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  1. Default Summer roadtrip from MN to CA

    Hi all,

    My sister, roommate, and I are planning a trip out west to California from Minnesota. I graduate this year from college and want to go out with a bang. Anyways, we plan to do it quite cheap (i.e. camping when we can, if not just sleeping in the car). The goal of the trip is to hit the major National Parks: Black Hills, Yellowstone, Glacier, Redwood forests of N. California. We plan to go straight across to Seattle and then drive down the coast until we hit San Francisco and then cut across back to Minnesota. We were thinking of allotting roughly 2~2.5 weeks for this trip. I was just wondering if that is possible in the time we have. Also if anyone has any tips of where to go, what to see, etc. Any information would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Nice Graduation Present

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As I map out your proposed itinerary, I get around 5000 miles. You can do that in two weeks, but it really wouldn't leave a whole lot of time for enjoying stuff along the way. It will take a minimum of 8-10 days just to make the drive, depending on exactly which roads you choose and when you go. Still it would be an adventure and is feasible. Just go in with your eyes open. Besides the places you mention, I think you can also add (without adding too many miles) Olympic National Park, Yosemite, the Great Salt Lake, the Grand Tetons, Devils Tower and the Badlands. The bulk of your big 'hits' would be on the way back home from San Francisco, so plan on making the trip to the coast fairly expeditious as it would be a shame to run out of time with so much to see on the home stretch.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I say save the coast for another trip

    Yes, it's do-able in the time you have allotted, especially if you heed AZBuck's precautions, but you won't have a lot of time to explore the national parks you've listed or the wonderful other sights you will come across along the way. I suggest you consider limiting your trip to the Black Hills, Yellowstone, and Glacier, and the wonderful areas between them. I believe this will be a more fun of a trip for you all. Of course, it's your trip, if you want to try the longer trip, go for it. I suggest you allow yourself the ability to change plans on the fly. I mean, if you try it and then realize that you've bit off too much, go ahead and change your plans and start back toward home, exploring along the way. Spontaneous changes on the road can be fun. Don't look at it as a failure because you didn't hit every spot on your list.

    Anyway, MN-Black Hills-Yellowstone-Glacier-MN is roughly 2900 miles. If you planned to travel 7 days, this would mean about 400 miles/day...which is about 7-8 hours driving depending on traffic conditions. I know 9 hours sounds like a lot but expect the driving time to be longer near major tourist areas like Yellowstone and Glacier, especially Yellowstone. This would allow you to drive one day and explore the next day. I think that's a nice balance. ]

    I would do I-90 one direction and I-94 the other to create a nice loop.

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