Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. Default Philly to San Diego - through the South

    Dear RTA Forums members,

    My wife and I are currently planning a road trip from Philadelphia to San Diego (job relocation). We have about 9 days (max) to complete the trip. It will be just us and the car. For this trip, wed like to take a more southern route; its a part of the country and culture that neither of us have much experience with. In general, Im thinking a route through Appalachia, the deep south, New Orleans and then west.

    As we dont have a ton of time to complete this trip, were obviously only going to be getting only a cursory feel for the areas we travel through, but Id still like to make it a memorable and novel experience.

    From research Ive been doing here and elsewhere, heres what Ive been thinking for a route: From Philly down through Appalachia via the Skyline Drive (at Font Royal) through Shenandoah Natl Park and on to the Blue Ridge Parkway to the end. From here, Im puzzled: we plan on visiting some friends in NO, so that is a definite destination. It would be fun to visit Memphis, and take in the blues culture there (and Graceland), but it seems like Memphis is quite the diversion west. On the other hand, I think itd also be really interesting to visit import civil rights era sights in the south, such as the Selma to Montgomery march (which wed do in reverse). Well probably only spend a full day and night in NO. From here, as we head west Id like to do the Creole Nature Trail and wind up in Austin for a night (and day, if time allows). Ive seen plenty of the southwest, so I dont mind blazing through it. (Although west Texas will be new if theres something I must see, let me know.)

    So, taking in to account that travel will be on some of these slower byways, is this a reasonable 8-9 day trip?

    If you have ANY recommendations on what to see, where to stop for the night, where to eat (we like to eat!), Im more than open to hearing them. Were both very open minded, money wont be too much of an issue; were just interested in getting a novel and scenically and culturally rich experience.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default .... culturally rich experience.

    Sounds like a very interesting plan. The Shack-up Inn is a favorite lodging choice for many of us on this Forum. One of our frequent contributors just spent a couple of days there and his photos (not yet published) look great.

    Here's post that you might want to read -- Foy is one of our southern experts...

    Here's an earlier field report about the inn.

    Western Texas is one of my favorite places to finding out-of-the-way places. Too bad, you won't have time to travel down to Big Bend and Terlingua! This site, is managed by colleagues and they also LOVE west Texas.

    More ideas later... & Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Time Flies

    The thing is, you're looking at needing right around 6 days just for the drive down I-81 (etc.) to New Orleans and then out I-10 (etc.) to San Diego. When you start throwing in detours to out-of-the-way locations and slow roads, and add stops at even just the best of what's available to you, you will soon be bumping up against your 9 day limit. The Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, while beautiful, are particularly slow roads with speed limits typically around 35 mph, limited passing opportunities, and many alluring pull-offs and scenic overlooks where your speed will drop to zero. Similarly, you'll have to beware of the siren call of places like Memphis which are well off your line of march and would entail adding hundreds of miles of extra driving for the chance to spend even more time sight-seeing and not making progress towards your ultimate goal.

    So, what to do? First, I wouldn't plan on spending a lot of time on either the Skyline Drive or Blue Ridge Parkway. Rather, pick a few spots where you can enjoy segments of them such as between Front Royal and Panorama on the Skyline Drive and between Lexington and Roanoke on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and use US-340 and/or I-81 for longer stretches in order to lay down some miles. To some extent you can make this up by making use of other, faster scenic byways. A great example would be first to take I-40 west from the Great Smoky Mountains area to Nashville and pick up the Natchez Trace Parkway there. This is a modestly fast (50-55 mph) two lane, scenic, controlled access parkway that will take you all the way down to around Jackson MS where you can pick up I-55 into New Orleans. And while it won't take you to Memphis, it will take you to Tupelo, and Elvis' birthplace and boyhood home.

    Other places where you can wander a bit without getting too far afield is in southwestern Louisiana where the Creole Nature Trail will get you into a whole different world without ever getting too far from I-10. West of Houston, US-290 is a high speed (70 mph in places) road through the Texas hill country through Austin as well as Johnson City and Stonewall where LBJ's boyhood home and ranch are worth a stop. Just keep in mind as you plan that your three 'extra' days are going to disappear all to rapidly.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 09-20-2012 at 08:38 PM.

Similar Threads

  1. San Diego to Philly
    By DannyBoy in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-08-2008, 07:02 AM
  2. Philly to San Diego
    By traveller2008 in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-24-2008, 08:06 PM
  3. Philly to San Diego
    By bmc5093 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-26-2008, 11:35 AM
  4. Going from Philly, Pa to the South
    By Gerry Weinhardt in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-17-2004, 02:34 PM
  5. Philly, PA to San Diego
    By Dan S. in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-26-2004, 01:26 PM

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name