U.S. & Canada Trip May-September 2021

Travel Forums North America U.S. & Canada Trip May-September 2021

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1. Posted by Travelman007 (Budding Member 7 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Hi guys,

I am planning a trip around the states and Canada and wanted to ask for help. I am currently thinking about the route, putting aside Covid-19, costs, car rental etc.
The destinations I plan to visit in:
1. San Diego
2. Grand Canyon
3. Yosemite National Park
4. San Francisco
5. Seattle
6. The American Rockies
7. Yellowstone National Park
8. Denver
9. Washington D.C.
10. Boston
11. Niagara Falls
12. Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal

I plan to start with the West Coast, San Diego and the parks (because of the nice spring weather). My question is regarding the route - what's a recommended route for a trip including the destinations above? I put it on a map and it looks something like this: Here.
A. In which destinations should I rent a car and in which should I take a flight? (San Diego -- The parks -- San Francisco by car, San Francisco -- Seattle by plane, Seattle -- Rockys -- Yellowstone -- Denver by car, Denver -- Washington D.C. by plane, Washington D.C. -- Boston by car, Boston -- Toronto by plane/car and the rest of Canada by car. Is that a good idea?).
B. Should I exclude Seattle?
C. Should I include the Canadian Rockies between Seattle and Yellowstone?
D. Should I cut the ending Canadian part of the trip - Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal?
E. Is this too much? I know this is a lot, but I really want to experience these places - I have 4 months, it's on spring-summer time, and as you can tell, I want to combine both large cities and nature.

What is your take on this?
Help will be much appreciated.


2. Posted by Travelman007 (Budding Member 7 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

The link to the route on Google Maps is at the bottom of the message.
Thanks again

3. Posted by 55vineyard (Budding Member 106 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

You'll need reservations for Yosemite and many places to stay inside the park book up to a year in advance so make sure you have your lodging lined up. Also if you plan to enter Yosemite from the East keep in mind that Tioga Pass can be closed in May depending on snow pack. Some years it does not open until June.
Personally I would drive Highway 1 for most of the route combined with Highway 101. You will need maybe two or more overnight stops between San Diego or LA and San Francisco if you drive Highway 1 (Google Maps is very unreliable in estimating the drive time). You can Visit Yosemite for a night or two from either San Francisco or Monterey, it is about a 4 hour drive each way. Waterfalls in Yosemite should be a sight to see in May.
You don't need a car in San Francisco and parking is expensive but you will want one for San Diego.
No plans to see anything in LA, second largest city in the US?

4. Posted by Travelman007 (Budding Member 7 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Thanks a lot for your comment.
I will listen to your advice and will enter Yosemite from SF - meaning from the west side.
So do you recommend driving from San Diego to SF and from there visit Yosemite? I already have been to LA and not in a rush to visit again (because I think my route is already overwhelmed). I might change my mind though.
Would you say then starting with the west coast is a better idea than starting in the east?
Thanks again man.

5. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1784 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

I am not sure where you are coming from (Australia)? But I assume flying in from somewhere west of the US? Is San Diego set as the first destination? I see I missed May in the title.

What I might do if San Diego is set in stone is to fly from there to Seattle, and then rent a car and drive down the coast to San Francisco. I don't know what to do with your car in SF, but after that drive to Yosemite and continue down to Monterey and go down US 1 as far as Santa Barbara.

From there you can go to the Grand Canyon. Drive to Denver and then Yellowstone You can visit Grand Teton NP on the way to Jackson Hole.

I would try to avoid getting to D.C. before September. So fly from Jackson Hole to Toronto. You won't really need a car there and I'm not sure whether you can rent a car in Canada and drive it to the US, but I think you can get a tour to Niagara. Then fly to Boston. After visiting Boston, take the train down to D.C. You won't want to drive in Boston or D.C. either.

[ Edit: Edited on 13-Sep-2020, 04:06 GMT by greatgrandmaR ]

6. Posted by Travelman007 (Budding Member 7 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Thanks man. I am coming from Europe actually. The reason I am starting with the West Coast is because of the weather. Is it a right decision? It goes along with the fact that I shouldn’t visit Washington before September.

7. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1325 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

In answer to your question about whether to include Seattle, I did really like the city but I would probably only recommend going up there if you can spare the time to visit some of the surrounding area too - maybe a couple of days on the Olympic Peninsula, and/or a side trip to Mount Rainier National Park. You'd need to hire a car for both of these.

8. Posted by Travelman007 (Budding Member 7 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. I might as well catch a train from Seattle to Vancouver, in order to visit Whistler. And then flying from Vancouver to Bozeman to see the Rockies.

9. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1784 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

If you started in D.C. in May it would normally be before it got too hot and then go from there to Boston and Toronto and from Toronto to Yellowstone and the route I suggested in reverse.

In favor of doing the east coast last is that there might be some fall color in September in the north. October is usually better for that in Vermont etc. but there might be some change as early as September up in Toronto.

I have actually driven from Yellowstone to Denver (although it was many years ago) and I have also driven from Monterey to the Grand Canyon and then to Denver (although that was also years ago, but not quite so many years). In Yellowstone it would be best to stay at the Old Faithful Inn if you can but there are other places in the park to stay and if you had to, you could stay in West Yellowstone. June is a good time to be there because there aren't quite so many people at that time of year.

10. Posted by Travelman007 (Budding Member 7 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Thanks a lot!