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Backpacking America - Where to go?

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1. Posted by t00t (Budding Member 10 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!


I'm flying from Manchester, UK to Atlanta Georgia for three months. I leave in April. My plans so far are to 'WWOOF' (Organic farming work) across Georgia and down to Florida. Apart from this, I have no other plans! I was planning on staying around Georgia and Florida but I feel that I could be easily persuaded to travel all over the place, if it's within budget of course. I should have around £4000 to last me three months and have no problem staying in hostels. (I have no problem at the moment with that, as I've never been in one!).

So my question is - WHERE would you love to visit in America and why? I would love to hear from people who have always wanted to travel to America and I would love even more so to hear from somebody who has done something similar! (Not really interested in the typical tourist destinations like Disneyland & Las Vegas - I have a budget!!)

Thanks, I'm easily persuaded so ANY advice could quite possibly become a reality for me soon! :).


2. Posted by Cyberia (Travel Guru 1839 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

America has so much from Monument Valley to Battlefield re-enactments to the Smithsonian to scenic train rides to wide open spaces to movie studio tours.

Check out a Lonely Planet guide to America in W H Smiths or wherever as it has many ideas.

In my travels in America I just looked at a map and headed to somewhere that looked good. Be flexible.

Accommodation, try hostelbookers, hostelworld, travellerspoint, etc. Be aware that some towns and some areas are very large and finding a specific hostel can be difficult or it can be a long way away.

3. Posted by Quad (Budding Member 4 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Understand that WWOOFing is not allowed in the United States if you do not possess a work visa. Wht I understand from your post is that you are looking for an B-1 or Visa Waiver. Just note that receiving accomodation in exchange for housing is illegal under this purpose.

4. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 1999 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Weather this year has been unseasonably warm in the east and midwest since February (and unseasonable cold in the west)--although this was the reverse in December and January.

Because of this, you could probably camp out at some places (campgrounds--public or private) if you wanted to really reduce expenses. Do this in the east or south for the month of April (when it is still supposed to be warm there)--and then start moving west in May when the weather is back to normal in the west. Move to the north in June when the weather warms up there.

Some places I would recommend is at state parks and state campgrounds--usually you have to book the most popular ones ahead of time via the web--and then at KOA campgrounds (private ones) when you are in places where there aren't many state campgrounds. Costs per night will vary from "free" to $20 per night. In California, some of the popular spots near the beach are on a "first come, first served" basis--so get there early if you plan to visit over a holiday weekend.

Some spots I'd recommend: parks in Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Utah, Wyoming, California, Oregon, and Washington. States I'd steer clear from. are Nevada (too hot in the summer, except near the Great Basin National Park--real nice), Texas--nice except in July when you'll roast, Florida--too many dangerous areas (wildlife-wise--alligators and such), and Minnesota--too many mosquitos in the spring/summer months because of all the lakes there (over 10,000 lakes).

Colorado is probably the single best state to visit and camp in--but book early, because it is so popular (especially near the Rocky Mountain National Park area).


[ Edit: Edited on 19-Mar-2012, at 22:12 by Calcruzer ]

Post 5 was removed by a moderator
6. Posted by t00t (Budding Member 10 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Cyberia -

Thanks! I wasn't aware of these hostel booking websites... these will come in very handy along the way! I'm very flexible with my plans. I'm literally getting off the plain and heading straight to a bar - then we'll see what happens next!

Quad -

This is... disturbing. I was told that 'WWOOF'ing was legal in America for foreign people - After some further research, nothing suggests otherwise? Please can you provide your source? (Or if anybody else can - please do!)

Calcruzer -

Thank you! This may change things for me slightly. I'm not a fan of HOT HOT weather - just hot is okay. I prefer a breeze in hot weather so I thought the east coast might be good (Miami upwards to Jacksonville - or even further north out of Florida!) Where in America is hot yet breezy? I'm not looking at spending time with crocodiles, alligators, spiders or any other form of creature that may wish to eat me (Snakes included). Where in America will I find less dangerous animals?

And anymore suggestions are very much welcome and appreciated. I'm going next month... but nothing is yet planned! It's an adventure... but it would certainly be nice to have some backup plans.


[ Edit: Edited on 20-Mar-2012, at 13:16 by t00t ]

7. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 1999 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Warm places that are less breezy are in the forest or beach areas in the summer;--thus my reason for suggesting state parks (in the forests or at the beaches). Also, it is generally just a bit cooler (and probably more to your liking) in the northern states (like Oregon, Washington, and Montana) with great forests and beaches than in the California forests or in Florida or in Texas (near the beach). California beaches are fantastic, however.

In parts of Utah, there are bears and mountain lions, but usually the main thing you would see is deer, wild turkeys, or maybe elk. When I lived in Utah, I once had a moose come into my backyard to eat my raspberry plant--and then the animal couldn't figure out how to leave--so it had to be darted and moved by the humane society.

Generally, the forest service and humane society try to keep the dangerous animals away from the parks or urban areas where the crowds are. In my own forest here in California, I see deer in my yard all the time, but the main thing I have to worry about is a gopher trying to eat my tomato plants. (I use 10 feet high deer netting in my garden).

As far as WWOOFing, I don't know why it would be illegal if you are volunteering your time. If someone pays you directly, then, yes, it would be illegal. But since essentially you are being offered a barter deal, then I think your actions would be legal.

8. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 1999 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

One last thing I should mention. In the US, the winds generally blow from west to east. This means that the areas with the most wind will be in the west--and the least wind will be in the east. Strangely, though, the water (Pacific Ocean) in the west will be colder than the water (Atlantic Ocean) in the east. Hawaii is the exception--but then its not in the mainland US.

What this also means is that it is fairly easy to predict the weather. Storms will move from the west towards the east--and usually from the northwest to the southeast. So if it is raining in California today, expect it to rain in Chicago in 2 days and in New York/Washington DC in 3 days. Summer is a bit different. It never rains on the west coast--and it rains fairly regularly in the east--particularly at nighttime (good to know if you are camping). This is another reason I say to visit the east in April/May and then move west or northwest.

9. Posted by t00t (Budding Member 10 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Excellent Calcruzer - Very helpful and I'll be using this information to help make my decisions when I'm over there!

I have another question that I hope ANYBODY in America can answer. I've worked out that I will have around $85 a day. Is this a reasonable enough money to live on in America?

Thanks - Any other suggestions welcome!