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  1. #1

    Default Miami to Los Angeles

    Hello everyone! My name is Milla and Iīm from Finland, Europe. We (me and my husband) are planning a roadtrip through south of United States. Starting from Miami, Florida and ending up in Los Angeles / San Fransisco, California. We are thinking to do this trip in year 2007 or 2008 and this time I would like to hear from you that what time of year would be the best time to do this kind of trip. This is what we want: Sunny, warm (not too hot), no hurricanes... and no snow (exept on mountains) I think about 30 celcius/86 farenheits would be nice but not too hot because here in Finland it rarely goes higher that that. And of course it would be nice if the nature would be green (not burned).
    Next question would be that because we have small childrens and donīt want to leave them for many weeks so would 3 weeks be enough for this kind of trip? I can put here some kind of plan about our trip (this is just our first plan): Miami - Orlando (Disneyland or we go in California) - Jacksonville - Savannah - Atlanta - go down to New Orleans - Houston - Dallas - Roswell - Phoenix - Grand Canyon - Las Vegas - Los Angeles - (San Fransisco)

    This is our "about" route. But I guess you can answer me that will 3 weeks be to short if we want to stay in Los Angeles few days (Hollywood, Santa Barbara etc.) And we dontīt have to go to Savannah and Atlanta ... we can go straight from Florida to New Orleans...

    OR

    Should we just fly to Atlanta and forget Florida?

    OR

    Would just a trip to California and Las Vegas (maybe to Grand Canyon) be the best trip in two/three weeks?

    I really really really want to see life in southern states and feel the thing! Maybe it is just a dream what i have had from all the tv-series and movies and itīs not worth it...


    Did I say that we will celebrate our both 30 th birthday and that why we are doing this trip. I also want to see New York some day but it will be another time and trip :-)

    I will tell you more about our plans as the time goes by... and Iīm sorry about my poor english... itīs not my mother language :-)

    And please move this thread to itīs own place if this is not a summer roadtrip.
    Last edited by Milla; 05-11-2006 at 02:41 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default Half the Fun is Planning

    Mieluinen - Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Milla
    I´m sorry about my poor English
    Se sopii. Ymmärrän kyllä. And now you've totally used up my Finnish, so please, no further apologies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Milla
    ...planning a roadtrip through south...I would like to hear from you what time of year would be the best
    My favorite time of year to travel in the South is early Spring, say April or May. It is not yet too hot, hurricane season is still a couple of months away, school is still in session so most families are not travelling, and best of all the flowers are in bloom. When you get to the mountains of the west, there will still be some snow at the higher elevations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Milla
    Would 3 weeks be enough for this kind of trip?
    You could make the drive comfortably from Miami to Los Angeles in a week if you just concentrated on driving, so by taking 3 weeks you are allowing yourself plenty of time to experience and enjoy the land you'll be travelling through. You may not be able to do everything you want, but I don't think you have to limit yourself to just the South or West, you can do both. We have a couple of 'rules of thumb' around here that may help you to plan. The first is that, no matter what some mapping software tells you, over the long term you can plan on being able to average about 55 miles per hour (90 kph). The second is that 400-500 miles per day (650-800 km) is solid day of driving for many people. So as you start looking at the distances between cities here (We're bigger than you might be used to!) using those numbers will let you know how many hours or days you will have to devote to driving and how many you'll have left to do things.

    Please feel free to continue to ask questions over the next year or two as you continue to plan your trip. And Iloinen Alku!

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-11-2006 at 11:07 AM.

  3. #3

    Default

    Kiitos paljon AZBuck :-) Thank you...

    Iīm very excited from this trip... planning and everything. We are going to Turkey (country not the bird ;-) ) in June for a one week but I canīt enjoy it because Iīm driving there in usa in my mind... I feel myself like a teenager!
    I ordered a roadmap -book and Iīm waiting it to come! Want to see all the places we can drive and visit... I really wait to see all the flowers and houses... Itīs not nice to wait a year or two... wanna go!
    Itīs friday morning in Finland and Iīm feeling a little bit crazy :-)

    Yes, Usa is a little bit bigger than Finland... Itīs huge!!! We can drive from border to border in one day here and stop to see sightseens :-) We are very used to see snow here but like some americanīs think we donīt have polarbears here ;-)

    I will ask your opinions through the years of planning... And maybe (must!) in May 2008 we are driving in your amazing country!

