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  1. Default Coming from Australia. Driving from LA to NYC. Best route?

    Hello. We are travelling over with two kids 12 & 4 and wanting to do a road trip from LA to NYC or Washington DC. This is in May next year and we will have 5 weeks. Our main places of interest we want to visit include. Disneyland, San Fransisco, Yosemite, Las Vegas, Grand and Bryce Canyons, Niagra Falls, NYC, Smithsonian in DC. Which will be the best route to include an interesting drive. We are used to driving long distances and so are our kids. We have done vast trips across Australian Deserts so something different maybe? Your help is much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default too soon

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It sounds like you've got a great trip ahead of you. However, when it comes to your specific question about "best route," you're actually a bit early to be worried about routes.

    There are no generic "best routes" on a cross country trip, the best route is the route that takes you to the specific places you want to go. Right now, you've got a very nice list of things to see on the west coast, and some good ones in the east too, but between Bryce Canyon and Niagara Falls, you've got thousands of miles where you haven't figured out (or at least told us) what you want to see/do. Perhaps you want to keep going north, go up into Yellowstone, across the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota, and maybe check out Chicago too. Maybe you want to check out more of Utah and head towards the Colorado Rockies. You could stay south too, heading through Texas, New Orleans, and check out the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    The point is, worry more about what you want to do and see, and the routes will start to become apparent. Check out the many resources of this site - click the how to use this site link at the top of the page - get out a good paper map, and just get an idea of what else you might want to do. You've done an excellent job with that on the coasts, now expand it to the middle of the US.

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

    Default A 'Loop' would be possible.

    Have you considered a loop trip starting and ending in LA ? You're probably a week short of it being 'ideal,' but as you are used to travelling it would certainly be possible. Plus, if you start to look at attractions north and south that you want to visit, the miles soon rack up on a one way trip by going up and down along the way. If budget is an issue it will also help financially as you won't have the one way drop off fees on your rental and the flights will almost certainly be cheaper.

    The main thing to consider when planning is that covering large distances in the US is totally different than Australia with attractions seemingly appearing around every corner ! As you continue with your planning and new questions come up, don't hesitate to ask. We can help fill in the blanks and offer suggestions along your route[s] but as Michael pointed out, there are no 'best', just a lot of great options !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Getting maps and making the most of them.

    Hi Anthea,

    since this trip is still many months away, and as mentioned above, you still have many things to check out. Do you have good detailed maps of the US or the individual States?

    If not may I suggest a few which I and many others from downunder use and have used for their US roadtrips. Firstly, if you can get hold of one, I highly recommend you get hold of a wall size map of the US. My preference is for the National Geographic map, which is availlable online from Mapworld. They no longer show case it on their website, but I have email confirmation that they do still stock it.

    Next I would get a Rand McNally road atlas from the RTA store at the bottom of this page. It is an excellent atlas of maps of each State and many of the major cities as well as the great national parks. If you order it now, you will have it in a couple of weeks. As well as roads and cities, you will see most of the attractions along the way and in each State. It is invaluable during the planning stages and essential when on the road. You will see in it, exactly what Michael mentions - the wealth of attractions in the middle of the country. They may not be as well known as the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls, but they are no less interesting - some natural, some historical, etc.

    Then you might like to follow the suggestions in this paragraph:

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    Start with maps. Not GPS, not software, not Google, but real honest-to-god paper maps that show you your entire route, that you can mark up (and erase), that you can stick pins in, and that show something about the land you'll be driving through. Those are your essential tool in any RoadTrip planning process. Start by marking all the places you know you want to visit. Then connect the dots. Then look for more places of interest and scenic routes along the lines connecting the dots. Repeat until you've got as many sites and roads as you think you want.
    You don't say in which State you are, but if you are a member of RACV, NRMA, or similar, be sure to bring that membership with you. It will give you access to free maps and tourism information from AAA all over the US. Many of us travel with the atlas and the individual maps as well as the gps (which is really only good for finding a specific address in towns and cities).

    The 12 year old may like to do some of the map work and internet research for you. It will help him to have an investment in the trip. In the national parks in the US there is a program called the Junior Ranger Program, which both your children will enjoy, and earn them some cool souvenirs to take home.

    I tend to agree with Dave that you might like to think about a loop trip. It could mean a significant saving on flights and car hire. If you have never been there, and driven there, you will find that there is no comparison between driving on our roads and those in the US. You will not have the distances between towns and cities (and services) like at home. Not even in the desert. Unlike in Oz where we all live on the coast, the US is settled all over and has attractions and scenic routes wherever you drive.

    Since you can comfortably drive from LA to NY in a week, you have lots of time to make all the stops you have listed - and more.

    Lifey

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthea View Post
    Hello. We are travelling over with two kids 12 & 4 and wanting to do a road trip from LA to NYC or Washington DC. This is in May next year and we will have 5 weeks. Our main places of interest we want to visit include. Disneyland, San Fransisco, Yosemite, Las Vegas, Grand and Bryce Canyons, Niagra Falls, NYC, Smithsonian in DC. Which will be the best route to include an interesting drive. We are used to driving long distances and so are our kids. We have done vast trips across Australian Deserts so something different maybe? Your help is much appreciated.
    Great thank you for looking outside the square for me.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Have you considered a loop trip starting and ending in LA ? You're probably a week short of it being 'ideal,' but as you are used to travelling it would certainly be possible. Plus, if you start to look at attractions north and south that you want to visit, the miles soon rack up on a one way trip by going up and down along the way. If budget is an issue it will also help financially as you won't have the one way drop off fees on your rental and the flights will almost certainly be cheaper.



    The main thing to consider when planning is that covering large distances in the US is totally different than Australia with attractions seemingly appearing around every corner ! As you continue with your planning and new questions come up, don't hesitate to ask. We can help fill in the blanks and offer suggestions along your route[s] but as Michael pointed out, there are no 'best', just a lot of great options !

    Ok great, I figured as much with many more stops than Aussie, it's going to be extremely hard to choose my time wisely. We thought that if we concentrated on one part either north or south predominantly, we could come back and do the other some other time. Thank you so much for your input.

  7. Default

    Great there are some great points here. I never knew about the ranger program. Excellent. We are from south east qld, four hours west of brisbane. As a fellow Aussie you can appreciate travelling 1200km a day on a road trip and not see much at all. Anyway will be taking all your views on board. Thanks again

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