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  1. Default Summer '08: CA to east coast (and back!)

    We're graduating from college next June and want to do a cross-country roadtrip beginning in Davis, CA and ending up on the east coast, then driving home. We're thinking 4 people, one month, taking a southern route there and a northern route back, camping most of the time, staying with friends when we can, and occasionally motels. Sounds reasonable?

    We need some ideas though! You can leave out any places in California because we have been there, done that. We would love ideas on national parks, small towns, big cities, festivals, other places of interest.

    Also, do you think it is best to plan out the trip so we know where we are going each day/how far we are driving/where we are staying? Or just pick a few places we really want to go and add in places that sound good, planning as we go? We'd love advice from people who have done this a bunch of times!


    E and K

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the Roadtrip America forum!

    It's rather hard to give you specific answers. We really need more information to make recommendations. What kinds of things are you interested in seeing and doing along the way?

    Your idea is sound. One month isn't going to give you a long time to linger and explore but it's definitely enough time to make this trip without feeling too rushed. You can cross the US on a speed run in 5 days (10 days round trip). So you'll have time to explore a bit with 20 more days to work with.

    And we always encourage people to use one route there and another back so they see new scenery. Good plan!

    To plan your route, I suggest you start by looking at a good US map and mark the places you most want to see. And then see if there's a logical route to follow to take you to all of those places. When you've had a rough route planned, we can help you tweak it and make specific recommendations.

    As for schedules....on a longer trip like this, I would simply suggest having a few benchmarks. Maybe every 5 days, establish a location where you would need to be at that time to not be so far behind schedule that the rest of your trip is a rush. But there's no way that I'd want to be tied into a strict schedule on a trip of this length. Spontaneity is part of the fun.

    And you might consider having no specific route at all. Some of the best trips are those where you just meander and let the road lead you to new things without any kind of plan. As you begin working and will likely have less time to vacation, this might be your best opportunity for awhile to do something like this. Just something to consider.

    Whatever you decide, you should start with taking our Roadtrip Compatibility Quiz to make sure you're doing the type of trip that you're all comfortable with.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Were I you...

    ...and obviously I'm not, I'd do as follows.

    Take Hwy 50 to Utah and make a path down through several of the parks to the Grand Canyon.

    Head east and visit some Indian pueblos such as Acoma and Taos, as well as Santa Fe.

    Your choice regarding Texas, except that the music scene in Austin is awsome and the missions in San Antonio (including the Alamo) are so different from California that they are worth a visit.

    I'm sure that New Orleans is on your agenda but you should also look for food and local entertainment in Lafayette and surrounding areas.

    Florida is a mixed bag of beaches, amusement parks, wildlife in the Everglades and wild life in Key West or Miami Beach, and interesting history such as Cape Canaveral and Saint Augustine.

    The east coast is crammed with history, scenery and such, but don't miss Washington DC and NYC. Then there is the historic areas of Philly and Boston that are critical to an understanding of early America.

    After that, upstate New York or western Pennsylvania will get you headed back west. We love Kentucky and Tennesee, but we also enjoyed the upper Great Lakes region. Your choice.

    Your route across the Plains States could include any number of stops including St. Louis (the arch and nearby wine region are unique) and/or Chicago (the downtown lakefront and museums are fabulous).

    Further west, the Badlands and Black Hills are terrific and lead right to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Or Denver and the Rocky Mountains lead to Salt Lake City and the route back to Davis. Unfortunately, you probably don't have time to do both.

    So, there is a rough guide...probably not too different from what you were thinking, but it is a loop that hits the highlights in a once-around.

    Along the way there are things to interest everyone in the group. The best way to make sure everyone's desires are addressed is to make a list of must-sees and string together a trip that hits all, or most of them as evenly distributed as possible. You'll have to make changes along the way, but having that skeleton will make the execution of the trip so much easier.

    Finally, allow yourself a few days leeway at the end so that if you get delayed you'll be covered.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

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