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  1. Default NY to WA in July

    Hey, I'm new here so if this is addressed in another thread, I apologize in advance.

    My friend and I are planning a trip from Brooklyn, NY to Seattle, WA this July. We plan to drive for 3-4 weeks, taking our time there and doing a marathon back. Here are the main places we want to stop so far:

    Mount Rushmore
    Space Needle

    We're from NY so we don't want to spend much/any time within the vicinity (NY, PA). We're very flexible on almost everything about this trip except timing. We have up to one month. Any suggestions on routes, where to stop, places to stay etc. would be so incredible. Also, we love water parks, music festivals, fairs and the like, concerts, baseball games...

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by HK227; 04-20-2014 at 12:21 PM. Reason: Not Yosemite. Yellowstone

  2. Default

    There are so many possible places but I'll keep to the ones that I've enjoyed the most:

    Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks (northwestern Wyoming). IMHO the Tetons demand two or three days in their own right, don't just drive past. Yellowstone is vast and equally requires several days, probably moving from one overnight stop to another because of the distances (for example Jackson to West Yellowstone on one day, then West Yellowstone to Gardiner on another).

    Glacier National Park (northwestern Montana). The Going-to-the-Sun Road over Logan Pass is one of the world's most spectacularly beautiful drives. If you're ok to go into Canada then you might also want to visit adjacent Waterton Lakes National Park (separate entrance fee).

    It's quite a big diversion but you might also want to consider the Canadian Rockies.

    I'd certainly agree with your choice of Yosemite, it would definitely be well worth the big diversion off the direct route.

  3. Default

    That was the biggest brain spasm. We are not planning to drive all the way down to Yosemite this trip. We are planning a stop at Yellowstone. Thanks for the tips re: that park! It's so overwhelming to plan a stop there due to it's vastness!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    Bear in mind that Brooklyn to Seattle is a little over 2800 miles, meaning 5 long days of driving in each direction (i.e. 10 total). I'm not sure what you mean by marathon, but if on the way back you're not stopping to see anything, it's still 5 days of driving by the same route -- more if you decide to return via a different route (which is what we'd probably do).

    In the Mount Rushmore area, AKA The Black Hills of South Dakota, there are other things to see and do. For instance, Custer State Park with its beautiful Needles district, Wind Cave NP, Jewel Cave Natl Monument, and the Badlands call to us. Between the Black Hills and Yellowstone & Grand Teton parks is the Devils Tower (think "Close Encounters of the Third Kind").

    Going home via another route, you could catch the Columbia Gorge area, swing down to Nebraska and catch some of the Oregon Trail sites there, and then head home via I-80/74/70/81 and back up to I-80.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Maps will show the choices.

    In a four week period you could have a relatively relaxed tour to the west coast, and back. So why plan on a marathon on the way back? That implies that you will not be stopping to see anything. Are you planning on taking only one route there and back?

    There are so many options for routes from which you could choose. As already mentioned, you could take one route out, and another back. All have much to offer and you are bound to find things to fit the interests of you and your friends along the way. So why not evenly divide the trip between there and back?

    Best thing for you now, sisnce you still have ample time, is to get some great maps of the many States through which you wish to travel, and have a good look at your options. These are not always clear within the confines of a computer monitor. There are so many routes from which you could choose. As well, maps clearly show which are scenic routes.

    You could do Black Hills, Glacier NP, Seattle on the way out and Yellowstone, SLC Rocky Mountain NP on the return journey. That's only a suggestion, since you have so many options, and we really know nothing of your interests.

    The mention above of mileage and time relates to interstate highways only. If you were to detour on one of the legs through Colorado and enjoy some of the great sights that State has to offer, you would be travelling on many scenic roads and minor highways, not to mention some of the great American Byways. These invariably take longer to travel, even without stopping to enjoy the great attractions.

    If you are a member of AAA you will be able to get excellent maps there. (An alternative is a road atlas such as Rand McNally.) If you do not already have roadside assistance, it could be beneficial to take out a membership before your trip.


  6. Default

    Thanks for all the input. The reason we want to take our time there and drive back more directly is so that we don't rush through some of the major stops like Yellowstone. In order to give those places the time they require, wouldn't it be smarter to sacrifice the drive home?

    I plan on getting some maps immediately. That's a great idea. I really know little about the northern route. I've driven extensively through the south and central states but I've never done the north.

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


    It would make a whole lot more sense to me to keep your entire trip at an even pace. You're going to have the same number of miles no matter how you approach it. If anything, trying to see everything one direction, so you don't have to worry about being "rushed" could get you into a position where you spend too much time getting there, and thus don't have enough time to safely drive home!

    If you're going to "sprint" one direction, then I would do it going west, so you make sure you are still giving yourself a proper amount of time to make the trip safely (as previously mentioned a minimum of 5 days), and so you are doing it when you are the most rested, rather than trying to push yourself when you are already tired after a few weeks on the road. If you spend too much time at someplace like Yellowstone, then you'll have to take it from other things you might want to explore, like the Black Hills, rather than take it from the time you need to drive home.

    But again, if you plan your trip so you have enough time to stop and explore both directions, you'll make for a much more enjoyable, relaxing, and safer trip.

  8. #8


    As others have stated maps are your friend. You all need to get together and decide what you really want to see. Maps will show you the scenic routes, that will get you off the freeways. I too would prefer to sight see in both directions. It's been my experience that a rushed trip home tends to take some of the luster off of what should be a time of relaxation and marvel of what natural beauty this country has to offer. Also a word of caution. Be prepared for crowds in Yellowstone. Old Faithful will remind you of downtown New York at lunch time when it's time to go off.

  9. Default

    The advice about splitting the driving makes a lot of sense. I hadn't considered all of that. My last cross country trip we drove one way and flew home. Any other tips on things we should see?

  10. Default

    I agree with all the previously mentioned places but would add a few more. Since you're already going to Mt. Rushmore, check out Crazy Horse too. Then, North Cascades NP is close to Seattle and well worth a couple of days. Lastly, if you're making a loop, think about driving down to check out the Redwoods in Northern California.

    As for the marathon trip home, it is doable if that's what you decide. I did it by myself last year....left Redwood NP on a Thursday morning and got back to Rochester, NY on Saturday early evening. With two of you to share the driving you could probably make even better time.

    Have fun!

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