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  1. Default Road trip from New Jersey to San Francisco Summer 2016! :)

    Hi everyone,
    Myself and 3 others want to travel from new jersey to san francisco during the month of July in 2016. 3 of us are from Ireland and 1 is from New jersey so he will bring driving. We have a car and we are just looking for any advice/tips that any of you might have for us. We want to find out what is the best route to go so we see the best places. We would also like any advice about where we should stay, any cheap but nice motels that ye have stayed in. We are so excited about doing this and we would really appreciate any advice!
    Go raibh míle math agat! :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default More Information Needed

    Céad Míle Fáilte! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    One of the things you'll notice about this site is that we don't do, or even believe in, generic 'best' routes or 'best' attractions. The fundamental beauty of a RoadTrip is that it is not a pre-packaged tour but something you get to tailor to your own needs and interests. Even as a preliminary first step, we're going to need more than "New Jersey" as a starting point - it makes a big difference whether you're starting from northern or southern (or central) New Jersey.

    More to the point, we'd need to know what you consider desirable in the way of a route or places to see. Certainly we'd need to know how much time you have for the drive, whether it's a one-way or round trip, how much of America you've all seen, whether the car owner will be doing all the driving, what your budget looks like. All of those things matter and any advice you get without the advice giver knowing them, while nice, really isn't what we'd like to be able to do for you.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 11-14-2015 at 03:17 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A good map.

    While you are in the planning stage, it would be really great for you to have some good detailed maps to check where the places mentioned are, and also see what other attractions along the road exist, which may not be mentioned here.

    Get your friend to send you a Rand McNally road atlas (the best!) or if not, you can order one from the RTA store via the link at the bottom of this page. Not only attractions, but scenic routes are also marked on these maps. You will find them invaluable while planning, and of course they are essential when on the road. If you order it now you will have it in a couple of weeks.

    You might even find alternatives to suggestions put forward.

    Lifey

  4. Default

    Ok so we are starting from Northern new jersey.. just outside new york in Lyndhurst. We're between the ages of 22-27 so we are looking to vary from scenic routes to popular city destinations. Me and my boyfriend are doing a round trip as the 2 others are staying in san francisco because we want to bring the car back to new jersey. My boyfriend is going to be the only person driving for insurance reasons.We were planning on spending around a week and a half to two weeks driving to san francisco and we'll stay in san fran for 2 weeks before driving back a different route. We are looking for information about cheap places to stay and points of interest that are considered local gems to the area that may not be well known to tourists. We havnt seen much of America other than san francisco and new jersey/new york. We are in the process of saving for this trip and we are trying to figure out how much it will cost so we havnt actually set a budget just yet.
    Thanks for any help! :)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Engage with the locals.

    Quote Originally Posted by elaineseanmikeorla View Post
    We are looking for information about cheap places to stay and points of interest that are considered local gems to the area that may not be well known to tourists.
    These are the places you get to know by speaking to the locals. Leave your gadgets in the car when shopping or going for a walk, and stop to talk to the locals. There is nothing like an outstretched hand while saying "Hello my name is Elaine......." and continue a conversation from thereon. Most folk like to share the special places of their town/city.

    For accommodation deals, look for coupon booklets along the way, mostly at rest areas, welcome centres and some truck stops.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Basic Circuit

    While many RoadTrippers have a goal of seeing "local gems...that may not be well known to tourists", the fact is that it is extremely hard to build a basic route around such places because, by the very nature of such places being 'local', they are everywhere and none of them stands out above its competitors enough to warrant driving to it rather than somewhere else. A better, and workable, approach is to connect a few 'national treasures' and then also take the time to visit the local sites in between that the majority of tourists just pass by without a thought. So let me lay out a couple of basic routes for you that hit a mix of urban and scenic destinations and then off give you some hints and suggestions for finding a few more off-the-beaten-path sites along the way. I'll describe the more northern of the two routes westbound and the more southern eastbound, but which route you take in which direction, or even if you take either of them at all, is up to the four of you.

