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  1. Default Family road trip from NYC to LA, I am not american and would be thankful for ideas :)

    Hey! How are you? I am a 17 year old girl, right now i am doing an exchange year in the US, i am staying in Alabama. When i finish my year my family will come over and we will have our holiday here. my family is my sister who is 15 years old and our parents. So we decided to stay in NYC for 5 days. Then we will have a road trip form NYC to LA. Then we will stay one week in LA. Can you give me some ideas of witch roads is the best. Cool things we can see and do on the way. Amazing places we should visit. Good but not to exspensive motels or hotels. I would also be really thankful if some of you have good ideas for what we can do during the week we will spend in LA. And if some of you are renting out apartments in LA or know someone who does please let me know.I hope some of you could help me! If you have some questions please ask! Thank you! Nora Samira :)
    Last edited by Nora.Samira; 10-03-2015 at 05:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Answers Lie Within

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Many of the answers to your questions lie not with us, but with you, your parents, and your sister. Hopefully, you'll all have at least a few days to sit down together and see what you want to do To that end, you can start now by getting some decent maps of the U.S. and at least seeing what the various basic routes offer you in terms of sections of the country that they travel through and attractions that they pass by. Those basic routes are largely (but not rigidly) built around the major cross-country Interstate Highways: I-80, I-70, I-40, and/or I-10. Major determiners of what you will see are how much time you have for the RoadTrip portion and what your interests are. There is no generic 'best' route or list of 'must-see' attractions. But with a little more information (preferably after you've talked amongst yourselves) we can give you some specific ways to meet your goals. The same goes for what to see in New York and Los Angeles. The list of possibilities is essentially endless. What sort of attractions do you want to see? Your sister? Your parents?

    Some things we can help you with. First, you will need a minimum of five days to get from New York to Los Angeles. But that just allows for a safe passage by the shortest route possible with no time for side trips or even major stops along your route. Every day greater than five that you can devote to the drive is a day that you can spend getting to and visiting some of the sites that you decide you want to include. Personally, and for you (so far) stated goal of checking out 'amazing places', I'd budget at least seven days for the cross-country drive and more if you can fit it in.

    As for lodging, There are several motel chains that fit your description of 'good but not too expensive'. Among these are Best Western, Clarion Inn, Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Holiday Inn, Ramada Inn, and others. I'd suggest that you do a little on-line research on those for starters. In particular, see if any of them offer a 'loyalty' or rewards program that will give you a free night's stay after a reasonable number of visits. Those are all national chains that should have at least some properties near wherever you end up going. As for house rentals, I use sites such as VRBO, HomeAway, and RedWeek.


  3. Default

    Hello! Thank you so much for answering! �� Oki! We will spend like a week or so on the drive. We would like to see different things. We don't know what we can see. But we like to do new things. Do you have any ideas to what we can see or visit. Like a nice place with a good view, a good restaurant, a cool attraction or park or a good shopping place. Again thank you so much :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Small Sample Then

    With only seven days, you really don't have a lot of time for major sight-seeing plus shopping plus great scenic wonders plus... So what I'd suggest is that you pick a basic, and basically scenic, route to L.A. and simply make the most of it. For me, that would be I-78 west out of New York to I-81 south, then I-40 west all the way to I-15 south into L.A. As with all Interstate routes, there are plenty of short scenic stops along the way. But it also has a few places where you could spend a bit more time. For example, you could take some extra time and use a bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway which runs roughly parallel to I-81, of do visit Great Smoky Mountain National Park near Knoxville TN. Shopping possibilities include Nashville, Memphis, Oklahoma City and others. I'd also make time to take a relatively short detour starting in Flagstaff AZ, north on US-89 and then west and south on AZ-64 through Grand Canyon National Park. That's not nearly everything in between, nor is it even the time that those few places deserve, but it's probably something like the best you can do with the time you have available.


  5. #5


    When we did this drive (NYC to LA), we took more than two weeks. In my opinion, one week is too short to enjoy it and actually see something on the way. I would cut one or two days from your NYC stay and 2 or 3 days from your LA stay, and add them to the drive.

    If you find extra days for the drive, then I would head towards Denver, driving through beautiful Nebraska on the way. From Denver, you could then drive through the amazingly scenic states of Colorado, Utah and Arizona. Before you get to LA, you could also stop in Las Vegas. Some parks on the way would include Rocky Mountain NP, Arches NP, Dead Horse Point SP, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon NP and Death Valley NP, to name just a few.

    You will need a paper map, both to plan the trip and while on the road. If you only use the GPS, you are likely to get lost or end up on the wrong roads. I wouldn't recommend driving more than 500 miles on any given day - and less, if possible.

    If you do want to spend a whole week in LA, you will need a car there. So I would suggest taking an overnight trip to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) up to Big Sur and back. It's a truly stunning road.

    Have fun planning!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Why spend most of your time in big cities?

    Quote Originally Posted by Subman View Post
    When we did this drive (NYC to LA), we took more than two weeks. In my opinion, one week is too short to enjoy it and actually see something on the way. I would cut one or two days from your NYC stay and 2 or 3 days from your LA stay, and add them to the drive.
    If your family are coming over for just three weeks, why spend most of that time in big cities? Sooner or later they all start to look the same. It is the great natural wonders of the National Parks in the West, which they will not see anywhere else.

    Having driven from coast to coast more than half a dozen times, I agree with Subman, spend less time in cities, and show your parents the best North America has to offer. Driving through RMNP, or even I-70 west of Denver, then into UT and AZ, ending with a drive through Death Valley NP (it will be too hot to spend much time out of the car), you could visit the Grand Canyon NP, Zion NP, Bryce NP and many more.. Even if you are not into hiking, it is possible to see all these places without going on hikes.

    That would leave them, and you, with great memories of some of the greatest natural wonders on earth. Get hold of good maps. You can get them at AAA or go to a store or truck stop and purchase a Rand McNally atlas. You will be amazed how much information good maps have, more than you will ever see within the confines of a little screen.


  7. Default

    Did I miss something? You are now in Alabama but you're starting your trip in NYC? Is that because your parents really want to see city sites, try different dining experiences, do a lot of shopping, and see a lot of shows? You could easily spend two weeks doing this in NYC. You could all then fly to LA and do the same there.

    As for me, I would skip the cities and focus on the National Parks. To each his own.

    Do they really want a drive of 5+ days? Many people would absolutely love it while others would hate it. What do they want to do most?

  8. Default

    Thank you so much for answering me! �� You really helped me! �� I will meet my family in New York, that is why the road trip will start there! :)

  9. #9


    Hi Nora,
    Is it fair to assume that your plan calls for a one-way car rental across the USA? If so that could be quite expensive. One alternative:
    - spend a few days in NYC
    - fly to Salt Lake City or Denver and do a regional loop car trip based out of either of those cities (Denver is more diverse as a city, and you could cover Rocky Mountain National Park, scenic drive to Ouray and down to Durango, over to Mesa Verde National Park, up to Arches NP and back to Denver)
    - fly from Salt Lake City/Denver to LA. What to do in and from LA would require a book... depending upon your interests (beaches, amusements, scenic drives....).

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