My boyfriend and I are planning a four week road trip to the States in September 2010. We're restricted to four weeks mainly because it seems to be the maximum amount of time we can rent a hire car without incurring hefty fees, but also we've decided that for our budget, and realistically, four weeks is a good amount of time for us to explore.
Firstly, we are in our early twenties, we both enjoy big cities, natural scenery, interesting museums, small towns, good food, and nightlife, and most of all music. I studied English literature and American History at University so I obviously have an interest in both of those things, too!
We've previously taken a road trip in California in 2008 for two weeks so are familar with driving long distances/spending not too long in one place and driving automatic vehicles/on the "wrong" side of the road :)
We've printed out a huge map of the area of the states we are interested in and covered our study wall with it. We've mapped out a possible itinerary, which I would appreciate all advice/comments on. I want to make sure that the route we are following makes some sort of sense. We don't want to be tied down to reservations, so will probably only book in advance hotels/motels in major cities. We like the idea of camping, but need to work out whether buying all the camping gear (we wouldn't bring any over with us) would significantly (enough) outweigh the costs of staying in cheap motels. We're used to camping, and although I like the luxury of showers/straightening irons, I can live without for a day or so if need be! We're not really into hostels or shared accomodation though, so that is not an option.
I've spent hours reading these forums, so I hope I am not repeating questions others have asked in the past!
Please see possible itinerary below:
1. Arrive in Washington, DC. Stay here for one night
2. Drive to Virginia - spend night here - not sure where, was thinking Virginia Beach/somewhere coastal. We don't know much about Virginia so we've not got our hearts set on stopping here
3. Drive to North Carolina. Stay the night somewhere in NC. Again, we've no particular thoughts of where.
4. Drive to South Carolina. Stay in Charleston.
5. Drive to Savannah. Stay here for one night
6. Drive to Atlanta. Possibly stay here for a night - happy to just visit though.
7. Great Smokey Mountains National Park
8. Great Smokey Mountains National Park
10. Nashville. We sorta want to make a detour to Glasgow (in Kentucky) whilst we are here because we spent about 50% of our time in Glasgow, Scotland so think this might be fun! We may be completely wrong though!
11. Stop either somewhere in Alabama or Missouri to break up our journey to...
12. New Orleans
13. New Orleans
14. Loooong drive to Austin
16. Head towards Memphis...stop somewhere along the way for the evening
18. Head towards Chicago...stop somewhere along the way for the evening
From here we'd need to get back to NYC before night 28...we've been to NYC numerous times, and although I love the city, I could forfeit spending a lot of time here if the itinerary called for it. I would definitely want to be able to spend at least a day there though because it would break my heart to be so near and not take in the sights and sounds of my favourite city (tied with Paris!)
Between Chicago and NYC we'd thought of maybe going into Ohio, perhaps visiting Cleveland, then down to Pittsburgh and across PA, but if there is a more interesting route to take, then i'd be interested in hearing about it!
Sorry for the absolute essay I have just provided you with. I'd be really grateful if somebody could take the time to look over the proposed itinerary to see if they think it is realistic, or even if what we have proposed makes any sense whatsoever. We obviously think that it does, but we're crossing such huge expanses of land, it can be difficult to look at a map and understand exactly what it is we're trying to achieve. Any places you think we'd enjoy would also be gratefully received. As we are in the first stages on planning, this is really an open book for us - we'll consider any suggestions to make this the best road trip ever :)
Thanks for any & all advice!