Skip Navigation

Help with self drive 3 month itinerary round USA

Travel Forums North America Help with self drive 3 month itinerary round USA

1. Posted by elliots (Budding Member 77 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

My wife & I are planning a 3 month (10,000 mile) odyssey through west, north, east & south USA by RV. We've previously visited the brilliant desert national parks between Las Vegas and Green River (UT), the area between Denver and Monument Valley, Las Vegas, the coast from SF to LA (inc Taho & Yosemite) and Florida. We can't afford the time to repeat those sadly. I'd love advice on an itinerary including places to see & things to do. We love scenery, live music, wild animals, seeing local community in action. We''ll probably travel from mid September to mid December. US climate seems important in planning ie don't want to be in parts of the north beyond September nor in the south before that. Please hit me with all the suggestions you can think of. Regards, Steve

2. Posted by OldPro (Inactive 400 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I think your question and area of travel are too broad for any kind of sensible answer Steve. If you gave some kind of outline of a route you are thinking about then it might be a bit easier for people to comment on what to see and do based on that.

Your timing will also make a big difference in weather as you obviously realize. Maine in December is very different from Maine in September. I'm also having difficulty with your list of places previously visited and presumably not to be repeated on this trip, relative to the weather issue. You've basically seem most of the really southern states already, so where does it make sense to go in December if not Florida, southern California, Arizona?

I am guessing you know what RV rental costs will be more or less but have you considered whether you want to do a 'circle' trip returning to your starting point or a 'one-way' from say east to west? That will make a big difference obviously in your route.

In general, I'd think along the lines of the east coast, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, etc. in September for Acadia National Park, the autumn colours, etc. Down the Appalachians and then across to Texas New Mexico and Arizona. The Alamo, Big Bend, Santa Fe, Taos, Bandelier National Monument, Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Organ Pipe National Monument, Joshua Tree, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (my favourite in all of the USA) staying in Borrego Springs, over the mountains and down to San Diego to end the trip. That's just a rough outline obviously.

3. Posted by bethanylj27 (Budding Member 4 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Nashville & Memphis are both great cities for live music! Walk into a bar, any time of day in Nashville and there will be a live band. Good museums there too!

4. Posted by elliots (Budding Member 77 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Thanks Oldpro & Bethany. That's a great start

5. Posted by elliots (Budding Member 77 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hi Oldpro. Thanks for those great suggestions in the east & south.
We'll be missing the worst of the cold as we're finishing by mid-Dec back to summer in Oz. Hopefully that makes most of the southern states tolerable (in Nov -Dec). To do that we'd probably hurry to nearPortland then head east getting to the NE in early October. Is that too late for the colours and warmth? Then head south reaching South Carolina by late Oct; then west and on to LA by mid-Dec.
We are thinking of the NW because of Portland area, Glacier NP, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons. We have friends to visit in Nth Dakota & Toronto (Brrrrr) so figure to include the Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Chicago.
Does this prompt any more suggestions for the north & west, or anywhere else?
Regards, Steve

6. Posted by OldPro (Inactive 400 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

OK, so from Portland, Oregon to Toronto and then up North to the NE states before heading south to S. Carolina and then west back across the country to LA.

So first some little geography lessons. In N. America we generally refer to going:
Up north
Down south
Out west (by those who are in the east)
Back east (by those who live in the west)

You did read it right, I wrote up north from Toronto to the NE states. If you actually look at a map of N. America you will see that Southern Ontario (and Toronto therein) are actually south of about 1/3 of all the US states including Oregon and Maine. Most Americans and probably even most Canadians don't realize that.,-98.9018143,3.07z

So, when you ask about fall colours and temperatures, you need to look at what the average temperatures you can expect in each area will be and when the fall colours tend to peak in each area.

Canadians and Americans will argue till the cows come home which gets better fall colours. Ontario and Quebec or Maine and Vermont etc. For you it is irrelevant as all that will matter is where is the fall colour in peak when you get there. It varies every year by a week or two so your best bet is to look at some fall colour websites that track it and can tell you where it is peaking when you are there. I would not try to plan where to see colour before I was actually in Toronto.

Really, I think your timing other than for the possible inclusion of the fall colours, is not the greatest. You are likely to get at least cool weather for most of your trip I think. If you roughly lay out your route and when you expect you will be where, you can then look at the average weather for various places along that route at that time of year.