2 weeks through southern USA
we are planning a trip through southern usa within 2 weeks. did anybody make such a trip before and can give uns some suggestions what to see how to go.........for we are from europe and don't really know how to plan this.
plenty of postings on this site...
There are lots of postings on this site dealing with the southern part of the U.S.
Are you planning a round trip, or will you be going back to Europe via another city? Also, where are you starting out from exactly? If you post an answer to these questions, I will provide some specific advice for you, as will plenty of other posters, I'm sure.
I am planning a similar trip from LA to Boston, travelling the southern route. I have done some research and can let you know some good tips if you let me know when you are going and if you are travelling one way or roundtrip. If you are travelling roundtrip I wouldn't get too excited about seeing too many things. Let me know.
HI! My friends and I are doing the same thing this summer. 2 weeks from west coast to eas coast, then we're flying back. we need to rent a car though. We are definitely stopping in Huston, TX, Grand Canyon, AZ, New Orleans, LS, somewhere along the Mississippi River, Nashville, and eventually New York. I'm so excited! When are you guys going? We're going in July. Good luck & have fun! We're trying out Route 66, and then I don't know. It will be an adventure...
We are doing a very similar trip. We are starting in LA and then going to Phoenix, El Paso, Dallas, New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach, New Jersey, Boston, and New York. We are taking 2 1/2 weeks. We rented a car from National Rent a Car(nationalcar.com) and it seemed to be the cheapest. Drop off rates are outrageous though. When are you guys going?
Sorry, I just noticed you guys were going in July. We are leaving the last week in May.
me and a friend are going on a RoadTrip from NYC to LA this Monday. We rented a car for 2 weeks and now we got no idea where to drive except we want to take a route through the south. We are from Europe and got no idea what on our way is important to see/ to drive to, and what is not. And does anybody know which are the best but cheap motels? Thx a lot
we are leaving from Maryland and need to come back there....the travel date will be probably the last week in july and the first in august. the idea of this trip is the following: from maryland to chicago....then (on the route 66 as far as possible) down to the grand canyon...back through texas and some of the southern states....then to tennessee or kentucky and finally back home to maryland.
i would be gratful if somebody could give me hints about how much the costs could be, cheap car rentals, or things that needs to be seen (even if it is not directly on our way).........or about other stuff i didn't even thought about.
and it would also helps me a lot if some of you guys just could tell me your experiences.
Here are some random thoughts:
1. I assume that you are coming into BWI. If yes, then make sure to drop by the Habor in Baltimore for a meal - lots of nice restarants at various price levels. The atmosphere is great. The whole trip from Baltimore to Chicago is around 700 miles or about a 10-12 hour ride straight through. Along the way some interesting places to visit - Frederick, MD, Hagersown, MD, travel the PA turnpike (oldest turnpike in the US, but watch your speed. The PA State Police patrol it heavliy), you will pass near the location where the miners were trapped last year and were one of the 9-11 planes went down. Moving west Pittsburg, PA is a unique city that has transitioned from steel to technology. Going west on the Ohio turnpike, you will pass through Cleveland which has the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame and a nice restaurant area near the downtown along the river. Further west along the route, you will pass near South Bend, In - home of Norte Dame University (famous US Catholic Univeristy). In Chicago, the lakefront is big in the summer. The Sears tower is worth a pass and the museums are also very good to.
2. From Chicago go south to St. Louis (a few hours drive) and do the Arch and Anheiser (sp) Busch Brewry (tour is good, beer is not). You can pick up 66 here and head west. You will be able to drive faster as you head west, the speed limit will increase from an average of 65 (105K) in the east to 75 (122K) in the west. FYI - Chicago to the Grand Cayon is around 1700-1800 miles or 23-25 hours of driving time. Along the way, you can stop by Dodge, KS (good old west town), Sante Fe, NM (A nuveau western art city, but nice.) You will pass by Albequerque, NM (nice NM city with a touristy old town area. There are ancient indian rock paintings just west of the city). Heading west, I would make a few hour detour north and hit the Monument Valley (It has breadth-taking scenery of large red rock buttes that rise hundereds of feet in the air. Glenn Ford filmed many of his old westerns here and it is on the Navajo reservation and a Navajo Park (Navajo is the largest US reservation in area.) Head back southwest towards Flagstaff and then to the Grand Canyon. Stay in Flagstaff as the hotels are limited in the Grand Cayon area, or reserve a hotel on the park well in advance (at 6 months before your trip, you may be too late). Flagstaff is about an hour from the Grand Canyon. If you hike down it, be warned. The crest is around 7500 feet elevation. If it is 80 degrees F on the crest, it will be over 100 degress F in the bottom. There are no stores, limited water, only camping facilities and it is a grueling walk out. Plan ahead and know what you are getting yourself into. On a whim, I walked down and out in one day in August. It was very, very tough and not recommended. The warnings aside, it is one of the most awe inspiring places in the world!
