Travel made in February 2019
Duration: 9 days
Welcome in West America !
Who has never dreamed of a road trip in the American West from Los Angeles to Las Vegas ? To explore the mythical national parks of Death Valley or the Grand Canyon ? To realize this dream that we see everywhere since our childhood in the cinema, in television reports or in photos in magazines?
Today Myoxybubble has realized it and will help you so that this trip finally becomes yours! Adventure on American roads can be scary; many have questions about the organization of the itinerary, the cost of the trip, traffic, distances and accommodations. Often, they use an organized tour travel agency to facilitate their American journey. I will guide you and allow you to live your American dream on your own to make this road trip in complete freedom, without stress or hassle and to fully enjoy the landscapes of the American West thanks to Myoxybubble.
- Welcome in West America !
- A road trip in the American West !!
- Day 1 : Welcome to Los Angeles!
- Day 2 : Los Angeles and the Hollywood Dream
- Day 3 : 1 day in the world of Universal Studio
- Day 4 : Crossing Death Valley!
- Day 5 : The majestic Grand Canyon
- Day 6 : Grand Canyon to Horseshoe Bend
- Day 7 : Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell and Las Vegas
You can click on all the photos in this article in order to view them in large format.
A road trip in the American West !!
Day 1 : Welcome to Los Angeles!
After booking our flight 2 months in advance on Skyscanner for the price of 350 € round trip per person we finally arrived in Los Angeles, nicknamed the “city of angels“! L.A. is famous for its almost ubiquitous sun all year round, its beaches of Venice Beach or Malibu Beach, its Hollywood neighborhoods and the magic of American cinema or its Theme Parks Universal Studio or Warner Bross.
Welcome to California! To start your road trip from the airport, follow the direction “shuttle bus” to find your shuttle that will take you to your car rental agency previously booked on the internet before your departure. I thrifty.com advise you. Good value for money and no hidden fees.
Be careful at the counter: you will be offered an insurance option at $ 180 including an accident, towing and assistance coverage. It is not mandatory but he does not tell you. Personally, it is useless if you have the first visa bank card that already includes insurance and you will save money :-). Ditto, do not be fooled when you book to take the “GPS” option because the cars are equipped with it whether or not you take the option. You will save 150€. Fortunately, I hadn’t taken it because I was going to use Waze.
For the little anecdote, once I got the keys to my car, I didn’t know how to start it ;-)! The cars are all automatic and this one was equipped with a button start without a ignition key. To start your vehicle, you will need to press the brake at the same time as the Start Engine button. Then, position your gear lever on “drive”, accelerate and let’s go! You will be able to go to your rental accommodation and start your adventure.
I suggest you spend a night at Luis and Juan’s. Very design and clean house. The room is small but very comfortable. The host is discreet but at your service if necessary. There is parking to park your vehicle right in front of the house. The value for money is good considering that hotels and other rentals are expensive in Hollywood.
Day 2 : Los Angeles and the Hollywood Dream
# Hollywood Sign
Today begins the conquest of the American dream! I will reveal the road and the access road leading to the famous Hollywood Sign ! The best time to hike is in the morning as it is often very hot during the day. Get ready to climb a somewhat steep hill for about 1 hour. You will have the privilege of admiring L.A. from above and take pictures of you at the top, just behind the iconic letters “Hollywood”! A must-see walk!
Bring a good pair of hiking shoes and plenty of water. Are you ready? Now, go to the wonder view trailhead by entering in your GPS the following address: wonder view dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068, USA. Arriving, at the intersection on your left you will find a pink house that you can not miss. You can park in the downhill street in front of this house.
Once parked, return to the pink house and turn right of it. This street will lead you straight ahead on the hill to climb.
The view from the top of the hill is breathtaking! The city of L.A. and Hollywood Lake are available to you.
You are not very far, courage!
Bravo! You’re there! What an immense joy as we see and reach the iconic Hollywood letters! An intense well-being runs through us in addition to feeling pride and freedom.
It takes 45 minutes to get back down to your car. On your way you will come across the famous tree of life called Wisdom tree.
