I am looking for any advice on my first road trip. I am in my twenties and traveling with my GF.
The route I have planned is:
Day1: LA to Grand Canyon
Day2: Grand Canyon to Zion NP
Day3: Zion NP to Northern Utah (probably SCL - any recommendations?)
Day4: Northern Utah to Grand Teton NP
Day5: Grand Teton to Yellowstone
Day6: Yellowstone to Rapid City (want to Beartooth Hwy)
Day7: Jewel Caves, Mount Rusmore, Badlands NP
Day8: Badlands to Sioux Falls
Day9: Sioux Falls to Madison or Chicago (depending on time)
Day11: Chicago to Erie, Pennsylvania
Day12: Erie to CT
1) Other than making reservations in Yellowstone and Chicago, should I make reservations for other stops? What is the best method to find safe, but cheap places to stay? I feel like I should organize every hotel now to get the best rates, but I want flexibility incase we fall a day behind.
2) What is the best route to take Beartooth Hwy to get to Rapid City Area? Is it even doable in a day or does it depend where we stay in Yellowstone?
3) How much time is needed to do Jewel Caves, Mount Rushmore and Badlands? Would my extra day be better spent in Grand Teton/ Yellowstone?
4) Any recommendations for a place to stop between Chicago and CT? I don't want to stop in Cleveland
I am really struggling between trying to plan too much and just enjoying the freedom of a road trip.