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Road trip across USA from Washington, DC

Paris, France
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Road trip across USA from Washington, DC

My husband and I plan to embark on a four weeks road trip across USA starting from Washington, DC. We plan to take the northern route and returning back to Washi, DC via the southern route. We love parks as well as visiting museums. Since we have been to Chicago, we plan to skip in order to gain us some time. Would love to hear from travellers who have taken similar routes.

Boston...
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1. Re: Road trip across USA from Washington, DC

How far west do you want to drive? You can easily spend a month in the East, but a trip all the way across isn't impractical; it's just more driving with less in between.

Paris, France
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2. Re: Road trip across USA from Washington, DC

Our ultimate destination is Yellowstone National Park but we would like to go thru Colorado on the way. What would be in your view the best route from Washington, DC to Denver. Thank you.

Boston...
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3. Re: Road trip across USA from Washington, DC

Depends on the interest of you and yourn. Aint no "best" route. Yellowstone is some great country. Could take a split through Bourbon Country in Kentuk and pass on up through St. Louis and the Daktoa Country and skip over to Yellowstone from there.

Cleveland
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4. Re: Road trip across USA from Washington, DC

As you're skipping Chicago, and given your interests, you might consider taking I-70 for your northern route.

Attractions along route 70 include "The Wilds" and Longaberger Factory near Zanesville, Ohio, and the aviation history mecca of Dayton, Ohio.

In Dayton are the U.S. Air Force National Museum and the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. The USAF national museum is the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world, including a large collection of presidential airplanes which visitors can walk through. It's an amazing museum and admission is free. Dayton's aviation heritage attractions also include the world's first airplane at the very good Carillon Historical Park and Huffman Prairie Flying Field, where the first airplane was perfected and first flown. Huffman in essence was the world's first airport as well as where the world's first pilots were trained -- it's the 60-acre birthplace of powered flight.

Dayton also has a very good art museum, a legacy of the city's status as one of the world's great centers of invention and manufacturing in the first half of the 20th century.

Not far off I-70 southeast of Columbus are the Hocking Hills, a collection of parks featuring waterfalls, hollows and open caves, and generally considered one of the most beautiful areas of Ohio.

Here's a thread with links that might interest you in Ohio.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g50226-i364-k41410…

You might want to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, before heading to Yellowstone.

http://www.alplm.org/

What time of year are you planning to make your trip? If you're heading to Yellowstone this year, you need to consider the availability of lodging as well as whether there still will be snow at the time of your trip.

Uden, The...
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5. Re: Road trip across USA from Washington, DC

Same question. What time of year?

Paris, France
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6. Re: Road trip across USA from Washington, DC

Thank you so much for the information. We are planning to leave Washington, DC around April 9. May not be the best time to go to Yellow Stone National Park but we don't have much alternative as we are moving soon.

Cleveland
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7. Re: Road trip across USA from Washington, DC

If you're leaving on April 9, consider taking the southern route to Colorado before heading north to Yellowstone, then returning by the northern route.

I would post ASAP on the Yellowstone forum to seek the advice of posters there, asking about weather and lodging availability. Perhaps the trade-offs will mean it doesn't make much difference when you visit Yellowstone, as one week in April might be better for lodging but another one better for weather. Check the Yellowstone National Park website for anticipated winter closures during the time of your trip. You'll need some expert advice on how to access Yellowstone and what you'll be able to see given the season of your visit.

www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/hours.htm

What destinations are on your southern route? New Orleans? Nashville? Memphis? Texas? Are you willing to drive in excess of 10 hours some days in order to cover some of the vast distances that you are contemplating?

Have you been to the Grand Canyon and the other spectacular national parks of that more southern region? Do you like hiking?

Ohio
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8. Re: Road trip across USA from Washington, DC

that's early for YNP, yes. I personally would head across 70 to Denver. Weather depending... you can head north from there up to the Badlands area and across to YNP via 90. I 40 across the south is really good. Lots to see between YNP on the way down to I 40. Utah, Grand Canyon... Santa Fe just north of Albuquerque (Alb is on I 40) OKC has a great western heritage museum and the national memorial there is quite beautiful and moving.