There are many viewpoints overlooking Hollywood Sign including the famous street with palm trees on either side at the curb and with the Hollywood Sign pile in the center! Head to South Windsor Boulevard between 4th and 5th Streets. Be careful where you park! Avoid garage doors of houses, red sidewalks and look carefully at signs.
# Discover the walk of fame!
Who has never dreamed of strolling on the famous sidewalk of celebrities in the Hollywood neighborhood “the Walk of Fame” in search of the star of his favorite stars?
Me, I can say that I did it and soon it will be you thanks to Myoxybubble West American ! The Walk of Fame is lined with many shops. The walk is nice during the day but more lively at night. We had the chance to attend a film shoot on Hollywood Boulevard. Not to mention many street artists disguised as superheroes!
You can also go to Grauman’s Chinese theater in the footsteps of your favorite stars! Outside, on the forecourt of the building, the biggest stars of the cinema immortalized their passage by leaving their footprints of feet and hands in the cement. It’s funny!
# The magic of the griffith observatory by night!
The Griffith Observatory offers a view of the Hollywood Sign by day but we decided to go there at night in order to enjoy the stunning and illuminated view of Los Angeles.
Binoculars are at your disposal free of charge to observe the city from more close. The astronomical museum of the observatory is very interesting and free.
The only negative point is the paid parking which will cost you $ 8 per hour!
Day 3 : 1 day in the world of Universal Studio
Hollywood is famous for its movies and movie stars! My 18-year-old son is a fan of American movies and Netflix, so a visit to the Universal studio theme park and a visit to its studios was a must.
Admission will still cost you $114 minimum! The price may vary depending on the day of the week and it is best to book online to benefit from discounted prices. On site, I advise you to park at the farthest and cheapest car park which will still cost you $ 25 a day. It will take you 5 minutes on foot to get to the entrance of the park by crossing the city walk (alley filled with restaurants and shops) which will immerse you in the cinematic atmosphere of Hollywood! If you take the nearest parking lot, it will cost you $50 a day. It’s up to you!
I advise you to download the Universal studio mobile application. It will allow you to control the waiting time for each attraction and therefore optimize your day. We were lucky because there weren’t too many people that day (30 minutes maximum wait/attraction). You will be in the 1st boxes in front of your favorite movies, cartoons and series like Harry Potter, the Mummy, Walking dead or The Simpsons!
The 4D attractions are at the top! You will be immersed thanks to the special effects in an almost real universe, especially during the attractions King Kong, Fast and Furious or Transformers The special effects and the setting have nothing to do with the parks we have in France.
The studio tour is a must-see attraction! You are installed in a bus with your 3D glasses on your nose or in your pocket. Screens broadcast secrets of filming some famous films while browsing the real studios.
On your way, you will walk the street of Wisteria Lane from the famous desperate housewives series! Having seen all the episodes, I was delighted to discover all the sets of the filming location of the series as the home of my favorite actors Suzanne, Bree van de Kamp and many others!
Or the cars from the shooting of Fast and furious or back to the future !
In short, at Universal Studio we all find a child’s soul with American-style attractions and grandiose shows. After this change of scenery, I suggest you take the road to Death Valley for another American setting in the valley of the Mojave Desert. Death Valley National Park is located east of the Sierra Nevada in California.
From L.A., we drove 260 miles (420 km) to our rental located in Darwin at the entrance to Death Valley. Don’t panic! The road is very simple, the roads are wide and it’s always straight. The rules of the road are simpler in America than in France. There are still some differences including red lights (traffic lights located after the crossroads and not before as in Europe), the speed limits are in miles / hour and must be scrupulously respected. And at the red light you have the possibility to turn right if no one arrives from the left, as if it were a stop.
Do you have a driver’s license? So hit the American roads without further delay and overcome your fears. And what about the gas pump?
Refuel at L.A. before leaving because there are not many gas stations on the road to Death Valley. For my part, I advise you as a precaution to complete your tank as soon as it is half empty (or full) without waiting. I had no problems with that. In America, you go to the cash register and tell them how much you want to put in. If you have seen too wide, no problem, you go back to the cashier and he will refund the difference. It takes $ 35 for half a full.