3. Leaving the Grand Canyon, head south to Sedona,Az (great weather, red rocks with red buttes, good food/atmosphere. Also a artsy town). Drive down through Phoenix south-east to Tucson and visit another old western town - Tombstone (home of the famous OK Corral gunfight) They did a movie on the OK Corral-Erps/Clanton gang a few years ago. This has inspired a almost cult like atmosphere in Tombstone. People actually buy/rent old west outfits and walk around with fake guns and etc. These folks are tourist, not actors or local attendants. It makes for a unique atmosphere and a must see. Drive East through southern New Mexico. Along the way and just west of El Paso, TX - you can visit Carlsbad Cavern, one of the most famus US caverns. if you go a hour or so north, you can visit White Sands, NM. The sand looks like snow. Very cool. Heading east through Texas on I10, you could drop down about two hours south and do Big Bend National Park along the Rio Grande (neat place that has little commercial activity around with big canyons that the Rio flows through and Mexico just across the river. (FYI - Walk over to Mexico if you visit along the trip. Most US car rental companies don't extend their Insurance coverage into Mexico.) Heading East go into San Antonio and stop by the River Walk in the downtown area (very nice with lots of touristy restaurants.) Do the boat ride tour. Just north of San Antonio is Schlitterbahn Waterpark -noted as one of the best in the US. Notice the name, there is a heavy German culture influence around San Antonio. Second only to the Spanish cultural influence. (FYI - It will be very, very hot in Texas around July/August.) Head East-NorthEast to Houston (drive by the fallen Enron building) or visit the Space Center just south of the city. Head east along I10 and you be driving along the Gulf of Mexico. You will pass through New Orleans. One of the most ecclectic citiesin the US. Good food, lots of parties and lots of culture (French, English, American, African and etc.) New Orleans is a must do. Try a drive through Margaritas place, there all over and one of the only places in the US you can buy open drinks like you are going to a fast food restaurant. Let your passenger drink and don't drink and drive, though. Head east on I10 and catch I65 towards Montgomery, Al. You will go by many of the most famous civil rights locations (Montgomery and Selma, AL). Follow I65 to I20 and into Atlanta, GA. Atlanta is a modern southern city. Visit the Martin Luther King house and Stone Mountain. You will get two sides of the civil rights/race struggle. Go norht up I75 to Chattanooga, TN. Check out Lookout Mountain and visit the famous Rock City/Ruby Falls. Head north on I75 to the Smokey Mountains (just east of Knoxville, TN). Visit Pigeon Forge and do a Country music show. Visit Gatlinburg, TN (closet thing to a small alpine town in the US) One warning, it is a very commercial area. Head back to I75 and catch I81 just north of Knoxville, TN. Drive up into VA and stop by Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. There are many smaller caverns along I81 as you go up into VA. The best is Luray Caverns near Front Royal, VA. Heading north into WVA, stop by Harpers Ferry, WVA and see one of the civil war hot spots, where John Brown captured the local Armory in the mid-1800. Also the scenry is very nice, as two rivers merge in mountain valley. Head north on I81 a few minutes and catch I70, then back to BWI.
Some general FYI's:
1. Stay at hotels in between large metro areas. They will be the cheapest (average of 50 - 70 a night or less in some cases). Remember the rule - you get wht you pay for.
2. Obey the speed limits, especially in the east. As you head west they get a little more reasonable, but there are still what we call, "speed-trap towns" around.
3. In the East, it will be hot 80 - 90's F during the suummer with high humidity. In the west the temperaure will be very hot 100's F with little or no humidity. The heat will feel deceptively better. Drink a lot and make sure to have water with you as you drive in the West. There are some places with nothing(stores, hotels, gas stations and etc.) for miles...
4. In the West, if you gas tank goes below 1/4 left of fuel, stop an get gas. As mentioned above, there are some places with nothing (stores, hotels, gas stations and etc.) for miles...
5. Check your credit card company. You may be able to skip the insurance, as they may cover you.
6. Make sure to get unlimited mileage rental. This trip is huge and will cover a few thousand miles..
7. Rent by the week to get the best rate. Typically - Hertz, Avis and National are the higher rated companines with Budget, Alamo (low cost division of National) and Enterprise being lower cost. However, they all offer differnt deals at different times. Look for discounts that your company, or a club you belon to may offer. They are usually a wide variety of discounts available.
8. On this trip, I would wing it on the hotel planning- resrvations, except for the Grand Canyon and if you stop in any major town. Reservations may tie you to aschedule that prevents you from checking out places and things as you go.
9. This is really big trip. Kind of like going from Berlin to Moscow three times.
tired of typing... hope this helps and have fun.
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-15-2007 at 09:54 PM.
Reason: added some white space
Whew! Thanks for the great post -- lots of great info here!