London, United...
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9. Re: Road trip across USA from Washington, DC

In August last year I completed an identical trip leaving Washington DC and heading for San Francisco - we didn't have a great deal of time but managed all of the following in around 3 weeks and some of our itinary was based around seeing friends due to being on a tight budget;

Left Washington DC and drove through the night to Niagara Falls, stayed in a Budget Inn about an hour from Buffalo and visited Niagara Falls the following day, I highly recommend going to the caves as well as Maid of the Midst (boat trip into the falls).

Later that day we drove to Sandusky and camped at the KOA for two nights - spending one full day in Cedar Point theme park - absolutely fantastic amusement park for a full day and adrenaline junky.

We then drove from Sandusky to Chicago and stayed there for 2 days with friends in Willemette catching the train into town each day - it was very inexpensive to commute into and very easy to walk around - plenty of great parks and public entertainment; check out Grant Park and walk along the pier towards the Planetarium for spectacular views over the city. The John Hancock tower is also a free but nice way to get a panoramic view, the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) is relatively cheap and interesting. An interesting eating experience - Edd Debevic's with sassy waiters who deliberately give you attitude in this cheap and cheerful unique american dining experience.

http://featuredfoods.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/a-store/c-Ed_DebevicAns.shtml?E+scstore+debevic

We set off early for a long drive to Minneapolis for Mall of America which was decent, however this was only a one night stop on the way to see a friend in North Dakota (possibly the most boring agricultural landscape with nothing to offer a visitor seeking something interesting).

From North Dakota we drove through Yellowstone, Badlands, Monument Valley, Death Valley, to Salt Lake City and again stayed in another KOA. Yellowstone is a truly magnificent place - I'd be quite content to spend a couple of weeks there hiking around. It is very easy to see driving around, stoppping momentarily to see a site and carrying on. We arrived into Yellowstone on 22nd August and it was snowing - be prepared to wrap up. We made that mistake with our choice of clothes packed. Temperatures were down to -5 Celsius at night which made for a chilly uncomfortable night in a tent.

From Salt Lake City we drove down to Moab and saw Arches National Park which was another fascinating place (if you plan on going to the national parks, best to buy an annual pass for around $80 as each one individually will cost anything upto $25 to enter). We did some mountain biking on the slick rock getting our bikes from a local bicycle hire shop who gave us a lift to the top for $20. There is a very good eatery called the Brewery and an interesting night is to be had at Bar M Chuckwagon. (http://www.barmchuckwagon.com/) Your setting is a western town rebuilt with reinacting of duels and other cowboy antics. Good basic meal is provided in the towns diner with entertainment on stage from the hosts.

From Moab we drove to Lake Powell staying in the state park before going to the Grand Canyon for a couple of days.

Grand Canyon is a good stopper before hitting Las Vegas via the Hoover Dam. Accomodation in Vegas is always dirt cheap and there is a buffet pass you can get which lasts 24 hours and gives you unlimited food and drink at any one of 7 casinos; Hurrahs, Imperial Palace, Ceasers Palace, and Paris are just a few.

From Vegas we drove to Yosemite National Park which houses the great cedar redwood trees - absolutely huge, there is an example of a house built in one of the trees somewhere. From Yosemite we ended up in San Francisco staying in the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame and getting the train in (which is expensive). Complimentary shuttle to the airport is handy though. Hertz' drop off for cars is also in the centre of town, ideal to spend the day. If you are planning on visiting Alcatraz I strongly recommend booking well in advance - we were disappointed to find it had sold out a week before we arrived for the time we were there.

Good luck with your trip and hope this helps.

London, United...
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10. Re: Road trip across USA from Washington, DC

I forgot to mention although it cropped up alot, if you are on a budget or just want a pleasant change from the norm - buying a tent from Walmart and camping out in both state and national parks is the cheapest, safest, friendliest and easiest way to travel across the states. What's more, everyday you wake up with a beautiful landscape on your doorstep, Lake Powell allowed us to have a dip and swim before heading to Grand Canyon and Vegas.