U.S. & Canada Trip May-September 2021

Old Sep 12th, 2020, 07:06 AM
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U.S. & Canada Trip May-September 2021

Hi guys,

I am planning a trip around the states and Canada and wanted to ask for help. I am currently thinking about the route, putting aside Covid-19, costs, car rental etc.
The destinations I plan to visit in:
1. San Diego
2. Grand Canyon
3. Yosemite National Park
4. San Francisco
5. Seattle
6. The American Rockies
7. Yellowstone National Park
8. Denver
9. Washington D.C.
10. Boston
11. Niagara Falls
12. Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal

I plan to start with the West Coast, San Diego and the parks (because of the nice spring weather). My question is regarding the route - what's a recommended route for a trip including the destinations above? I did put it on a map but unfortunately I am not allowed to post URLs until Ihave at least 10 posts.
A. In which destinations should I rent a car and in which should I take a flight? (San Diego -- The parks -- San Francisco by car, San Francisco -- Seattle by plane, Seattle -- Rockys -- Yellowstone -- Denver by car, Denver -- Washington D.C. by plane, Washington D.C. -- Boston by car, Boston -- Toronto by plane/car and the rest of Canada by car. Is that a good idea?).
B. Should I exclude Seattle?
C. Should I include the Canadian Rockies between Seattle and Yellowstone?
D. Should I cut the ending Canadian part of the trip - Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal?
E. Is this too much? I know this is a lot, but I really want to experience these places - I have 4 months, it's on spring-summer time, and as you can tell, I want to combine both large cities and nature.

What is your take on this?
Help will be much appreciated.
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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Travelboy007 View Post
Hi guys,

I am planning a trip around the states and Canada and wanted to ask for help. I am currently thinking about the route, putting aside Covid-19, costs, car rental etc.
The destinations I plan to visit in:
1. San Diego
2. Grand Canyon
3. Yosemite National Park
4. San Francisco
5. Seattle
6. The American Rockies
7. Yellowstone National Park
8. Denver
9. Washington D.C.
10. Boston
11. Niagara Falls
12. Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal

I plan to start with the West Coast, San Diego and the parks (because of the nice spring weather). My question is regarding the route - what's a recommended route for a trip including the destinations above? I did put it on a map but unfortunately I am not allowed to post URLs until Ihave at least 10 posts.
A. In which destinations should I rent a car and in which should I take a flight? (San Diego -- The parks -- San Francisco by car, San Francisco -- Seattle by plane, Seattle -- Rockys -- Yellowstone -- Denver by car, Denver -- Washington D.C. by plane, Washington D.C. -- Boston by car, Boston -- Toronto by plane/car and the rest of Canada by car. Is that a good idea?).
B. Should I exclude Seattle?
C. Should I include the Canadian Rockies between Seattle and Yellowstone?
D. Should I cut the ending Canadian part of the trip - Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal?
E. Is this too much? I know this is a lot, but I really want to experience these places - I have 4 months, it's on spring-summer time, and as you can tell, I want to combine both large cities and nature.

What is your take on this?
Help will be much appreciated.
i have many thoughts, but I think the first one is that you want to swap that schedule. You want to be in SF/Seattle in the Summer, east coast in spring. Summer sucks on the East coast. Spring is more like ďmud seasonĒ in Seattle.

second, you donít include southwest, and you might want to look at Santa Fe, or other areas. Native Americans, a very different landscape, unique food.

third, maybe add Maine to Boston.

4Ėhave you been to NYC, New Orleans, anywhere in the south. Again, unique, interesting. And as much as I like DC, I prefer Philly, or NYC.

Finally, thatís going to be an expensive trip. I hope youíre aware of that.
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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by marvelousmouse View Post
i have many thoughts, but I think the first one is that you want to swap that schedule. You want to be in SF/Seattle in the Summer, east coast in spring. Summer sucks on the East coast. Spring is more like ďmud seasonĒ in Seattle.

second, you donít include southwest, and you might want to look at Santa Fe, or other areas. Native Americans, a very different landscape, unique food.

third, maybe add Maine to Boston.

4Ėhave you been to NYC, New Orleans, anywhere in the south. Again, unique, interesting. And as much as I like DC, I prefer Philly, or NYC.

