Skip Navigation

USA road trip 20days

Travel Forums North America USA road trip 20days

1. Posted by leekellyoz (Budding Member 2 posts) 2y

Hi everyone,

Ive planned on flying to America (from Australia) and buying a car (getting 'in-transit' registration) and dojng a bit of driving. First, from LA to San Fran.
How long does the pacific coast hwy drive take if you are keeping to the speed limit or even just below and stop a few times to check out sea lions and stuff? Can it be done in 1.5days if we stayed the night somewhere where would someone suggest is a good spot, affordable and interesting.

From there we will drive towards Colarado through Nevada and Utah. This is in early november. Im excited to do that section of our drive because that desolate landscape looks cool. How long does it take to drive that route?

Ill stay a day or two in Colarado to visit relatives and maybe find some snow to slide down before making my way further east.

Ill be heading straight east through Kansas and MO en-route to NYC. Keeping in mind my whole trip is only 20 days id say ill be driving driving driving through this part of the country as from what i can tell/remember there wasnt very much worth diverting or slowing down for besides sleep. Please correct me if im wrong.

Id love some advise about times between places of interest or decent affordable interesting places to spend a night. Some legs of this drive will just be to make the distance and other legs we will want to see some stuff along the way.

Id love to hear from people who have done such a drive recently and what they thought and places they can suggest seeing and times we should allow.

Thanks in advance!

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1940 posts) 2y

I really think buying a car for a 3 week trip is insane - half of that trip will be spent with paperwork and insurance agents!

You do not want to rush the Pacific Coast - take Highway #1 and take it slow and enjoy it

3. Posted by brensage (First Time Poster 1 posts) 2y

Hello. So glad you are able to visit the USA. And yes, you can see a lot in 20 days. Of course, as big as it is, like Australia, there will be tons that even we natives have never seen. My family and I (6 of us) circumnavigated the country one summer in 5 weeks. Or about 40 days. We started in California where we lived at the time, took the southern route eastward to Mississippi and north where my family lives, skipped over to Buffalo New York to see Niagara Falls, crossed the bridge to Canada to see the other side and visite the famous Butterfly conservatory, back to USA through Detroit, Chicago, nonstop through Wisconsin and Minnesota to get to South Dakota. Then across the top to Seattle and home.

So, what should you see? Agreed , Kansas is boring to drive through, though pretty in the summer, but Branson Missouri is a great tourist distraction. You will enjoy beautiful Kentucky hills , --Hodgenville is Abraham Lincholn's birthplace) but I highly recommend Tennessee. Our drive through there and my childhood experiences in the South made it our favorite state to live in. A must see is Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg (heavy traffic though all the time.) If you have a day, visit Dollywood, great rides and great people. You willl love backpacking through the Smoky Mountains-check out the Appalachian Trail and the BlueRidge mountains in West Virginia. Then Virginia to Washington DC/ OR head up to Pennsylvania to see Amish country in Lancaster County and then Philadelphia, just a few hours to NYC. (Missouri and Arkansas also have some beautiful country hill scenery.)

States like Colorado and Kansas take about 5 hours to drive across.

It takes about 7-8 hours from LA to SF going the speed limit. We always drove it in one day, spent one full day in SF, 2 nights total.
Driving the A1A all the way up or switching over to the Hwy 101 may take a bit longer because there is so much 2-lane driving instead of interstate, but the view is worth it, even if you don't stop and browse. The best views of the Pacific for me are in the early morning when the sun shines on the waves. ps-SF is a bit chilly and very windy.

If you do decide to stop along the way, I recommend Ventura, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, and Carmel. If you do have time, for an adventure, turn inland and see Sequoia National Park, amazing. Nice day trails for all ages.

If you are headed to CO, consider cutting across through Laughlin Nevada, hopefully you have time to stop at the Grand Canyon, though it is a bit out of your way. The new Skywalk is incredible.

I have gone backwards in my descriptions, and hope I didnt overwhelm you, but , it will be fun!

4. Posted by leekellyoz (Budding Member 2 posts) 2y

Thanks for the reply guys,

The 3 weeks car thing does sound crazy and my girlfriend is singing that same tune ha ha
The plan is to find a beautiful old Chevy Impala online, buy it, get the title etc all sorted, insurance and in transit rego. Then ill collect the car when i arrive and drive drive drive.
After we finish our 20day adventure ill ship the Chevy back to Australia and have a hot car!
The internet has many different ideas of distances and times it takes between point A and point B. I was really after some hands on experience so i can semi map a plan that is realistic because it is insane to sit in a car, albeit an awesome car for 16hrs per day just driving driving driving.
The original plan was LA-San Fran-Denver (ish) Virginai-NYC.
On other drives around USA we have taken the smaller roads and avoided the big super highways because you see more. We have had some amazing experiences getting out and meeting people in those smaller out of the way towns and thats the America i love. It still trips me out that our Aussie accents are so welcome in the smaller towns over there.
I just want to experience all those classic road side diners and funky old motels and everything quirky along the way. No disrespect, i just love that stuff.
Everyone talks about the PCH and im excited to check it out. I surf, but wont bring a board with me. Maybe a wetsuit so i can hire a board if i get desperate. Id love to surf under the golden gate bridge! Alcatraz is also high on my list of things to see. Driving through the deserts of Nevada and Utah excite me as ive only ever done LA-Vegas and for most of it, its built up with plenty of people. Im looking forward to seeing nothing for miles and all that crazy road runner landscape!
Colarado is amazing. Aspen etc are beautiful and i cant wait to drive through there (first time) Hoping for some snow (nov) and visiting my girlfriends family. Ill stay a day or two to catch our breath, have some fun/rest and then drive east as far as we can get before having to leave the country. The goal is NYC but if we run out of time thats fine. We have both been there.
Thanks again for all the info and if anyone has anything they would like to add please feel free.

Post 5 was removed by a moderator