We arrived at nightfall at our host Lawrence’s house (Editor’s note: to date the ad is no longer available on airbnb). He is a very endearing 82-year-old gentleman. I highly recommend it. The accommodation is located at the entrance of Death Valley Park and about 1h15 from the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. We had no difficulty with the GPS to geolocate his residence despite its lost geographical position. I could have found accommodation closer to the Visitor Center but the price of accommodation was really unaffordable for my budget.
Day 4 : Crossing Death Valley!
Lawrence’s house is atypical because it is an underground cave house located in a ghost village. We were able to discover it differently the next morning. From the outside, it’s a mound of earth! The view overlooking Death Valley is breathtaking. The place is more than peaceful and exudes a mystical atmosphere! We were like in movie! It’s even a bit creepy! I recommend!
It’s 7am, I suggest you head to Furnace Creek Visitor Center to buy your entrance tickets to Death Valley National Park and at the same time ask a ranger for a detailed map of the site. You will find all the essential visits and viewpoints. You can also download the map in pdf format here and print it.
The entrance to the park will cost you $ 30 for the vehicle and the ticket will be valid for 7 days. The price will be the same whether you are 1 or 5 people in the car. Spring is the ideal time to visit death valley because it is not for nothing that it is called that! It is one of the driest and hottest places in North America. The heat is extreme and scorching in summer. It is strongly discouraged to venture there at this time because you would quickly be dehydrated. In summer, visits are made very early in the morning. In the afternoon, it’s at your own risk! In summer, it takes 5 liters of water per person per day. In spring, count at least 2.5 liters of water per person because the excursions really make you thirsty.
Departing from Darwin Village, you will pass by the Panamint Springs motel (renowned for its very rich breakfast buffet). Then you will go to Stovepipe Wells village.
# Mosaic Canyon
Make a stop at the stovepipe Wells village parking lot and from there leave for your 1st treck of 1h30 or more depending on your timing to Mosaic Canyon.
We were alone in the world in the canyon. The hike is worth a visit. It is a very beautiful narrow canyon with polished marble walls.
# Mesquite Flate Sand Dunes
Continue the discovery of Death Valley, stopping at the beautiful sand dunes called Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. The sand dunes were formed by the wind. They are the result of the erosion of the surrounding mountains. You will appreciate under your bare feet the softness and warmth of the fine sand, at least in spring! Because in summer, you risk burning your feet. Have fun walking across the dunes, running to finally land and admire the sandy desert that surrounds you. Pure happiness!
# Salt Creek Trail
After this relaxing break, head to Salt Creek for a short walk of 1km! This mini trail teaches us that there is water and aquatic life in Death Valley. In March, we had the chance to discover it but in summer for example the level can be very dry and arid. The walk is very easy and is done all along on a small wooden walkway.
# Golden Canyon
Let’s continue? Have you arrived at Furnace Creek Visitor Center ? No more time to waste then! Head to the Golden Canyon for a hike that runs through a canyon with yellow-orange hues.
Important! Don’t forget to climb the mounds to admire the view of the Golden Canyon!
# Conquering the road of Artist Drive & Artist Palette!
Once your trek to Golden Canyon is over, I suggest you wind the road with a thousand and one colors: Artist’s Drive. Be careful, the road is one-way! The landscapes with multicolored rocks are beautiful and very pleasant to travel. The rocks change from red to brown, white, orange or green! On your way, you will find a viewpoint called Artist’s Palette where you can park and admire more closely this magnificent gradient of colors.
# The incredible and huge Badwater salt desert!
Here you are at my favorite of the valley of death: Badwater ! Here, you are at the lowest point in the United States, -85.5m below sea level (well, it reminds me of the Dead Sea in Jordan, the lowest point in the world below sea level). Why do we call this basin bad water? At the time, the salt accumulated around this lake made the water unfit for consumption. Today, the lake has disappeared and there remains a huge salt desert. Here I feel good with this immaculate white around me to no end …..
