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  1. Default Planning a route to visit all 48 States

    Hi, I am new to this forum. I am planning to visit the US - not fixed the date yet. Poss 2012 or 2012, but it would be from April to July. I hate flying so instead of coming over and "doing" different areas each year, I thought the best idea would be to fly into NY, hire a car and fly back out of NY. (Minimise the flying!) I'm planning on traveling around 3 months and seeing all 50 States (cruise up to Alaska and, if I can pluck up the courage - fly out to Hawaii for a few days) - if that is at all possible in the time span.

    I have been patiently trying to work out how to do it without zigzagging up and down the country, or going backwards and forwards like a yoyo!! I'd be happy to consider Amtrak for some of the way if that would cut driving time. Maybe car hire from NY, all the eastern states down to Fl, across to Louisiana, up to Chicago. Then I get stuck! Its all those states in the middle that are confusing me! At the end, when I eventually get to CA I would go up the coast to WA and then get train back to Chicago via MT ND MN, pop up to see friends in Canada then do the New England corner before ending up back in NY.

    Any advice would be very welcome and thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Big Picture

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There are any number of ways to hit all 48 contiguous states in a single RoadTrip. Here's one from a few years ago that includes a map. The devil, of course, is in the details of finding the local roads near where several states come together that let you get to the most states in the least driving. As I recall, the record for a non-stop (multiple driver) such trip is around 7 days, maybe a shade less, so you can certainly do it in 3 months, including a cruise to Alaska and flight to Hawaii. Have you considered leaving your rental car in Seattle, cruising to Alaska, flying from there to Hawaii, and then returning from the Islands to Seattle?


  3. Default

    Thanks very much, AZBuck. I looked at the link and will go back to look at it in more detail, now I know that my idea is feasible in 3 months :) I'll also look into the possibility of flying from Alaska-Hawaii-Seatle. I had thought of L.A.-Hawaii (shortest route!!!). Needless to say, I don't just want to do a marathon, I would actually like to visit some things!!! I have the Lonely Planet USA, John Pitt's USA by Rail and the McNally Road Atlas. I think it would be better to do the "south" first, no? Otherwise it would be too hot in June and July. Once I manage to work out a "skeleton" plan I'll come back to see what you think. My biggest puzzle is how to get round MO, IO, SD, NE, KA, OK, NM, CO, WY, UT, ID NV and AZ without too much zigzagging!

  4. #4


    Good Luck. Your road trip is what you make of it. I did a 9000 mile 8 day 48 state road trip and a 2010-2011 two month 16,000 mile 48 State Capital Road trip. Both used very different maps. Get a US map, mark things you want to see and the map will easily take shape.

  5. Default Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg.Staffa View Post
    Good Luck. Your road trip is what you make of it. I did a 9000 mile 8 day 48 state road trip and a 2010-2011 two month 16,000 mile 48 State Capital Road trip. Both used very different maps. Get a US map, mark things you want to see and the map will easily take shape.
    Thank you. I am slowly getting there!

  6. Default

    I have made out a trial route plan in Word and wondered what you think about it, however I could not type it all out here - can I email it to you somewhere? thanx

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    You really have to post it here, because that's the only way that everyone will see it.

    However, you should be able to simply use "cut and paste" to take text from word and post them here.

  8. Default

    Okay, here goes. This is just a vague outline.

