So... We have our first big trip planned.
We plan to spend 3 weeks over Christmas at family's house in Ontario. We are buying a camper van and want to travel across Canada. The problem we have is Jan/Feb/March is cold and with that comes dangerous conditions! We have decided we are going to spend 90 days (what the holiday visa allows British Citizens) travelling the states. I have a basic route planned to drive from Chicago to Texas as quickly as we can manage to get away from the cold. Then head west to Cali before heading up the coast to BC. I am wanting to visit every place between Chicago and southern Texas but am worried about the cold temps.
I need some experienced knowledge with regards to how far south we need to travel to get away from the below freezing temperatures. We plan to set off on the trip on 15th Jan (ish) and want to be out of the snow and ice as soon as possible.
Thoughts please and thanks!
Are there any reasons why you're avoiding the states of the Deep South, where temperatures will be warmer and there's less chance for snow and ice?
Consider routes that will take you to the Southeast, dip into Florida, then pick up Interstate 10 to the West Coast, branching off on other highways to suit your interests. I-10 begins in Jacksonville, Fla., and ends in Santa Monica, Calif.
Generally, it will be more pleasant driving along the coasts than in the interior during winter. The arctic blasts we get move south from Canada.
If you want warmth, consider parking your camper van in Las Vegas, then fly nonstop to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines. The choice of flights is greater from West Coast cities. Fares are reasonable, particularly for flights early in the year. I visit family in Honolulu every January.
Thanks for your reply!
The problem we face is only 90 days with a start in Toronto and an End in Southern BC.
Maybe we could travel directly south from Toronto to Miami (Everglades is something I'd like to see) and then doing the I-10 to Calif and then up through Seattle so we'd be almost driving the whole coast?
Thanks for you advice - seems like a pretty good idea.
[ Edit: Edited on 18-Mar-2017, at 04:38 by Daisymarshall ]
Yes, driving along the coasts would make sense. With three months, you'll have enough time. There are some fabulous coastal towns and cities with many interesting places to visit. Plot a route on Travellerspoint; and I'm sure we can all make suggestions.
As you travel along the coasts, there will be ample opportunities to veer inland. I always enjoy traveling "country roads." If you have a smartphone, load apps such as Waze, to help guide you. If you or a friend belong to an automobile association or club, ask for a free map of the U.S. Many states also operate tourism offices along major highways, particularly near state borders. They offer free maps and brochures. There are rest facilities along the way.
If you need a phone, there are prepaid ones at many stores, including discounters such as Target and Wal-mart.
Since you're traveling in a camper van, check this Web site: http://www.goodsamclub.com/
Warmest states in the US in the winter is Florida, Hawaii, California, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas
Three months - and you have taken 3 weeks out for family but I suppose that your tourist visa doesn't start until you get to the US border.. Anyway that takes you into January. . Driving anywhere from Toronto in January will run the risk of snow. (Although you can't count on snow - you may not have any snow at all and have completely clear roads) The other thing to consider is that in the north, they are accustomed to dealing with snow - they have the equipment for it. The dangerous area is the in-between places where they usually get rain, but occasionally the rain freezes into black ice, or it sleets first and then snows, so you have a nice snow layer with ice underneath. No one can drive on ice and even if they could, they'd have to worry about all those other people who can't
So if you could fly to Roanoke or Atlanta and then get the camper van there in the States, there would be less chance of running into snow.
I think it would take two days of driving (14 hours) to get to Charleston SC which is usually snow-free. From there take it easy to Savannah, the Everglades, and along the Gulf Coast to New Orleans and then to the Grand Canyon and up the coast of California
The 3 months start after we leave family in Jan (Around the 15th) and they are buying the camper for us in September/October so we begin our drive from Toronto no matter what. Am I right in thinking as long as we stay on the highways nearer the coast we should be ok with the snow? Obviously ideally we need to get south as soon as possible but we are still going to need to drive at some point.
The coastal areas aren't free of snow and ice until you get further south. There isn't much use to speculating about the weather at this point as you'll need to assess conditions closer to the time you want to leave Toronto.
As Rosalie (greatgrandmaR) suggests, Charleston, S.C., would be a good starting point for your trip south.
The various states have Web sites detailing road conditions. This is the one for Georgia: http://www.511ga.org/#a_con_ctl&zoom=2&lat=3990785.92806&lon=-9392995.98413
So load some of the Web sites to your laptop and consult them as you travel. As mentioned before, Waze and other similar apps can provide useful information, too.
I think you are worrying a bit too much. Sure, there is snow in Ontario & you may get some all the way to South Carolina, but, there are millions of people who drive just fine in those places & how long do you expect it will take to get to SC .. two days would do it .. three at the most. Not so bad.
Try to avoid high ground until you get to SC
Make a map of your route & do some Google searches for specific places & dates .. 'weather in Toronto on January 15' - 'Weather in Pennsylvania in January' etc.
If you have AA. does it cover you for Canada & US .. if not consider the Canada / US equivalents .. it may be worth it just for the peace of mind of road-side assistance & they do great trip maps for fast or scenic routes.
Thanks all - think I am worrying too much, but at 20 years old and my first travel experience I'm trying to cover all areas possible! I'm sure everything will go well for us and will check the weather situations nearer the time