Hi, we are an Italian couple planning a road trip in the USA this August. We’ve been many time in the US but always visiting the main cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles… this is our first road trip and we could use some advise.
We have in total 15 days.
The idea is to fly in to New Orleans, stay there a day or two and then drive to Memphis (my girlfriend is an Elvis fan) that we think we can visit in one day. From here we are thinking about 2 possible scenarios.
The first one (perhaps the more ambitious) is to catch the old Route 66 in Springfield (MO) and drive all the way to Flagstaff (I’ve considered that will take about 3 days). Visit the Grand Canyon National Park for a couple of days and then move to Las Vegas, Death Valley and Sequoia National Park (other 3 days). After that we’d drive to S. Francisco, stay there for 3 days and eventually fly back to Italy.
The second option is to fly (I know it may sound as a blasphemy to you guys…) from Memphis to Las Vegas, drive to the Grand Canyon (2 days). Then we would like to go to Arches National Park (which is the more scenic route the I70 or the US89/160/191?) and stay there at least one day. From there we would drive all the way up to the Black Hills (through Denver) stopping somewhere along the I25 for the night. After visiting Mount Rushmore and the Devils Tower (3 days) we would drive back to Denver, this time avoiding the interstate and visit the Custer State Park and the Badlands. One day in Denver and then fly back home. Did I underestimate the distances?
Which of the 2 would you suggest considering that we want to enjoy the trip and not just race from one place to the other in order to make it?
Is it easy to find hotels / motels for the night along the route (in Italy in August that would be impossible without a reservation)?
Thanks for your help !!!!