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USA in Dec & Jan - what to do????

Travel Forums North America USA in Dec & Jan - what to do????

1. Posted by Hashbrown (Budding Member 20 posts) 12y

Hiya all,

I am a 32yr old guy who will be spending nine weeks travelling through the States. My question is a fairly open one, ni what are the "best" things to do and go and see and experience during the colder months? I am going the backpacker route so want to keep costs down but thats not the driving factor, if something is a must do then I want to be able to do it.

So apart from finding somewhere special to enjoy Thanksgiving and Xmas (hopefully somewhere with snow seeing its been 20years since I last saw snow up close) whats the recommendations.

Thanks in advance


2. Posted by ToAfrica (Full Member 32 posts) 12y

Since your post name is Hashbrown and you greeted us us with "hiya all," it sounds like you should include the southern US in your plans - along with your snowy destinations!

What is your US point of entry, to help us with suggestions?
Colorado, where I have lived and still visit often, is great for snow but can be verrrryyy expensive during the holiday period.

November and December are great months to visit the southern US. The climate is mild, the threat of hurricanes is over and we are celebrating our butts off because the extreme heat and humidity have gone away. You said you're backpacking, but you can also get great deals for New Orleans hotels during our Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods because tourism kind of dies off then. However, you will not see snow.

Give some more detail so we can help you better.

3. Posted by Hashbrown (Budding Member 20 posts) 12y

G'day ToAfrica

Thanks for the response to my post. I enter and leave the States through Los Angeles. My initial plan was to go across the southern states and then circle back through the middle and northern states eventually getting back to LA to depart.

I keep thinking I am trying to or want to do too much. I dont really want to spend all my time travelling and not really getting to see enough and get involved. After all I can always come back again and again and again.

I guess a few of my must do's are Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York and Washington DC. Apart from wanting a White Xmas I guess thats it.

Thanks for the help so far.



4. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 12y

Although I don't drive, the first thing that came to mind was to make sure you get winter tires on before heading out to the snowy parts. California's fine - but once you hit the snow you're going to need some good traction just to stay on the road.. (how do car rental places work stuff like that out??).

I'd suggest a side trip to Canada - Montreal, specifically! But that's just because I'm biased...

5. Posted by tigerlilly (Full Member 16 posts) 12y

I'm no expert but i've been to America a few times in December/January and I can tell you that L.A and Florida were very warm indeed (warm enough to swim outside and wear t-shirts) and Houston,Texas was cooler than the first two but still warm enough to just wear a light jumper on most days (although on the first few days I was there it was apparantly unusually cold for them and I had to wear a winter coat!!)
I realise that visting these three would mean driving across the whole country, but thought I'd suggest them anyway. You're starting in L.A anyway and it's fantastic there!!

6. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 12y

Since you're a backpacker and you're trying to keep costs down--I'd suggest visiting some of the free sites around the country--or national parks that are still open in the winter. Places that come to mind are:

Grand Canyon --south rim should still be open (north rim will be closed); Monument Valley--gorgeous and free(on border of Arizona and Utah, as is Lake Powell (it's farther east--go near south tip outside of Page, Arizona)--what a view--this and the Grand Canyon are maybe the best views in the US; Bryce Canyon National Park, Arches National Monument or Dead Horse Point near Moab, Utah; Everglades in Florida if you go that far south; California Coast--lots of places but best ones are near Monterey and Carmel, California (17 mile drive)--and San Francisco itself. New York City, Washington D.C. (visit the Union station, the aviation museum part of the Smithsonian, and all of the presidential monuments-tour the Capitol and White House (must book ahead for this). Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, Seattle's Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands nearby, Stone Mountain in Atlanta, Nashville's Opryland Hotel and Grand Old Opry, New Orleans' French Quarter, Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico; Austin, Texas' 6th street, San Antonio's Riverwalk, the old town of Silverado in Colorado, and (if it's open) Mesa Verde National Park's Cliff House anazazi indian dwelling.

I'm sure I missed a bunch--but I'll leave it to others to fill in the blanks.


7. Posted by adanac (Budding Member 11 posts) 12y

Great suggestions already posted and having travelled to 39 of the States in the United States I would say "what an experience you'll have" and "you are so lucky to be able to do what you have planned".
I love travelling in the United States and having travelled extensively in the 10 provinces of Canada and regions of Italy, Spain, Portugal, England Tunisia, Antigua, and 3 Mexican States but I always find so much to see and do in every region of the US. Pick any point and go and you'll have a great time.

8. Posted by Hashbrown (Budding Member 20 posts) 12y

Thanks all for the great responses, will have a great deal of fun trying to decide what to do and where to go.

Once again.. thanks muchly