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  1. Default What are must sees and what can i miss?

    Hey there!

    I am Australian and plan to road trip in early March 2016 starting in Calgary, AB and then head across to Vancouver to see relatives then down the coast (Oregon, Seattle) zig zagging across Nevada/California because there is so much to see between there (hoping for Monument Valley, Death Valley, Vegas, Yosemite, San Fran, LA, San Diego etc). But I also don't want to miss Utah and Salt Lake City! Then go down and across the bottom states (Arizona, NM, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia etc up to New York and Maine then back across the top hopefully coming back up to Calgary via Montana. I imagine the middle states Idaho/Wyoming and Montana are similar landscapes to Alberta (mountains, lakes etc). But what are must sees and what are states I can miss? I will be on a budget of around 20-25G with a time limit of 6 months with the B2 Tourism Visa. I am a Canadian Citizen so thinking of buying a car/insurance in Calgary and driving it down. I'm struggling with trying to map out the states so I can see everything but there seems to be a lot of zig zagging/ back and forth going on. Am I being unrealistic trying to see everything in one go? I don't plan to do another American road trip in my time so trying to squeeze it all in!

    Any advice/help/ideas/comments/criticisms welcome haha!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default We don't have must sees.....

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Road Trip Forum.

    We really do not do 'must sees' on RTA. A road trip is unique for each and every traveller. One person's must see, is another's must pass by. Starting and ending in Calgary, one omission I see is Alaska. It would be well worth tying that into your plan. You might like to look at my six month trip in 2012.

    With some 15 months yet to go, the very best thing you can do right now is to get yourself a good wall map of North America. I like the National Geographic's map which is available from Map World in your capital city. I have the laminated version.

    Use post-it notes to mark the places which are your must sees, and see if that starts to lay out a route. Members here will help you refine it and give further suggestions. However the start will need to come from you with some specifics.

    I imagine the middle states Idaho/Wyoming and Montana are similar landscapes to Alberta (mountains, lakes etc)
    From where I sit, I would say you can't be more wrong. The middle States are spectacular. Alberta, BC and the Yukon are very different from Wyoming or Colorado. Having driven several times through the Rockies in both Canada and the US., They are hugely different. Maybe MT and ID are a bit like the land north of the border.

    I should also mention that it will pay you to bring your local automobile club membership (RACV, NRMA, etc.) with you - unless of course you are a current member of a Canadian automobile club. All of them will give you access to free maps and tourism information from the AAA and CAA.

    Detailed maps or a Road Atlas could also be very useful in the planning stages. If you have family in North America who are members of their local club, they may be able to send these to you. I like having detailed maps of all the States in which I travel. A Rand McNally road atlas can be ordered from the Shop on the green bar above. You'll have it in two or three weeks.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    What's your reason for starting in Calgary? Have you given any thought to starting in Vancouver instead? March is still very much winter in the Canadian Rockies, so even if you go there a bit later in your trip, you might be able to get more out of it. Also, if you have family in Vancouver, it might be easier to find a car and get that situation taken care of - although I don't have any knowledge of that process in Canada.

    Otherwise, I agree with Lifey, right now, you need to focus on what your must sees are. When you're talking about 6 months and a trip that covers most of North America, it really is impossible for anyone else to start narrowing down the millions upon millions of possible "must see" locations. At this point, I wouldn't worry about zig-zagging or really too much about the routing yet. Once you've got your must sees figured out, then you can start figuring out routes and what other ideas might fall in between those must stop locations.

    zig zagging across Nevada/California because there is so much to see between there (hoping for Monument Valley, Death Valley, Vegas, Yosemite, San Fran, LA, San Diego etc).
    Just as an FYI, Monument Valley is located along the Arizona/Utah state line, so you've got it a bit misplaced here.

  4. #4


    Hi, Check out my roadtrips... from east kootenays in BC was our start only 3 hrs from Calgary... we have saw a # of sites that you have mentioned but have not went past Arizona.. good luck this site is amazing for info.. & have fun!

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