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4 weeks in AMERICA! Advice would be wonderful :)

Maryborough...
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4 weeks in AMERICA! Advice would be wonderful :)

Hi there! Wondering if anyone could give some advice/tips on planning a 4 week USA holiday/road trip. Heading over the states for HALLOWEEN! Last week of october through into november. Budget of $10,000-15,000 each. Interested in theme parks, night life, drinking, live music, shows and food! Bit of shopping and of course natural wonders would be nice too!

So far we are thinking LA for 7 days....want to see Santa monica/venice beach, hollywood, universal studios and disneyland.

Vegas 6 days- Exploring the strip (of course) and the Grand canyon

New Orleans 4 days- French quarters, bourbon sheet, ghost tours and museums.

New york 6 days- Must see central park, empire state building, basketball and baseball game. Broadway shows

23 days in total so far. Have we allowed enough time at each place? Should would be using our time more wisely and trying to visit more places? Or extending at our current locations? I'd love to visit seattle and san francisco! Would love to check out orlando too! Just not sure what would be better :/

Most important where would be the best place to celebrate halloween? I realise that each state/city has their own unique ways of celebrating the holiday and it will be amazing no matter where we are :)

Any help advice or suggestions would be kindly appreciated :) thank you.

Washington State
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1. Re: 4 weeks in AMERICA! Advice would be wonderful :)

Disneyland (in Anaheim) is pretty good during the Halloween season. Las Vegas (as always) is over the top with adult fun. Note that the Grand Canyon is not really near Las Vegas; many folks make a long drive from Anaheim or L.A. to the South Rim of GCNP, then a 5 hr drive to Las Vegas.

Flying between Nevada, Louisiana, and New York will take a good chunk of your time.

California + Las Vegas + GCNP could easily take 3 weeks.

Cleveland
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2. Re: 4 weeks in AMERICA! Advice would be wonderful :)

Cathy, welcome to TA and the road trips forum!

Halloween season ends with Halloween, so plan to come for all of October and none of November if that is the focus of your trip. Also early October is the peak of Leaf Turn in northern states.

For me, Halloween requires "harvest season" creepy weather which is best experienced in the Midwest. In early October, you also can experience Leaf Turn and the harvest season, perhaps in Ohio Amish Country where the Amish still harvest with horse-drawn equipment. Perhaps catch a barn dance at Malabar Farm State Park with some luck.

Among great Halloween season experiences in the Midwest are HalloWeekends at Cedar Point, the roller coaster capital of the world in Sandusky, Ohio. Ghostly Manor, a top-rated creep attraction, also is in Sandusky, as is Kalahari, one of the nation's largest indoor water parks. There probably also is a Halloween celebration at Put-in-Bay on the South Bass party island, a short ferry ride from Sandusky. Sandusky is one hour west of Cleveland, where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is located.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g50207-s407/Cleveland…

A couple hours northwest of Sandusky is The Henry Ford, one of America's top historical destinations. Greenfield Village there has a massive, old-fashioned Halloween celebration, complete even with a headless horseman. Advance ticket purchases are required for the Greenfield Village Halloween event, especially if you want a dinner package. Greenfield Village is perfect for Halloween, particularly if you want to experience it through the eyes of exuberant children.

thehenryford.org/events/halloweenEvent.aspx

You also can find haunted corn mazes west of Cleveland.

Perhaps check on the Chicago forum for Halloween favorites there. That is a city that really knows how to party. They dye the Chicago River Kelly green for St. Patrick's Day and have some of the largest musical festivals in the U.S., so I suspect they know how to celebrate Halloween. It's otherwise one of the great destination cities in the U.S. The Signature Lounge there is my favorite skyscraper lounge in the U.S. and the city has numerous music venues.

You could drive from Cleveland to Chicago as one leg of your trip, if you don't mind a possible drop charge given your large budget.

Both Cleveland and Chicago are among the nation's top cultural centers, if that is an interest. E.g., they have the nation's two best orchestras and among the nation's top art museums. Severance Hall in Cleveland often is considered the most beautiful concert hall in the U.S. and is Cleveland's Taj Mahal, greatly funded by one of the heirs to the Standard Oil Trust (which once owned most of the great American oil companies) as a tribute to his wife. John D. Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil Trust and the richest man in American history measured by the percentage of the nation's wealth that he owned, is buried in Cleveland's Lake View Cemetery, one of the nation's great Victorian cemeteries and beautiful during Leaf Turn in early October.

BTW, Halloween season also marks a peak in the U.S. university football season. If you want to experience one of the great rituals in the U.S., visit Columbus, Ohio, for a game weekend of The Ohio State University Buckeyes. E.g., do a web search for TBDBITL and separately for "Skull Session," and search the Columbus or this forum for "football." It's party central time in Columbus on a game weekend.

Given your interests, you also might want to check out the Halloween season in Nashville and perhaps Memphis. Perhaps you could do a road trip from Nashville through Memphis and Vicksburg to New Orleans.

You likely don't need more than three days in New York City unless you like visiting museums. Major League Baseball's regular season will be over by the time of your visit. Perhaps you can attend a play-off game if you're willing to pay up for tickets. You may be too early for basketball season, but American football season is well underway, often with great tailgating parties before the game. Seven days also may be too much for LA.

Just giving you some more options.

Good planning!