It’s time for us to leave Death Valley, a multifaceted valley. We would have stayed 1 night more but time is running out… Some say that Death Valley can be visited in 1 day but I do not agree! If you want to enjoy each site then I strongly advise you to stay there for at least 2 days. Especially at this time of year that allows you to fully discover the park without suffering from the heat. I have to head to Las Vegas with the pinch in my heart of not having seen Dante’s View, Zabriskie point or Natural Bridge. No regrets because I will come back one day!
Travel 124 miles in 2 hours and travel to Nevada in Las Vegas, the city where you never sleep! Except that the road is tiring… and as we have planned to come back a little later in the stay, I give you an appointment at the end of the article to discover this city so special 😉
Day 5 : The majestic Grand Canyon
Get up! It’s 6am! No time for sleeping in. I suggest you have breakfast and program your GPS towards Grand Canyon Village. Are you ready? On the way to travel 275 miles or a little more than 4 hours drive. Do not forget on the road to open your eyes wide and contemplate the beauty of the landscapes, to take a few coffee and pee breaks, to buy sandwiches and water for noon and all this on the rhythm of the country!
It’s noon and here we are in Arizona in the heart of the majestic and emblematic American Grand Canyon South Rim National Park.
His visit is a must! It is a wonder of nature. The entrance to the park will cost you $ 35 / car regardless of the number of people on board. Your pass will be valid for 7 days. You will always need to present your passport for access to the park. At its entrance, a ranger will give you a pocket guide. 2 solutions are available to you: either you park and use the free shuttle that connects all the points of view, or you use your own vehicle knowing that not all roads are accessible to individuals at certain times of the year. We preferred to take the free shuttle, which is very convenient and makes it possible to streamline traffic and facilitate travel. A bus passes every 15 minutes at each stop.
Possibility to walk to the next stop or to take a bus. You are free to hike. There are 4 lines that run along the South Rim (orange, blue, red and purple). You can download the South Rim Trail map.
The purple line connects the Grand Canyon to the city of Tusuyan where there are hotels, restaurants and the park’s Visitor Center. This line is convenient for those who sleep in the heart of the park. The blue line you will necessarily take it to get to the red line. This blue line also connects the Visitor Center to hotels.
I propose you this afternoon to cross the red line which is the busiest road and the most impressive by its breathtaking views. It goes from Trail View Overlook to Hermit Rest.
# Trailview overlook
# Maricopa Point
An incredible view!
# Powell point
Enjoy this moment!
# Hopi Point
# Mohave point
In the 1st photo above, we see the Colorado River. The Grand Canyon was carved by this river. We had the chance to witness a rainbow in the middle of the Canyon.
# The Abyss
# Monument creek vista
You can see in the photo of Monument creek vista a remnant of snow from the previous days and a beautiful view of the canyon.
# Pima Point & Hermits Rest
At Hermits rest, you can stroll through the souvenir shop and take the opportunity to go to the toilet. I say this because they are not everywhere. We ended this wonderful day by going to our accommodation which was 20km from Grand Canyon village, prices being unaffordable in the heart of the park. So, we opted for a special adventure! We slept in a mobile home on a vacant lot. I admit that when we arrived we found the place a little creepy with my son and had great moments of laughter!
Then we took possession of our accommodation. The interior was clean, well heated, the bedding good, the sanitary facilities were ok and the water hot. The drop-off point is ideal for a short stay. The night was good and quiet. In the evening, we had dinner at a restaurant 5.7 miles away by car.
Day 6 : Grand Canyon to Horseshoe Bend
The end of our trip is approaching so no question of wasting my time in bed! Up at 7:30 am, a good shower, lunch on the road and head back to the Grand Canyon. This morning, I invite you to discover together the orange line. This line takes you from South Kaibab Trailhead to the Visitor Center, then to Mather Point and Yavapai Observation Station. It is very beautiful but less impressive for my taste than the red line.
