I'm planning a RT-usa (and some of Canada) trip this summer. I'm from Michigan, but the US is a big country and I'm looking to see more of it. I know about most of the common tourist attractions in the U.S., but I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions (I especially need help in the Canada department).
Any crazy, off the wall, places or festivals I should visit this summer?
I'm planning on white-water rafting, Any other fun and/or adventurous things I should try?
I'm open to all suggestions! Thanks.
I think everywhere you go during the summer, there's going to be a festival of some type. Great thing about travelling in the US during the summer.
There's always the Barbed Wire Museum in LaCrosse, KS. Big thing, you know. Kansas actually does have some fun, small-town America county fairs throughout August.
Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Amazing scenery, and it's FREE! Rocky Mountain National Park an hour NW of Denver, and Denver itself for a few days.
San Antonio--great pedestrian city. The Alamo, the Riverwalk, La Villita, the missions.
Mesa Verde in the Four Corners--well, just about anything in the Four Corners area. Shiprock, NM, Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Arches Ntl. Park, Grand Canyon.
...how long is this trip? I could go on for a while.
I'll give you a tour of St. Louis--the Arch, the museums, the zoo, the botanical gardens, and it's all either free or cheap. We don't like to pay for stuff here. You can even see the symphony or go to the Muny (outside theater) for free.
What you could do to maybe is set a theme for your trip to focus the places you visit, like National Parks, or, for me, it would be following in Lewis & Clark's footsteps. Or a Good Eats tour, going to different places that are famous for a certain type of food, like Chicago deep dish pizza, Wisconsin for cheese, Maine for lobster, North Dakota for...something, etc. Or follow Route 66. If you're coming from the UP, that would be pretty easy to pick up.
Really cool book: National Geographic guidebook to scenic highways and byways. See as many as you can! Or just look on your Rand-McNally atlas for the highways that have the little green dots by them.
And camp anywhere you can.
Thanks for the help so far...
The trip is going to be about 1 and a half -- to 2 months. The barbed wire thing sounds cool. I think those strange kind of things are fun. Hah, I kind of want to visit Salem, MA.. because of the witches!
I'm glad you mentioned camping. I know I'm not going to be able to camp everywhere, but is that what I should do the majority of the time? Financially, it seems better.
Montreal is jam-packed with festivals in the summer. The Jazz Fest and the Comedy Festival are the biggest ones. Come in June/July and you'll have a blast!
As for adventure activities, what about sailing, sea kayaking, surfing, sky diving, bungee jumping, (and my new favorite) zip-lining, just to name a few.
Here's some of the festivals in the California/Oregon/Utah/Washington area:
Artichoke Festival--Castroville, California (second weekend in May)
Gilroy Garlic Festival (largest festival in northern California)--Gilroy, California (last weekend in July)
Laguna Art Festival--three weeks from approximately July 27th to August 18th or so. There are actually three places and one special event. The Laguna Beach Art Association has one festival, the "Art A-Faire" has one, and the best one is the "Sawdust Festival" which goes into late into the evening and is spectacular. Also, the Art Association has a "Pageant of the Masters" where people dress up and pose as exact lifesize replicas of famous paintings or sculptures. Normally seats for this sell out very early.
Santa Cruz (California)Shakespeare Festival--mid June to late July. Usually they do multiple performances of two different plays.
Ashland, Oregon--the largest Shakespeare Festival on the west coast--runs almost year-round
Cedar City, Utah--a wonderful Shakespeare Festival held in a beautiful small town in southern Utah. The acting here is absolutely top-notch and they usually do 3 different plays on multiple dates throughout the summer months. Tickets go quickly, however.
Also, Renaissance festivals are held near LA (Spring time), Tacoma, Washington (summertime), and at Casa del Fruita (near Gilroy in northern California) in the autumn.
There are hydrofoil races on Lake Washington (near Seattle, Washington) in early August.
The Portland Rose Festival is held in early May in that city(Oregon)
Fleet week is held in San Francisco Bay in mid-November (this week actually).
And the Chinese New Year is celebrated in San Francisco in early Februrary of every year with a fabulous parade featuring a Chinese dragon and fireworks.
Speaking of fireworks, the largest fireworks display in the US west of NYC and Washington, D.C. is held in Tacoma, Washington (on July 4th naturally).
Forgot to mention three famous events in southern California
The extremely well-known Rose Parade is held in Pasadena, California on New Year's Day morning,
The Los Angeles County Fair is the largest in the country. It's held near Pomona and takes place in the fall.
And if you want weird--the "Do-Dah" Parade is too weird to describe completely. It takes place during the weekend after Thanksgiving (also in Pasadena, California).
See the following website for info on this last parade:
Yep--you can get away with camping across most of the US, but have a back up in mind if a nasty storm comes along. In a lot of smaller towns, like where I'm from, they actually let people camp out in the county/town park. We used to get a lot of cross country bicyclers because the highway that we lived on ran parallel to a major cross-country interstate, but it was safer than taking that route (of course). If you have an idea of where you want to go, most campsites are marked on a standard atlas. Check for the Rand McNally atlas at Wally World. There are always more campsites to be found along the way.
If you want any campfire recipes, let me know. I am the queen of campfire steak!
If the friends that you are meeting up with here in St. Louis have a car, go down to the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. It's a great national park along two rivers with quite a few good campsites. It's very pretty; lots of cave-fed springs, blue (BLUE) water.
Depending on when you are going, in North Dakota, there are usually Native American pow wows most of August. The big one on the Fort Berthold Reservation is the third weekend of August. That might be something a bit different to check out. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is very pretty as well.
You'd like Western Canada for sure... you can camp anywhere too...