My wife and I are thinking about doing a west coast trip this year. We would leave May 15th and have about 3 to 4 weeks to do the trip. We are both 22 years old. I enjoy doing a lot of sight seeing and nature exploring but my wife, on the other hand, enjoys relaxing on a beach. I'm not sure where to really start because this would be our first time doing such a long trip. I created a rough list of the places we would like to see/do.
1st Stop: Mesa Verde Durango, Colorado.
2nd Stop: "The Wave" in Paria Canyon-Vermillion cliffs wilderness, Utah.
3rd Stop: Antelope Canyon, Arizona.
4th Stop: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.
5th Stop: Havasu Falls, Arizona.
6th Stop: Los Angeles, California.
7th Stop: Sequoia National Park, California.
8th Stop: Yosemite National Park, California.
9th Stop: Big Sur, California.
10th Stop: San Francisco, California.
11th Stop: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon.
12th Stop: Portland, Oregon.
13th Stop: Multnomah Falls, Oregon.
14th Stop: Seattle, Washington.
15th Stop: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
Final stop: Chicago, Illinois.
Based on my calculations, on the high end we are looking at 7,000 miles if we decide to drive around a lot in California and Seattle and 115 hours of driving.
I read that California is cloudy during late May and June but we would like to spend a lot of our time in California so that we can enjoy some of the beaches. Also, we want to spend as much time as we can in Seattle because I have a lot of family there, and I used to live there. We want to enjoy the nature as much as we can so we will go hiking, canoeing and camp out some of the days.
My biggest concern is the length of the trip. I don't want it to feel like all we did is drive the whole time and didn't do much exploring and relaxing.
The questions I have for all of you experts out there are these:
1. Is this too many stops for a 4 week trip?
2. How should we go about planning this trip so that it's not only about reaching each destination? My wife doesn't enjoy long drives so I want to make the drive as enjoyable as possible.
3. Will we be able to enjoy some sun if we visit the California beaches in the areas I listed? Or is it too early?
4. What would be the most effective and efficient way to plan this trip?
5. Is there anything in particular I should be concerned about?
6. How long should we be looking at staying at each stop?
7. What should our budget look like? I calculated and $5,000 on the high side of things should be enough for the trip. In Seattle, we won't have to worry about lodging and some meals.
I know everyone has their own personal preferences but we are open to any suggestions! Perhaps we should stop our trip in California and return to Chicago from there? Is there anything else that you would recommend we see along the way?