Vegas/Grand Canyon/Cali Trip


DIS Veteran
Jan 22, 2015
Hey all! We usually take a family vacation every year. We go to the beach in FL quite often and we have been to WDW a few times. This year, our son (16) has asked if we could do a trip to Vegas/Grand Canyon/Cali next year (2020) for our family vacation. The Vegas/GC part I'm good with as my husband and I go to Vegas for our anniversary each year so we are familiar with that area, but I need some help with the Cali part as neither me nor my husband have been there. The traveling party will be me, my husband, our son (almost 17), and our daughter (23). Any tips, advice, pointer, etc., would be greatly appreciated.

We want to do the following in Cali if possible:

Disneyland (probably just 1 day)
Santa Monica Pier (son's request, it's a must)
Walk of Fame, Chinese Theatre, touristy stuff like that etc.
See the Hollywood sign
And whatever else you guys tell me about, lol.

Our itinerary looks like this so far:

Friday - fly in to Vegas late evening.
Saturday - day in Vegas for sights, a show, etc.
Sunday - rent car and drive to Zion National Park (2.5 hour), then back to Vegas and spend the rest of the evening there (another show, sights, etc).
Monday - early drive to South Rim of GC. Stay overnight near there.
Tuesday - drive back to Vegas, stopping at Hoover Dam on the way, then fly to LA early evening.
Wednesday - Cali
Thursday - Cali
Friday - Cali
Saturday - Cali
Sunday - fly home


DIS Veteran
Jul 2, 2010
Full disclosure - I HATE Vegas, so take my comments in that context;
Zion - LOVE IT! IMHO, worth at least 2 days, and I'd stay overnight there. There are a ton of hotels right there, and you can catch the free shuttle up through the park from there. Second only to Yosemite in terms of accessibility and things to do. Be sure and stop in St. George and grab a Custard at Nielsens; Nielsens Custard
Grand Canyon - It's been a lot of years, but I will say that we visited Southern Utah with some friends of ours from CO - and they refused to go back to the GC. Just too much driving and not enough to see. They opted for Bryce instead and we loved that too.
In Vegas - if you have the time, the Red Rock loop is very, unexpectedly nice. Hoover Dam is great.

In So Cal:
Set your expectations VERY LOW for Walk of Fame and the Santa Monica pier. Both are really disappointing IMHO.
Your kids are old enough to attend a show taping - I would DEFINITELY look into that. Just Google it - easy to find. I recommend something like Jimmy Kimmel because it is recorded "LIVE". That is, it's an hour show and it takes an hour. Sit-Coms take MUCH longer.
Hollywood sign - head up to the Griffith Observatory. That's worth seeing and you'll have great views of the sign from there.
If you can catch a concert, ANY concert at Hollywood Bowl - HIGHLY recommended! That's a true So Cal classic experience.


Mouseketeer since birth!
Jul 7, 2008
Everything on your initial SoCal list outside of Disneyland could be done in one day. If you have 4 days in Southern California I'd add another to do Disneyland/California Adventure -- it's really hard to see both in one day. With teens/young adults I'd also consider Universal Studios, the Warner Bros Studio Tour, Knotts Berry Farm, the beach, surfing lessons.

Going to Zion roundtrip from Vegas in one day is going to be a very long day. Prettyy sure you wouldn't make it back in time for an evening show. Consider staying overnight in Zion or maybe Vegas-Zion-Grand Canyon-Vegas over a few days instead of back and forth through Vegas.


disneyholic family

disney on my mind....
Jan 31, 2002
DH and I are also doing a form of this next year.
the only reason we're going to vegas is for my husband's business meeting.
we're also vegas haters, so while we're there and he's not in meetings, we're planning on red rock canyon and the hoover dam...
in california, we're doing the ABD backstage magic, plus an additional 3 days at DL/CA.
a 5 night Disney Wonder cruise with san diego before it..
and then the day before our flight back home, i think we'll spend a day in malibu (after flying back from vegas)..
or maybe not.....have to spend that last night somewhere, though the easiest i suppose would be at an airport hotel..



DIS Veteran
Sep 16, 2011
Zion is really lovely and I'd drive there, spend a night there, then drive back the next day. (I have done this and wouldn't want to drive to Zion and back home in one day, honestly.) Also, Zion can be pretty darn busy, so prepare yourself if you go during the times of year that they run shuttles into the park rather than letting you drive the loop. Bryce Canyon is also really nice, but probably farther than you want to trek, plus it's elevation is pretty high and it's cold during part of year.


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