3 Road stints across USA (SF-LA-LV, SA-AU-HO, WA-NY)
First and foremost the amount of information I have gained from reading this forum alone has been invaluable, better then what I have gotten from any book.
I am from Australia and my future wife and I are planning a cross USA trip as our honeymoon in November. Not as romantic as one would expect but we are the traveling and sight seeing types! My fiance hasn't seen much of Australia but she has been in awe of the places I have taken her too that I seen before on my previous travels. I have traveled around Australia by road and by plane and both had their pros and cons so I have pitched the idea to combine the 2 forms of travel on our honeymoon to get the experience of driving in America without it cutting too much time out of spending time in places we want to be.
We have about a month to travel and just want to be able to take in as much as we can in our time over there. We are fairly young (mid-20s) and have had a lot of energy to pack in a lot of things on our holidays.
Being a honeymoon we have a very large budget and really only time is our limit. I have put together a summarized draft itinerary and wanted to get ideas on places or experiences that in your opinion we shouldn't miss while driving between city's.
Day 1 - San Francisco (land in from Melbourne, obtain car rental at this time)
Day 2 - San Francisco
Day 3 - San Francisco
Day 4 - Drive San Francisco - Los Angeles
Day 5 - Los Angeles
Day 6 - Los Angeles
Day 7 - Los Angeles
Day 8 - Drive Los Angeles to Las Vegas
Day 9 - Las Vegas
Day 10 - Las Vegas
Day 11 - Fly Las Vegas - Denver (Return car rental at airport)
Day 12 - Denver
Day 13 - Denver
Day 14 - Fly Denver to San Antonio (Obtain car rental in San Antonio)
Day 15 - San Antonio
Day 16 - San Antonio
Day 17 - Drive San Antonio to Houston (Via Austin)
Day 18 - Houston
Day 19 - Fly Houston - Washington DC (return car rental at Houston airport and obtain new car in Washington)
Day 20 - Washington DC
Day 21 - Drive Washington DC to New York
Day 22 - New York
Day 23 - New York
Day 24 - New York
Day 25 - New York
Day 26 - Fly Back to Melbourne, AU from NYC
While this is a fairly set structure to the trip it isn't entirely set in concrete, we could add more days if needed. A couple of things I have thought about adding include:
- Stopping in Yosemite Park overnight in between SF and LA
- Day trip to and from Laredo during one of the days at San Antonio.
- adding a couple of days and driving from Washington to Niagara Falls, staying the night in Buffalo and then to New York (kinda not wanting to do this as I would really not like back tracking to NYC, and we would like to end our trip in the big apple)
- Adding an extra day to Las Vegas and driving to the Grand Canyon sky walk as a day trip to and from Vegas (or just do it on one of the days we spend in Vegas)
As you can tell I have tried to put alot of thought into this!
But please, the reason for the road stints is to get a true grasp of the American landscape and culture outside of it's major cities and would highly appreciate any suggestions into where we should stop, what we should see, what we should experience, what we should eat while driving in between the cities listed in the itinerary (which I have coloured red)
Of course if there are any suggestions on what we should do in the cities themselves or places that I could easily be slipped into that itinerary that might not be in the travel guides would also be appreciated.
Welcome to the RTA Forum!
I've got to say the one big thing that stands out in your plan is that it is almost exclusively focused on cities. You mentioned a couple places where you might take a side trip, but if you really want to get even a taste of the American landscape and culture outside of it's major cities (much less a true grasp) this trip really doesn't do that at all.
For example, there are tons of things you could do between SF and LA. You've got one of the most amazing coastal drives in the world, Yosemite, and Sequoia National Parks to name the most popular ideas. But any one of them is going to make SF to LA at least a 2 full day drive.
Similarly, you mention the Skywalk as a possible daytrip. First it should be noted that the Skywalk is not apart of the national park, and if you really want to see the Grand Canyon you need to at least spend a night, because it is just too far to drive there and back from the Grand Canyon in the same day.
But moreover, by flying from Vegas to Denver, you're going over some of the most amazing scenery in the world. There are so many national parks just between those two points, you could spend your entire month there and just scratch the surface.
Again, there is nothing wrong with your plan if you love cities and seeing the cities you've listed is your top priority. Personally, I'd find this trip to be very boring and would be extremely disappointed by all the great scenic things that I'd be missing out on, but the beauty of a roadtrip is that you can build it to fit your tastes..
Finally, if you are doing a trip that is almost exclusively in cities, then you might want to rethink your use of rental cars. San Francisco is a city where you can get around quite easily without a car, and having a car in DC and NYC is actually a negative and you'd be better off just taking the train between the two cities. Even Vegas could be a place where you'd be better off flying and then using cabs and public transit if you are just going to stay on the strip.
I have to agree with Michael, although we are a road trip forum after all. The important thing though is what you want from the trip and what has drawn you to the list of places you have, rather than it just being a list.
When I look at your itinerary, all I can think of is that you could make a wonderful road trip opportunity between Los Angeles [well actually starting day 4 from SF] and Denver if you then flew from Denver to Washington DC on day 19 without San Antonio and Houston. [Not there is anything wrong with either].
That would give you plenty of City time in SF, LA, LV, DC and NY and mix things up in the middle with truly amazing scenic drives through desert, Red rock and Alpine scenery, National parks, Monuments, lakes and mountain towns.
As things are, you are flying over some of the best and most memorable place the US has to offer in my opinion.
thank you for your honest feedback.
Granted it is not exactly skewed to the road trip side of a holiday type and we are city dwellers and love the city life but wanted it to add a road trip aspect to it. Its all skewed towards cities because they are the milestones I have used to plan the trip, I don't necersarily have to be in the city at that time.
I have heard that driving in SF and NYC was almost negatable and was also contemplating training it between washington and NYC. Living on the Australian coast our whole lives a coastal drive doesn't interest us as much as an inland drive and was definately comtemplating a drive through the yosemite on the way to LA.
As for the Grand Canyon I was tossing up whether to stay the night and I think we will just do that to take in a bit more of it.
As for Denver we are staying with a family we know there and we wanted to cut out travel to Denver to be able to spend more time with them (even cutting out days in other destinations to spend more time there). They have already planned to drive us up into the mountains and perhaps even spend a night or 2 up there with them. Which kinda made our decision not to drive to Denver.
We are very keen to do more driving in Texas, there is nothing that both my fiance and I love more then Tex-Mex food and we are very keen to do a bit of searching to hit up some more rural spots to grab an authentic bite of our favorite cuisine!
Washington and NYC are pretty much just that, we are there to see the cities more then anything else. It kinda feels cut off to the rest of the trip so one of the things we really thinking of doing was driving from Houston to Washington (via Memphis and Nashville) but would have to add at least 3-4 days to the trip which is really cutting it close to our time frame...but it is still very much an option we are heavily considering.
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