Finally, thatís going to be an expensive trip. I hope youíre aware of that.
Thanks for your comment.
I actually have been told the opposite - to visit SF and the parks on spring. That's because being in Yosemite/Grand Canyon on summer can be extremely hot and unpleasant. I believe I will reach Seattle in June, so I think that I don't need to worry about ďmud seasonĒ.
As for the other destinations you mentioned - the U.S. is gargantuan, and one trip won't cover it all. I would love to visit the places you mentioned, but that will have to wait for another trip (I have been to NYC, so I am not including it in this trip). I think my route is already loaded with destinations.
Do you think that my route is practical? Is it overwhelmed? Is there something I am missing? Thanks.
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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 11:07 AM
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Mountains and Seattle are still mud in June. Or impassable, in the case of mountain roads. Real summer weather hits around July.

the mountains are the issue. Yosemite has roads that donít open until later summer. Yosemite falls are terrific in spring, though,

Grand Canyon is hot, yes, but Iíd still rather be there in July than DC in July. Different types of heat.
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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 11:10 AM
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And I would not fly SF to Seattle. The redwoods, Or coast, the Columbia River gorge. Gorgeous scenery for a relatively short drive.


whether itís packed...I donít know, hard to tell without knowing interests and the time youíve allotted in each place. I do think Iíd choose US or Canada, not both.
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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by marvelousmouse View Post
And I would not fly SF to Seattle. The redwoods, Or coast, the Columbia River gorge. Gorgeous scenery for a relatively short drive.


whether itís packed...I donít know, hard to tell without knowing interests and the time youíve allotted in each place. I do think Iíd choose US or Canada, not both.
Alright,
Thanks a lot for the info man.
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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 12:55 PM
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General comment: San Diego, Seattle and Denver are nice but thereís nothing about any of them that requires a visit.

Iíd look into purchasing a vehicle and driving coast to coast seeing whatever.

I didnít really answer your question but you would need about 2-3 months to hit all that. I donít know the logistics of buying and insuring a car as a foreigner, but people do it.

Last edited by tom_mn; Sep 12th, 2020 at 01:24 PM.
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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 02:22 PM
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How long is the trip? Just noticed: trip May to September
Do the East Coast first and then fly to LA. Check out the cost of a interstate drop off and a one way fee on a car rental. It might be more efficient to consider California (possibly including Crater Lake) as one round trip, driving up for LA to Sequoia NP, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Lassen NP, and then over to the coast to see the redwoods between Eureka and Mendocino and then from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, Monterey, Hearst Castle, etc. back to LA and take a flight to Seattle. Fly home from Seattle.
The Sierra are nice and the heat bearable in that it is less humid than in the valley:
https://flic.kr/s/aHsjrqmF64

Last edited by Michael; Sep 12th, 2020 at 02:26 PM.
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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 09:24 PM
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Sorry I missed the 4 months length previously. If you have the money get a car for the whole time, lease or buy, and you can see everything on your itinerary. Donít bother flying any segment.

You are covering so much ground itís hard to time the weather right. Washington is usually pretty miserable in July and August however.

Last edited by tom_mn; Sep 12th, 2020 at 09:27 PM.
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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
How long is the trip? Just noticed: trip May to September
Do the East Coast first and then fly to LA. Check out the cost of a interstate drop off and a one way fee on a car rental. It might be more efficient to consider California (possibly including Crater Lake) as one round trip, driving up for LA to Sequoia NP, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Lassen NP, and then over to the coast to see the redwoods between Eureka and Mendocino and then from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, Monterey, Hearst Castle, etc. back to LA and take a flight to Seattle. Fly home from Seattle.
The Sierra are nice and the heat bearable in
Do you recommend then starting with the East Coast? I actually have been told the opposite - to visit the west and the parks on spring. That's because being in Yosemite/Grand Canyon on summer can be extremely hot and unpleasant. I am coming from Greece so is starting from the West Coast a better idea?
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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by tom_mn View Post
Sorry I missed the 4 months length previously. If you have the money get a car for the whole time, lease or buy, and you can see everything on your itinerary. Donít bother flying any segment.

You are covering so much ground itís hard to time the weather right. Washington is usually pretty miserable in July and August however.
Hi, thanks man.
Isnít driving a car the whole time a waste of time? There are a lot of irrelevant places in between destinations, thus taking a flight part of the time sounds more right. Maybe Iím wrong.
Do you recommend starting with the West Coast then? In accordance to the weather. Why is Washington miserable in July and August?
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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 11:56 PM
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Having lived through summers in the Midwest and East Coast, I would say that the heat is far more oppressive there than in the high desert or the Sierra. 90 with high humidity is less bearable than a dry 100.
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Old Sep 13th, 2020, 05:00 AM
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You might also want to consider the "fire season". If next summer is like this one you might not want to visit California or Seattle at all.
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Old Sep 13th, 2020, 07:22 AM
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okay, ďyouíve been told.Ē By who? Because at least two of us have told you the East coast is miserable in summer. Itís hot, humid, nasty. Seattle, on the other hand, is amazing in July and August. The mountains are amazing as well too.

there isnít, actually, a lot of ďnothingĒ in between stuff. Look at a map. Look at a road trip resource. Normal years (not Covid) there are special events you could attend. the US has a lot of amazing and varied scenery. National parks. National historic sitesóghost towns, native s as Mercian stuff, Oregon trail.

