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  1. Default We have 2 months, how much can we get in?

    Hi all

    Having read through some other posts I have seen that three months can get you a pretty decent loop trip of most places, is this still doable with 6-8 weeks without feeling too rushed? I might add that we will have a 9month old baby, so more frequent stops will be needed!

    At the moment we are planning on beginning April arrival, but we're not wanting too much in the way of colder/winter weather, would we be best waiting for a beginning may arrival? We are open to which start off destination at present and would like to plan the start off destination to route to maximise on having the best weather! Any recommendations of where to start (obviously flight prices from the UK will have a part to play in the decision!). We're wanting to include both the west and east coasts and as much in between as we can, as many national parks as we can get to see. I have just bouhht a Rand McNally road atlas as it came highly recommneded on here, so I can get more of a plan in mind. We have a rough idea of a route we want to do, which at present started in maine and somehow ended in florida, but have since decided to rethink and try and get a loop trip done after seeing comments on here. So I'm a little back to the drawing board.

    We're wanting to try and include: Maine, florida, washington, california, texas, mississippi, colorado, nebraska, carolina, missouri, minnesota. This is very vague I know, we're still in early planning stages! We have a few specifics listed already but these are the main areas we would like to pass through, although I am also wondering whether it is too ambitious or not?

    In short, shall we wait until May to start rather than April? (we don't have the opportunity to leave it later than May to get 6-8 weeks in). For the times of year and weather, where would be best to start off and which areas should we try and leave until later in the trip.

    Apologies for this post being all over the place, my mind is on overdrive!! Any general advice would be hugely appreciated!

    Many thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default It's a big place.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    It can be a bit overwhelming to start with but planning soon becomes a fun part of the adventure as a whole. In 6-8 weeks you can certainly do a loop of the country but what you can fit in will depend on the pace you want to drive and what attractions you want to visit. Late April to early May would be a good time to travel as it keeps you out of the main tourist season but some places such as Yellowstone NP do not fully open until June and even in California some of the high ground in the Sierra Nevada can be off limits until mid May or later, so it's a case of figuring out how to make it work. As you are doing a complete loop then it would make sense to find the best flight deals, which I would think New York might offer the best deals and of course, a shorter flight time.

    A road atlas will be invaluable during planning and while on the road so it's a good place to start. I would also search the forums and trip planning pages for ideas and inspiration. [see the 'How to use this site' in the green tool bar above or scroll down the page to find links] Once you have marked the main place you want to visit you can then start work on how best to join the dots and weigh up the pro's and cons of the added miles anyone of them might create. Some you might drop but one thing is for sure, the more you research the more you will find !

    As you move forward with your planning and more specific questions come up then don't hesitate to ask. Once you have gotten a little further down the road with your planning we will be able to offer more meaningful advice and offer ways to 'tweak' your plans and make suggestions on routing and places in between your places. Between Colorado and California I would certainly urge you to look at Southern Utah and Arizona for amazing National parks and red rock/desert scenery, amazing !! You will have to pick and choose as 6-8 weeks is a great amount of time, but it's a huge place and there is so much to see and do. You might want those extra 2 weeks and make it 8 !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you fly into NY, I'd go clockwise - down the east coast to Florida, then west through the southern states, then go north and east through the northern states to Maine, then back to NY.

  4. Default

    Hi, thank you for your response, it is most helpful! I'm definitely thinking of waiting until beginning May so we have May/June to travel, Yellowstone park was one we were definitely wanting to see. I will certainly factor in Arizona, it sounds amazing, we're most certainly wanting to get to many national parks! I am now pretty certain of pushing for the 8 weeks rather and 6 and once I have a better idea of plans, I will post my draft route and see what folks think and possibly add/change parts. :)

    Thanks Nic

  5. Default

    Hi, thanks for your comment, having looked into flights to NY, it is definitely looking like the best option for us, and I will most certainly plan a clockwise route.

    Thanks Nic

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    If you are planning a lot of national park visits (and I highly recommend them), buy an annual pass at the first park you visit. They are $80 this year and will get you into every park that has an entrance fee. (Yellowstone/Grand Teton *alone* would cost $50, other parks are between $10 and $30, so you can see that the savings is great.) The pass is good for one year, for everyone in your vehicle, so you just buy one pass.

    I will "second" the suggestion for doing your trip clockwise if you are starting in NY and want to get to Yellowstone. It really isn't fully open until Memorial Day (last Monday in May).

    Two months is a nice amount of time, but you will still have to pick and choose what you see and what you skip. You can have two lifetimes and not see everything there is to see in the US.


    Donna

  7. Default

    Hi Donna,

    Thanks for your comment, good shout on the pass for national parks, we will definitely do that! Ive seen that there is alot of hiking opportunities in most of the parks, do you know at all if the hikes to great views would be doable with a 9month old on our back? A bit of a specific question I know, just trying to decide what to definitely do and what to cut out. We are now also contemplating doing 8 weeks for a loop along the west or east rather than doing it all and returning in a year or two to do the other side, there is just so much we want to do and don't want to just rush our way around it all and not give ourselves time to properly enjoy it! Plus we get two trips of a lifetime rather than one! ;)

    Thanks for your advice. Nic

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    There are many levels of hikes in National parks and yes there are great walks and viewpoints to be found with baby. The nps.gov website is invaluable when planning and will tell you all about each park. If National parks are high on your priorities then the west has a high concentration of them in certain areas and you could hit many in an 8 week loop.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Car Rental.

    If you are flying into NY, I suggest you look at renting your vehicle in NJ, or at least compare the price before you commit. NJ is usually considerably cheaper than NY.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    If you are desiring a slightly longer hike with views, with a baby, you should definitely stop at the visitor center or a ranger station in that national park and ask. That's up-to-date information.

    At Yellowstone, for instance, there is a hike to the brink of the Lower Falls that is 3/8 mile long, with an incredible view. But since it is switchbacks going straight down and then straight back up, 700 ft, it might be tough with a baby on your belly or back. It might depend on the shape you're in, in the first place, and of course the weight of the 9-month-old.


    Donna

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