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  1. #1

    Default Help! Planning cross country trip, 1 month, Boston and back!


    This is my first time posting on this site, and boy am I glad to see how helpful everyone seems to be. I am a first year teacher, and for the first time in 8 years I will have the whole summer completely OFF to do whatever I please. With these thoughts, I have caught the travel bug BAD!

    My boyfriend and I are in the very beginning stages of planning a cross-country trip. All we know right now is that we want it to be 4-6 weeks long, we are willing to camp, and we are starting from Boston. The two goals we have are:

    1. To experience as much of the diverse cultures and areas of the USA as possible
    2. To see as much of the natural wonders and state/national parks of the USA as possible

    Oh, and we're on a VERY tight budget... unfortunately, teaching is not a well-paid career.

    Can anyone offer advice on what we can do to reach our two goals? What should we see? Where should we go? What SHOULDN'T we miss? Where and what should we eat? ... And how can we do this as cheaply as possible?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    For starters, look through this page. Much of the information you are looking for is covered there.

    My list of "don't miss" would include: Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, and if this is your first time crossing it, take a moment to ponder the Mississippi River. My list is much longer than this, of course.

    To keep costs down, camping is definitely a good option, though on occasion you may long for a comfortable bed. A good air mattress will help in this regard, though.

    For eating, many of us prepare a cooler with a few days worth of eats in there, stopping along the way in the local grocery stores to restock. It's much cheaper than eating out for every meal, and it helps to maintain a dietary discipline, which is very important when spending long stretches in a car!

    To keep costs down some more, it is important to layout a logical route itinerary, one without back-tracking. Though this may be necessary at times, it is usually avoidable.

    Since you are interested in the National Parks, here is a link to help you reduce your costs significantly.

    Four weeks is a good stretch of time to see much of the country. The thing is, once you've done that, then you will probably want to investigate more - which is why we have an entire community of roadtrippers in the first place! It's very addicting.

    Hope this helps get you started on the right foot!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default With that amount of time, whatever you want!

    The choices of things to see and places to go are way too diverse to give you a simple answer. With 4-6 weeks, you can go virtually anywhere.

    You must have some things that you've always wanted to see. I would suggest getting a big map of the US and marking the sites that you really want to see the most. Then see if there are any logical routes that take you from one of those sites to the next. Once YOU have established your priorities, then we will be glad to help you with ideas of other things to see nearby and along your route. But, really, you need to make some initial decisions based on your own desires.

    As for budgeting on a tight budget, the major expenses are fuel, lodging, food, and entertainment.

    Fuel: A fuel-efficient vehicle will make a difference. If you have one, this will expand the number of miles you can afford to drive. So, once you figure out what you want to see, do some calculations to see what you expect your fuel to cost you on this trip. This figure alone might impact just how far-and-wide you can afford to travel and will help you get an idea of just how far to cast your net.

    Lodging: Camping is definitely the cheapest way to go. With diligent searching, you will find campsites for as low as $10/night....but more typical costs will be around $20-25/night. Free camping is available by doing dispersed camping on national forest lands. BLM campsites are usually fairly inexpensive. And state and federal campsites tend to be less than private campgrounds as well. If saving money on camping will make a big difference in how long your budget will allow you to travel, I would spend some time googling national parks, national forests, state parks, and BLM websites for camping locations along your route. Many of these will be first come/first served so you may not want to leave getting a spot up to chance. Some will allow you to reserve a campsite. Of course, this limits your flexibility but will ensure that you get a decent campsite at a reasonable cost. You might also check out this RTA article about the Happy Camper Club. It's a reasonable price to join and gives you big discounts on campground fees. The Good Sam Club is also another club you can join for discounts, and AAA will often give you discounts as well.

    Food: This is the easiest place to save money. Simply eat out of a cooler. If you do this for most meals, your food costs really won't be much more, if any, than you pay at home to eat making your food costs kinda moot. Stock up from home and then refill at grocery stores along the way, not mini-marts. It's also easier to eat healthy this way. I typically eat out of my cooler most meals but do budget some extra funds for meals when I find a place with unique or intrigueing cuisine, especially regional favorites. When I do eat out of a cooler, most are cold meals like sandwiches, fruit, protein bars, nuts, etc., but I do take a small campstove with cooking kit and will sometimes make a hot evening meal if I get to a campground fairly early in the evening. I will also sometimes pick up something hot from a mini-mart or fastfood place, like a single burger, and then supplement it with a salad, fruit, and drink from my cooler.

