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  1. #1

    Default Blended trip with road element in South West

    Hi everyone, we're a uk family hoping to do a 4 week trip in the US with our kids (15 yrs old) before they decline to go on holiday with us!

    I'm thinking of flying to New York, 2 days there
    Amtrak to Washington - 2 days there
    Amtrak to Charleston - 2 days (civil war?)
    Amtrak to Orlando to see the Kennedy Space Centre.

    Then fly to Phoenix.

    Pick up a car.

    Drive to ONE of Bryce, Zion/Arches (I know my kids... three canyons will be two too many), 1 day there
    Grand Canyon 2 days
    Canyon de Chelly (I went there 20 years ago and must go again it was such a perfect place)
    Drive to Las Vegas for 1 night
    Drive back to Phoenix and drop off car.

    Then fly to San Francisco to visit some friends, pick up another car there and drive up the coast towards Seattle for 4 days. Drive back to SFrancisco, drop off car, and fly home to UK

    My question is, will taking Amtrak be better than driving (we could hire a car in NY, drive slowly down to Orlando, then drop off car there, fly to Phoenix...)?

    I know this is a DRIVING site and I'm sorry if my question is inappropriate, everyone does seem so helpful here.

    We have four weeks and want to see 'the sights' - whcih to us mean everything from a simple Diner, to Hollywood Boulevard...

    thank you for reading, Katherine

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum, and no worries about the multiple modes of transportation.

    As far as the train for the first part of your trip, Amtrak makes a lot of sense to get to Washington, as DC is an easy place to get round via public transit. From there south its not quite as clear. Certainly, you could take the train, but it may be a bit more difficult to get around Charleston without a car, and the Kennedy Space Center is about an hour from Orlando, so you'd still need transportation there. On the other side, one way drop fees for car rentals can be expensive, so its something you'll have to examine closely.

    For the western part of the trip, there are a couple things I'd think about. First, you mentioned seeing Hollywood, however, you never mention going to the LA area.

    The other part is the flying into Phoenix. It seems a bit out of your way, and is really going to make for some backtracking going from Vegas back to Phoenix and then onto SF. Its also going to cause you to fly over some pretty amazing sites.

    What I would do instead is fly into Vegas, drive to the sites in Utah and Arizona, then drive onto San Francisco, going through Death Valley and Yosemite, and continue with your loop up to Seattle. One way rentals from Vegas to SF are usually not as expensive as other one-way trip, or you could actually complete a loop and still go from SF back to Vegas, perhaps going down the California coast and hitting LA if you did want to visit Hollywood.

  3. #3

    Default

    For the southwest destinations out of Phoenix I would choose Arches NP with a side trip to Canyonlands NP and Dead Horse state park as they are all in the same area around Moab Utah. As for two days at the Grand Canyon, that's a lot of time unless you plan on hiking down into the Canyon. I was at Canyon de Chelly about 6 years ago and thought it was the most disgusting National Park I have ever been to, but if you like it it's in the area. I also suggest spending a little time at Monument Valley, you will recognize many of the rock formations from old western movies.
    You might consider flying into Las Vegas and making a loop to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Moab Utah (Arches NP), then turn around and go to Lake Powell, through Zion NP, and back to Las Vegas.

  4. #4

    Default

    thank you Midwest Michael, I really appreciate your advice and I think it makes real sense, just goes to show you gotta ask the experts! Yours is a much better plan. I now have a road map of the US and it's all making a lot more sense...

    cheers Katherine

  5. #5

    Default

    DKReuzen, thank you for taking the time to reply. I'm certainly not planning to hike down the Grand Canyon! I was at Canyon de Chelly 20 years ago, so please don't think I like disgusting parks - something must have changed about the place. I like your plan - and thank you for helping us have a great trip.

    cheers Katherine

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I will say, I have not been to Canyon de Chelly myself, but I can say I have been to a lot of the National Parks all over the US and I've never seen a single one in my life that I would call anything close to disgusting. I certainly wouldn't change your trip because of that one comment, and frankly, it would take a lot more detailed information before I would put much stock into it.

  7. #7

    Default

    Hi everyone, we're a uk family hoping to do a 4 week trip in the US with our kids (15 yrs old) before they decline to go on holiday with us!

    I'm thinking of flying to New York, 2 days there
    Amtrak to Washington - 2 days there

    Even though you can see most all there is in DC by walking if you plan it out well you can find a hotel that has parking some do not.
    Amtrak to Charleston - 2 days (civil war?)

    Are you going to Charleston to see the CW? I rather suggest you drive to Gettysburg, PA if you want to see CW. Then forget Kennedy Space Center and driving to Orlando because KSC in not in Orlando. People go to Orlando to see Disney and other attractions. Besides after seeing the Air and Space Museum in DC you will have your fill of Air.

    Amtrak to Orlando to see the Kennedy Space Centre.

    Then fly to Phoenix.

    Pick up a car.

    By skipping Orlando, and having a car after seeing Gettysburg, PA you can see so much more of America by driving west to the parks that you want to see. Also why drive east from LV to fly out of Phoenix to go to LA when LV is just as far a drive as LV to phoenix. This way you can see Historic US66 in AZ, then drive to LA/Hollywood. So now you have added LA to your trip. Can't go to CA for the first time and not see LA. Then drive to San Francisco.

    Buy using the car you will be more flexible with your schedule so you can change things as the trip unfolds and save a lot of money avoiding air fare. Cheaper to drive then fly and you have four weeks.


    Drive to ONE of Bryce, Zion/Arches (I know my kids... three canyons will be two too many), 1 day there
    Grand Canyon 2 days
    Canyon de Chelly (I went there 20 years ago and must go again it was such a perfect place)
    Drive to Las Vegas for 1 night
    Drive back to Phoenix and drop off car.

    Then fly to San Francisco to visit some friends, pick up another car there and drive up the coast towards Seattle for 4 days. Drive back to SFrancisco, drop off car, and fly home to UK

    My question is, will taking Amtrak be better than driving (we could hire a car in NY, drive slowly down to Orlando, then drop off car there, fly to Phoenix...)?

    I know this is a DRIVING site and I'm sorry if my question is inappropriate, everyone does seem so helpful here.

    We have four weeks and want to see 'the sights' - whcih to us mean everything from a simple Diner, to Hollywood Boulevard...

    thank you for reading, Katherine

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