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Road trip to San Diego from Tornto!

Barrie, Ontario...
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Road trip to San Diego from Tornto!

Looking to plan a trip at the end of May to drive to San Diego and then onto Calgary...

Have never done a trip like this so looking for any advice on routes to take, stops to make, must see things, top attractions.. Etc etc!

Any help and advice muchly appreciated!

SE Ontario
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1. Re: Road trip to San Diego from Tornto!

You might want to post this in the Road Trip forum... lots of good experts there:

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567-Road_Tri…

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: Road trip to San Diego from Tornto!

Hope you have plenty of time!

You may want to outline some more intentions...do you want to make stops along the way, or drive straight through?

I'd stop in Vegas as long as you are 21...

Toronto, Canada
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for Family Travel, Honeymoons and Romance
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3. Re: Road trip to San Diego from Tornto!

Hi Laura..............the suggestion from phpr in post one to ask this question on the Road Trips forum is a good one.........I'd ask for assistance there..

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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4. Re: Road trip to San Diego from Tornto!

Hi Laura, and welcome to the TripAdvisor forums!

My first suggestion would be to start playing around with google maps - www.maps.google.com (or a similar site), using the "directions" feature. Pick Toronto as your starting point and then any number of intermediate points on the way to San Diego, where you want to stop either overnight, or for a few days. Sometimes looking at a map will clarify which of several possible routes you want to take, either because of the appeal of the stops along the way, or the distances between them.

Have a look at the distances and estimated driving times, and see if they match up to how you envision this trip being (do you want to get there quickly, driving 12+ hours a day, or do you only want to drive a few hours a day, and stop somewhere with interesting things to see/do)?

Then, do some research of your own about at least some of the potential stops - start with doing a search here on TripAdvisor... you will find that each destination here on the site has a wealth of resources, not only the forums, but "Top Questions" and Traveller Articles. Other good resources are the destination's official tourism website (search for the city's, and the state/provinces') ... get ready to do lots of googing!

You can approach the return trip (San Diego to Calgary) similarly. Will you be driving from Calgary back to Toronto?

Once you have at least a basic idea of your trip, post your draft itinerary in the Road Trip forum, or parts of it in some of the more local forums (state or province, or region/city), with your *specific* questions, and give some information about yourself, your interests, and who you are travelling with so that the advisers can give you relevant information. (For instance, if you are not 21, or if you are travelling with young children, there's probably no point in visiting Vegas; if you are a senior who uses a walker, there's no point in us recommending hiking trails etc..) It's also essential to know how long you have for this trip, and at least some idea of your budget (couch surfing or luxury hotels?).

We are all volunteers here, and much as we like to assist, we need some information to work with. You'll probably get a lot more people willing to help if you do at least a bit of legwork first, then post either a rough itinerary or specific questions... give us something to work from, and all sorts of ideas and suggestions will get bounced back to you.

I know that planning a trip, especially a long one, is a daunting prospect. I find it helps to remember that through the research phase, there will be tons of times when you will feel overwhelmed ... but just keep on, one step at a time, and eventually it all becomes clear and you have YOUR perfect trip to look forward to! You have four months to plan, which is a good amount of time.

Happy planning!

Edited: 24 January 2013, 23:29
Ottawa, ON
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5. Re: Road trip to San Diego from Tornto!

I agree with what krp says. I have done the drive from Ottawa to the Arizona/California border. If I had gone 5 hours further, I would have been in San Diego. And after I was finished down there, I drove up to Calgary, and then across Canada to Ottawa. So, theoretically, my experience could be some assistance to you. I`ll be glad to answer specific questions, but until we know the type of trip you`re planning, it is not worth my time to blather on about my trip.

Kingston, Canada
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6. Re: Road trip to San Diego from Tornto!

Agree with above...more specific info and I may have some things that might help, but no point offering if it has nothing to do with your interests. Give some idea of what you were thinking of.

ktown

Barrie, Ontario...
6 posts
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7. Re: Road trip to San Diego from Tornto!

Some experiences of yours would be great.. I'm travelling with my boyfriend.. We are both over 21 and hope to do the trip in 3 weeks. We have looked at stopping so far in Chicago and Vegas.. And I think it was Colorado. I had been reading a few other posts of people who had done similar trips, and decided we want to take longer and not do more than 7 or 8 hours driving on each trip, staying in hostels or hotels on each of our stops, and staying for 1 or 2 days depending on where we are. Calgary is our final destination (or maybe Banff) not 100% decided on that yet! Thanks for any advice.. I realize I was far too vague before..

Kingston, Canada
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8. Re: Road trip to San Diego from Tornto!

Have you considered taking a tent and camping on the way? There are some beautiful campgrounds on your way. Prepare for cold nights though - just layer and wear toques and you'd be fine - we camped in May.

Anyway, I'd recommend seeing Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, then take the interstate over to Utah. Stay off the interstates in Utah if you can - there is so much to see on the other roads. Go to Arches in Moab, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. We camped our last night before Vegas at Valley of Fire and it was beautiful.

I agree that it's nice not to drive more than 7-8 hours a day, but I'd suggest some longer driving days to fit in what you want. That way you can drive less some other days. For example, I'd drive straight to Chicago and stay there my first night. That way when you get up in the morning you can head out exploring right away. I also found some of the states a bit more boring (no offense to them) so was happy to put in a few extra hours of driving to get to the highlights.

ktown

Edited: 25 January 2013, 15:21
Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: Road trip to San Diego from Tornto!

Chicago would be a great first stop, i'd stay there at least a day, great city!

Ottawa, ON
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10. Re: Road trip to San Diego from Tornto!

Thanks, Laura, for the clarification.

Here`s my suggestion. Note that I am not taking you through Colorado (never been there except to change planes in Denver) so if Colorado is mandatory, this may not be much help.

Drive to Chicago in a long day (cross at Sarnia, not Windsor). Spend at least a day in Chicago, more if you feel you have the time.

Then two days of basically straight driving across the great mid-west, ending in Amarillo, TX. Springfield, MO would be roughly half way for overnight.

Alternatively, if you spent a day and a half in Chicago, afternoon drive to Springfield, Il (visit the Abraham Lincoln house - the only one he ever owned), overnight there, then drive to Joplin, MO (visit George Washington Carver birthplace), overnight there, and then to Amarillo.

From Amarillo it is about a half day to Santa Fe, NM. Spend at least 2 nights there, more if you want visit Bandelier National Monument or Taos. Then an easy day drive to Grand Canyon Village.

Spend up to a week doing the Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon/Lake Powell, Bryce & Zion National Parks loop to Las Vegas. After that, it is a simple day drive to San Diego.

From San Diego to Calgary, you are going to have to decide whether to take the longer coastal route (San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver) and across the mountains to Calgary, or the shorter inland route, back to Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Great Falls, Montana, Glacier NP and across the border.