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Feedback on USA road trip itinerary + book recommendation?

Tel Aviv
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Feedback on USA road trip itinerary + book recommendation?

Hi all,

My fiancee and I decided to take a USA road trip for our honeymoon. We are 31 years old, we like hiking and are generally outdoorsy. We are interested in experiencing the wonderful nature the US has to offer, as well as the culture, food, people, shopping etc. Also, Disney World and Club Med are two favorites of mine from past vacations, so they are a must as well. :) We have 5 weeks, starting 24 of June 2014. Our budget is around 12000 USD, excluding the international flight. We were thinking of flying into the west coast (SF), and flying out of the east coast (NY), renting a car in the west coast, with one domestic flight between east and west. We are flying from Sweden.

We were thinking about the following itinerary. Any feedback / thoughts? I realize we have a couple of days of excessive driving (SD-Grand Canyon, Utah-Rockies), but we are ok with that. Also, would love a recommendation for a good travel book for before and during the trip.

1 Flight

2 SF

3 SF

4 SF

5 Rent a car, Napa Valley

6 Napa to Yosemite

7 Hike Yosemite

8 Hike Yosemite

9 Drive to SF

10 Pacific Coastal Highway

11 Pacific Coastal Highway

12 Pacific Coastal Highway-San Diego

13 San Diego

14 Drive to Grand Canyon

15 Day hike Grand Canyon

16 Drive to Zion Canyon + Zion Canyon

17 Bryce + drive to Arches

18 Arches + drive north

19 Drive to Rocky Mountain National Park

20 Rocky Mountain National Park

21 Rocky Mountain National Park

22 Rocky Mountain National Park

23 Return car Denver airport, flight Oralndo

24 Disney World

25 Disney World

26 Orlando-Port St. Lucie

27 Port St. Lucie (Club Med Sandpiper)

28 Port St. Lucie

29 Port St. Lucie

30 Port St. Lucie-Miami, flight Miami-NYC, rent a car and leave

31 Road trip New England

32 Road trip New England, return car

33 NYC

34 NYC

35 NYC

36 NYC

37 NYC

38 NYC

39 Flight NYC - Stockholm

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1. Re: Feedback on USA road trip itinerary + book recommendation?

Sounds like a great itinerary. I don't have a book recommendation, but I thought I would give you a list of the phone Apps I use. I do mixed travel too (trip including a nice resort hotel and hiking for instance) and I find these helpful. I am just listing the name of the Apps in case you wanted to search (I download from Apple - these are all free). TripAdvisor, Yelp, Hotels.com, Priceline (I save money doing the "hidden" Express Deals), Urban Spoon, Google Maps, Nav Free (download the state you are driving in advance), Scout (for traffic alerts), Free WiFi Locator. For the hiking end I use: Trail Explorer, The North Face Trailhead, Compass 54, SkyView Free, Flashlight. The trail Apps aren't as helpful to me until I'm close to a trail and the App uses my location.

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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2. Re: Feedback on USA road trip itinerary + book recommendation?

June of this year? Yikes

Book Yosemite lodging now. Read the Top Questions on the Yosemite forum. Don't go back to SF after Yosemite; go directly to the Monterey Peninsula and begin your tourism. The Top Questions on the California forum has info about the Hwy 1 drive (both the Cabrillo Highway and the Pacific Coast Highway sections.)

Try to get lodging at the South Rim GCNP as well. Check their forum.

I'll leave the rest of your itinerary for others.

Tel Aviv
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3. Re: Feedback on USA road trip itinerary + book recommendation?

Thanks both! I will definitely read the FAQs.

I should also say that accommodations in Yosemite Valley have been booked last night. :)

Uden, The...
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4. Re: Feedback on USA road trip itinerary + book recommendation?


1. Don't drive back to San Francisco from Yosemite but directly to Monterey.

2. You'll be driving hw1 and its called Cabrillo Hw till Oxnard. From there it's Pacific Coast hw to San Clemente.

3. From Monterey take all day to drive to Cambria or Pismo Beach. You can drive to San Diego from Pismo Beach in one day. Gives you more time for San Diego unless you want to spend (short) time in Los Angeles. maybe add that night to Santa Monica.

