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  1. Default LA to NYC Road Trip (Late August - Early September)

    Hey guys!

    My girlfriend and I are interested in planning a late summer road trip from Los Angeles to New York City. She's only ever been to DC and Miami, I've only ever really been to cities on the coasts.

    We'd like to see some great scenery, famous/noteworthy places, good food is always a bonus. Living arrangement wise - we're probably going to be staying in hotels so try not to leave us in a national park overnight!

    We'd really like some advice on a good route to take. We'd like to stop in Vegas for 2-3 nights, and for the rest of the trip to NYC to not take longer than 2 weeks if possible.

    Thanks guys!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Big Picture First

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    From your initial description, you have the possibility of a great RoadTrip. You've got the time, a companion, and (apparently) enough money to make it into just what you want. And that's the basic point of RoadTrips, they should be what you want. So you'll note, if you read enough threads on this site, that the best advice and resulting trips come about from a dialogue between the people making them (you) and the people who've made similar trips in the past (us). What doesn't work is us just telling you what to do. That especially won't work where you don't have a hard time limit and we don't know a whole lot about your interests.

    So let's start the discussion with a broad outline of what a two week cross-country RoadTrip might look like. Since every specific place you mentioned is a city, I'll assume you'd like some urban nightlife included - as well as the 'great scenery' and historic sites. One (among many possible) such route would be to head initially for Las Vegas. Then spend a fair amount of time in southern Utah visiting the Mighty Five as well as the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Next head through Colorado, possibly visiting the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and/or Rocky Mountain NP. Once east of the Front Range you could follow the route of the old Oregon Trail and Pony Express along the Platte River in Nebraska to Kansas City and then St. Louis. From there, a general route up the Ohio River and through Kentucky could include Mammoth Cave and the Great Smoky Mountains as well as a number of important Civil War battlefields and set you up for a final run up the Appalachians and Shenendoah Valley and through a number of important and historic east coast cities including Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia on the way to New York.

    So that's your first task, to work out a basic route that hits as many high spots as you think you'd like and then look for smaller venues (and restaurants) that will make the trip even more memorable. But that first task is up to you. I've given you one idea of what's possible. You and your girlfriend should discuss that and make whatever changes you might like and then (with any other advice others might give you) get back to us. An iterative process such as that gives you the best chance of ending up with an itinerary that will make your trip memorable for you.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-30-2020 at 03:50 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    Welcome to RTA!

    What you might do is get yourself a good atlas with a USA road map, and start looking at what's between LA and NYC that you might like to see. AZBuck has given you some ideas, but this is your trip. Some of those little sticky arrows can help you flag places of interest, and usually a few routes will start to catch your eye as you flag those areas.

    OK, Las Vegas from LA is about a 5-6 hour trip, unless you are traveling up there on a Friday afternoon or on a Sunday late afternoon. Then the traffic may slow you down a bit. After LV, you'll probably want to keep to about 450-500 miles a day *at the most*, less if you want to stop along the way for an hour or two at a place of interest. At that pace, driving to NYC without stopping (from LV) is about a 5-6 day drive. So if you have 12 days left (after the drive to LV and the layover there) to stop and look around.

    You didn't say how you were getting back from NYC, or is this a one-way trip? Do you have extra time (over & above the two weeks you mentioned) in order to make a trip back? The reason I ask is that getting back will take you 5-6 days without stopping.

    My husband and I have gone to the East Coast from San Diego about 3 times in the past 9 years. Sometimes we have gone "direct" on a modified "speed run". Other times, we've gotten to sightsee. It's really easier to do the sightsee method, more relaxing.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default No need to stay in the NPs to visit them.

    Quote Originally Posted by st0ne View Post

    ... we're probably going to be staying in hotels so try not to leave us in a national park overnight!
    Don't let not wanting to stay within National Parks stop you from visiting what are some of the greatest wonders of the natural world. I have visited the Grand Canyon several times for multiple days, but have never stayed within the park. Same with Yellowstone and Yosemite. I have always stayed at the closest affordable accommodation nearby. For the Grand Canyon I have stayed at the hostels in Flagstaff, or when visiting the North Rim, in Kanab. You just need to be sure that the fuel to travel there and back again is not going to cost you more than what staying in the park would cost.

    I'll second getting a good detailed map of the US, and start putting post it notes all over it, as you see places you definitely want to visit, and soon you'll see a route appear. After all, the best route between LA and NYC is the route which takes you to the places you want to visit. Once you have that worked out, the members on forum will fill in the little in between places and attractions you may also like.


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