    Entertainment: To be honest, most of the cost of good restaurant meals come out of my entertainment budget. I tend to consider those things "extras" since I focus on eating out of my cooler. This is the part of your budget where you have the greatest flexilibty. If you're going to be going to a lot of national parks, look into getting a National Parks pass for about $50. This will save you a lot of money on your trip. If you're going to be spending a lot of time in a certain state visiting their state parks, google that state's state parks website as the various states also usually have passes that will make visiting multiple state parks cheaper than paying any individual entry fees. Of course, things like theme parks and other entry fees to places like museums, etc. can really add up. A membership in AAA will often give you discounts to these things but, sometimes, you can't get the discount at the door but, instead, you need to order the tickets ahead of time through your state's AAA office...not always though.

    I think a AAA membershp is a great investment. Not only does it give you piece of mind if you have a breakdown requiring roadside assistance, but it does give you access to a lot of discounts for the types of expenses found on a roadtrip.

    Hope this helps!

  4. #4

    Default thanks :)

    Thank you everyone for your priceless advice!

    I think if I specify more of what I'm looking for in a trip, perhaps future advice will be easier to provide?

    I would love to hit each of the main areas of the USA: Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, Northwest, Pacific and Atlantic Coasts... and do whatever I can to get a good feel for the culture in each area (local food, local customs, local people, etc.).

    *Is there anything in each area that I shouldn't miss?

    I would also like to split my time:
    1/2 in outdoors, hiking, parks, forests, sightseeing
    1/4 in major cities
    1/4 in local small-towns

    *Is there anything in these categories that I shouldn't miss?

    Also, we will definitely be stopping in Washington DC and New Mexico to visit family, so our route will have to include those two.

    I went cross country when I was 12 years old and I remember some of the best things we did were the off-the-beaten-path oddities that America has to offer. Are there any things in that category that shouldn't be missed?

    I'm trying to be as specific as possible...

    Ok, last question. I am a total food-nut, I love to cook, love to eat, and love to explore new and great food. Is there any great restaraunt or culinary fare that I should not miss on my trip?

    Thank you thank you thank you for all your help. I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate it!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Broad Outline - Tight Timeline

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    To get you started, you should probably do what many of us do when we're thinking about a RoadTrip, namely pick a goal or purpose (you've already done that), then lay out the major places that you'll want to see along the way (more on that in a second), and then finally start filling in the details and out-of-the-way quick stops. To try to fulfill all of the goals you've set for yourself, you might consider the following itinerary of major stops:

    Outer Banks of North Carolina
    Great Smoky Mountains/Memphis/Ozarks
    New Mexico:
    . (north): Salinas Pueblos/Petroglyph National Monument
    . (south): Carlsbad Caverns/White Sands
    Petrified Forest/Grand Canyon/Las Vegas
    Los Angeles/Pacific Coast Highway/San Francisco
    Crater Lake/Mount Ranier/Seattle
    Yellowstone/Devils Tower/Badlands
    Mitchell, SD/Amana Colonies, IA/Chicago
    Niagara Falls/Adirondacks

    Those would meet all your stated goals, BUT, as you can see, with only four weeks, you have only about 3-4 days for each line of that itinerary. You are going to be very pressed for time to make this a relaxed and enjoyable trip, so you may want to consider cutting back a bit. As you can see, making such a list really starts to bring your trip into focus and let you see what you're trying to accomplish. As for some of your more nebulous goals, such as getting a feel for the culture, eating local food, meeting local people, and seeing oddities, these are all best accomplished by travelling the 'blue highways'. These are great and I applaud your sense of adventure, but such a travel style takes time and you will have to cut back elsewhere.

    Finally, just some general advice. Take the time to stop at both the major welcome centers as you enter a new state (great source of general info and coupons good for reduced prices on attractions, food and lodging) and the local visitor centers in the smaller towns (incredible resource for the best in local dining - be sure to ask the attendants where they eat.)


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Wherever the journey takes me...


    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    be sure to ask the attendants where they eat.)

    All excellent advice, as usual! I wanted to highlight this point however.

