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  1. Default Going cross country round trip from San Jose CA

    I am planning a round trip road trip leaving somewhere around the end of July/early August, going for 3-4 weeks. I recently did a road trip from San Jose to Seattle. I found that the things on that trip I enjoyed the most were outdoorsy places (Bend, OR was by far my favorite place, and I liked driving thru the redwoods). I am very comfortable camping (have a good tent/sleeping bag) and prefer that to hotels (especially when I can camp for free in some places). My car got ~40mpg for that trip, so I'd expect roughly the same for a cross country trip, and it is in good condition. I have an AAA plus membership and feel very ready to do this trip. I will mostly be solo with a few

    I am trying to decide where to go along the way. I would love to spend a few days hiking in the Grand Canyon (among other places). I have a few stops along the way that I will definitely be making (have a buddy who lives near New Orleans & another near Nashville who will be meeting me and coming for a few days before getting dropped off at an airport, and some family in NY/Virginia areas I'd love to meet up with).

    A few places I'm considering stopping:
    Grand Canyon
    Niagra Falls
    New Orleans - definite to pick up my friend
    Nashville - definite to pick up my friend
    Long Island, NY - most likely to visit family

    What are some places I should go out of my way to make sure I do not miss?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    First word of advice: you will *need* camping reservations in the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone at that time of the year. If you are planning to do any overnight hiking in the GCNP, you will need a permit. Check the Grand Canyon website for further information about this. If you are going to camp in Yellowstone, the same applies -- reservations for any campsites and backcountry permits if planning to overnight there, too. Check the website!

    Other places you won't want to miss -- well, that will definitely depend on what YOU like. My advice is to get a paper map of the western half of the United States, or a road atlas, and start looking at it to see what appeals to you. That said, however, you should realize:

    San Jose to Grand Canyon is a 2 day drive, then time at the GCNP.

    Grand Canyon South Rim to Yellowstone is a 2 day drive by the shortest route. Add more time for any stops you might want to make such as Zion, Bryce Canyon.

    Yellowstone to Niagara Falls is around 2000 miles by the shortest route, so call it 4-5 days on the road. Do you have a passport? To visit the Canadian side of the Falls, you'll need one. Add more time if you want to stop in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, or any place else.

    Buffalo to Long Island NY is a day's drive. That's by the most direct route and does not take into consideration any other stops you might want to make.

    Long Island to Nashville is two days on the road. Ditto on stopping.

    Nashville to New Orleans is another day's drive. Ditto on stopping.

    New Orleans, back to San Jose, is another 5 days drive. With no stops other than overnights.

    So that's 18 days on the road. Three weeks just isn't going to give you any time except to whiz by the places you've mentioned, grab a friend and run. Four weeks will give you 10 days to see something. If you do these stops in a different order, it may take even more driving time, as you may end up backtracking and zigzagging. But to add things? You may be looking to add more time, or save something for another trip down the road.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Camping on public lands.

    I'd suggest going to the Grand Canyon on your way east and leaving Yellowstone for the trip home. That way you can explore the south and east coast on your way to VA and NY, and come home via Niagara Falls, Rocky Mountain NP and Yellowstone. Could even include the southern UT parks, if there is time.

    But if you live in San Jose and run out of time, UT might just as easily be left for another trip. It is not an area in which you want to be rushed, especially if you are into hiking and camping.

    If you can't get a camp spot in Yellowstone there are ample public land camping spots within 3 miles or so of the west entry. The visitor centre in West Yellowstone keeps a close record of which campground still has spaces and which are full. They are very helpful.

    To find 'free' campspots near your route, call into each and every BLM office you can find along the way. The visitor centres on the interstates can usually tell you where BLM offices are.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I agree with Lifey that GC should be visited one way and Yellowstone the other to create a nice loop trip, however be aware that this going to be a good 16 days of driving and by the time you add a couple of days 'here' and 'there' [Yellowstone really needs 3 or 4 days to do it justice] you really do need the 4 weeks, as 3 might be a little rushed if you plan on spending time with family and friends.

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