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  1. Default March/April Roadtrip Right Across the States!


    I'm a student from the UK and have a long easter break in March/April 2010 so my boyfriend and I were hoping to spend around 4 weeks in the USA... I've tried to check out costs / routes etc but thought it might be best to seek out advice from people who are more seasoned travellers or people actually live there so I can get some pointers on must-see places and route advice :)

    We'll both be 25, so hoping that hiring a car won't be too extortionate - though we are planning for a one way trip, so I know there'll be a lump sum involved with dropping off. Basically, we're looking to fly into New York, spend a couple of days there and then drive across to LA, but I'm unsure of the route to take - hopefully you guys can help me out with this!

    We were originally considering :
    NY - Niagra Falls - Chicago - - - Grand Canyon - Death Valley - ?San Fran - LA

    But none of this is really set in stone, other than the start and end points, so I'm open to suggestions! We love scenery (so definitely want to fit in as many national parks as is possible), general sightseeing - out of the way 'oddities' as well as the famous sights etc and we like to be busy.. I know it's a bit of a monster drive, but I love driving and am happy to cover a fair mileage in a day, especially if there's some stop offs en route.

    I was just wondering what people would suggest about the iterary (specifically the bit between Chicago and Grand Canyon - should we avoid the northern states as I know it'll still be pretty cold weather-wise?) and whether it's realistic? We don't have a massive budget so we're not looking to be extravagent - cheap motels, eating out of a cooler and free/cheap attractions for the most part.

    Sorry for the rambling message - any help would really be appreciated!


  2. Default

    Hi, I am from NY...I just started to research traveling cross country. From what I understand it takes a month and half to really enjoy it and not miss everything in between. I am planning a 3 week trip in the end of April/May and will only go as far as the '4 corners' (where utah, new mexico, arizona and colorado meet). I think NYC is so fun, I recommend spending at least 3 days/nights there. I know you are not planning on going south but Florida-Fort Lauderdale beach is one of my favorite places if you can get there. I hear california is awesome, some day we'll go by plane and spend a week there alone. I hear grand canyon is awesome, I know someone who saw it on a mule, sounds like you have to be adventurous to do that! but I'd imagine there are less scarier ways to see it? Everyone thinks Niagara Falls is so close and in some ways it is but its also a long drive if you want to get to LA too!
    I think the other people on here will have more and better advice than me! Good Luck!

  3. Default

    Thanks :) Yeh, I thought that people might think it was too short time-wise to see everything, but it's so hard to know what to exclude!

    Just to add regarding my previous message - -I meant to include this:,78.662109&z=4

    The route is *very* rough, obviously, and it's the Chicago - Grand Canyon part that I really have no idea about (Google maps just defaulted to this route, I'm guessing as the shortest way between the two) but I really am pretty ignorant of which states inbetween are most scenic/interesting etc!

    Last edited by Beckit15; 12-17-2009 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Wrong link!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Research.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    To be honest you would need a lifetime and still not see everything !

    I would get a good map of the USA and look at places of interest to you along the way as you have plenty of options open to you. Using Google maps you can drag and drop the blue line to alter routes and give you alternatives.

    There is certainly plenty to see on the way to Grand canyon and you will be passing many other National parks, especially by going through Colorado and Utah where there is a large collection of the best. There are also many miles of scenic drives and at the moment just too much to list. When you have looked at a map use the search button to navigate around the forums to get more info on places that appeal. You might also find the interactive map from the National parks site useful as it has info on every park in the country.

    When you have a better idea of what you want to see and do and got a few dots on the map we can help you fine tune your trip and join them together but you need to do a little more research first.

    With 4 weeks you have time to do your trip and get and get an overview of places along the way, but time soon dissapears.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the link Southwest Dave :) I'll definitely check out the national parks and try to narrow the route down some from that...

    As a starting point, I was wondering whether the weather is likely to be an issue if we were to take a northern route as opposed to a southern one - we're intending to hire a pretty standard vehicle to save on costs and petrol, so I was just aware that we don't want to head to National Parks/ areas that are going to be impassable!

    Thanks again for your help!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Choices.

    The National parks site will give you all the info on park status, but no you won't find that a Northern route will cause you any concern. You will find some high elevation passes closed in some parks such as Trail ridge rd in Rocky mountain NP Colorado, as well as the Tioga pass in Yosemite, California. A lot of Yellowstone will be closed still if you intended on going that far North but some amazing parks along the I 70 corridor would include Rocky NP, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce canyon and Zion, which are all "out of this world". Search the forums for info on the "Million dollar highway" and the towns of Silverton, Ouray and Durango that would take you close to Black canyon of the Gunnison and Mesa Verde NP as well as a possible drive through Monument valley to Grand canyon. As I say there are many options and plenty of them heading South as well.

    I also notice that you have a marker for Kings canyon, but first of all it's not accessible from the East side of the Sierra mountain range and it still might be closed at that time of year. [again check the website].

    Yosemite is a park that shouldn't be missed, but once again you have to drive around the mountains to get there, either by going to Tahoe as you have planned and then South on 49 or going around the Southern end via Bakersfield where you could also visit the Sequoia NP, home to the largest living thing on the planet The General Sherman tree.

    It probably feels a little overwhelming at the moment but once you start picking through, it all starts to unfold and for me the planning is an enjoyable part of the trip as a whole.

    Have fun and let us know when you have more questions.

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