# Yaki Point
# Pipe Creek Vista
We wanted to fly over the Grand Canyon by helicopter but the flights were cancelled due to weather conditions. There was too much wind! We were disappointed but again I will be back! To fly over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon from Tusayan, I advise you to go through the Papillon company which has very competitive prices ($ 200 / person). It is better to order in advance on the internet to be sure to have a flight on the day and also to pay less for your excursion. With the orange line completed and other park views cordoned off, I suggest you travel 134 miles (2h20 drive) to get to Horseshoe Bend.
# Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend is a horseshoe-shaped arm that was carved by the Colorado River into the canyon. The view is magnificent. For photo lovers, I advise you to arrive at noon or in the early afternoon when the sun is at its zenith! The emerald green colors of the river and ochre of the canyon will be highlighted.
Currently, infrastructure renovations are underway. You will need to park and take a shuttle bus 1 mile from the site.
The shuttle will cost you $5 per person round trip. For the little anecdote, we had a picnic on the spot with my son and stayed until sunset so we were fine. When we returned, we quickly realized that there was no more bus back at that time! Parking was even open and free now for visitors.
We had a laugh with my son, and then we asked Americans to drive us to our car. They laughed at us!
You will have to walk 10 minutes from the bus parking lot to the horseshoe. The site is not secure so be vigilant with small children. Allow plenty of water so you don’t get dehydrated in direct sunlight.
After our day, we took possession of our Charming retreat accommodation in Page located not far from Lake Powell. Very clean accommodation with all the required amenities.
The location is ideal.
For your dinner, if you are fond of sushi, do not ask yourself any questions and go to the Blue Budha Sushi Bar ! The best sushi I’ve ever eaten! They are fresh, very elaborate, excellent in a modern and cozy setting, punctuated by music and waiters at the top! I recommend! Taste and flavors that explode in the mouth guaranteed.
Day 7 : Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell and Las Vegas
# The magic of Antelope Canyon
Come and discover the magic of Antelope canyon. It is a canyon located in Arizona, divided into 2 parts, one lower and the other upper.
This crack has been dug by rainwater over the years.
It is a mythical place known and very popular in the United States by lovers of photographs. The rock walls of the canyon are orange-colored ochre colors and are sublimated by the piercing light of the sun. This moment is magical!
I advise you to book your visit time according to the season and the time when the sun is at its zenith in order to best experience this unforgettable show. The land belongs to the Indians of the Navajo tribe. This tour is carried out with an Indian guide and in a group of 12 people. The guide is assigned automatically on site upon arrival. It is not possible to make the tour without a guide.
Remember to leave a tip to the latter, it is appreciated. The place is very touristy unfortunately and the groups follow each other at the tail leu leu. You need to count 2 hours of visit. It’s very difficult to take a picture alone but not impossible!
It is best to book and pay in advance for the excursion on the internet through an agency. We opted for Ken’s Tours Lower Antelope canyon. It will cost you $50/person. The price is very high but the excursion is definitely worth a visit.
On site, you will present at the cash desk your voucher that you have printed beforehand before leaving. Tours start on time, don’t be late. There is almost no waiting time. It is not impossible to show up without having booked but depending on the season it is at your own risk or you will not be able to make the excursion if there are too many people. That would be a real shame!
It is forbidden to take a bag with you, unless it is transparent and again…..You have the option to combine Upper and Lower Antelope canyon in the same day. Personally, I only did Lower Canyon for lack of time (and money).
Our tour ended around 11am, we took the road towards Las Vegas (273 miles or 4 hours drive). On your way, I suggest you stop at the free parking lot of the Glen Canyon Dam. It is located very close to the town of Page. The view is very beautiful and impressive. A must see!
# Las Vegas
Welcome to Las Vegas ! Welcome to the strip ! Welcome to the capital of gaming ! Las Vegas is the city of guts, excess and extravagance. Here, I feel like I’m in a Universal studio version XXL. No limit! The city is famous for its gambling with its many casinos (roulette, poker and slot machines are waiting for you!). Good luck to you but be careful not to fall into vice!
