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  1. Default Please HELP! Early spring short/sweet cross country

    Hi! I'm traveling from Portland, OR to Virginia Beach, VA for work. I've decided to make a road trip of it and take my 16 year old niece with me for her birthday. We are leaving on April 1st and only have about a week. I need to get her to somewhere along the southern east coast by mid/late day on April 8th where my sister will meet us during her road trip from NY to Fla. I've done a few long road trips before but have never been the primary planner and have a tendency to be a fly by the seat traveler. With my niece in tow and our cramped time, I need to be a bit more of a planner. I know that most northern parks will still have lots of snow and am thinking a southern route and hitting the Grand Canyon would be our best option. I'd love some advice on routes and/or attractions that could be fit in during this speedy trip. Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,921

    Default Keep It Short and Sweet

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    While I understand your desire to want to include a spectacular stop such as the Grand Canyon in your cross-country RoadTrip, you need to understand that doing so would chew up ALL of your 'extra' time for sightseeing on this trip, and more importantly leave you with no wiggle room in the event that you ran into a winter storm, had an accident or medical emergency, or even just got tired of driving and wanted to take a day off.

    It would be far better to keep the route as direct and short as possible, leaving more time to actually enjoy several other, though smaller, attractions along the way. The most direct, (almost) all-Interstate route would simply be I-84 down to the Salt Lake area, I-80 east to Lincoln NE, NE-2 to I-29 south to Kansas City, I-70 east to St. Louis, and I-64 the rest of the way to the Virginia Beach area.

    By taking the more direct route, you'll leave yourself time for both two or three short stops each day as well as perhaps one major stop en route. Perhaps as good a place as any to take your major stop is in St. Louis which is about half way on your trip and has an excellent zoo, the Gateway Arch, Grant's Farm, paddlewheel cruises on the Mississippi, and a Six Flags amusement park. Taking the direct route also means that your most likely spot(s) for seeing bad weather are at the start of your trip when you'll have the most up-to-date and accurate forecasts as well as some spare time to sit out that weather in the comfort of your home or a motel should that be necessary.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Thanks Buck, I definitely appreciate the advice and insight. The arch and paddlewheel cruise are great suggestions. We are not looking for any amusement park type stops but like the idea of the options for small stops along the way. Also, even if we get to spend a short amount of time with a quick view or two in a "big stop" or two, we'd be down for that. My last trip was NY to LA and we hit Rushmore, the badlands, field of dreams, rock and roll hall of fame, Yellowstone, Salt Lake City, Sedona and Grand Canyon and then to LA in 9 days. This trip needs to be a little less packed than that but we don't need full day stops anywhere. Any other suggested stops along your suggested route? Also, any suggestions for a place or two to tent camp along the way? Thanks again! I'm getting excited to share my wanderlust with my niece.
    -Kat

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,921

    Default Sure

    If I were to consider one other 'big stop' for this trip, it would probably be in or near Salt Lake City. That would include some or all of the lake itself, the Tabernacle, any remaining 2002 Winter Olympics venues, or sites connected with the city's and region's unique history. As for smaller stops long the way, I don't know if you realize that you can just click on the words "short stops" in the first line of the third paragraph in my original response to see a listing of such places every couple of hours along each of the major cross-country Interstate highways. You can also show your proposed route to your niece and let her pick out a few of her own.

    As for tent camping, I'd probably wait until I was over the Rockies and well east of the High Plains (cold and possible snow at elevation) and aim for somewhere 1) along the Platte River/old Oregon Trail in Nebraska such as Mormon Island State Recreation Area and 2) on your last night, which would be somewhere near Beech Fork Lake State Park. Understand, however, that those two specific sites were chosen on the basis of where I might be on any given night if I were doing this trip. You might break up your days and nights a bit differently.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,431

    Default

    Six Flags Over Mid-America, the one near St Louis, is only operating on weekends beginning Saturday March 25th. Given your schedule of departing west coast on April 1st and needing to be somewhere on the 8th, you won't be able to enjoy Six Flags on this trip.

    Grants Farm doesn't open until April 15th.

    Gateway Arch and the Riverboat cruises *should* be open by early April, unless they run into delays. (Arch trips aren't opening until March.) The Zoo should be open, but there will be some amenities closed if the noon temperature isn't at 50F or above.


    Donna

  6. Default

    Thank-you so much!

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