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  1. Default Last minute planning help

    Folks, I am a newbie to this forum, and would love to see if anyone has ideas/maps/recommendations for a road-trip from Northern VA to maybe LA to cover in about 16 days using the southern route(I prefer I-10) The kids will be out of school for 2 weeks and as a routinely non-planning mom, I need to do something pronto.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It's about 2600 miles from Northern Virginia to Los Angeles, which goes up to about 2800 if you use I-10. That means you need at least 5 days to cover the miles each way, and that's assuming essentially no extra stops along the way and that you'll see good weather for the entire trip (which is fairly unlikely this time of year.) In other words, you'll have time to get there and back, you'll only have time to spend a couple of days in California, so you're going to be spending a whole lot more time in the car than you will be doing any exploring. Being that you don't even seem to be set on LA being your destination (from the "maybe LA") you might want to look at finding a place that would involve a bit less driving.

    I'm assuming that this is a round trip. If it's one way, then that does change things.

    I don't know your reason for preferring I-10 (if it's because you assume you'll see good or better weather, that's a bad assumption), but wherever you end up going, I would strongly recommend you take a different route each direction.

    As far as other recommendations, when we don't know anything about you, your kids, or what you are interested in seeing and doing, it's hard to provide much in the way of specifics ideas. However, you might start by taking a look at RTA's Map Center, which provides RTA recommended places to visit near your route.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 12-06-2017 at 08:35 AM.

  3. Default

    One-way.. the only reason I did not think of I-40, is because of the weather. Regarding kids - one 14 and one 8.

    things we like to do - we'll do most things (age-appropriate) that are on a recommended things to do. also, we love the outdoors.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default At Your Disposal

    Perhaps your best 'bang for the buck' option is to get an annual national parks pass at the first such park you come to and use it extensively. Also, at each park you visit, sign your younger child up for the Junior Ranger Program. I'd probably have your older child just help the younger at first since the program technically only goes to age 13. But most parks will bend the rules if your 'tween asks to be signed up on their own.

    If you do the above, and with the time you have available, you could easily make this a trip from one national park or monument to another just following their map. Options include scenery, history, and with the national wildlife refuge system plenty of nature. Note: The two system maps take a bit of time to load.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    the only reason I did not think of I-40, is because of the weather
    That's not really a valid reason. Winter weather can affect all east-west Interstates, and the farther south you go, generally the road crews are less equipped to deal with it. Plan your trip around what you want to see.

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


    As GLC mentioned, any route, including I-10 can and does see snow, ice, and other winter weather. You'd be much better off picking a route based on where you want to go and what you want to see. The good thing is that you have enough time that if you do see some bad weather then you'll be in a position to simply wait for conditions to improve.

    Have you looked at what it will cost to rent a car one-way for this trip? One way car rentals are always very expensive, and when you add in that it's a cross country trip, on short notice, around the holidays, it will likely be even more costly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Another consideration about heading toward LA -- are you aware that there are a number of wildfires raging in the area? The biggest one, the Thomas Fire, is in Ventura, not close to the city. But others -- the Rye Fire, the Creek Fire, Bel Air Fire, Little Mountain Fire, are all closer to the city. Be aware of these as you make your last minute plans. (San Diegans are not immune either. Late this morning, the Lilac Fire broke out near the intersection of I-15 and CA-76. It has moved VERY quickly west down the San Luis Rey riverbed.


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