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  1. Default From Ohio to West Coast and back - Mid May to Mid June

    Hey guys, I've read all the posts I can about a similar trip and for right now really would like just some ideas on "must-sees".

    A little about my brother and I so you can realize our interests. I'm 28 and my brother is 21. We love adventuring and making memories. We enjoy the outdoors, seeing the sites, as well as hitting the big cities to visit bars and whatnot.

    We plan on leaving mid-May (after finals) and venturing the Northern route and looping back down the West coast and heading back the Southern route. Priority would be spending some good time in California but I don't want to have wasted time/miles during the trip to and from. So any advice as to what we should see on the way there would be greatly appreciated at this point. Then later, advice on the best routes to take would be amazing!

    I am going to greatly take in mind the advice on the PA to West coast post already made previously.

    Some of the destinations that I've noted so far would be Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Death Valley, Muir Woods, Golden Gate bridge, Fisherman's wharf, Alcatraz, San Diego, San Fran, LA, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Moab, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, then try to spend a few days in Utah/Colorado hopefully hit some rapids. Then probably shoot back to Ohio.

    I know you guys would like a more structured post to ask for specifics, but right now I just want some general advice as to what I shouldn't miss on this big trip.

    Once we get the Big "Must-Sees" down, then some minor "Should-Sees" will be considered since we will have to make stops in-between major destinations.

    Thanks a lot guys, I really appreciate any advice given. And promise to not waste too much of your time due to the fact that there are already similar posts and I will take a lot of that information in which you've already donated your time towards.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default what matters to you

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I think the best general advice we can give is that there is no such thing as a generic "must see" thing. The only things that are must sees are things that you think are a top priority for your personal trip.

    Certainly, all of the places you've listed so far are great places to visit, and really there isn't a national park I've visited yet that I've been disappointed by, so you may just want to spend some time going through the national parks service's website to find more places that might be of interest to you.

    I would also encourage you not to get too caught up in the details. Certainly, spend lots of time looking up places you might be interested in, but also leave room to explore the things you'll find just by being out there. Its that ability to build your own trip based on your own interests, and finding those little things that you'll never find on any website or in any book, that can really make a roadtrip special.

  3. Default

    I realize there may not be a generic "must see", but I know there are plenty of experienced travelers on here that can look at an itinerary or even my weak list of possible destinations that can give me input and say, "ooh, while you're out that way you gotta see _____." That's all I was asking.

    I do have a question, is the National Park Pass worth it? I would imagine it is, I plan on going to at least 3-4 places that accept it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default probably

    Sorry, but when you are talking about the entire western 2/3rds of the country, the list of possible "must sees" would count into the millions. If you would like more ideas, we've got well over 1,000 ideas in our A-Z list, but even that just skims the surface, but you need to figure out what works for you.

    The National Parks pass will pay for itself after about the 4th visit. The pass costs $80 and is good for a year. The most popular parks, like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon, cost about $20 each usually for a week long pass. Some of the less visited parks, may cost a little less. Remember, the pass is only good for admission, it doesn't cover tours, parking, or camping fees.

    It looks like you'd clearly go past the break even point based on the points you've listed so far, but if you think you'll only be visiting 4-5 parks, it would be worth looking at the NPS website and see what the admission fees are for each of the specific parks and do the math to see which is the better deal.

  5. Default

    Thank you very much for the link, I am looking at it now. It helps give me a better idea.

  6. #6

    Default Maybe-Sees

    Hey, love the itinerary so far. Im going on a similar one this summer as well. 1 got to say thought, that there are some major miles between those destinations. You should find some fun roadside attractions to help ease those long drives. I always use this website, great for finding some of the fun, just off-the-road sights.

    Another thing, if you are going to be in southern Utah, you have to see Monument Valley. It is a Navajo-run park, so the National Park Pass will not work there, but its only $5 per person. One of best stops long my last cross country trip.

    Another Must-See is definitely Arches National Park. If Moab is a stop, it really is worth every bit of time spent.

    Good luck on the, and just wondering, what are you going to do for lodging? Camping? Motels? Make sure the stops aren't too far apart, too much driving will make you two go insane!

  7. Default

    Thanks for the heads up Luther IV, I will check out that site when I get out of class. I would love to see the Navajo park and Arches is already a pinpoint on the map for us so I'm glad it's worthwhile. We plan on doing both camping and motels/hotels. We're not big campers so it'll be somewhat of a challenge but just have to, especially since we'll be in a few parks any way. We plan on spending about 4 weeks so I hope everything will fit in (or at least most). And I think the furthest drive for us is approximately 600miles, so it's not too bad plus we're in no real time-crunch, if we gotta stop we'll stop.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Putting it together

    Arches is great and one of the best camping spots I have been to, set right among the red rocks. While you are there a trip down the 'Islands in the Sky' Mesa in Canyonlands to Grand view point is fantastic and a walk along the Trial to the viewpoint is awesome.
    You could also drive to Dead horse point at the same time, more great views ! If you are heading to I 70 from Moab follow the Colorado river on 128 as it carves it's way through the canyon to Castle valley and Fisher Towers.

    Depending on how your time goes by, Colorado has quite a bit to offer. Near to Grand junction you have the Colorado National Monument and it's a great drive along the rim road. If you head South you have the amazing "Million dollar highway", the 550 that runs through great little towns like Ouray and Silverton to Durango and Mesa Verde is not to far away. Options would include Black canyon of the Gunnison, Currecanti National recreation area, The Great Sand dunes NP and Rocky mountain NP.

    These are just a tiny amount of options just from Colorado, and as Michael said there are millions of possibilities out there. Keep looking around the forums and as you find things of interest to you, start putting them together. When you have an outline of your chosen route we can help much more with constructive suggestions of how to get the best from it.

    Enjoy the planning !

  9. Default

    Great thanks . . . depending on how my time goes I would love to hit up Colorado for some whitewater rafting. I do have pinpoints on google maps of all the places I plan to go so far, which has been added to since my first post. Once I trim it up I would love some advice as to the route, instead of GPS which I'm sure will make me lose hours of quality time.

  10. Default The Time is Near!!

    Ok, I think we finally got the trip down. Keep in mind that even though not every single stop will be listed, we will be stopping on our way through places. Such as, we will stop at Indianapolis on our way from Youngstown, Ohio (hometown) to St. Louis. Basically what I am saying is that I am only listing our main focal points.

    So here it is.

    Youngstown, OH to
    St. Louis, IL to
    Denver, CO to
    Arches National Park, UT to
    Bryce Canyon National Park, UT to
    Grand Canyon National Park, UT to
    Flagstaff, AZ to
    Las Vegas, NV to
    San Diego, CA to
    Venice Beach/LA, CA to
    Yosemite, CA to
    San Fransisco, CA to
    Portland, OR to
    Seattle, OR to
    Bellingham, WA to
    Vancouver, Canada (possibly) to
    Yellowstone National Park, WY to
    Bighorn National Monument, MT to
    Mount Rushmore, SD to
    Cedar Rapids, IA to
    Youngstown, OH

    Please let me know what you think, and if there are any hints in driving from place to place. We plan on camping at the parks and staying in cheap motels on the way. We are going to use the application Roadside America for fun things to stop and see along the way.

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