Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page > Awe Inspiring Scenery without Hiking - Any Ideas?
Notices

Awe Inspiring Scenery without Hiking - Any Ideas?

Reply

Dec 26th, 2012, 06:26 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 100
Awe Inspiring Scenery without Hiking - Any Ideas?

UK Married couple (late 50’s) seeking ideas for hard-earned holiday in North America
14 to 17 days starting 12th October 2013
Unfortunately, unable to hike, (or even walk much more than 2 miles a day)

LOVES: Outstanding Scenery, Scenic Drives
(Lakes / Ocean, Mountains, Colours, [Leaf-peeping?],
Any scenery classed by many as ‘awe-inspiring’)
LIKES: Wildlife, Sight-seeing, Culture, NP’s, Eating out
DISLIKES: Heat, Beach holidays,
£££? We fly economy, staying in 3*or 4* accommodation

We tend to spend 1st couple of days or so exploring a city, then ‘scenic drive’
All ideas welcomed. Many Thanks.
norfolkanway is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 07:31 AM
  #2
fb
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 115
Several of the National Parks in the Western US offer great views with little walking and great weather in October: Yosemite National Park, Sequoia NP, Highway 1 between Santa Barbara and Monterey (California), Grand Canyon NP - that would be enough to fill in 2 weeks right there plus you will be nearby to some great cities (Las Vegas, San Francisco, LA, Phoenix) for flying in and out.
fb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 07:35 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,250
The combination of the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in Wyoming really will fill the bill!
HowardR is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 07:38 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,328
My best idea would be to take at least part of the loop I described in the "Honeymoon Help-Seattle, Portland, Vancouver"
thread.
Do make sure that you make it to Crater Lake National Park.
When you are done in Oregon in about 13 days, fly back to Boston and rent a car for your "leaf peeping" before flying back to the UK.
tomfuller is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 07:39 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,161
In the east,

Head for the coast of Maine. You need to get off the interstate and head down the peninsulas. Don't miss Acadia National Park. May through October.

In Massachusetts, go to Cape Cod, visit the National Seashore, take a boat ride from Provincetown. May through October

In New Hampshire visit the White Mountains. Best foliage late September, early October.

In North Carolina, visit the Outer Banks.

In the west:

California:

Drive the coast hwy between San Francisco and LA.

Drive through Yosemite

Drive through Death Valley in November through April unless you like very hot.

Arizona:

Visit the Grand Canyon

Visit Sedona

Utah in Spring or Fall unless you like very hot summer or snowy winters:

Visit Zion

Visit Bryce, just stop at the pull outs. From there take hwy 12 (fantastic) to 12 to 24 and on to Moab.

Visit Arches and Canyonlands.

New Mexico:

Santa Fe area.

Colorado May through October unless you like snow:

Anywhere in the Rockies but be sure to take the road through Rocky Mtn. National Park.

Wyoming in June through September unless you like snow:

Grand Teton NP

Yellowstone NP.


Every part of the US has good roads and there many more places with interesting things to see from very close to the road.
emalloy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 08:19 AM
  #6
fb
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 115
I'd be nervous about going to Yosemite and Grand Teton after October 12 (the date the OP is starting the trip) - you could get lucky and have OK weather, but snow is a real possibility as well. The New England ideas are good and have the advantage of a shorter flight from the UK than going to California. But I still think nothing beats the American West for "awe- inspiring" scenery.
fb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 08:47 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,644
You really need to focus on either the east or the west in the limited time you have. And partly this will depend on weather. Oct - esp Oct - is still good weather and great leaf peeping - as well as coastal drives in New England.

At that time of year you run into the risk of snow in the west - and this can be substantial snow - closing roads or requiring chains - and is not something you should do unless you are familiar with driving in snow - which is a completely different skill.

For the east any vehicle will be fine. For the west I would go only with a 4WD one - but NOT an SUV - since they are so unstable - esp on bad roads. (I can't tell you how many I have seen tip over on fairly clear roads - when they hit a small patch of ice or black ice, esp with both wheels on one side.) A lower car with 4WD is safer - but not as good in deep snow.
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 09:01 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,566
In October you could do a nice trip in the East. Drive parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway. New England. Height of autumn color.
Gretchen is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 09:09 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 17,783
Arizona will still be quite warm in October; only Flagstaff stands a real chance of being cold, and snow is unlikely even there. Agree that in Arizona you can see loads of gorgeous scenery without hiking a bit, plus Phoenix/Scottsdale offer some cultural attractions such as the Heard museum and Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's compound. Sedona has good restaurants. Wildlife abounds Covers just about all of the OP's stated likes!
NewbE is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 09:18 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,072
You had lots of ideas on your previous thread, which ones did you like or rule out?

