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  1. Default Tourist spots vs 'small town' USA

    Hi everyone - a friend and I are planning a 21 to 25-day road trip in the USA this summer (end of July/start of August). He wants to do a lot of sightseeing of major touristy places and cities (and has a preference for a drive down the West coast), whereas I'm really interested in exploring 'small town America' and taking lots of photographs and quite like the random 'in-between' places. I realise this is quite a broad question, but could anyone suggest a route that would offer the best of both worlds in this regard? Or do we have to choose? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default You can have both.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    There is no reason why you can't have both. You do not say where you will be flying in from, and into. But I am assuming it is LA.

    See if you can get hold of some good maps. If these are not available locally, then I suggest you order a Rand McNally road atlas from the RTA store via the link at the bottom of this page. If you order it now you should have it in a couple of weeks, or thereabouts (depending on where you live).

    You will see so much more on the maps than the electronics will show you. All the small towns up and down the West Coast States and the major tourist attractions, such as those in LA, San Diego, Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite and San Francisco to name just a few. Look also for the small towns in those States, which could decide your route from one touristy attraction to another. Do your research to see which places are of interest to either or both of you.

    If you check the Roadtrip Field Reports Forum you will find there quite a lot of west coast trip reports from members, some of which have focused on 'nature' and others which focus on 'small towns and back roads'.

    In three weeks you have a nice bit of time, but don't choose too many sites or your time will soon run out.

    Enjoy the planning.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,697

    Default Best sit down and talk.

    You can have both by getting off Interstate and using the highways and Byways which [in my opinion] is the best way to travel when touring/exploring. It's important that you and your friend sit down and discuss things together properly and see if you can reach the middle ground otherwise your friendship and enjoyment could become tested ! A fun way to get started is with the RTA Compatibility test here.

    The USA is a big place, so it's impossible to give you further meaningful suggestions until you have at least laid out a basic plan with starting and ending points.

  4. Default

    Thank you both for your replies. I think we will fly into either LA or San Fransisco and then try to make a loop-style route. Once we've got hold of some maps and had a bit more of a think and done some proper planning I'll post again with a bit more detail!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default Good start.

    A loop is a good place to start. I suggest that you plan it anti-clockwise, so that when you come to drive the Pacific Coast Highway from SF to LA you have the ocean and all the scenic viewpoints on your side of the road. A wonderful way to enjoy that route.

    There are several small towns along the PCH, which may interest you, and further south there is a place - Solvang - I encourage you to research and explore it.

    Lifey

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    A loop is a good place to start. I suggest that you plan it anti-clockwise, so that when you come to drive the Pacific Coast Highway from SF to LA you have the ocean and all the scenic viewpoints on your side of the road. A wonderful way to enjoy that route.

    There are several small towns along the PCH, which may interest you, and further south there is a place - Solvang - I encourage you to research and explore it.

    Lifey
    Thanks - yeah, that's a good idea re: going anti-clockwise. And Solvang looks really interesting!

    Current plan is:

    SF -- LA -- San Diego (and possibly over the border to Tijuana) -- LV. After that I'm not sure. Possibly on into Utah or up to Oregon, but I'm not sure how much time we would have left...

    We need to fill out the plan so far and think about where else we might stop en route. I'm basically picturing one extra overnight stop between each of those places.

    So far does that seem vaguely possible, or way off track?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    Crossing the border to Tijuana is highly discouraged - safety is a big issue. You can't take a rental car into Mexico, the rental companies do not allow it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,509

    Default

    As a San Diegan, I will agree completely with GLC: Stay away from Tijuana. Too much trouble over there. The wait time at the border is horrible anyway, the graft in Baja is terrible, and then you have high possibilities of running into their problems. Our American sailors are told every day, "stay away from Tijuana." Their justice system is not the same as ours. Stay safe, skip Tijuana.


    Donna

  9. Default

    OK, sounds like Tijuana might be more trouble than it's worth.

    Although I live in Bangkok at the moment, so Western justice systems already seem like a dim and distant luxury...

  10. Default

    Would also be interested to hear any thoughts about the current route. I'm really wondering about the timings and whether after LV there's likely to be time to head up into Oregon or Utah, or whether the plan as it is would most likely fill the three weeks...

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