    It is so very true! If you're sick of Denny's, Cracker Barrel and McDonald's, definitely ask the locals what their favorite dining places are. If you're in the mood for something specific, i.e. mexican, ask the person where they would go if they wanted mexican. In Phoenix, that answer is easy...Macayo's. :)

    Also, the front desk at most nicer hotels (two stars and higher...basically at least a Comfort Inn or similar) usually has lists of local attractions, restaurants, entertainment venues, etc, but you probably wont find this at Jimmy Bob's Motel, Auto Repair and Bait Shop in BFE. The front desk people are generally also very knowledgeable about the area, too, or they can find someone who can answer your question.

    Uh oh...this might get long....

    I think, perhaps, one of the most important things to do prior to your trip, at least a month or two beforehand, is to do research on upcoming events in the cities you're planning on stopping. If there is a major convention, NASCAR race or sporting event (World Series, Super Bowl, etc), or other event, like the Auto Shows in Carlisle, PA, hotel rooms will fill up quickly and early, and it can be very difficult, at best, to find a room on short, or immediate, notice. If you plan on visiting that town or city during the event, you'd be smart to make a hotel/campground/accomodation reservation well in advance to guarantee that you at least have a place to stay at that point on your journey. Usually, if there's nothing special going on, it's fairly easy to find a hotel room, especially right off the freeway.

    DO: Stop at your local hotel chains, Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, Choice Hotels, etc and pick up their national hotel directories.
    DON'T: Leave home without leaving a tenative itinerary with someone, and calling if that changes.
    DO: Make hotel reservations in advance for places that tend to book early.
    DO: Get a AAA PLUS Membership (or upgrade to Plus) if you do not have one. The standard AAA membership only gives you 3 miles of towing for free, and then you have to pay a fairly steep charge ($1.50/mile or so) after that. The plus gives you 100 miles of free towing, and a lot of other benefits that you won't get with the Standard AAA membership.
    DO: USE your AAA membership to get discounts at hotels, attractions, and entertainment venues.
    DO: USE your AAA Membership and local AAA office to help you find a hotel room if you're having trouble finding one on your own. Many times, you'll even save a few bucks off your rate if you book it through AAA.
    DON'T: Assume anything, yes, AAA carries a fairly expensive yearly rate, but if you use it, it pays for itself very quickly. It's like added insurance, you don't want to not have it if you need it.
    DO: Alert your bank and credit card companies that you will be going on a long road trip. I had a problem when my bank saw charges outside of my "home area" and they put a hold on check card purchases. I had to spend 2 hours at a gas station clearing things up with my bank so I could buy gas.
    DO: Use your cruise control!

    Most of the time, it's the little preparations that you make that make the trip go much more smoothly and help to alleviate headaches.

    Speaking of headaches, if you're prone to headaches, bring some Advil! And don't forget the rest of the first aid kit!

    There's a lot of equipment that I recommend that every roadtripper has as well.

    CB Radio with weather band and weather alert - You can get up to the minute weather reports over the NOAA Weather Radio and be better prepared for the conditions that are approaching. If you're driving 600 miles, you won't know what the weather is going to be like halfway through, and just because it's sunny and warm in Memphis, doesn't mean it'll be the same in Oklahoma City. Channel 9 is a universal Emergency channel as well. In most areas, there are people monitoring this channel 24/7. If your radio is properly installed and your antenna is properly tuned, you can get a good 15-20 miles of range on a CB radio and get in contact with emergency personnel, even if you have no cell phone reception. Most truckers monitor channel 19, and they are a very good resource for traffic reports, and alternate routes. I do suggest brushing up on your CB Lingo first though, because the first time you tune in, you probably won't understand a word they're saying - oh, and if you're sensitive to rather brash language, you probably don't want to listen in too much, some truckers have some pretty foul mouths.

    First aid kit with a wide assortment of bandages and other equipment - you may be the first people to come to the scene of an accident on a deserted highway, and you can mean the difference in life and death to someone who is trapped in their car. Administering basic first aid and contacting emergency personnel will make you a hero in the victims eyes, and you'll feel great for doing so. I know that every accident I have passed by I have been filled with a deep feeling of remorse for not stopping to help, but I guess that's partly because I used to be an EMT. Take a basic first aid class and learn CPR. Most local YMCAs and Red Cross organizations will offer such classes for a very nominal fee/donation, and it is something that will help you years down the road. You never know what the next curve may bring.