    Start by heading west on I-80 (although US-6 is another possibility) to Chicago and soak up some of the nightlife there. Then continue west on I-90 through South Dakota. Rather than joining the crowds at Mount Rushmore (which won't mean much to you anyway) instead take in Badlands National Park, [url=http://www.nps.gov/wica/index.htm]Wind/url] and Jewel Caves, the as yet incomplete Crazy Horse Memorial, and Devils Tower. Get back on I-90 past Little Bighorn Battlefield to Red Lodge MT and from there take US-212, the Beartooth Highway into Yellowstone National Park. Leave Yellowstone to the west on US-20 and stay on it to Craters of the Moon National Monument then pick up US-26 to I-84 and Hammett ID where you'll take local roads to a couple of 'local gems', Bruneau Dunes and Bruneau Canyon. Don't let the signs warning you about 'objects falling from planes' scare you as you drive to the canyon overlook, you'll be crossing an Air Force bombing range, but the road is closed when the range is in use. (You wanted unique, no?) From there take ID-51/NV-225 south to Elko where lunch or dinner in the Star Hotel is in order before hoping onto I-80 past Virginia City and on into San Francisco.

    The southern route would leave San Francisco on I-580 (through Dublin!) to I-205 and I-5 north to pick up CA-120 to Yosemite National Park. Continue through the park over Tioga Pass to US-395 south to Lone Pine and CA-136/CA-190 through Death Valley. At CA-127 continue straight on Ash Meadow Road which becomes Belle Vista Road to the town of Parhump and then take NV-160 into Las Vegas. Next take US-93 to Williams AZ and take AZ-66 (the old US Route 66 famous in song and story) through Peach Springs to Seligman. This stretch of road was the visual inspiration for the movie Cars. Use I-40 to Williams where you'll take AZ-64 north to and along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Upon exiting the park, take US-89 south to I-40 east again past Petrified Forest National Park, Petroglyph National Monument, Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, and on to Memphis and Nashville another couple of cities with a great music scenes and nightlife. At Knoxville you'll finally leave I-40 and take US-441 through the Great Smoky Mountains to US-19 north and the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway/Skyline Drive to Front Royal and I-66 into Washington DC. You can then finish your drive back to Lindhurst either on I-95 through Philadelphia or by taking I-83 north from Baltimore to Harrisburg and I-81/I-78.

    Besides the odd out-of-the-way venue noted above, you can find great little pocket parks all along the Interstates. Another great resource on the Interstates consists of the Welcome Centers that often greet you as you enter each new state. These are worth a stop on several counts. First, they often have free state-produced maps that usually show more state and local parks than the commercially produced ones. Second, they usually have coupons available that give you discounts on motels and attractions that you might find useful. Finally, the attendants are valuable sources of local lore and info. And since your route will take you past so many great national parks be sure to purchase an annual pass ($80) at the first one you come to. This will be good for entry by the card holder and everyone in his/her car to all national parks and monuments for a year. Obviously, you should buy it in the name of one of the people who will be making the return journey.

    AZBuck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Next take US-93 to Williams AZ
    To avoid confusion - US-93 to Kingman AZ.

  8. Default

    Thank you for all of that great information. We are wondering if you would have any tips on how long we should spend driving across and how to break it down so that the driver gets enough sleep. We are also making a list of everything we might need to have with us in the car, both for us and maintainence of the car, any suggestions on these questions or on the trip itself would be much appreciated. Thanks again for all the help! cheers :)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you only have one driver, I'd hit the road after breakfast and get off the road at dinnertime, just treat it like a normal work day. On the Interstates, you can cover around 500 miles or so per day, less on secondary roads and with sightseeing stops.

    You can drive from NJ to SF in 6 days following this procedure and staying on the Interstates with no sightseeing diversions, so you should have plenty of time to get off the Interstates and stop and see things.

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