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...oceedings-.cfm

Without an idea of which of those you interested you, we'll just be throwing out many of the same suggestions.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 10:03 AM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 100
Hi WhereAreWe
Thanks for your comment. I really don't mind 'same suggetions'. 'Getting a feel' of other guys experiences & suggestions and considering the same only adds to our holiday experience. This thread has already added to suggestions previously made and given us more to consider.
To answer your question though, the only suggestions I would not look to consider would be those we've been to before:
Vancouver, Canadian Rockies, Yosemite, & possibly Grand Canyon
We’ve also driver The Big Sur from SF to LA.
From the last thread it looked as though Colorado was going to be the basis of our trip until we realised we were limited to starting October 12th forcing us, it appears, to miss much of the Fall colour, hence my re-post.
Thanks once again, really appreciate everyone’s input.
norfolkanway is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 01:09 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,328
If you want to see fall colours at their best, Fly to Boston first and rent a car there to see several northeastern states where the Maples and other hardwoods should be near peak.
Fly from Boston to either Denver or Salt Lake City and see the Rockies.
In the west, the most colorful trees would be the Aspens (yellow). The western forests are predominately Pines, Spruce and Firs which are green all year long.
tomfuller is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 01:49 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,644
You really need to watch the timing and weather carefully. Some years the colors are fantastic and others they are so-so. And it differs by part of the country.

NYC and surrounding areas did not have great color since we didn't have a killing frost early enough - and so rather than turning fiery red, blazing orange and brilliant yellow - some trees turned but for a lot the leaves just turned brown and fell off - very late.

So make reservations but be prepared to adjust your location based on how early colors change where (there are numerous websites that track the northeast colors with day by day predictions adjusted as the weather changes.)
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 05:16 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,874
I think your desire for "awe inspiring scenery" and discussions of New England autumn colo(u)r are a bit at odds with one another. It's beautiful, yes, but awe inspiring? Different strokes.

However, sticking with the Atlantic fringe, I might suggest flying into Montreal and driving down the St. Lawrence through Quebec City and all the way out to the Gaspe Peninsula, which is extremely scenic, then looping down through New Brunswick and into Maine, ending perhaps in Boston or (a personal major favo(u)rite city, Portsmouth New Hampshire. Montreal and Quebec are fabulous cities (especially Quebec) and the autumn foliage in the Laurentians is stunning.

Out west, autumn foliage is less predominant in the coniferous forests, but one thought I had for that time of year is in my own stomping ground, Oregon and Washington. For example, the Columbia (River) Gorge, east of Portland, is definitely awe-inspiring on its own, but it has the advantage of being fringed with waterfalls and glaciated volcanoes such as Mounts Hood, Adams and St. Helens, below which much of the land is in orchards, so plenty of foliage thereabouts. The Hood River Valley in particular is gorgeous in the fall; autumn generally comes a little later in the west than in New England or eastern Canada, but you can easily drive to the foliage simply by driving into and up the mountains.

East of the Cascade Range you're in real "old west" country - much drier than west of the mountains (they block the rain) and home to vineyards, Indian reservations, sagebrush and rolling hills covered in wheat.

A very enjoyable time could be had starting, say, in Portland, spending a few days in the Columbia Gorge and Mount Hood area, then drive north along the eastern slope of the Cascades into Washington State, perhaps as far as Lake Chelan, where a tour boat, the Lady of the Lake, motors up the 90+ mile-long lake into North Cascades National Park.

Then travel to Seattle via either the North Cascades or perhaps even via Mount Rainier, and fly home from Seattle. West of the Cascades (Seattle) it may be getting wet by the time you leave, but not necessarily - we often have splendid autumns in Seattle. But the variety of the landscapes - alpine mountains, high desert, sagebrush and dry pine forests, as well as a mile-wide river, orchards, waterfalls, fresh salmon and local wines... well, it's quite a package.