    from to

    NY New York NJ Princeton
    NJ Princeton PA Philadelphia
    PA Philadelphia DE New Castle
    DE New Castle MD Annapolis
    MD Annapolis DC Washington
    DC Washington VA Chantilly
    VA Chantilly MD Hagerstown
    MD Hagerstown VA Richmond Via I 81, Winchester, Harrisonburg.
    I 94 Charlottesville, Richmond
    VA Richmond NC Fayetteville
    NC Fayetteville SC Charleston
    SC Charleston FL Orlando
    FL Orlando FL Fort Lauderdale
    FL Fort Lauderdale FL Tampa
    FL Tampa FL Tallahassee
    FL Tallahassee LA New Orleans
    LA New Orleans MS Jackson
    MS Jackson TN Memphis Détour into Arkansas
    TN Memphis AL Birmingham
    AL Birmingham GA Woodstock
    GA Woodstock TN Nashville
    TN Nashville KY Louisville
    KY Louisville OH Dayton
    OH Dayton IL Detroit
    IL Detroit IL Chicago
    IL Chicago IA Des Moines
    IA Des Moines MI Kansas City
    MI Kansas City OK Oklahoma City
    OK Oklahoma City TX Amarillo
    TX Amarillo NM Santa Fe
    NM Santa Fe NM Taos
    NM Taos CO Denver
    CO Denver NE Kimball
    NE Kimball SD Mt Rushmore Rapid City
    SD Mt Rushmore WY Buffalo
    WY Buffalo WY Yellowstone
    WY Yellowstone ID Ketchum
    ID Ketchum ID Stanley and back
    ID Ketchum UT Salt Lake City
    UT Salt Lake City NV Las Vegas
    NV Las Vegas AZ Grand Canyon and back
    NV Las Vegas CA San Francisco via LA
    CA Frisco CA Crescent City Redwoods
    CA Crescent City OR Portland
    OR Portland WA Bellingham
    WA Bellingham AK Alaska By ferry
    AK HI flying in from Alaska, flying back out to Portland
    Hi OR Portland
    OR Portland NY Buffalo By train, via MT, ND, MN, WI
    NY Buffalo CAN Montreal
    CAN Montreal VT Bennington
    VT Bennington NH Concord
    NH Concord NH Canterbury
    NH Canterbury ME Permaquid
    ME Permaquid MA Salem
    MA Salem MA Boston
    MA Boston RI Providence
    RI Providence RI Newport
    RI Newport CT Litchfield
    CT Litchfield NY New York

  9. #9


    That is an awesome trip. I travel around 10,000 to 12,000 miles every year thru the U.S. and Canada (including Alaska) by the way I have done the ALCAN 8 times. Here is some of my tips:

    1) A GPS is a great tool, but do not rely solely on the the GPS. Get an Atlas, also you may want to contact every state tourism bureau thru their website and most of them will send you a package with a very detailed roadmap showcasing their state. In my opinion those road maps are very important.

    2) If you are planning to cut thru a secondary roads, such as desert roads, inquire about their condition locally. Keep on mind most Auto Clubs and car rental agency do not cover damage or breakdowns while you are on these roads. Also there is usually no service on this type of roads. Be prepared!!!

    3) If you are going to camp, National Parks and Forest are usually your best bargains. if you are going to use a hotels or motels, those farther from the highway exit usually offer the best prices. The same applied to fuel.

    If you have any questions just ask.
    Last edited by Arctic Cat; 09-21-2011 at 01:14 PM. Reason: mistake

  10. Default

    Thank you, Arctic Cat. That is very helpful and interesting :) I had thought of joining the AAA. A friend of mine planned a route through them a few years back (they had a personal printed little pad with all the route details) but I'm not sure if they still offer that service. I will go on to their website. I have a Rand McNally atlas book and I also have the Loney Planets guide to the US. We will bring our GPS with us, but I assume it will be just as useful as here in Europe - taking you where you DONT want to go!!!!!

    I was very interested to read that the Auto Clubs do not cover off the main freeways. We do not really want to do any 4-WD off-road type of driving, we are planning on hiring a normal estate car. I had already heard that sometimes gas stations can be few and far between so will remember to always fill up whenever we can!

    I will try and contact the different states but I'm not sure if they would be willing to send the packages to Europe - I'll ask.

    I had thought of going as far as Denver CO by car and there hiring an RV, but I may not do that - friends advised me against it - difficult to park in towns etc. We'll see. Also I'm having difficulty working out car hire. Most firms offer the possibility of drop off in a different town/state, but none of them say what the surcharge would be!!!! They say it would be calculated at the moment of picking up the car! We'd want to pick up in JFK and drop off in WA (before taking the boat up to Alaska) then picking up another car in Buffalo NY and dropping off in JFK.

    <sigh> so much to plan, but that's all part of the fun :)

    thanks very much for your helpful advice

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