We are planning a six week road trip across the U.S. in 2011 but haven't decided when to go yet but I'm thinking Spring would be an ideal time. We will fly into LA from Australia and pick up a rental car from there.
In July and August 2009 I did a trip with my Son and we visited the Canadian Rockies and also travelled to Glacier National Park in Montana and would like to go back to Glacier if we can fit it in on the 2011 trip. After leaving the Rockies we flew from Calgary to San Francisco and drove from there to Yosemite and then to Santa Monica and to San Diego. We also had four days in New York and two days in Washington DC. We visited Las Vegas in 2004 and I did a one day trip to Grand Canyon West from there.
For this trip I'll be travelling with my wife and we'd like to head up the coast to Seattle and also visit places like Yellowstone NP, Mount Rushmore, Bryce Canyon & Zion NPs, Death Valley and Grand Canyon. We'd also like to go to Colorado to see the American Rockies.
We'd also like to see Chicago and travel along the East Coast, visiting New York and Washington DC, and travel north to Boston and through the New England area, possibly seeing Maine and Vermont as well as upper New York state. I would also be interested in travelling south to see North and South Caroline and even Florida but that's probably trying to do too much in the one trip.
There are so many places to see and our main initial decision is to choose the best time of year. I know that Summer is too hot to comfortably visit places like Death Valley and I assume for other places like Bryce and Zion. We were thinking about maybe going in the second half of April and all of May but I've just been reading that May may not the best time to visit Colorado. I know it will not be possible to visit all of these areas at an ideal time and that we may have to leave out some places from our plans but I would appreciate any advice on best months for this trip. Maybe if we started the trip in mid May and travelled until late June would be better. I love mountain scenery so would like to see the Rockies with some snow still on the peaks. We can also consider September/October as an alternative.
We have been thinking about driving across the country, either as a one way, dropping the car off in New York and paying a one way drop fee (which is $500 with Hertz, but I haven't checked other companies yet) or as a return trip, possibly driving along the north, heading to New York and travelling back along the south.
The other possibility is to do a circle Western trip, travelling up to Seattle, and visiting the places I mentioned above, then travel back to LA and flying to the East Coast or to Chicago and then driving around that side of the country. There are places all over the country we'd be interested in seeing so if we drove the entire trip we'd save on drop off fees and also air fares but would spend a few more days travelling in the middle of the country.
I would expect that we would not book ahead for accommodation but would call a few days ahead to book in major cities, and if we avoid the peak Summer periods hopefully we shouldn't have any problems. We could possibly add another week if necessary but have to decide that before booking our flights from Australia.
Thanks for any advice you can offer.