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  1. Default Seattle to Charleston, SC

    Hey everyone.

    My girlfriend and I are driving from Seattle, WA to Charleston, SC starting June 20th for a military move. We have to arrive in Charleston by July 8th which gives us a little over two weeks. The only stops that we have planned are a trip to Cannon Beach Oregon (near Portland) on the 21st, Tucson for family, and New Orleans for 4th of July weekend.

    My main question is which route do you guys like from Portland to Tucson...down through California and over, or through Idaho/Utah? We're going to try and camp throughout the majority of the trip to keep costs down. We'd love to see as many cool things (Zion/Yellowstone/Rockies) as possible, but I realize that big parks are super busy and booked for most of the summer already. We'd like to limit the amount of pre-planned nights/hotels/campsites as possible. Any thoughts on what people have done?

    Once we get to Tucson we'll try and figure out the best way to New Orleans. We both really want to see Austin and there's not too many routes to go across the country between those three cities.

    Thanks for the help everyone! Im also starting to research the best apps/maps to use for this trip, so any help at all is appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Places I'd Add

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    With the understanding that any and all final decisions about which way to go and where to stop are up to you, I can tell you what I'd do in your shoes. First I'd head up the Columbia River from Canon Beach, using the Historic Columbia River Highway (old US-30) as much as possible, and then I-84 to and through the Snake River Valley and then down to the Great Salt Lake area. Continuing south on US-89 and/or I-15 I'd take in Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, then swing around through Page and Antelope Canyon to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and then from there down through Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona to Tucson. In Tucson treat your friends (or vice versa) to one of several great sites including the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, Pima Air and Space Museum, Kartchner Caverns, and Tombstone.

    I-10 across the southern tier of states is not a particularly scenic road, but it does give access, with some minor detours, to intriguing places such as Guadeloupe Mountains National Park, White Sands National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns, LBJ's Ranch, the Alamo, Space Center Houston and the Creole Nature Trail - all on the way to New Orleans. And between New Orleans and Charleston there's the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Old Cahawba outside Selma AL, and FDR's Little White House in Warm Springs GA.

    As far as camping opportunities go, yes, the national parks tend to book up early. But nearby state parks, national forests, and BLM lands tend to go under-utilized. In particular the forests and BLM lands often offer what is known as distributed camping where you are free to wander in and camp away from prepared campgrounds, often for free, as long as you follow certain guidelines. I strongly urge you to check out what's available along your route and/or to find the nearest forest service ranger station as the afternoon turns toward evening to see what's available.


  3. Default


    Thanks for the bevy of info! We're going to try and debate both routes tonight and then i'll probably have some more questions later.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Low cost campsites.

    The area through which you will be travelling has a wealth of BLM and Forestry free or low cost campsites. When you get to a place, call in at the Ranger's or BLM office and ask for details. Many of them, but not all, are marked, are marked on good maps.


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