4. SD to GC is a 9 hours drive if traffic allows. On the way are many places for R66 but you won't have the time. At least make a short stop in Seligman for that.

5. From Zion to Bryce and on to Moab is not a daytrip. Ut12 is one of the most scenic highways in the USA but requires time.

6. Your time for Moab with Arches, Canyonlands, dead Horse Point SP really is far too short. 2 full days are recommended. I'd take time off RMNP and add it to Moab.

7. What do you mean by a roadtrip to New England in 2 days? Maybe visit Boston but that already will be tight and use train between NY and Boston. No car.


Houston, TX
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5. Re: Feedback on USA road trip itinerary + book recommendation?

The Lonely Planet series of travel guides will give you more hiking, outdoors etc recommendations than some of the other books. I also like the Fodor's and Frommer's series. The Moon travel guides aren't as glossy, but are still good.

In Monterey, spend some time at the Aquarium. On the drive south along the coast, spend a couple of hours at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve--at least 3 good trails for walking and great scenery. On the drive between to Cambria, stop at the Bixby Bridge overlook. Have lunch at Nepenthe. Stop at Julia Burns Pfeiffer State Park for the short walk to McWay Falls. Stop at the elephant seal rookery on the beach near Piedras Blancas north of San Simeon. Perhaps a visit to Hearst Castle if that interests you. Spend the night at Cambria or Pismo Beach. The drive between Carmel and Cambria takes about 2.5 hours with no stops for anything.

Use www.grandcanyonlodges.com for rooms at GCNP. If they are booked, check Tusayan, Arizona the small gateway town at the southern entrance.

Lewes, United...
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for Road Trips
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6. Re: Feedback on USA road trip itinerary + book recommendation?


Welcome to the forum and congrats from me, too!

Lonely Planet, as TxO.... says, do several possible guide books to look out for. They do a specific South West USA version which we have (albeit rather tatty and ancient and out of date long ago). They also do ones that cover the whole of the USA, too. There are other guide books, too, for the whole country, but we generally find Lonely Planet or Rough Guides are fairly good for most of the general info. Most can easily be ordered from Amazon to home for preparation before travel.

Jennifer lists off a great list of smart phone apps. The problem is that, as an overseas visitor, so roaming charges will be really high, you will find many are very expensive to use on the road. Could be helpful for a browse when staying in a motel or elsewhere that offers free wifi, though.

Lots of great advice above from Tet for the route on the west coast.

Have you sorted out the several rental cars yet and got quotes? Make sure you have booked with a website that doesn't quote in US$ and includes all the vital insurances in the price.

Given your start date, you will be in the USA over the Fourth of July major public holiday. Please make sure you have reservations made early for that period as well, but it could be a great time to be somewhere that makes and event of the celebrations.

Yes, what do you mean by New England road trip with only 2 days? Seems out of balance with 6 days for NYC - but there's lots to do in NYC and we love the place, I could spend weeks there!


Atlanta, Georgia
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7. Re: Feedback on USA road trip itinerary + book recommendation?

If you are in Florida during the 4th of July time period or in NYC or Boston which are all summer destinations for many then yes prebook accommodations. We have been to Florida during 4th of July week before and booked our lodging almost a year in advance.

Tel Aviv
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8. Re: Feedback on USA road trip itinerary + book recommendation?

Thanks all!

Really great advice about the 4th of July. We will indeed be there at that time and I completely missed that. We will be in the middle of the Pacific Coastal Highway, so I will look for bookings in one of the towns you mentioned.

SWT, did you mean to put links for the smartphone apps and the advice from Tet? Couldn't find any...

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9. Re: Feedback on USA road trip itinerary + book recommendation?

New York City 7days, a lot of wasted days here...

Lots of time to revise your planning, starting with New York City.......You may need the $12,000 here for that time........

Edited: 13 February 2014, 18:47
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10. Re: Feedback on USA road trip itinerary + book recommendation?

Rocky Mt NP is mostly a back country park drop one night from here and add a 3rd day to the New England part of the trip this will give you time for a nice road trip along the shore hitting Mystic, Newport. New Bedford maybe Boston and taste of the Cape.Personly I would drop one day from NYC and spend a little more time on the Cape.