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Where to visit between LA and NY?

Brighton, United...
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Where to visit between LA and NY?

I've already made 2 'forums' on here and have received some great advice and taken it all on board! I've got another question, which any advice and ideas given would be great.

Me and my boyfriend are considering flying from the UK next summer for 2 months between July and August to do a road trip from LA to New York.

We would rent a car and stay in hotels/motels along the way.

There are loads of places we want to visit on the West and East Coast, such as LA, San Diego, Yellowstone National Park (maybe do a circular route in this area), possibly Florida if we drive down towards there from LA and then up towards New York.

However, we're a bit stuck on places to visit between the West and East coast! Me and my boyfriend both don't really know much about Central USA, so any suggestions of places to visit, or things to do would be very helpful.

We don't want to plan every day as we expect to find things on route, but need a rough plan of things we can do.

Also, I'm a big animal lover, San Diego (for the Zoo) and Yellowstone were both my choices! So if anyone could recommend anything such as Zoo's or places to see natural wildlife that would also be good.


Liverpool, UK
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1. Re: Where to visit between LA and NY?

It's difficult to answer without knowing your specific interests - my perfect cross country trip could be your holiday from hell as out tastes could be very different.

Are you more interested in exploring city areas or some of the scenic areas - I personally would skip Florida on the grounds that it will be busy with lots of families on vacation and for me the heat is unbearable in July/August.

Brighton, United...
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2. Re: Where to visit between LA and NY?

Are there any famous landmarks? And I'm a big fan of animals so any zoo's or places with natural wildlife.

Tacoma, Washington
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3. Re: Where to visit between LA and NY?

rough itinerary I would suggest based on the weeks

week 1 LA/SD/Vegas

week 2-3 Southern Utah, Grand canyon, western Colorado, NM to Santa Fe

week 4 see some of the music towns of Austin, New Orleans, Memphis, and Nashville

week 5 DC/NYC

week 6 Niagara Falls/Chicago/Black Hills

week 7 Yellowstone.Grand Teton

week 8 Yosemite SF coast back to LA

An alternate....fly internally between LA and NYC/BOS/DC

week 1-3 drive around California, Vegas, SE Utah and Grand canyon

fly to east

weeks 4-6 BOS, NYC, Philly, DC--rent a car for a week and drive to Niagara Falls and New england and Pennsylvania

week 7-8 fly to Denver or salt lake city and do a loop or a one way rental and see Yelowstone, Grand Teton and Rocky mountain national park or Moab area.

Washington State
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4. Re: Where to visit between LA and NY?

Hi Becky S

I think you mean that you have two other threads on this Road Trips forum.

When my kids were young, we drove across the country to visit relatives and purchased an Annual Pass at our local zoo. This allowed us free or discounted entry into many other zoos & some aquariums. Some of the benefits of this "drive + zoos" vacation

- we had a reason to stop & walk around

- we got off the main highways for awhile

- we saw local families and we enjoying dining at local places

- we could just see the 'special' animals at a particular zoo. For example, one zoo bred cheetahs and one zoo had at least 8 different kinds of lemurs.

Norwich, United...
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5. Re: Where to visit between LA and NY?

While the national parks don't have a monopoly on wildlife in the wild, they are probably the obvious places to start considering first. Of course, there is absolutely no guarantee of seeing wildlife during any particular visit, only a chance.

The official National Park Service site http://www.nps.gov has information on each park. In addition, this YouTube channel has videos (mainly short) for each park https://www.youtube.com/user/58NationalParks

Here's a useful map of the major mountain ranges of the USA (apologies if you already have that knowledge):


Most of the states from the Pacific Coast to the Rockies have national parks, mostly with good wildlife viewing chances of one kind or another. East of the Rockies lie the Great Plains, a largely flat farming region. Then in the Appalachian Mountains there's the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks, and the Blue Ridge Parkway connecting them. East of the Appalachians it's mainly farming again except for the urban areas.

Here's a map showing most of the well-known national parks, but it doesn't show all of them:


As well as the national parks there are big cities and smaller towns throughout most of the USA with all sorts of things of interest ranging from history (pre-European, pioneer, civil war, indian wars, dustbowl/depression, more modern), music, sport, civil engineering, theme parks, and so on.

It will need a fair bit of research to get the most out this trip, but doing the research is all part of the fun of the holiday IMHO. Just to illustrate that point, of late I've been watching a series of YouTube videos made by a couple who drove from Los Angeles to New York having done virtually no research before travelling and they hardly saw anything, sticking mostly to endless miles of driving on interstates - a tragedy IMHO.

Hope this helps.

Edited: 25 May 2014, 20:19
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6. Re: Where to visit between LA and NY?

There's a multitude of options between LA and NY. Your question is much like asking what is there to see in Europe.

The Pacific Coast Highway between LA and San Francisco can offer wildlife viewing, especially marine mammals and California Condors, if you're lucky for the latter highly endangered species. Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the best aquariums in the U.S.

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado can be a good location for wildlife viewing.

If you're going to Yellowstone, you may want to take a northern route east through the Dakotas and Chicago. Theodore National Roosevelt NP is very popular for viewing buffalo (American bison) and other wildlife.


Chicago has a good aquarium. Cleveland, Columbus and Memphis have good zoos.

The Wilds near Zanesville is one of the nation's largest animal preservation centers. Like zoos, it's always best visited in the cool of the day, which means an early morning tour in the summer.

Here are a couple other threads that might help on a northern route:





Good planning!

Norwich, United...
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7. Re: Where to visit between LA and NY?

OP, how wedded to the coast-to-coast concept are you? I'm just wondering whether concentrating on the western states might be a better option for you. For example, you could head north up the Rocky Mountain states (northern New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana), then maybe the Canadian Rockies, and head back south to see the Cascade Mountains and the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Washington State, Oregon and California) (or vice-versa of course). Just an idea for your consideration.

Norwich, United...
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8. Re: Where to visit between LA and NY?

ps You could make it a loop by going from California to New Mexico via Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Also, you could start and finish the loop at any international airport on the route, possibly wherever worked out least expensive for airfares plus car rental.

Something vaguely like this, maybe? http://goo.gl/HjJ6VU

Limerick, Ireland
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9. Re: Where to visit between LA and NY?

Drive Route 66 from Santa Monica to Chicago

known as " The Mother Road " and the " Will Rogers Highway "

the first of its kind which brought people west

looking for a better life.

Lewes, United...
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10. Re: Where to visit between LA and NY?


I can understand not wanting to plan every night of your trip, but to get the best prices in cities, especially the larger and more popular ones, advance bookings can be much cheaper, and some cities, I'd never recommend you turn up without reservations - they're too huge to not plan ahead. Also, for staying within national parks, you have to book well in advance for most of them. Thus, you do need to have some kind of a plan.

I'd suggest you get some guidebooks to the USA to have a good read - libraries have old ones, which are find for research of destinations, just don't rely on pricing. Then follow the many suggestions above. Then come back to us on this specific topic with where you have reached with thoughts and ask for more suggestions, info, how to link up gaps, etc.