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  1. Default Cross Country Road Trip: Must-Sees

    Hi there all,
    I'm planning to do a 3 month cross country (and hopefully a little bit of Canada) road trip this summer. I've been looking at everyone's posts like crazy and to be honest, it's really overwhelming! There's so many places to see across the U.S., so I was wondering...what would you consider the top must-see things on a road trip of the U.S.? I just want to get some ideas of cool places to go!
    Hope to hear from you soon!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default You must have missed that bit.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    The one thing you may not have noticed while looking around is we really don't do "must sees" as the road trip is an individual thing. Add to that the fact you have 3 Months, we have no idea of what you regard "cool" and the entire country as a "target area" the list would become more overwhelming than what you have already faced !

    It really is a case of keep researching and put some dots of your "must sees" on a map and then start filling the gaps in between, while breaking it into smaller segments. When you have got this far I am sure we could make some suggestions and help piece the jig-saw together, but until then enjoy the planning, it is a great part of the journey as a whole !

    Most of my "must sees" could be found in this one place, have fun !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default A Personal Thing

    Quote Originally Posted by mmasse View Post
    There's so many places to see across the U.S., so I was wondering...what would you consider the top must-see things on a road trip of the U.S.?
    I think that all of the TV shows, magazines, and other forms of media that have been feeding us "Top 10 Whatever" and "Must Do/See!" lists since perhaps the beginning of time have forever removed that which makes a road trip memorable, and that is the personal experience. There must be places that you've heard about your entire life that you've always wanted to visit. Those should be on your list above anything else. From there, you can connect the dots and fill in your days with other places that are on the path between each item on your list.

    For example, say you always wanted to see New York City, the coast of Maine, Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, and Crater Lake. From that you can look at what's around those areas that may also be of interest to you.

    Are you planning on camping at all on this trip, or will you be staying indoors for your lodging?
    Are you looking for places to "get away from everyone", or is being around a large population okay?

    Many questions come up before planning a trip of this magnitude, but hopefully something that isn't crossing your mind is to go someplace just to say that you've been there.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-24-2010 at 10:57 AM. Reason: Fixed quote

  4. Default

    Um, sorry, I guess the wording of my question was a bit's the same when someone asks me to say my favorite place in Europe or something...too big to tell you. Okay, so I guess what I mean is, I'd really like to hear about some peoples' experiences if they've done a road trip like this...I don't want to copy anyone's road trip, but here's my problem: I know I want to see certain places, but am not sure if there's hugely amazing/beautiful/crazy interesting things I'm leaving out...Maybe it would help if I put some highlights? I'm not even sure if all I want to see is feasible in 3 months, but here it goes:
    New York, NY
    Washington, DC
    Philadelphia, PA (+ surrounding to visit friends)
    Richmond, VA
    Appalachian Mts area (not sure which towns/exactly which area to go?)
    Charleston, SC
    Miami, FL
    New Orleans, LA
    Memphis, TN
    Las Vegas, NV
    Los Angeles, CA
    San Francisco, CA
    Seattle, WA
    Vancouver, BC
    Yellowstone National Park
    Denver, CO
    Chicago, IL
    Toronto, ON
    Quebec, QC
    Portland, ME
    Boston, MA
    That's just the cities to sort of pass through, not because I love cities and want to see every one of them... I really love natural wonders, and realize that 3 months doesn't come close to enough time to see all of them...
    Again, I guess I'm not asking for a list, or for you to plan my trip for me of course, but just if you want to share any experiences, or think that some of the places I'm going to are not worth it/I'm leaving out something that I really should something and let me know!
    I really look forward to hearing from anyone who'd like to respond.

  5. Default

    Oh, right, and to give you a better idea, maybe? My boyfriend and I are going to buy a van to go around in, sleep in that/ camp/ couchsurf...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default digging deeper

    First of all, your current plan to buy a van and sleep in it probably is not going to work. Simply put, its virtually impossible for a non-resident of the US to purchase and then register, license, and get insurance, for a car. This topic comes up quite frequently, but we really have never had anyone come back and tell us that they were successful with such a plan. On the other hand, we do have some regular posters from overseas who have spent many hours trying to find a way to make it work and from their experience, it simply can't be done.

    In regards to looking for what to do, the first thing to know is this: Even on a 3 month trip you will miss things - even if you had 3 years you couldn't see everything.

    Beyond that, you're still looking for way more information that you can reasonably expect to get as a response to a forum question. This site is filled with tips, ideas, and information - including an entire forum topic of field reports, and a planning section that has hundreds of articles with more ideas and suggestions - but when it all comes down to it, you're still basically asking for what things should you do throughout the entire US - and that's something that you'd need a full book (and there are plenty of those) to even begin a response.

  7. Default

    Hmmm...all right, seems I'm still not getting my point across...would this work? If anyone has done a 2-3 month North American trip, and would like to share a bit about their experience, it would probably help me in planning my road trip, plus (and maybe moreso) I really just would like to hear opinions/experiences of other people, if they would like to and have time to share.
    BTW, at what point did I say I am not a U.S. resident?
    Please, I'd really just like to hear some peoples' opinions, NOT get a list of places to go, and of course NOT have someone plan my trip for me. If you'd like to share, please post it!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Sorry, your question made it sound like you were coming to the US for this trip, if you already live here then obviously that's not an issue.

    Could your trip work - sure it could. Have people done a 3 month trip across the US - sure lots of them and many of them have written about their experiences. Once again, my opinion is that you'll have much more success if you start taking the advice you've already been given and start looking for information in the areas that have already been suggested rather than hoping people will reinvent the wheel and give you specific information to your very generic questions.

  9. Default

    Okay, sorry Michael, I feel we're not understanding each other...I'm just asking in general, if someone has done a trip of that kind of length, and they want to share, that I would really appreciate it and like to hear about it. I'm sure you've posted your experiences tons of times in different posts but if you want to respond and share a little about it, I'm really interested to hear. If not, well I'm going to be continuing my search, and I'll be looking for different places to go, but I just figured since everyone on this forum is interested in road trips/has done road trips, that maybe someone would like to post about it here. If not, that's ok too, and of course thank you and everyone for your input, I appreciate at least getting a response.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Yin and Yang of RoadTripping

    I understand where you're coming from, mmasse, but Michael's point is well taken. There is simply no way to offer you a set of "Must See's" for the entire country (your original request) that would be anything other than a literally endless list. Your point is equally well taken - Where does one start when (s)he doesn't even know what's available, let alone what's good? I think that the best we can do is point you to a few of the many well documented RoadTrips in the "Field Trip" forum and let you see what others have found of interest in their longer journeys around America, not so much for specific things to see, but for how trips are put together from major attractions and smaller venues to meet the particular traveler's needs. To wit:

    A 13,000 mile trip around the U.S.
    A month in Florida
    Back and forth across America


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