In July, three friends and I are heading to New York City from Melbourne, Australia. We are planning to spend a week or so in NYC, but are keen to get out on the road and see the surrounding areas - we have put aside around 10 days for roadtripping. We'd like to have a mix of cities/towns, nature and cultural experiences - we have a photography hobbyist who I'm sure would appreciate some great photo opportunities, and we all enjoy a good walk (day trekking) and a bit of adventure.
We've had a number of suggestions of things to see (Finger Lakes, Catskill Mountains, Niagara Falls, Boston, Phillidelphia etc. etc.), but can't work out what route to take, time required, and what are the "must see" things. So, I guess my question is... if you had 10 days to drive first time visitors to the USA on a round-trip from New York, where would you take them?
In terms of budget, we are willing to spend on activities and travel, but are keen to stay in budget accommodation. Any hints on cheap/safe/clean/well-located accommodation would be much appreciated!
Thanks so much!