    Radar Detector - where legal - Yes, really. While this forum, and the users and administrators of this forum never condone illegal activity or speeding/reckless driving, we've all had our speed get away from us from time to time, especially on long down-grades on the interstate, or long flat, straight sections of I-70 in Kansas, but that's a story for a different day. Many Radar detectors on the market today also have an Emergency Vehicle Approach warning. Ambulances, Fire Trucks and Police Cars emit a special band of radar when they are running full code, and these radar detectors will pick up on that radar emission long before you'll hear the sirens or see the lights. This will give you more than enough time to snap out of your semi-conscious state and find a safe place to pull over or move right, long before the EV gets to you and you have to panic to get out of the way. Note: I do not condone speeding, but we've all had situations where we've let the car get away from us a little bit and caught ourselves going 10 or 15mph over the speed limit, keeping with the flow of traffic, or just driving along in our own little worlds. A radar detector can mean the difference between a warning and a $400 speeding ticket. Radar Detectors are expressly illegal in Virginia, the District of Columbia, Massachussets and Canada. They are frowned upon in Conneticut, Texas, Oklahoma and many other states.

    Music and a working stereo: Who likes to travel long distances without music, books on tape, or some other form of auditory entertainment? If you have an iPod, search iTunes for podcasts that are of interest to you. These can be a lifesaver on long road trips. You can buy an iPod controller for almost any factory installed car stereo that has CD Changer controls. They're available online and on eBay. Many aftermarket stereos also support various iPod control devices. These control devices allow you to control the iPod using the controls on your stereo instead of fumbling around with the iPod. Don't forget to include some music that you DON'T like to help you stay awake as you get fatigued towards the end of the day.

    Emergency Rations and blankets: This is important, even in summer. The blankets can be used to keep warm, or to create shade. As I said before, you never know what the next curve might bring, and you could end up stuck on the interstate for several hours due to construction, an accident, a bridge collapse, rock slide, or any number of other unforseen circumstances. You do NOT want to be stuck in traffic on the highway, stopped in one location, for 6, 8, 10, or even 12 hours without some kind of ration and/or shade/warth utility. I always carry a case of bottled water in my truck as well as blankets. In the summer time, a blanket can be strung up between two cars to create a nice shady area for people to sit out of the cars while waiting for the road to be reopened. I was stuck on I-78 in Pennsylvania for 14 hours once when a tanker truck exploded. Another part of this might be a portable latrine. Nothing is worse than having to hold it for several hours while you wait for the road to clear, and there is very little as embarrasing as relieving yourself on the side of the road in front of a thousand other motorists. A laptop and a small assortment of DVDs can be very useful in this situation as well. This is another situation where the CB is very useful as you can get forewarning of the upcoming accident and get off the freeway before it's too late, and/or find out that you're going to be there for a while and decide to shut off your car to save gas and hunker down for a couple hours and take a nap.


    If you see a majority of the truckers diving off the freeway, or pulling off into a rest area, it would be wise to do the same and find out why they've all exited and possibly find an alternate route.

    If you feel yourself starting to have to "go," then get off the freeway and GO! As I've said many times, you never know what the next curve will bring, and it would be awful if you got stuck between two exits, having to go, and not being able to move for several hours, I've been there, I know!

    Get a dedicated map for every state you plan on visiting, as well as local city maps for every city you plan on visiting. You can never have too many maps.

    Use your AAA Membership that you've bought since you started reading my epic post to get a TripTik. You can pre-plan your route on regional maps, and take that to the AAA office and have them make a TripTik for you. They are free for members! Make a copy of the TripTik, as well as your regional maps, and type up a list of all the places you plan to visit and the days you plan on visiting and give all of this to a friend or family member who is staying behind in your home town. If your plans change, inform your contact immediately. Call that person at least once every couple of days to check in and report your progress. All of your friends and family who you will be out of contact with will be dying to hear stories, and this contact person can serve as a sort of relay to them. Also, set up a sort of plan with them on when and how often you'll call. That way, they'll know that if you don't call for 96 hours or whatever, that something may (but hopefully not) have happened to you and they can inform the authorities. By filing a trip plan, you'll have someone who knows where you've been and where you're supposed to be going, and they can provide that information to the local authorities who will be searching for you. Don't forget to tell that person your cars make, model, year, color and license plate.

    And for Pete's sake...take some pictures! This is a trip that you'll remember forever. However, some of the landmarks, and places along the way may fade or become fuzzy, and all of your friends and family will be dying to see pictures of all the wacky stuff you saw along the way!

    But, most of all, don't push yourselves too hard, and don't stress too much if you don't get to see the world's largest ball of string on this trip. There are always going to be other opportunities! Enjoy the drive, and just have fun! It's a vacation, it's not supposed to be work!

