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  1. Default 15 Day Road Trip from Boston to San Fran/LA

    Greetings everyone!

    I have been using RTA as my guide to our drives. We did Coastal New England, Atlantic Florida to Key West, and some others. My wife and I love doing road trips, it's our favorite thing to do when we have off days from work. I usually plan our trips through reading the forums, but this one, I'm having somewhat difficult time. If some who has experience in the route that we plan can share some insights with me, they would really really be appreciated.

    My wife and I will move from Boston to Hawaii for couple of years for work. We have 15 days free time before our flight to Hawaii so we decided to drive from March 5, and ship our car from California. I have started writing down the route, we chose to do the southern route because we want to visit friends and relatives along the way (to save on hotel too) and we're trying to escape the winter. So far we decided to do Coastal Delaware (I'm not sure if Shenandoah is a better drive this winter, then Outer Banks, then Georgia. From there Florida panhandle thru New Orleans, then Houston. From Houston is where i'm having difficulty planning. We want to see Grand Canyon, Sedona, Meteor Crater, Bryce, Arches, Grand Escalante, and we want to do those beautiful scenic drives (Forrest Gump view Monument Valley. Then Hoover dam, Las Vegas, Yosemite, definitely Pacific Highway, and Redwoods. The Utah-Arizona part is confusing since I'm not sure which is the most efficient route to take so that we can either be in San Fran or La for the flight to Hawaii. We are very much open for deviations in our plan in order to maximize our time and drive. We are okay with seeing just the popular spots since we don't have much time for long treks and explore details. We won't do hotel reservations. We plan to drive 4-5hrs per day. We are taking Honda Crv, just in case some might suggest gravel roads. We are very much open to suggestions just in case the places i listed isn't that worth driving through. Will the trip along the Grand Canyon require us to have spare gas container?

    I am not sure if anyone can reply to the post in time, but I'm giving it a shot anyway.
    Thank you very much everyone. This is going to be a one of a lifetime experience for me and my wife.

    Best regards,

    Junjun Lobaton

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm a little worried about the amount of time you've got to work with here, especially with all the things you want to see.

    Don't get me wrong, 15 days is a great amount of time for a one way trip across country, but if you only want to drive 4-5 hours a day, and you're planning to detour all the way down to Florida and Houston, you'd need nearly 2 weeks, before you even factor in the detour back north to Utah, the Grand Canyon, or Yosemite.

    Also, you've listed tons of great sites out west, but even if you were flying out west first, it would be a pretty fast paced trip to get to all of those destinations within 2 weeks.

    I think your first step needs to be figuring out which of these places are your top priorities. You're simply going to have to cut some of them out - even if you skipped the detour to the Southeast - you'd still be hard pressed to get to all of these amazing sites. After you've established that, then I think it will be a bit easier to figure out which other places might fit into a good plan.

    BTW, no place along your drive will require you to carry extra gas. The Grand Canyon, for example, is visited by thousands of people every year and there are all the services you'd expect to come with those crowds.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Michael makes a very good point. I entered all your desired stops in my mapping software and it came up with a 6200 mile trip. If you only want to drive 5 hours a day, that's 300 miles a day on Interstates (not secondary roads). This is over 20 days just to get from point to point. In order to see all you want to see, you need a whole month.

    In fact, only driving 5 hours a day, it would take you 10 days just to drive from Boston to either SF or LA via fastest route.

  4. Default

    Thank you Michael for moving my post and for the comment.
    You are right, it will take us almost 5000miles if we take Southeast.
    What if we take I-90 then 80 through Colorado?
    We can adjust our pace to 5-6hrs per day.
    We can skip Yosemite and Redwoods since we can fly back to California easily.
    Isn't I-90 and 80 somewhat less pleasurable drives 'cos of the winter?

    Thanks again, i really appreciate it.

  5. Default

    thanks glc.
    So what route would you suggest for 15 day drive to Cali?
    We can do some days of just driving the whole day and stop for sleep and then linger on the more interesting places. We can drive max 8hrs/day, and we are okay with just driving through scenic roads. But we wanted, hopefully, to see the grand canyon and the areas around.
    Thank you very much for the info.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    When are you leaving?

  7. Default

    march 5th glc.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Making the Most of What You Have

    The advice that you've gotten so far on what you can (and cannot) fit into your 15 day time frame has been spot on. Now as I read your original post and your decisions in the face of the advice you've gotten, the parks and sights of the southwest and California seem to be the most enticing part of this trip and there's really no reason why you can't have an enjoyable, if somewhat more direct, drive to that area and still have sufficient time to wander about the natural wonders you have listed. In order to accomplish that you would only need to head pretty much straight for the Four Corners area from Boston, and make modest time in the process. There's no need for 8-10 hour days but if you can drive 6 hours broken up into 2 or 3
    hour legs with some restful and interesting stops in between then you should be able to get to Denver in just 5 or 6 days, and that would set you up for a nice crossing of the Rockies on I-70 to Arches National Park.

    From there, the most efficient way of hitting everything you've named (and maybe a few others) would be in this order: (Mesa Verde), Monument Valley, (Canyon de Chelly, Petrified Forest), Meteor Crater, (Walnut Canyon), Sedona, Grand Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Bryce Canyon, (Zion), Las Vegas. Once you get to Las Vegas you can reassess how much time you have left and whether a day trip to Hoover Dam is in order. Fitting in Death Valley, Yosemite and the Pacific Coast Highway would depend on how much time you've enjoyed up to that point and which port, Los Angeles or San Francisco, you'll be shipping your car and flying from. Hope that helps.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'd push it, fastest way (I-90/I-80/I-76), to Denver in 4 days. Counting normal gas, bathroom, and food stops this would be 10 hour days. Breaking it up into 4 equal days, overnights would be Erie PA, Joliet IL, and Omaha NE. With 2 drivers, this should be pretty easy and if you get on the road early in the morning you should be off the road by dark.

  10. Default

    Thank you AZBuck and glc. I now realize my estimates are way off the mark. I will rewrite everything based on your suggestions.
    Thanks again.

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