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Road trip from San Francisco to Orlando

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Aug 9th, 2011, 07:18 AM
  #1
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Road trip from San Francisco to Orlando

Hi everyone,

My boyfriend and I are doing a road trip from San Francisco to Orlando, starting at the end of October for about six weeks. Our route so far is San Fran - Las Vegas - Grand Canyon - Arches/Canyonlands in Utah - Santa Fe/Roswell - San Antonio - Fort Worth - New Orleans - Memphis - Nashville - Smoky Mountains - Charleston - Savannah - Orlando.

We're planning about 2-3 days in each place (more in Orlando and San Fran)

I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for other places we should stop at along the way? Or stop interesting places to stop for a couple of hours to break up some of the long hours of driving? And do you think seeing this many places is doing too much?

We're also a little concerned about the weather this time of year - how cold does it get in these places around this time of year? We'll be mostly camping.

Thanks!
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Aug 9th, 2011, 07:41 AM
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It sounds like a great road trip. You may get colder weather at the higher elevations but depending on your sleeping bags' ratings, should be okay. I'm not sure what campgrounds you are planning to use. We used to camp at National Forest campgrounds years ago and loved the (usual) seclusion of the campsites. If it gets too cold, you may want to consider a KOA Kamping Kabin which will be heated.
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Aug 9th, 2011, 08:54 AM
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I would spend more time in Santa Fe/ABQ area and less in Roswell. Actually, I wouldn't even stop in Roswell, personally.
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Aug 9th, 2011, 09:56 AM
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Sounds good.

If you haven't been to Zion and Bryce NPs, it would be good to include them if you can.

A couple years ago, we enjoyed the drive from New Orleans to Tallahassee by staying on the highways that skirt the Gulf (not I-10) and by spending a night at Water Street Hotel in Apalachicola: http://www.waterstreethotel.com/?gcl...FQg_bAodbmPb6g

HTTY
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Aug 9th, 2011, 11:22 AM
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Between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon you can do
Zion National Park http://www.americansouthwest.net/uta...onal_park.html,
Bryce National Park http://www.americansouthwest.net/uta...onal_park.html and
Lake Powell http://www.americansouthwest.net/uta...ke_powell.html. It might be pretty cold to camp in Bryce at this time of the year. They could have snow by then.

Between the Grand Canyon and Moab/Arches/Canyonlands can pass right by Monument Valley http://www.americansouthwest.net/utah/monument_valley/

Between Moab and Santa Fe you have Mesa Verde National Park http://www.americansouthwest.net/col...onal_park.html and
Chaco Canyon http://www.americansouthwest.net/new...ical_park.html.

Between Roswell and San Antonio you have Carlsbad Caverns National Park http://www.americansouthwest.net/new...onal_park.html

Utahtea
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Aug 9th, 2011, 05:47 PM
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Thanks for your suggestions everyone! One more question - is there likely to be snow on any of the roads in grand canyon/utah/new mexico in early November? We might have to change our travel dates if there is...
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Aug 9th, 2011, 06:38 PM
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NM - most likely not. Doubt it for Utah too. Aw heck, doubt it for GC too.
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Aug 9th, 2011, 06:52 PM
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I guess there is always a chance for Bryce since the elevation is 8,000 feet. The park is open all year and if it has snowed then you are in for a beautiful treat!

Utahtea
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Aug 10th, 2011, 11:04 AM
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Did you pick your hotels yet? I know of some amazing ones in San Fran that have really great deals and are drop dead gorgeous.
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Aug 12th, 2011, 03:59 PM
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There are 3 major national parks between SF and Las Vegas; Yosemite, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, and Death Valley. There are routes you could take on the way to Las Vegas that would permit you to visit all three, two of the three, or just one. Post back if you are interested in the routes I've alluded to.
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Aug 12th, 2011, 04:11 PM
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Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico?
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Aug 12th, 2011, 07:06 PM
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Rich said: Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico?

Yep, it's been there for years unless they recently move it! It's in the south east section of the state near the Texas border.

http://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm

Utahtea
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Aug 12th, 2011, 07:27 PM
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I think Rich was suggesting they go to Carlsbad, not questioning if it was in NM
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Aug 12th, 2011, 07:50 PM
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Ooops...I thought he was asking me if it was in New Mexico with the question mark since I had already suggested it.

Utahtea
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Aug 12th, 2011, 08:44 PM
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If you are driving from San Antonio to Dallas/Fort Worth you may as well stop in Austin. It is basically a midway point between SA and DFW and you drive right through it. Also, a lot of people think it is the best city in Texas.
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Aug 13th, 2011, 05:57 AM
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roadtripusa.com

classic.mapquest.com

your journey currently does not seem to flow on major

routes and will do lots of bactracking have a look at

SFO SLC Denver to Knoxville/Smokies ATL Orlando then

back up the southern route as things cool...

for me sandestin.com neworleansonline.com Dallas

pick up historic66.com I 40 route at Amarillo

bigtexan.com to Santa Fe visitsedona.com Grand Canyon

Vegas Death Valley Yosemite.com SF

Journey will flow better and weather would be better....
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Aug 13th, 2011, 05:59 AM
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If you calulate distances you will see that

San Antonio area is fine but will add a lot

more distance to your journey but if that is ok

go for it if time...same for El Paso Carlsbad area
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Aug 13th, 2011, 06:59 AM
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"Ooops...I thought he was asking me if it was in New Mexico with the question mark since I had already suggested it.

Utahtea"

Nope . . did not see your reccomedation
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Aug 14th, 2011, 09:30 AM
  #19
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Thanks so much everyone! We're looking into the places you suggested now.

dbdurand - we're hoping to check out Death Valley between San Fran and Las Vegas, and would love to know the best and most direct way..?

txdbog - we are thinking of passing through Austin, maybe stopping for a bit, but we're more interested in the less urban areas - despite also hearing it's a great city. Thanks!

qwovadis - we weren't actually thinking of heading back west, it was a one-way trip, so we wouldn't be backtracking, but thanks!

BUT... our plans have now changed and we've added a NYC to San Fran roadtrip via the northern states! Any advice, please help us out on our new post here:
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...nd-the-usa.cfm
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Aug 16th, 2011, 12:01 PM
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Sorry for not replying sooner. IMO, the "best and most direct way" from SF to DV is (oddly) through Yosemite National Park via rt.120 over Tioga Pass to US 395, then south to Lone Pine and then east to DV. Note: this route does NOT go into the famous Yosemite Valley, but you're very close if you decide to visit it. (I wonder why it's not on your list).

Google Maps says this route is the shortest and puts it at 458 miles and 8 hrs. 38 min driving time, not allowing for stops.

One possible clinker. Tioga Pass closes for the winter sometime in November, maybe early November depending on the weather. You should check on the status before leaving. Probably, the NPS website for Yosemite will post that info. Past closure dates are listed here.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm
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