Sample photos:

Mount Hood from Portland: http://gardyloo.us/20100510_21b.JPG
Columbia Gorge: http://gardyloo.us/20100509_5a.JPG
Autumn in the Cascades: http://gardyloo.us/20101017_20s.JPG
Near Chelan: http://gardyloo.us/20101017_50s2.JPG
Mount Rainier before the first snow: http://gardyloo.us/20120903_677s.JPG

Lake Chelan/Lady of the Lake: http://www.ladyofthelake.com/
Gardyloo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2012, 10:14 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 395
If you do go to Maine, the drive to the top of Mount Battie in Camden is really rewarding in the fall with gorgeous views and beautiful colors. There are also gorgeous views from various parts of the Columbia Gorge in Oregon. Others have mentions lots of other nice views...
leslieq is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2013, 10:08 AM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 100
Hi guys.
I just want to thank you all for your suggestions / replies. Since my post I’ve spent the vast majority of time looking at all suggestions and now feel as though I’ve been to them already! I’ve worked out flights from UK, internal US flights, things to do, mileages, costs, etc. etc etc. Yes, I know, my kids have already told me I’m ‘sad’ but I love it. Anyway, I’m about to start a new post with reference to our choice (unless 'er indoors changes it again) and felt I ought to offer my thanks.
It SEEMS the awe inspiring scenery will have to wait as the wife has always wanted to go to New England in ‘The Fall’. (What a lovely expression for Autumn!) (What a shame the wife hadn’t said that in the first place!!)
As we have to arrive in mid-October (for 16 days) it seems we’ll miss the best of Vermont and New Hampshire and as the good lady wants to go to Niagara Falls (Canada) too I’m not sure of the best route / flight etc yet or how customs work for a Brit crossing USA/Canada border.
I digress; a very big Thank You to all who’ve helped.
All the best for the New Year !!
norfolkanway is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2013, 10:09 AM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 100
Hi guys.
I just want to thank you all for your suggestions / replies. Since my post I’ve spent the vast majority of time looking at all suggestions and now feel as though I’ve been to them already! I’ve worked out flights from UK, internal US flights, things to do, mileages, costs, etc. etc etc. Yes, I know, my kids have already told me I’m ‘sad’ but I love it. Anyway, I’m about to start a new post with reference to our choice (unless 'er indoors changes it again) and felt I ought to offer my thanks.
It SEEMS the awe inspiring scenery will have to wait as the wife has always wanted to go to New England in ‘The Fall’. (What a lovely expression for Autumn!) (What a shame the wife hadn’t said that in the first place!!)
As we have to arrive in mid-October (for 16 days) it seems we’ll miss the best of Vermont and New Hampshire and as the good lady wants to go to Niagara Falls (Canada) too I’m not sure of the best route / flight etc yet or how customs work for a Brit crossing USA/Canada border.
I digress; a very big Thank You to all who’ve helped.
All the best for the New Year !!
norfolkanway is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2013, 10:35 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,874
As we have to arrive in mid-October (for 16 days) it seems we’ll miss the best of Vermont and New Hampshire and as the good lady wants to go to Niagara Falls (Canada) too I’m not sure of the best route / flight etc yet or how customs work for a Brit crossing USA/Canada border.

I don't know that you'll "miss the best" in VT and NH; on the contrary you might arrive right at the peak. Not every year is the same, and it's not like the leaves all fall overnight. As a general rule, the "peak" moves south, but valleys, hills, southern v. northern exposure, how wet or hot the summer's been, etc., etc. - all play a role.

Including Niagara Falls adds a bit more driving as it's way west of the other areas you'd like to see. You might start in Montreal, work south through Maine/Vermont/NH, then cross from Boston to Buffalo on Interstate 90, see Niagara Falls, then end and fly home from Toronto. As far as UK citizens crossing the border, it's no big deal - just be sure you're documented properly. You might review this site for guidance: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...nada-or-mexico
Gardyloo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 4th, 2013, 02:42 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
Assuming you still have the same 16 days as in your other post, I think Gardyloo's plan and another which suggests the Finger Lakes are good.

This is a loop Boston to Boston or Montreal to Montreal, whichever has the lower airfares.

The Boston version -- you can start anywhere or do it in reverse -- would be roughly Boston-Stockbridge MA via I-90-Skaneateles, New York via US-20-Niagara via I-90-Toronto-Montreal-Quebec City- St Johnsbury, Vermont-White Mountains NH-Boston.

The motorways in Canada in particular are either boring or miserable, particularly the 401 near Toronto. You could avoid that if you don't want to see Toronto (it is a wonderful city) by going back into the US and taking I-90 east to I-81.

All that is a lot of running around. Personaly, I would do Boston (esp for the museums and music) to Quebec via the White Mountains then down through Magog to Vermont Highway 100 down the spine of the state and back to Boston on I-90:
Ackislander is offline  
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:11 PM.