But flying vs driving comes down to time and expense. you have the time. Flying in the US isnít cheap. Renting a car for a longer stretch might mean a deal.
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Old Sep 13th, 2020, 07:24 PM
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there are some guides for us travel "Roadtripping USA-The complete guide Coast to Coast" volume 1 and 2 on Amazon.......also Train travel Coast to Coast by Amtrak and a Coast to Coast at Amtrak Vacations............you can travel Canada by train too.........if not a Us citizen or do not have a Us drivers license can not purchase a car unless you have a permanant address in the US and may have trouble with an insurance policy.......
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Old Sep 13th, 2020, 08:16 PM
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Have you considered taking the train for any of these sections? The Coast Starlight from the Bay Area to Seattle is really beautiful, and the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada or the Canadian are really special.
PM me if you need more info!
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Old Sep 14th, 2020, 12:55 AM
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I don't know about August in Washington DC but August and September are great months for New England/Boston, Niagra Falls and Canada. Washington to Boston via car would not be my choice since there is a lot of traffic problems near each city, i.e. getting past Hartford CT when it's not rush hour. You don't want a car in Boston but driving north thru New England or over to Niagra Falls could be a beautiful drive since you mentioned nature.
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Old Sep 14th, 2020, 06:23 AM
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There are pros and cons to starting on either coast. The most popular National Parks like Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone will be more crowded in the summer because people with kids tend to vacation then.

you do need to be sure that the sites you want to visit are fully open when you travel. Expect some snow in Yellowstone until mid June. Expect some parts of Yosemite to be closed in the spring but the waterfalls are great so it may be crowded in the valley. I would worry less about the weather in the cities because you will be inside a building or a car or bus when there. A general rule of travel is visit the cities on the weekend when they tend to be less busy and the parks mid week.

Do look into the option of renting a car in the wast and doing a loop. The flying to the cities. If you fly in the US, look on the sites like travelocity,kayak, etc. and also look at Jet Blue and Southwest who are often less expensive.
Have fun planning and taking the trip.
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Old Sep 14th, 2020, 06:44 AM
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Hi, thanks man. Isn’t driving a car the whole time a waste of time? There are a lot of irrelevant places in between destinations, thus taking a flight part of the time sounds more right. Maybe I’m wrong.....Why is Washington miserable in July and August?
Washington normally has tropical weather in July and August, muggy. https://www.currentresults.com/Weath...th-average.php The humidity starts at 90% in the morning then falls to 70% in the heat of the day.

Well, driving the whole way is probably what an American or Canadian would do. You have a lot of time, so the opportunity to see things by chance. There are no irrelevant places. For example if you drove Denver to Washington DC it's about 3 days of driving and you could pick all kinds of things. For example your western US itinerary misses great art museums, but there is one in Kansas City and it's free. https://nelson-atkins.org/exhibitions/ You could also move on to St. Louis and go up the arch and see another great art museum. You could also visit Chicago, which is different from San Diego, Seattle and Denver (which as I said are all nice cities but kind of similar despite the different climates). If you want to see unique American cities add New Orleans and Santa Fe.

Since Europe and North America are not really that far apart, you could just concentrate on West or East on this trip and save the rest for another time.

Last edited by tom_mn; Sep 14th, 2020 at 06:50 AM.
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Old Sep 14th, 2020, 07:41 AM
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Other than the parks, you don't say why you've chosen your destinations, so it's hard to know why you would think the area of the U.S. between the East Coast and the Rockies is just irrelevant places. Nashville, New Orleans, Santa Fe, Chicago, for example, are great destinations for several reasons and are arguably more interesting than, say, San Diego or Denver. Not sure I understand Ottawa.

The debate over having the best weather everywhere (IMO impossible to plan with your list) doesn't seem to include the Canadian destinations which present their own considerations. I had to go to Toronto once in July. Hot, humid, rainy. Ugh.

FWIW, I think the Canadian Rockies are more scenic and dramatic than the U.S. Rockies.
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