 2 days
Accommodation: Super 8 motel in Cortez : would not recommend it because it has no pool. Go for the Best Western next doors.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley is a Navajo park with rough roads and the Indians have every reason to keep it that way. Ready to wreck your car ?

Monument Valley

Duration: half an hour
Accommodation: you really don’t want to stay here

Page

Page is a little town with a road that counts more than 13 different churches. It also has a pretty big dam. But what you were coming for is probably Antelope Canyon and a ride on Lake Powell. Read here how to get the most out of your Antelope Canyon visit.

Lower Antelope Canyon

Duration: 2 days
Accommodation: Best Western Page: It’s great to watch the sunset over the hills and Lake Powell from the swimming pool.

Grand Canyon

Well that’s a pretty big crack in the ground. That’s all I can say. After one month of being on the road I had to convince myself that this is impressive. See it at the start of your trip.

Grand Canyon

Duration: 1,5 day
Accommodation: Maswik Lodge : There’s no airco so I hope you like sweaty nights. Location is superb.

Practical

Route : Los Angeles – Highway 1 – San Francisco – Yosemite – Death Valley – Las Vegas – Zion – Bryce – Moab ( Arches & Canyonlands) – Mesa Verde – Page – Grand Canyon – Los Angeles


Grotere kaart weergeven

Total Cost: The total trip one month trip all included costed me about € 2.600 per person.
Flight Cost: €579
I decided to book my flight and car 6 months in advance because of a great early booker discount. We chose a Delta Airlines (BXL-JFK-LAX) operated flight.
Car Rental & Fuel Cost: I paid €579 (€289/person) to rent a car for 26 days at Alamo.
This included an Alamo Gold insurance and I even got an upgrade from a compact car to a full size car.

I drove 5083km and paid about €280 for fuel (€140 per person).
Accommodation cost:
+/- €1.000 p.p.
I decided to book accommodation for the first half of my trip and either book the rest while being on the road or just drove up to a town to find something.

The accommodation was a mix of youth hostels, hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts and air bnb stays.

Been on a trip to Western USA ? Let us know what your highlights were.