Las Vegas is a city also known for its luxury hotels like the Bellagio. The hotel complexes are impressive with architectural reproductions like Venice or Paris and its 165-meter-high Eiffel Tower.
Boldness is on every corner, especially at night with its lights, busy streets, hotels, restaurants and of course women with sexy and extravagant outfits in the street, in shopping malls and even in casinos. It is a very festive city, everything is allowed and achievable. Las Vegas is a city that never sleeps!
Night or day, you will not be bored. During the day, get ready to wander the streets and shops for Pretty Woman-style shopping.
We arrived at 4pm at the Planet Hollywood hotel. The parking is huge and you get lost! The advantage is that parking is free. The hotel is ideally located as it overlooks the strip directly. You are at the heart of the festivities. We had asked for a room with a view of the strip. When we arrived, we discovered that our room was actually a suite! Nice surprise, with the bonus of a view of the Bellagio! Here, you have the impression of being rich! We kiff!
Need to eat? Having a teenager with me, we tried Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant! It is located in the commercial gallery of the Planet Hollywood hotel, right in front of the hotel’s casino. The Burgers are excellent and the truffle and Parmesan fries delicious 😋. Be careful, the queue and service can be long. The waiters are friendly as well as the setting.
After your meal, meet in front of the fountain of the Bellagio hotel. From 8pm and every 30 minutes takes place an exceptional water games show, under the rhythm of the music.
The height of the water jets is impressive. You will be immersed in a magical world. The show is free. Do not hesitate to go more than once, it is worth the cost!
Stroll on the strip and do not hesitate to visit the hotels and their shopping mall. For example, the Venetian promises you beautiful surprises with its trompe l’oeil ceiling! You really feel like you’re outside with a real open sky. A well-represented mini Venice with its Rialto Bridge, its gondolas or St. Mark’s Square. The gondola tour is overpriced and very touristy so I do not recommend this attraction, as much to go to Venice. The place is definitely worth a look!
In summary, Las Vegas is a city where you never sleep! It is difficult to get bored as the temptation is strong on the strip between the countless casinos, shops, luxury hotels, shows and shows that I let you discover for yourself for a memorable surprise effect. Las Vegas is also a starting point for a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon. For some people like me this city has been a drop-off point for a day but it can be a destination in its own right as there is so much to do, to see and to discover. One thing is certain, it is imperative to stay there at least 1 or 2 days minimum to live this unique experience of the excess of Las Vegas.
It’s the end of our trip, we take the plane the next day to return to L.A. to take our return flight to Paris. The American West offers breathtaking landscapes with its many national parks. I will definitely come back to visit what I could not do: Brice Canyon, Monument Valley, Route 66 etc.
The word road trip takes on its full meaning there and it is a nice way of traveling to discover these beautiful landscapes. It’s your turn and have a good road!
See you soon for new adventures with a new Myoxybubble destination !
Feel free to leave your comments on this article and share your own experiences (the form can be found a little further down).
Need advice to organize your trip? Contact me!
For a road trip, no choice but to take a car!
You must take your French license even if you take the international license.
Driving is really easy, the roads are wide, gasoline cheap.
Only thing that can disturb at first: driving an automatic gearbox if it is the 1st time for you, but you get used to it quickly.
Also some slight differences in the rules of the road, but nothing too bad.
Finally the unit of distance is the mile: 1 mile = 1.6 km
Do not hesitate to fill up with gas regularly because the distances are large and the gas stations are distant in some places.
The currency is the US dollar. €1 is worth about $1.14.
CB is accepted just about everywhere.
Tip: In France we tip because we appreciate the service, but in the United States, tipping is one of the elements of the salary.
We give tips in a restaurant, in a bar or a club, in the taxi, For example, we give about 20% tip in the restaurant and between 10 and 15% in a taxi.
Before you go
Don’t forget to check that your passport is still valid.
It is necessary to be in possession of an electronic visa to enter the territory. Go to the ESTA website to complete the formalities online.
The cost is $14 and the visa is valid for 2 years for a period of 90 days.
There is no need for special vaccines.
For electrical outlets, they are different from those in France, it is necessary to have an adapter.