  7. #7
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Well put!

    Findapath put it very well.

    I agree with him on the AAA Plus or higher aspect. A basic membership is pretty much useless for towing. The average tows are more than a few miles and would cost almost equivilent to a years membership for one tow! Its like four calls for the price of one! I renewed mine even though I really couldn't afford it just because I can't afford to not to. A 1991 Dodge tends to break down after a while.

    Just keep it safe and stay between the lines.


  8. #8

    Default budget

    I'm currently working on building a budget for the summer's trip. Here's where it is now...

    $1,500.00 gas (9,000 miles/18 mpg/$3 per gal)
    $600.00 lodging (camping 90% of the time)
    $1,200.00 food ($20 per person per day)
    $500.00 entertainment (admissions, etc)
    $200.00 extra

    $4,000 TOTAL ($2,000 per person)

    How does that sound? It sounds more than I had expected. Am I too high? Too low? About right? How can I cut this back????

    Any advice would be appreciated!

    (by the way, we will be taking our own car, not renting and trying to eat out of a cooler as much as possible)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Looks pretty good!

    I would just make a few adjusments:

    Fuel: If you expect the major routes of your trip to be 9000, you really need to add extra for those things that will take you off-highway. Even pulling off the highway for fuel/food/lodging can add up. Add in detours to historic sites, hiking, etc., and it adds up even more. I typically add 30% to my base miles as my estimate. More often than not, I'm under that 30% add-on but there have been a few times when I've gone over that. And considering that I regularly paid closer to $3.50 last summer for gas, I think hoping for $3/gallon for your entire trip is a tad low. Remember, gas is always higher in the summer. And different states have different prices that are usually determined by the taxes/fees they add to their fuel costs. You might check out Gas Buddy where you can check out current low/high prices in various states and metro areas. I would check this as you get closer to your trip before you fine-tune your fuel budget.

    So, personally, I would figure 12,000/18mpg/$4.00 per gallon (I do like to budget high for this expense) for $2667.00

    Lodging: Are you going for 4 weeks or 6 weeks? $600/28 nights=$21.48 per night. A lot of campgrounds are in the $20 range but many states have tax added to that. And, while you might sometimes find campgrounds for cheaper, particularly if you take advantage of the camping discount club I previously mentioned, but you might also be paying more some nights. On this budget, I would say that you will need to plan on camping every night that you aren't visiting friends/family and staying there. But I still think it's a bit close. I would pad it a bit and figure more like $25 per night ($25*28=$700). Well, actually, I would pad it a bit more and figure a hotel room at least once per week just in case camping doesn't work out for you every night so I would probably budget closer to $1000 for lodging. If you are planning on 6 weeks, you're obviously looking at $25*42=$1050.

    Food: $20 per person per day is reasonable if virtually all your meals will be out of your cooler and cheaper fastfood places. However, you mentioned that you're a bit of a food-nut who would like to explore the different, regional culinary delights. I see no way you can do this budget.

    The $500 & $200 for entertainment and extras is probably reasonable depending on what you decide to do and see. This varies so much from person-to-person and trip-to-trip that it's almost impossible to advise someone on this.

    I hope that this doesn't deflate you as I know you're trying to do this on a tight budget. I think the food and lodging budgets that you came up with are do-able but only if you are extremely diligent and really watch each expense carefully. Personally, I like to have a bit more wiggle-room in case I'm in the mood for a more "resort-style" campground with lots of amenities that costs more or if the weather is bad or if the campground is just too far off the highway and I'm sick of driving so I might decide a hotel is a better option that night. Your budget doesn't allow you those types of options as easily. If you could pad it a bit more, it would just open those options. And I would hate for you to miss a great BBQ in the south, or seafood along the coasts, whatever because your food budget is too tight to allow it.

    But only you can answer how disciplined you are and whether or not you will still enjoy this trip enough to do it within these budget restrictions. Hope this makes sense.

    I just wanna say that I'm a master of cheap road-tripping. I have done trips with limited budgets, eating virtually all my meals from my pantry and stocking up at Costco before I leave with limited purchases at grocery stores along the way for fresh stuff, and doing few activities outside what I've spent on my National Parks Pass, no souvenirs except pictures, and camping every night at more inexpensive campsites. It can be done. I just enjoy my trips a bit more when I don't HAVE to stay on such a spartan budget.

