My best friend and I are planning a month long road trip from Maine to California. The first leg of the trip is the "boring part" -- a little under half of the entire distance, we're going to try to get through as quickly as possible. The first destination will be New Orleans. After that, we'll hook up with Route 66, maybe stop in Santa Fe or somewhere else in New Mexico if there's anything interesting to do there, then head into Los Angeles. I'm thinking we should go to a beach town, but I don't know which one. We want a fun boardwalk kind of place, maybe. We'll spring for a decent hotel and restaurant that night, but we don't want anything TOO expensive... and something wonderful and cheap would be preferred if anyone knows anything. Then we're going to Yosemite, and eventually on to a place in Utah where you sleep in a hogan, or something else like that. Our last stop will be Boulder, Colorado. After that, we'll be on our way back home, but still open to adventures.
We plan to camp/sleep in the car most of the time, staying in motels occasionally, and buy food from grocery stores as much as possible (still eating in restaurants sometimes, because I know for sure that whether or not we plan to, we WILL). We'll have 1500-2000 dollars for gas (maybe a high estimate, but I figure it's no problem if we don't spend all the gas money -- it will be a problem if we run out of gas money before we get home). I don't know how much money to expect for food and hotels, though... can anyone help me figure out an estimate?
Any ideas about interesting places to go and things to do in the southwest would be much appreciated! We'd like to have as many ideas as possible... not necessarily planning to do all of them, but it can't hurt to have ideas. We tend to prefer things that don't cost much money and aren't very "touristy" (although if there's a touristy place that's really worth going to we'll certainly happily go there).
Especially appreciated would be ideas for places to go in the cities that we're planning on stopping in (New Orleans, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, Boulder).