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  1. Default 1 month summer American Roadtrip

    My sister and I are planning to drive a loop in the US this coming summer from our home, Southwestern Ontario. We have recently come to the realization that trying to do everything in a month is impossible so are reaching out to you for suggestions.
    Should we do the North East? South West? Other areas? What is reasonable for us to do in a month? Given that we are in our early twenties and our main priorities are shopping and bonding, any ideas? We are definately attracted to big cities such as New York and LA but don't think we can do both in a one month round trip loop.
    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Month is More Than You Think

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    When I did my first "Circuit of the U.S." RoadTrip, it took me three weeks to drive from New England down to Tennessee, over to California, up to Washington, and back home. And that included spending a week spread out seeing friends in San Francisco, Grants Pass, and Eugene. So with a month, while you may not be able to see it all, you can see any 1 or 2 parts of it that you want. So the first thing I think you and your sister should do is to sit down one evening and take the Roadtrip Compatibility Quiz to work out what it is you want out of your trip (in very broad terms) and what your style of travel would be. Then have a discussion on the specific places that you'd each like to see. I think you'll have many places of interest in common. You can certainly find, for example, a loop that would include many large cities as well as some of the best natural wonders of the U.S. Just one possibility would go roughly: Boston, New York, Washington, Blue Ridge Mountains, Smoky Mountains, Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, Albuquerque, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Big Sur, Yosemite, San Francisco, Great Salt Lake, Yellowstone, Badlands, Mall of America, Chicago and home. That would be a jam-packed trip, but it could be done in a month. You may, however, what to cut it down a bit and schedule some alone time along the way as well. But, in any event, once the two of you have a basic outline of what you want to do together, come on back and people will be more than happy to help you fine tune it and offer some suggestions for places and activities you might not have on your itinerary.


  3. Default West Cost Trip - May '08

    My sister and I (from Ontario) are planning to take on the west coast this May. We are starting by stopping in Chicago and the Grand Canyon and then the planned route is LA, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, back to Ontario.
    Our main focus of the trip is to explore the great neighbourhoods all these cities have. (any suggestions on particular gems?)
    We're also looking forward to some great food. Again, any favourites (preferable in the student price range).
    Lastly, we are hoping to park our vehicle on the out skirts of most cities to avoid the chaos so any recommendations on where we can do this and how to get to where the action is would be much appreciated!

    Thanks for your input.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default transportation research

    Welcome Back to the RTA Forum!

    Parking on the outskirts of a city and then commuting in is a great way to get around a place without having to deal with some of the urban headaches. However, it does require a fair amount of research to find how to go about this. I would start by searching for the websites of the transit authorities for each of the cities you'll be visiting, and try to find route maps, timetables, and parking info to see how feasable it will be for your trip and to get to the places you want to go.

    Some places this will work out really well. Chicago and San Francisco both have good bus/train networks, while LA is a city where you'll probably want to stick to your car.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Stick to the car in Seattle, too

    Seattle has buses. But they get stuck in traffic just like cars. Your best bet when visiting in Seattle is to stay in a hotel near the area you plan to explore to minimize the commute and then either leave way early before the worst of the traffic (crack of dawn or earlier) or wait until traffic is done. But I can't think of anything worse than trying to get around by bus.

    Some of my favorite neighborhoods:
    * Waterfront/Downtown - interesting shops, infamous Public Market with flying fish, waterfront with great views of the Sound/ferries/water tours/aquarium, the amazing Ye Olde Curiousity Shoppe, short walk to Pioneer Square, the Seattle Art Museum always has wonderful collections to see, keep going south of Pioneer Square to check out the lovely stadiums for the Mariners and the Seahawks (Safeco Field, home of the Mariners, is really a fantastic park). Tons of good places to eat here. No visit to Seattle would be complete without eating at Ivar's Acres of Clams on the waterfront. It's a Seattle institution. There's also some fantastic bakeries and other places to eat at The Public Market, particularly across the street in the block of shops between the market and 1st Ave. We just ate in a fantastic Italian place in "the alley" in that block right before Christmas but I'll be danged if I can think of the name. Sorry.

    * Ballard - Scandinavian part of Seattle, great bakeries! Just ask around and people will be able to guide you to the best of 'em.

    * Fremont - "The Center of the Universe" which has formed its own Republic. You will find giant trolls cradling full-size VW Beetles hiding under bridges, a statue of Lenin, and, if you were able to come at Summer Solstice, naked bicyclists....what more can I say? Everytime I go there, I try something different. Lots of health food-type places, vegan, and ethnic restaurants.

    * University District - home of the University of Washington, fun and a bit bohemian.

    * Queen Anne Hill - some of the most beautiful homes and neighborhoods, amazing architecture

    * Lake Union - the infamous Seattle houseboats including the Sleepless in Seattle one, ride kayaks on the lake, check out the Space Needle and the strange, sweeping architecture of the Experience Music Project (EMP) which is worth going inside for with its wonderful collection of musical history and interactive activities. There used to be a great deli near the Center for Wooden Boats...a pretty cool place to visit...but it's been awhile and I'm not sure it's still there.

    * I don't recall which exact neighborhood this is considered to be in but I always enjoy the Hiram Chittenden Locks (look for the fish ladders) and the Arboretum right next to it.

    * At the southern edge of Seattle, in the industrial area, is Boeing Field. The Museum of Flight is a very cool museum. Check out the Little Red Barn where Boeing was born next door.

    There's more areas near Seattle that are interesting but these are the best, imho, and should keep you busy.

  6. Default

    I would take a midwest/northeast big city attraction tour. You can hit up more shopping places and events that way. The midwest and east tend to be a bit more populated, and distances between large cities take only a few hours to a day, whereas if you drive out west, you're going to spend days driving across cornfields (which might give you a chance to talk, I suppose). Shopping opportunities will be limited mostly to small gift-shops and tradeposts. I'm not sure how far west you are in Ontario, but I"m going to assume you live somewhere above Minnesota. I would begin by driving down through Duluth, Minnesota and perhaps cross over to Superior, WI just for fun. Duluth's an amazing and unique city built into a hill. From there, travel south to Minneapolis, St. Paul MN. (The twin cities). I'm not sure but I think the mall of america is somewhere around there? Then head toward Wisconsin, through Lacrosse. This part of your trip should be absolutely beautiful. Head dead east to Madison, which is college town and a great shopping city, as it has many independent shops downtown. On the way to madison you could hit up Wisconsin dells if you're into casinos and water resorts. Then head further east to Milwaukee, about an hour and a half away. Milwaukee is a great city in the summer, as it has Summerfest, the world's largest music festival, and a bunch of other ethnic festivals as well as the state fair. There are some great places to eat in Milwaukee. It is also a big BEER city, with many bars to choose from if you're into nightlife and drinking.
    Then head south to Chicago. It should only take an hour and a half to 2 hours to get there from Milwaukee. Shop Michigan Avenue and be sure to visit Navy pier and travel to the top of at least one tall skyscraper.
    From Chicago, either head east to Indianapolis/columbus/pittsburgh, and then on to new york city, or if you have never before seen niagara falls, travel north east to Detroit, then east to Niagara Falls. From there travel east to Philadelphia/New York, enjoying some more great scenery. Camp along the way. Then travel NOrtheast to Boston, then northwest back to Canada. Hit up Montreal, Ottawa, and then head back west toward home along whichever route you decide to take. Essentially, you will have looped the great lakes this way, and should have no problems doing this in a month, even if you do spend a few days in one place or another.

    This would be a fairly expensive trip if you stayed downtown in every city, so if you think you can't afford it look into possibly staying in the suburbs.

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