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  1. Default Charlotte, NC --> West

    Hello, my husband & I are planning our first cross country trip out of Charlotte, NC with our pop-up camper for September 2020. New to this.. so we would love some route guidance, stops/site seeing suggestions & campground info. We will be traveling without children and are more interested in seeing national parks and landmarks.

    We have traveled along the east coast a ton so we wouldn’t need to make a stop/site see towards the beginning of the trip. Would prefer to do more heavy driving towards at beginning. Would love to see the Grand Canyon and possibly end the trip in one of the national parks in California or Utah.

    Unfortunately with work we are not able to take a full month off as most suggest. We are thinking we can swing 15-18 days. Any tips/advice suggestions would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Very Doable

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Whenever I start out to plan a trip of this magnitude, I always start with the bare-bones basics just to see if it is possible and then if it's going to be enjoyable. Only then do I start to fill in the details, once I know what limitations I'll have. In your case. you're looking at a minimum of four days solid driving each way to your destination area, if you stick mostly to the interstates. OK,that means 8 of your 15-18 days are gone leaving 7-10 for actually seeing and experiencing locations along the way.

    Next, make it enjoyable. Four solid days of driving back-to-back is not enjoyable for most people, but you cans spread those days out over the course of your trip rather than save them all for your 'west' destination. Even in the east where you say you've already seen a lot and are more concerned with laying down some miles, there are still places along the Interstates where you can take interesting short breaks without putting too much of a dent in the number of miles made good in a given day. If you took one of your 7-10 'activity' days and spread those 14 or so hours over your entire trip you could see much more of the country than just what passes in front of your windshield.

    Now, with those time parameters in mind, you can lay out the basics of your trip. As I said, it's four days (at least) each way using a mostly Interstate routing. But there are usually at least two different but still good routes available on a trip of this magnitude. let's look first at the more direct one, the one computer mapping routines will recommend. That couldn't be simpler. It's just US-74/I-26 to Asheville and I-40 the rest of the way from Charlotte to Flagstaff AZ. For something different on the other leg, either going or coming, stay a bit farther north, especially if you're going to be visiting some of the national parks in Utah. Assuming that this other leg would connect Charlotte and Moab UT (Arches National Park) you'd be looking at I-70 between Moab and St.Louis, and I-64/I-24 between St. Louis and Nashville, and I-40/I-26/US-74 as above between Nashville and Charlotte.

    Finally, just start looking along those routes for places and things you'd like to see and decide how much of your available time to devote to them. Do the big ones first: say Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Canyonlands, Arches, Colorado National Monument. Then start looking for smaller but still eminently enjoyable parks nearby. Just as an example, near the Grand Canyon there's also several national monuments including Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki.

    Try your own hand at planning the trip. Nobody knows better than you what's going to appeal to you. But we'll always be here to answer any further questions that might come up.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-18-2020 at 06:23 PM.

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