I know there are a lot of posts in the forum about road trips down the west coast, but was just wondering if you could have a quick look over our basic plan and see what you think? My boyfriend and I will be in America for 21 days, arriving in Seattle in late August and flying out from Las Vegas in early September. It our very first road trip, and we need to keep the costs down as low as possible. We intend to stay in motels in the major cities, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas, staying in motels or hostels in each city for two nights, and camping in a tent the rest of the time.
So the idea is:-
-Seattle 2 nights,
-Camping just outside Seattle 1 night (so we can spend a bit longer during the day in the city, but keep the cost down)
-Camp near Mount Rainier 1 night
-Meeting the coast at Cape lookout, camping in the state park 1 night
-Then 3 more nights of camping along route 101 until we hit San Francisco
-2 nights of motels/hostels in San Fran, although I also read about a campsite in San Fran called Candlestick state park.
-As with Seattle camping just outside San Fran, on-route to LA
-2 more nights camping on the way to LA
-2 nights in LA
-1 night camping between LA and San Diego
-2 nights in San Diego
-Camping between San Diego and Las Vegas, halfway along the fastest route as neither of us particularly want to see Death Valley (or do you think it is worth the detour?)
-And finally 2 nights in Las Vegas.
Do you think we have spread the time appropriately, or are there areas where we should spend more or less time?
Also could you recommend any particular attractions along the way, we are especially interested in weird, retro roadside attractions, as well as scenic spots. We are hoping to just see places along the way, and be a bit spontaneous, but it would be good to have a few places pin pointed!
Would it be better to stick to route 101 (and the I-5 it changes in to), or are there any better scenic routes that we would have time to fit in. I have read recommendations to take route 1 after the redwoods, and rejoin 101 at San Francisco.
Also, when campsites say they have shower facilities does this mean cold showers or hot showers? Do the state parks have better facilities, as from looking at their websites showers seem consistent in all parks? When staying in a state park how does it work with admission fees? I understand you can buy annual passes, but do they just cover the parks in each state, or all states? Would it be better for us to just pay the individual fee for each park, as we only intend to stay for a short time?
Some of my friends have mentioned big directories containing listings of cheap deals at motels nearby. Is this right? Where would they be found in major cities, or are they only in small towns on major road trip routes?
Sorry, I seem to have written an awful lot. So many questions! And I'm sure I'll think up a lot more after I've posted this....!
Thank you, Katherine