    Feel free to leave comments here :-)

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Milla
    We (me and my husband) are planning a roadtrip through south of United States. Starting from Miami, Florida and ending up in Los Angeles / San Fransisco, California.
    Hi Milla!

    Perhaps I can help a bit. The trip you are planning is a long one, Miami to LA is approximately 5000 km/ 3000 mi. Many of the best places are not on the InterStates. I would use the InterStates to get from one area to another and then get off them for the local areas of interest.
    Sunny, warm (not too hot), no hurricanes... and no snow (exept on mountains) I think about 30 celcius/86 farenheits would be nice but not too hot because here in Finland it rarely goes higher that that. And of course it would be nice if the nature would be green (not burned).
    Again, it's a long trip. Florida is always green, much of the southwest is desert. I agree with AZBuck; travel mid-March through April. It is early May here in south Texas and we have already seen 97^F / 36^C.

    Do NOT make the mistake of renting a car without air conditioning (I doubt such is even available any longer).

    I would consider renting what the rental companies classify as a "full size" car. A Buick Lucerne or similar: it's a long, hot road out there. You don't want to find yourself sandwiched between two massive 18 wheel trucks at 80 mph in an tiny underpowered four cylinder econobox meant for city use. In the southwest traffic will consistently move at 80 mph.

    On the Gulf Coast spring is late February and March. Hurricanes are rare, In June they are seen in Florida, further west they occur in late summer. School lets out at the end of May, go before then. Disney World, FL is better than Disneyland, CA imho. Universal Studios is my favorite.
    I can put here some kind of plan about our trip (this is just our first plan): Miami - Orlando (Disneyland or we go in California) - Jacksonville - Savannah - Atlanta - go down to New Orleans - Houston - Dallas - Roswell - Phoenix - Grand Canyon - Las Vegas - Los Angeles - (San Fransisco)

    This is our "about" route. But I guess you can answer me that will 3 weeks be to short if we want to stay in Los Angeles few days (Hollywood, Santa Barbara etc.) And we dontīt have to go to Savannah and Atlanta ... we can go straight from Florida to New Orleans...

    OR

    Should we just fly to Atlanta and forget Florida?

    OR

    Would just a trip to California and Las Vegas (maybe to Grand Canyon) be the best trip in two/three weeks?

    I really really really want to see life in southern states and feel the thing! Maybe it is just a dream what i have had from all the tv-series and movies and itīs not worth it...
    You must do what most interests you.

    If I were to land in Miami I would not miss a couple of days exploring the Florida Keys, right next door. Savannah is an excellent choice; certainly as 'south' as you can get - have you seen the movie "Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil"?

    Hop to New Orleans - the French Quarter is largely intact and holds most of the attractions you will want to see there. Skip Atlanta, Houston, Dallas (no slight intended, but your time is limited)

    Hop to San Antonio. Stay on the Riverwalk. Visit the Alamo.

    From San Antonio, continue west on I-10, turn right at El Paso and stay in Santa Fe, NM. Visit Taos, allow several days here.

    Hop to Las Vegas, Sedona, AZ is well worth a detour. Charter a flight in Las Vegas to see the Grand Canyon. Much better experience. Allow 2 - 3 days in Las Vegas. By my count you now have 3 or 4 days to departure. Skip Los Angeles, go north and visit Lake Tahoe and spend your final days in San Francisco.

    ...just my thoughts. Places I think you would enjoy the most. I am an inveterate road-tripper and know these highways well. Please advise if I can be of any further assistance.

    ken rentiers
    Houston
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-12-2006 at 05:51 AM. Reason: Good Neighbor Rules Violation

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    10,060

    Default Much to see, so little time

    Quote Originally Posted by ken rentiers
    Again, it's a long trip. Florida is always green, much of the southwest is desert. I agree with AZBuck; travel mid-March through April.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum -- always nice to see brand-new members providing ideas and tips!
    Disney World, FL is better than Disneyland, CA imho. Universal Studios is my favorite.
    Since you have a preference -- what do you think of those Disneyword guides, like this one or this one?
    Hop to Las Vegas, Sedona, AZ is well worth a detour. Charter a flight in Las Vegas to see the Grand Canyon. Much better experience.
    Much better than what? Going there? There is no substitute to driving there and standing on the rim or even better walking down a ways!

