Rough (very) initial USA itinerary


Jul 21st, 2016, 05:01 AM
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Rough (very) initial USA itinerary

I'm starting to research our next major trip which is to be the US of A (I'm a tad excited I finally managed to convince MOH to go).

We have approx 6 weeks and coming from Perth, Australia.

My initial thoughts are:

- Washington DC - 4 nights
- Train to New York - 4 nights
Not sure of the best way from NY to Boston - plane or car?
- Boston - 3 nights
Rent a car
- Cape Cod - 3 nights
- Vermont area - 4 to 5 nights
Drop car back at Boston and fly to Charleston and rent another car
- Charleston - 4 nights
- Savannah - 3 nights
- Pensacola - 1 night
- New Orleans - 4 nights
Fly from NO to Salt Lake City and rent a car (or we could catch a connecting flight straight to Jackson Hole if the drive is not worth taking from Salt Lake City)
- Jackson Hole - 1 night
- Wyoming area - Dude Ranch/Park - 5 nights
- Elko - 1 night (stopover, approx half way point before Napa)
- Napa Valley - 3 nights
- San Francisco - 4 nights
Fly back to Perth

Some other info is that we enjoy scenery, good food and wine and travel will be in Sep/Oct next year.

I would appreciate any feedback and suggestions and any ideas on the mode of transport I have noted and if achievable.
rellie2 is offline  
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Jul 21st, 2016, 05:09 AM
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From New York to Boston, take the train again. It brings you from central NY right into Boston where you have the choice of getting off at Back Bay station, for hotels in the Back Bay/Copley Square area, or at the end of the line, at South Station, generally more convenient to the Faneuil Hall, downtown, and harbor area.

Prices on Amtrak go up as you get closer to your date. Buses are cheaper but not as comfortable as the 4 1/2 hour train trip. It's a short flight between NY and Boston, but you have to factor time getting to the airport in NY, security, etc. Boston's Logan airport is quite near the city and there is good public transport to and from.
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Jul 21st, 2016, 05:49 AM
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I think you could pare a day off of Savannah--maybe add it to Charleston.
The advice to use the trains in the norheast corridor is good--no cars in the metropolitan areas!!
Instead of Pensacola (a nice beach and Naval air station) you might consider Mobile, Alabama, for its seafood.
The drive from Salt Lake City to Jackson is truly beautiful if you take the road around ____Lake.
By "Wyoming area" I hope you mean Yellowstone Park and the Grand Tetons.
You are also not including Yosemite en route to San Francisco, but we don't know the time of year you are travelling.
You've included interesting and great part of the US.
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Jul 21st, 2016, 06:02 AM
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Per OP - "travel will be in Sep/Oct next year."

Cape Cod at that time of year may be pretty desolate. We went [granted many years ago] mid September and it was rainy and lots of places closed for season.

It would be a good time of year to see fall foliage, so think about some New England area mountains or upstate NY.

I personally would add the 3 days from Cape Cod to San Francisco; love it there!

Pensacola?? why
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Jul 21st, 2016, 07:09 AM
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I suggest flying from Wyoming to San Francisco. You'll have seen some wonderful scenery, give driving across Nevada a miss and pick up a day to add to Northern California
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Jul 21st, 2016, 07:18 AM
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Consider taking a night off Savannah and add one more to the Florida/Alabama coast to simply relax by the beach. Based on your itinerary to that point, I'd think you'd want some down time, and you'll be well rested for New Orleans. 4 nights in New Orleans may be one too many too.
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Jul 21st, 2016, 07:22 AM
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Probably because it's en route from Savannah to NOLA, but it's 2/3 of the way there so the OP should either plow through, drive to ATL and fly, or do something else. Not a whole lot of there there in Pensacola after beach season.

Thinking Cape Cod is a bad option off season.

"Wyoming area" is kind of large - thinking that means Jackson, WY area . . .
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Jul 21st, 2016, 08:14 AM
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September is one of the nicest times to be on Cape Cod. The crowds are gone, restaurants are still open (except for a few beach places), and the weather is usually excellent. All beaches are open and free, though it's usually too cold to swim (though one could say that in August too).

Upper to mid-Cape is full of year-round towns and the Outer Cape is busy through mid-October. Falmouth, Sandwich, Hyannis, Chatham, Provincetown will all be pleasantly uncrowded but not empty. You are able to get into restaurants without a 2 hour wait, or making reservations weeks in advance. Wellfleet has a popular oyster fest the third weekend in October. After that many Wellfleet restaurants close for the season.

I have stayed and visited the Cape in September and is it well worth the trip.
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Jul 22nd, 2016, 03:09 AM
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Yes, Pensacola is half way, but Mobile is close to that also, hence to me, more interesting.

I agree about flying to SF from Wyoming--that is a long slog in a car.
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Jul 22nd, 2016, 04:45 AM
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Thanks for all the very helpful replies. I certainly have a lot to think about an research more.

Yes by Wyoming I mean the parks and area around Jackson Hole.

I thought Pensacola was a mid point for the drive from Savannah to NO. But maybe flying will be the way to go on this leg. I will look into Mobile as an alternative. If anyone has another route that has some interesting scenery I'm all ears.

The reason I thought driving from Wyoming to SF is that we wanted to spend few days in Napa. But we could pick a car up at the airport and drive to Napa for a few days and head back to SF to spend the last few days. At lease that's an extra night I could add to SF.

Seeing the beautiful autumn foliage was one of the reasons I chose the New England area.

Appreciate the info on Cape Cod, I prefer less crowds (if possible) and it's a town I've read about in so many books I feel I just have to see it for a couple of days.
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Jul 22nd, 2016, 06:34 AM
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>>The reason I thought driving from Wyoming to SF is that we wanted to spend few days in Napa.<<

Which makes driving all the way from Wyoming even less necessary.

