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  1. Default Summer 2015 East Coast-West Coast

    My 15 year old daughter and I are finally going to take the trip we have talked about for years. We are driving from NY to WA, then would like to go down through CA to AZ, TX and back home up through W. Virginia. We know for sure we want to stop:

    Mount Rushmore
    Yellowstone
    Toledo, WA (family there)
    Yosemite
    Vegas
    Grand Canyon
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Nashville
    West Virginia
    then home to NY

    Any suggestions? We have 6-7 weeks. Going to rent a SUV and stay in hotels.

  2. #2

    Default

    Awesome amount of time to do this! I'm envious!

    Suggestions - if you don't have one, pick a hotel loyalty program and as your status advances, take advantage of the deals you'll get (ie. free rooms, upgrades, breakfast, etc.) - you'll want to look at the various ones out there and see which one will work for the longer term since you'll retain your status into the following year also. The two I heavily rely on each year are Hilton Honors and Marriott's Rewards Program. Whatever you pick, you'll have enough stays to definitely earn a top-tier status in a hotel program.

    Last summer the Choice Hotels brand had a deal for 1-2-Free, you stayed two times and got the third stay free within certain dates of the promotion - it takes a few days for stays to post to your account, but with the amount of time you're traveling, it may be the type of promotion to keep your eyes open for -free is good!

    Suggestions to include - if you're going to Yellowstone and heading to Washington, do Flathead Lake and Glacier, well worth the time to stop! Driving Lolo Pass is also really nice and takes you into WA by Lewiston, ID, near Nez Perce (another good stop to see).

    If you have the time and inclination, I'd suggest taking the coast down through CA, then heading west to Las Vegas - you can starting making your westward trip through Yosemite, or go further south and through the San Bernadino mountains - if I had a choice, I'd go through Yosemite after stopping a few nights in San Francisco and/or the Monterrey Peninsula.

    After spending time in the Grand Canyon, you may want to spend some time in the Flagstaff area - it has so many national parks that are fun and easy to see.....I'd then head down through the mountains and do Tonto, then head to White Sands in NM (my favorite national park).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default A few of thousands of options.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You have a lot of time to get plans put into place so keep looking around the forums and Roadtrip planning pages above where you will find all kinds of info for routes and attractions and the Map centre to help decide. For those National parks you want to stay in, or close to, you should book lodgings well in advance.

    Some suggestions to consider for your list, generally in trip order, would include Badlands NP, Custer State park, Big Horn Forest/Rec area to the Beartooth Highway into Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Mt Ranier, Crater Lake , Redwoods NP, San Francisco/Alcatraz, Death Valley between Yosemite and Vegas via Tioga Pass. From Vegas to Grand canyon you could first head a little ways north into Southern Utah and visit Zion and Bryce canyon NP's and then visit the GC north rim before heading through Page AZ [Antelope canyon, Lake Powell etc] towards the South rim. As well as White Sands there are also Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns in the area and on the way to Nashville, Memphis. There are thousands more, so keep researching together as you will be amazed at what you will find.

    Out of your 6-7 weeks your driving will probably equate to around 16 days of driving which leaves you a nice amount of time, but remember that Yellowstone deserves 3 or 4 days of your time and Yosemite, Grand canyon etc at least a couple of days.

    As you continue with planning and specific questions crop up, just ask. Enjoy !

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    You have a lot of time to get plans put into place so keep looking around the forums and Roadtrip planning pages above where you will find all kinds of info for routes and attractions and the Map centre to help decide. For those National parks you want to stay in, or close to, you should book lodgings well in advance.

    Some suggestions to consider for your list, generally in trip order, would include Badlands NP, Custer State park, Big Horn Forest/Rec area to the Beartooth Highway into Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Mt Ranier, Crater Lake , Redwoods NP, San Francisco/Alcatraz, Death Valley between Yosemite and Vegas via Tioga Pass. From Vegas to Grand canyon you could first head a little ways north into Southern Utah and visit Zion and Bryce canyon NP's and then visit the GC north rim before heading through Page AZ [Antelope canyon, Lake Powell etc] towards the South rim. As well as White Sands there are also Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns in the area and on the way to Nashville, Memphis. There are thousands more, so keep researching together as you will be amazed at what you will find.

    Out of your 6-7 weeks your driving will probably equate to around 16 days of driving which leaves you a nice amount of time, but remember that Yellowstone deserves 3 or 4 days of your time and Yosemite, Grand canyon etc at least a couple of days.

    As you continue with planning and specific questions crop up, just ask. Enjoy !
    We won't have an actual date we are leaving until closer to the spring, I wish I could book now! I am retiring in May and this is my retirement present to myself! I was thinking 2 days in Yellowstone but we really are flexible, so 3-4 would be fine too. Thanks for all the info! We just have to be back by Sept 8th and we are leaving around the first week in July. We picked going that route so we are well away from South Dakota by the end of July (Bike week) - My daughter and I are going to sit down and look up every place you mentioned. My cousin did a trip years ago on Harleys- they went to Three Countries, Thirty One Days, Thirty One States- I look at their blog for ideas too- it was many years ago but it is oldbagsonbikes.com -

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    We just spent some time in the Black Hills of South Dakota this summer, and then into Yellowstone by the route Dave mentioned. You'll probably want to allow at least a half day for the Badlands, and two full days in the Mount Rushmore area if you are going there. That's because there's Mt Rushmore, Custer State Park (3 scenic drives), Wind Cave Natl Park and Jewel Cave Natl Monument, all in that area. The drive from Billings to West Yellowstone, via the Beartooth, is gorgeous, but there could be a small problem if you are there too early in the year: the Beartooth Hwy (US-212 from Red Lodge MT into Yellowstone) is only open from mid-to-late May, to Labor Day weekend.

    Dave suggested 3-4 days in Yellowstone. I totally agree. We did "3", if you include the day we came in from Billings, over Beartooth Pass, through the Northeast quadrant of the park and across the West Yellowstone, MT. I wished we'd have planned four, but after cramming ourselves into a small motel room for 3 nights, I was kinda glad we were leaving. One day, we went around the South loop of the figure 8; the next day, we went around the North loop of the figure 8. On the 4th day, we drove out to Grand Teton NP.

    Here is our trip report from that trip. I've taken you straight to page 6 of the report, then scroll down to Post #57 to start at the Badlands and move west to Yellowstone.
    Page 6, trip report, click here.

    Donna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I was in Yellowstone a few years ago, and the Beartooth was still open the first week of October. It's "generally" open by Memorial Day, but it closes when the snow gets deep, not on any particular schedule.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default The weather dictates.

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    It's "generally" open by Memorial Day, but it closes when the snow gets deep, not on any particular schedule.
    Even when it is open before Memorial Day, it is still prone to close again with a storm. I drove it in mid May a couple of years ago, but it closed again for several days, a day later.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default It's July Guys and Gals.

    The OP is not travelling untill July.

    ....and we are leaving around the first week in July.
    Dave.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    But the OP did say that the trip may extend into September.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    We just have to be back by Sept 8th
    Going to Yellowstone on the way out as they have planned should help with that.

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