Cleveland
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3. Re: 4 weeks in AMERICA! Advice would be wonderful :)

An alternative to Columbus for a university football experience would be Ann Arbor, Michigan, to see a game at the "Big House," the largest stadium in the western hemisphere. As an Ohioan, we don't talk kindly about football in the state "up north," so perhaps post in the Ann Arbor forum if interested in learning more about game weekends there. :-)

If you have an interest in aviation history, check out Dayton, one hour west of Columbus, which is about 2 1/2 hours south of Cleveland.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60785-c185858/Dayton…

With only four weeks, you'll have to focus on what you want to see on this trip and save some attractions for a future visit to the U.S. E.g., Mardi Gras in New Orleans is one of the great events in the U.S. and would be my favorite time to visit there. Early October is one of the best times to visit the Midwest IMO, greatly because of Leaf Turn, Halloween, and American football.

USA
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4. Re: 4 weeks in AMERICA! Advice would be wonderful :)

With your emphasis on LA, Vegas, NYC & New Orleans, New Orleans would have quite a focus upon Halloween:

…neworleans.com/new-orleans-events/halloween/

Have fun planning!

Chula Vista...
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5. Re: 4 weeks in AMERICA! Advice would be wonderful :)

Hi,

One thing to keep in mind as you plan your trip is the weather. You may want to start in the northern areas earlier in the trip (NYC the first week), as the weather can begin to get quite cold in late October and into November. Then you can work your way south and west where it will be warmer longer.

Note, however, that at places like the Grand Canyon (South Rim at 7,000 feet elevation) or Yosemite, you may encounter colder weather or even some early season snow (not likely, but possible).

Finally, I don't think it will be a factor in your trip, but Thursday, 28 November 2013 is Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday. It is unequivocally our busiest travel weekend in the year, bar none. You want to do everything that you can to avoid traveling from that Wednesday to the following Monday.

Enjoy your trip.

Zed

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6. Re: 4 weeks in AMERICA! Advice would be wonderful :)

Hi.

Worth getting a clarification. You are thinking of flying between the man venues, and not 4 week cross country with only 5 days to string it together!!?

You could do a driving section in the west, as PNWF suggests, with a few additions between LA and Vegas, as well as GCNP in 13 plus 3 days, allowing two dead days for flying to NOLA and then to NYC to total 28.

Pittsburgh...
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7. Re: 4 weeks in AMERICA! Advice would be wonderful :)

I have to chime in that if you are interested in theme parks and Halloween, the suggestion for Halloweekends at Cedar Point is spot on. Cedar Point is regarded as one of the best roller coaster parks in the country, possibly even the world. Halloweekends is the best time to visit because the lines are shorter and you get free admission to Haunted Houses, hay mazes, etc. contained within the park in addition to all the roller coasters. Dress warm - 40F is cold, but it's really cold when Top Thrill Dragster blasts you up 400 ft at 120mph. Personally, I would pick Cedar Point over Disney any day. The rides are better and there's less kids running around.

I think the times you have planned are perfect. My personal preference would be to spend less time in LA. I don't care for their touristy stuff, so I only see LA as a starting off point to go up the PCH on your way to San Fran.

Must do things in NOLA:

-Airboat swamp tour

-See a plantation

-Catch a great local act (Kermit Ruffins is fun)

You will want to fly from NYC (I also second the suggestion to visit the colder places first) to Cleveland/Toledo to NOLA to LasVegas.

Maryborough...
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8. Re: 4 weeks in AMERICA! Advice would be wonderful :)

WOW! Thank you so much everyone. I really appreciate all your advice! The places you have suggested have certainly given me a lot to think about! Travelling at the start of october sounds like a much better idea so we can fit in as much halloween related destinations as possible...all depends on my partners work schedule though :) Fingers crossed!

I have heard so many people tell me not to spend alot of time in LA, it's just that we LOVE theme parks and have always wanted to go to disneyland! So 1 day at universal + fright night, and 2 days at least at disney land is taking up 3 days already! Going to stay at Santa Monica on the beach for a couple of nights when we first arrived from Australia to get over the jet lag...then a night or 2 in hollywood ;)

New Orleans would certainly be awesome for halloween! And finish the trip up in new york (although it is tempting to drive up to Boston to see all those lovely leaves you talked about :)

And yes we are going to be flying between destinations (apart from LA to Vegas)

Just so overwhelming.....so much to see and do! Looks like we will just have to come back to the states another time!

Cleveland
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9. Re: 4 weeks in AMERICA! Advice would be wonderful :)

Do you know that the Pacific Ocean off California is cold? Given your available destinations, I personally wouldn't want to spend two days in Santa Monica, especially in October. BTW, what are your interests besides theme parks and Halloween?

Consider instead heading to Hollywood to get over jet lag. Perhaps check out the Magic Castle and the Magic Castle Hotel. The subway line there would give you access to several attractions, including downtown LA.

Leaf Turn around New York and in New England likely will peak in the first two weeks in October. Ditto, elsewhere most places in northern states.

If you want to go to Cedar Point, Leaf Turn in northern Ohio is pretty good. In the Cleveland area, in addition to Ohio Amish Country, the Holden Arboretum with its Holden Natural Areas, a National Natural Landmark, and Cuyahoga Valley National Park are fall colors hotspots. If you want mountains, a few hours further east is the Allegheny National Forest. Weather can be brisk to excellent in the first two weeks of October in northeast Ohio.

www.holdenarb.org/photogallery/fall_pg1.asp

…about.com/b/2012/09/30/fabulous-fall-foliag…

accuweather.com/en/…

Here's a good thread for Leaf Turn in the Northeast:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12567-k5787634…

Are you planning to fly home from NYC or return to LA for a round trip flight?

Cleveland
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10. Re: 4 weeks in AMERICA! Advice would be wonderful :)

If you spend Halloween, October 31, in New Orleans, then fly to NYC, Leaf Turn will be at its tail-end, if not entirely over by the time you reach NYC.

If you want to see Leaf Turn, perhaps fly into NYC and end your trip in LA.