Napa is 60 miles from SFO . . . and 1000 miles from Yellowstone.
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Jul 22nd, 2016, 07:08 AM
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I couldn't have said it better myself.
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Jul 30th, 2016, 07:55 AM
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September and the first half of october are the best times to be on the Cape. I would spend a night in Provincetown and two or three on Martha's Vineyard. You probably don't care about beaches being from Oz but the nicest ones in the U.S. are here (not including Hawaii). I would take a night off DC. Most of your other choices are great except Pensacola. The Alabama coast? Are you kidding me? You will miss Seattle but you can't see it all. 4 to 5 nights in VT might be a lot. Maine is nice too but again you can't see it all but the itinerary looks quite good.
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Aug 4th, 2016, 10:10 AM
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Hi rellie,

Your itinerary looks very ambitious I understand it is hard to choose what to see in a large country - I visited yours several years ago

Here are my thoughts:

1. I am assuming that you are landing on the east coast, since you are starting in DC. I recommend at least 5 days in DC, more if you can fit it in. It is a great place to visit with most attractions free, great restaurants, and easy transportation via the Metro (subway).

2. Definitely train to NYC. Are you going there just to see Broadway, the lights, theater, etc? If so, you can easily do that in 2 nights and not spend extra money for 4 nights. If you are going to see more than that, that's fine.

3. Your next leg to Massachusetts/Vermont area is a little more tricky. I am a native of Mass and September/October is the very best time to visit but also one of the most expensive, so planning is crucial. Others are correct in stating that Cape Cod is lovely in fall and with less tourists, but there is also not a lot to do there except see the beach and shop (if you're into that). Given all of the other really spectacular places to visit in New England, I would give the Cape a few days and no more.

4. You mention both Boston and "Vermont area" there a specific reason that you chose Vermont or just to see foliage? There are many, many great places to see foliage including Vermont but if you have other specific destinations in mind, please let me know. If it were me, I would follow this itinerary for the Northeast:

Train from NYC to Boston, stay 3 nights. Definitely do a whale watch tour and dress warmly!

Rental car from Boston, drive to Cape, stay 2 nights.

Drive via 91 and then Route 2 to Vermont - very scenic drive. Try to do this on a weekday to avoid the most leaf-peeping traffic.

If you can fit it in, and I would, detour to West Springfield, MA to the Eastern States Exposition, the Big E. It's a huge 5-state fair that's fun!

5. Skip all of this unless you have people to visit there:

Charleston - 4 nights
- Savannah - 3 nights
- Pensacola - 1 night
- New Orleans - 4 nights

6. I don't know much about Wyoming and the driving, except that getting anywhere out west takes a long time by car. I would defer to others advice on that.

7. Bring sweaters and fleece, parts of your trip will be cold.

Safe Travels!
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Aug 9th, 2016, 07:39 AM
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I think your plan works, except I agree with others to skip Pensacola, although the water is beautiful.

I don't understand serendipity's advice to skip the South. NOLA, Savannah and Charleston are completely different than your other locations and are some of the most fascinating cities in the US.

Check out JetBlue for flights from NYC to Boston. When we did that a few years ago, JetBlue was cheaper and so much faster even when you factor in travel to and from the airports.
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Aug 9th, 2016, 04:52 PM
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Sorry - have done NYC to Boston a gazillion times and it always takes 4 hours. It doesn't matter if you fly or train or drive (in your own car) it takes 4 hours. Bus can take longer since it is limited in terms of roads it can take; parkways are cars only - no buses or trucks.

By the time you trek to and fro airports, get there early enough in advance, wait on the security line, etc - it still takes 4 hours.
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Aug 10th, 2016, 06:28 AM
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Serendiptiy says Skip all of this unless you have people to visit there:

Charleston - 4 nights
- Savannah - 3 nights
- Pensacola - 1 night
- New Orleans - 4 nights

Bad advice.
As said by another, except for Pensacola these are some of the most charming and historic cities in the US. Also the most walkable for their historic districts--akin to European cities, IMO.
I think you could cut one night off of Savannah. I realize that Pensacola is a "way station" to drive to NOLA and I might prefer Mobile instead, although the sight of the beach at Pensacola is beautiful.

If you are going to be in New England for leaf peeping you must make reservations for overnight, IME, especially on weekends.
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Aug 10th, 2016, 07:19 AM
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I agree with CW, Cape Cod is heaven in September. I wouldn't go near it ever again in July or August, however.
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Aug 10th, 2016, 07:42 AM
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This is quite an ambitious itinerary, but in six weeks, it's not crazy. My responses to the earlier comments:

Four nites is plenty for Washington DC.

I'd drop a nite from Charleston, SC, and consider dropping a nite from Savannah.

Stay in Pensacola or perhaps Gulf Shores Alabama. Do stop in Mobile to see the Gulf of Mexico Museum--we spent almost an entire day there-- and then take the free bus around to Wintzell's Oyster House for the chargrilled oysters. Leave your car at the Museum, however, so you can get right back on I-10 for NOLA. When in NOLA, visit Drago's Seafood restaurant and compare their chargrilled oysters with Wintzell's--they're quite different--my spouse preferred Wintzell's Mobile while I still like the Drago's better.

I'd drop a nite from Napa Valley. If you do all this, you've got three extra nites to drive down Highway 1 along the Pacific Coast to see Monterrey, Big Sur, Hearst Castle, maybe even as far as Santa Barbara and then back along US 101 or I-5 to San Francisco.
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Aug 12th, 2016, 01:23 AM
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Thanks for all the advice.

It's early days yet so we have lots to think about (and research).

I may even drop SF, Napa & Wyoming and spend more time in the east coast.

It gives us another excuse to return to see the west coast
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