    Good points!

    Mark

  6. #6

    Default Grand Canyon -- Additional thoughts

    Since you have a preference -- what do you think of those Disneyword guides, like this one or this one?
    The best Disneyplace guide I know of is The Unoffcial Guide to Disneyland by Sehlinger. Amazon.com has it. It contains much useful info about topics like the least crowded calendar weeks, which are the best days to visit which of the many Disneyworld theme parks and how to hit all the most popular rides in what order to minimize lineups. Not the sort of stuff they disclose in authorized Disney guidebooks. I found it very useful.
    Charter a flight in Las Vegas to see the Grand Canyon. Much better experience.
    Much better than what? Going there? There is no substitute to driving there and standing on the rim or even better walking down a ways!
    I agree Mark, but in the context of spending three weeks driving across America the time required to drive north from I-40 to the south rim, in heavy traffic, on a long two-lane highway, find a spot to park, spend several hours and return adds up to a whole day. If hiking is the objective, then, end of discussion; but if you just want to see the Canyon the 2 or 3 hour flights out of Las Vegas are not outrageously priced, afford a much more inclusive perspective and are just too much fun.

    Or you could do both!

    There is a trail in Sedona that leads up behind the Enchantment resort and affords access to a wonderful hiking experience, including some old Indian cliff dwellings. Easy for even inexperienced hikers to enjoy.

    -ken-
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-12-2006 at 08:36 AM. Reason: fixed typo

  7. #7
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    Default Sedona Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by ken rentiers
    There is a trail in Sedona that leads up behind the Enchantment resort and affords access to a wonderful hiking experience, including some old Indian cliff dwellings. Easy for even inexperienced hikers to enjoy.
    Thanks for the local intel!

    Mark

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    Default Half(?) the Fun is the Planning

    So, Milla, you seem to have touched off a good discussion. I agree with Ken that earlier is better. I used to live in the northern part of the US (Maine) and it's still hard for me to think of May as anything but Spring, but here in Arizona, it's already getting close to 100šF (38šC). So if you can make your trip in April, that would be better.

    There are many cities and towns in the South that are known for their graciousness, fine homes and lovely gardens. Many of these have tours in the Spring that allow you to walk through, see the homes and gardens up close, and often even talk to the owners. A few of the cities that I would recommend you look into include Charlestown, SC; Savannah, GA; Selma, AL; and Natchez, MS. You can also read my reports (here and here) on a trip I took through this area last year.

    As you move farther west, the attractions become more natural wonders rather than gracious homes and gardens. But, if you are lucky, you will get to see the desert in bloom. Besides the big attractions such as the Grand Canyon, think about spending a little time at some of the quieter places such as Kartchner Caverns and Saguaro National Park. These both have the advantage of being not very far from I-10.

    The fact is that you have a good bit of time to look for what's available and what appeals to you. One of the best resources for doing this are the various state tourism departments. If you do a search on the web for the state name and the word tourism, you should find a wealth of resources. For example, when I entered - Arizona tourism - I got back this site, the official state tourism office who will send you brochures and maps to help you plan (often for free!)

    You're in for a great time, but don't forget to enjoy Turkey.

    AZBuck

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ken rentiers
    Skip Los Angeles…
    Just a brief point: several people said to me before I went that LA really wasn't that interesting, and I didn't believe them, but in truth it was the place I struggled most to be entertained on my trip. Santa Monica was beautiful but further from the ocean it's a BIG sprawl, and if you don't have a plan of what you wanna see, but rather are the sort of person who tends just to explore and hope to find something of interest, you may find that the cool stuff is hidden in the miles and miles of car washes, curtain warehouses and other mundane "big-city functionality."

    And I'll agree that April is a great time at least for the Arizona, Nevada and California segments of your trip. I was out there a month ago and I'm already starting to plan a return visit spring of next year!

  10. #10
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    Default I will show you the good stuff!

    Quote Originally Posted by dj toast
    but in truth it was the place I struggled most to be entertained on my trip
    that is a very interesting perspective -- To me LA is full to the brim of too much to see in a lifetime of looking. It is a little like saying the Grand Canyon is just an arroyo -- the art, the culture, the huge variety of ethnic traditions and history, the gorgeous mountains and the ocean. Next time you are state-side -- call me. I will show you some very entertaining places!

    Mark

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