    So, if you can save more, please do. But if you just can't save more and you still really want to do this trip, go for it! Make it work and enjoy what you can afford to do. The sights you will see will offset any scrimping you need to do. Really! Enjoy...
    Last edited by PNW Judy; 10-26-2006 at 02:55 PM. Reason: added some info

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Wherever the journey takes me...


    Quote Originally Posted by mightiesarah View Post
    I would love to hit each of the main areas of the USA: Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, Northwest, Pacific and Atlantic Coasts... and do whatever I can to get a good feel for the culture in each area (local food, local customs, local people, etc.).

    Also, we will definitely be stopping in Washington DC and New Mexico to visit family, so our route will have to include those two.

    Oops! I missed this before!

    You could spend 3 months just exploring each region of the country! If I was going to be doing a trip like this, my itinerary would look something like this...

    Since you live in Boston, I'm going to assume that you've been to New York City and have seen it several times, so I'm going to leave that off. However, if you've never been to NYC, you should definitely go at least once in your lifetime. Personally, I don't like NYC, as I don't think it's that representative of America, but it is definitely worth a trip. You could easily kill 2 weeks there! However, since you're going to be in a time constraint, I'd skip it on this trip.

    Philadelphia is definitely a city you will want to stop in. Check out the Liberty Bell and all of the Benjamin Franklin and Masonic history there. Philly really has a lot to offer.

    Washington, DC would be at the top of my list. I've lived there for pretty much my whole life, except for college. There is so much history, and government, and culture that you can't possibly see everything in even a week. If you're going to be doing the touristy thing, I personally wouldn't spend TOO much time at the Smithsonian, because you can really get trapped there. There is so much to see that you'll have to make a second trip. I think this road trip of yours is going to end up being kind of a primer for future trips on what you want to see more of. If I only had 3 days in DC and I wanted to do the touristy thing, I would do Washington on the first two days and Virigina on the third. Check out the White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Capitol Building, Botanical Gardens, the Reflecting Pool on Day 1, that will easily eat up an entire day. There are a lot of great places to eat in DC, too, and I mean a LOT. However, it can get very expensive. Day 2, you're going to have to do the museum thing. The Hirshhorn gallery is one of my favorites. The Air & Space museum is classic. The National Archives is another place you'll want to see, along with the Museum of Natural History and the Musuem of American History. The National Gallery of Art is another great museum. I will warn you though, DC gets VERY hot in the summer and walking around on the Mall all day is exhausting. If you like seafood, and are willing to splurge a little bit, Philips Flagship Seafood Restaurant on the Waterfront is spectacular! For a little bit more of the Local DC Scene, check out Adams Morgan. That's where a lot of the smaller night-clubs are, local bands play there almost every night, lots of bars and such. Arlington National Cemetary should be another stop on your list, as well as the Iwo Jima Memorial in Rosslyn, Virginia. You can get just about anywhere in DC by Metro or Bus. You can buy an unlimited trip daily pass for $5, and that will give you free bus transfers, as well. You can have your family drop you off at the local metro station. 2 daily metro tickets will be cheaper than parking in DC.

    Like I said, you could kill 3 months in each region if you really wanted to see everything.

    Outer Banx, North Carolina This is another must-see. It's very very busy and touristy during the summer months, but it's also one of the very few places in the US where you can drive on the beach if you have a 4WD, and if you go North of Corolla towards the Virginia border, you can drive along side Wild Spanish Mustangs. We rent a house in Carova (about 10 miles up the beach from where the pavement ends in Corolla, and we get horses in the carport and on our deck. It's really something. You absolutely do need a 4WD vehicle to get up there though. There's also the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk, which is definitely worth seeing if you're there, but I wouldn't make a trip down there just for that.

    From there I'd head over to Memphis, TN and see Graceland and all the other great things Memphis has to offer.

    As this post is starting to get really long, and I'm not trying to write a book here, I'll just list off the other places that I would visit if I were doing a "Round The Country trip". These are in no particular order, except how they popped into my

    New Orleans, LA
    Santa Fe/Albuquerque, NM
    Colorado Springs, CO (Pikes Peak)
    Sedona, AZ
    Grand Canyon
    Los Angeles, CA
    San Francisco, CA
    Las Vegas, NV
    Seattle, WA
    Vancouver, BC (bring your passports!)
    Moab, UT
    Chicago, IL
    Niagara Falls, ON (the Canadian side is much better!)
    Adirondack Mtns, NY

    And that's just the start.

    There's so much to see, it's just not possible to do it all in one trip!

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