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Ultimate American Road Trip

Travel Forums North America Ultimate American Road Trip

1. Posted by mikcali86 (Budding Member 12 posts) 9y

Hey guys,
I currently live in the California's Central Valley and i have begun the very first stage of trying to plan the ultimate road trip for me and an australian friend. She has never been to that states, and i have done some traveling (NY, CO, NV, HI).
If anyone has any advice for what to see, where to go, how to get there, any tips, tricks, or insider information about a trip like this i would appreciate the help. Im not sure exactly how we are going to travel ie. bus, train, plane, car. so ANY help would be beneficial.
What im looking for the most is good places to go and see whether they be toursity or out-of-the-way places to check out, scenic views, and cheap and affordable ways to get there. I would love to hear any travel stories anyone has of doing any road trips or trips across the states in general. Thanks

2. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 9y

What are thinking about as far as time?

3. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 9y

Mike,
I have gone from Vegas to Martha's Vineyard and back 6 times. Been to 49 states and have seen most of what you are planning. The first thing you need to do is settle on transport.

I bought a Dodge Grand Caravan just for my annual journey to MV. I drove a taxi on MV during the summer high season and then left when business fell off. The Caravan is the best choice (IMO) for several reasons. First of all, there are so many used ones out there that the price is pretty low. They get decent gas mileage and have enough room with the rear seats out to use it as a camper van. All vehicles are a compromise. Motorhomes have plenty of room, terrible gas mileage and poor performance (hill climbing). VW camper vans get OK gas mileage, good living space, poor performance. Minitrucks with a camper shell get decent mileage, OK performance but have very little living space. Full sized trucks have plenty of power, decent space but terrible gas mileage. You have to decide what compromises you are willing to make. I have owned Toyota trucks with camper shells, a VW camper van, and a full sized truck besides the Caravan. I believe the Grand Caravan is the best option (for me) when travelling cross country.

Mike, start looking at Caravans in your area and perhaps Toyota trucks with camper shells as well. Something that runs decent and you can afford. Once you have made your transport choice, then I will try to help with your route. My gallery has plenty of photos from all across the US. Send me a PM if you have questions.

4. Posted by Reece Sanford (Travel Guru 1368 posts) 9y

Did a roadtrip through Canada and the US in 2005.Check out my blog for details and photos.
Spent 4 months in total and 3 months of that in the US and travelled through 31 states.
We hired a brand new car from Avis mind you it cost us US$1200 each.There were 3 of us.

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 9y

Like vegasmike, I've been in 49 states (planning to see Alaska next year), have lived in 3 different states (California, Utah, and Maryland), have close relative in 5 states (Washington, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Nebraska), close friends in 3 states besides my home state of California (Minnesota, New York, and Illinois), and a son in college in Indiana--so I've been across the country about 12 times by car, twice by train, and about 25 times by plane.

Among some of the must see places to put on your list would be the following:
Must see towns:
New York City
San Francisco
Washington DC
New Orleans
Nashville
Las Vegas
Seattle
San Diego
San Antonio & Austin (Texas)
Orlando

Must see nature:
Hawaii (anywhere, but they say Maui is best--I'll be there for the first time two weeks from now)
Beaches of LA (if going in summer)
New England (in the fall)
Niagara Falls
Grand Canyon National Park
Rocky Mountains
Yellowstone National Park
Monument Valley
Lake Powell National Recreation Center
Everglades National Park
Yosemite National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Redwoods
Carlsbad Cavern

Special drives:
Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) between SF and San Luis Obispo, continuing down Hwy 101 to Solvang and Santa Barbara
Going to the Sky highway (Glacier National Park)
Blue Ridge Highway (Shenandoah National Park)
Golden Gate Bridge

Special sites:
Statue of Liberty
Mount Vernon
Montecello
Gettysburg
Mount Rushmore
Space Needle
Mall of America (near Minneapolis, MN)
St. Louis Archway

As more places come to mind, I'll list them here

Enjoy:

6. Posted by Ham Radio (Respected Member 284 posts) 9y

The Black Hills of South Dakota and Mount Rushmore. Just don't visit during Sturgis Bike Week!

7. Posted by kezin (Budding Member 104 posts) 9y

Mike...
You want to REALLY see the U.S.A. and I mean not just nice sunsets then ride Greyhound. You will see America like no other way. And you will meet Americans like you would NEVER meet otherwise. I did this once for 3 months straight and visited and spent time in every single state except for Hawaii. It was an absolutely incredible journey. But it was only incredible because I was willing to be engaging with my fellow riders. I saw the cities, i saw the wild parts. I slept outside in the downtowns of the cities, as well as outside in the wilder, rural areas. I visited small towns. I went everywhere. A lot of Travellers would never travel this way; it is too ' common ' for them. Not ' exotic ' enough. Rubbish. Greyhound offers extremely reasonable unlimited travel options. Like any form or mode of travel, there are obvious disadvantages. This is more of a ' meet your neighbours ' travel experience. You will see a lot of Burger Kings. You will often feel uncomfortable. But again; an undeniably AUTHENTIC travel experience. And yes, some nice sunsets as well.

Best, Kevin.

8. Posted by mikcali86 (Budding Member 12 posts) 9y

First off i want to say thanks for all the suggestions of places to visit, i will for sure keep them in mind. But i also wanted to ask if anyone had any good suggestions of places to stay along the way. I was thinking youth hostels and camping would probably be the best and cheapest way to go about it. Any have any advice for going that way?

9. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 9y

Quoting mikcali86

First off i want to say thanks for all the suggestions of places to visit, i will for sure keep them in mind. But i also wanted to ask if anyone had any good suggestions of places to stay along the way. I was thinking youth hostels and camping would probably be the best and cheapest way to go about it. Any have any advice for going that way?

Mike,
I sent you a PM with additional tips but never got an answer. Reread my PM and then I will add any info that I can.