My wife and I are thinking of travelling to America for 3-4 weeks in December/January. We plan on flying into Los Angeles and staying a few nights there before heading to the east coast (starting in Orlando, Florida). We then plan on travelling up the east coast before finishing at Niagara Falls and returning home (Australia).
We intitially were thinking it would be great to hire a car and travel the east coast that way but as we are only 22 it may become too expensive. Just wondering what the best economical way to travel up the east coast would be whilst stopping at 4 or 5 places for a number of nights each? Is there a place you can hire small campers which will save you on accomodation costs (not large RV's)? Any recommended cities/places to make sure we see? We both love the outdoors so any National Parks or natural wonders would be great.
Thanks in advance.
We had an Ozzie lady planning her trip using a motorhome. Look at Energi Motorhomes. Their rental prices seem to be better than the US companies I called for quotes. Plug in your dates and see what it will cost to rent an RV for your run up the East coast. Compare with renting a small car for the same dates. Figure about $60/night for motel rooms. Hostels might be an option in some of the cities you will go through. I predict it will make more sense to rent a small car vs an RV.
Your other option will be the Discovery Pass with Greyhound Bus. Crunch the numbers and you will have a better idea what option is best for you. Good luck with your planning.
Sounds like an awesome trip. I just did something like that in your home country. First off, as much as everyone says it, Los Angeles is nothing special. The surrounding areas can be nice but honestly, I prefer San Francisco to LA. Just something to look at.
Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of those campervan companies like you do in Oz. There are RV rental companies, even compact RV ones but they will get pricey, esp. since it will be a one way rental. Rental cars, esp. out of the Orlando area will be rather cheap ($200/wk) since it will be the off-season there but again, the rental companies may hit you with a large one-way rental fee in the hundreds of dollars. I take it you are looking to visit my favorite place, Disney. Other places in Florida you may like to check out is Cape Canaveral (if you have any interest in space/rockets/etc). The Everglades are quite impressive and an airboat ride is a must-do. The Florida beaches are just like yours, so nothing out of the ordinary for you. As you travel north (more than likely I-95), stop at the touristy South of the Border (border of North and South Carolina) for about 15 minutes and soak in the silly tourist trap. I cannot think of anything as far as National Parks along the Southeastern coast. Washington DC is a nice stop. Plenty of monuments and history if that interests you. Lots of free museums and galleries. New York City will wow you when you get to Times Square, the statue of liberty is interesting but honestly the city wears off on you pretty quick. You will have stories to tell about how huge it is when you get home and the sheer number of people but overall I never found anything to longlasting about it. I would recommend stopping in Boston and doing a day or two there (depending on the weather). Boston is a perfect walking city, you can get to see it all in a relatively short amount of time. All of this are good stops before heading west to Niagara Falls.
Ok, so here is the kicker. You are talking December/January. You are talking about the possibility of some very harrowing weather, both for driving and for sightseeing. You could get lucky but basically you are talking anything north of Washington DC could be covered in snow. But you can make the most of it if the weather isn't suited for sightseeing, i.e. trying your hand at skiing (winter clothes appropriate), sledding, snowmobiling.
There are plenty of other cities in between with some fine sights (Philly, Atlanta, um...) ok, maybe not plenty others, but any other thoughts or questions, let me know. I have grown up travelling up and down the coast.
Yeah upstate NY in the winter is cold and very very snowy.
At Orlando, try to visit LegoLand Florida, Discovery Cove and Silver Springs