Road trip!!

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So, due to a wedding happening in the states in September, I'm going to be visiting the US for the first time. I've decided to make a big trip of it (hey, if I'm going to be paying $1500 for flights anyway I might as well make the most of it while I'm there right?).

Anyway, myself and a friend will be getting a car and exploring the west coast for about 2 weeks, then catching a flight across the country and then dong the same thing for the east coast. I was hoping you Escapists might have recommendations of things to do, things we have to see, or things to avoid while we are in the states.

The places we are looking at going so far are:

San Francisco
Los Angeles
Tijuana. Mexico
Phoenix
Grand canyon
Las Vegas

We'll then fly out of Las Vegas and start again from:

New Orleans
Panama City
Orlando
Fort Lauderdale (this one is non-negotiable, it's where the wedding is)
Durham (might as well catch the expo while I'm in town right?)
New York
Montreal, Canada

We may be doing flights up the east coast rather than driving all the way considering the distances involved, it's not 100% decided yet.

There you have it Escapists. Do you live in any of these places and have some great recommendations for things to do while we are there? Do you know of something just a little bit out of the way that we might not see if you didn't tell us about it? We are open to all suggestions, from rodeo riding to fine dining and everything in between.

Panama? That's pretty far to go from the US

EDIT: I am a moron :S

Hazy992:
Panama? That's pretty far to go from the US

Panama City, Florida. It's on the way from New Orleans to Orlando

Mr.Wizard:

Hazy992:
Panama? That's pretty far to go from the US

Panama City, Florida. It's on the way from New Orleans to Orlando

Oh my mistake :S The capital of Panama is called Panama City too

Hazy992:

Mr.Wizard:

Hazy992:
Panama? That's pretty far to go from the US

Panama City, Florida. It's on the way from New Orleans to Orlando

Oh my mistake :S The capital of Panama is called Panama City too

I'd love to visit the actual Panama City, but you're right, it's a little bit out of the way :)

Mr.Wizard:

Hazy992:

Mr.Wizard:

Panama City, Florida. It's on the way from New Orleans to Orlando

Oh my mistake :S The capital of Panama is called Panama City too

I'd love to visit the actual Panama City, but you're right, it's a little bit out of the way :)

I know I was like 'that's miles away!' but I think I just had a brain fart haha :)

Anyway OT: Baltimore seems like a nice city, if I was you I'd stop off there, then go through Pennsylvania on the way to New York.

San Francisco is brilliant, make sure you go Whale Watching - it's where I saw my first Blue Whale.
Los Angeles was dull for me, apart from the Theme Park, speaking as a British teenager here.
The Grand Canyon is great, but don't miss out Monument Valley nearby!
Las Vegas was a lot of fun, even below the age where I could gamble. Be prepared for some seriously dry, oppressive heat both here and at the Grand Canyon.
New York is just a great city to be a tourist in, loads to see (I recommend catching a Broadway show if you like any musicals)
And I'm very jealous you get to go to the Escapist Expo.

Thus ends my list of places I've been on that list.

unrelated but its funny imagining the scale of different countrys

I think Ive heard of european travelers thinking they can "drive to melbourne"...from Perth....it only takes..a few days? a week? since Australia is like england several times over

TheBobmus:
San Francisco is brilliant, make sure you go Whale Watching - it's where I saw my first Blue Whale.
Los Angeles was dull for me, apart from the Theme Park, speaking as a British teenager here.
The Grand Canyon is great, but don't miss out Monument Valley nearby!
Las Vegas was a lot of fun, even below the age where I could gamble. Be prepared for some seriously dry, oppressive heat both here and at the Grand Canyon.
New York is just a great city to be a tourist in, loads to see (I recommend catching a Broadway show if you like any musicals)
And I'm very jealous you get to go to the Escapist Expo.

Thus ends my list of places I've been on that list.

Hmm, I wonder when their whale watching season is? I've seen plenty of humpback whales before but I'd love to see a blue up close. Monument Valley is a great idea, didn't think of that one.

Vault101:
unrelated but its funny imagining the scale of different countrys

I think Ive heard of european travelers thinking they can "drive to melbourne"...from Perth....it only takes..a few days? a week? since Australia is like england several times over

I know, even just going to fairly close by places, people (Europeans especially) don't realize how big Australia is. For example I work in a hotel in Brisbane and I've seen people come in to Brisbane after a coach trip from cairns and just have this look of horror on their faces at how long they've spent on a bus :D

Mr.Wizard:

TheBobmus:
San Francisco is brilliant, make sure you go Whale Watching - it's where I saw my first Blue Whale.
Los Angeles was dull for me, apart from the Theme Park, speaking as a British teenager here.
The Grand Canyon is great, but don't miss out Monument Valley nearby!
Las Vegas was a lot of fun, even below the age where I could gamble. Be prepared for some seriously dry, oppressive heat both here and at the Grand Canyon.
New York is just a great city to be a tourist in, loads to see (I recommend catching a Broadway show if you like any musicals)
And I'm very jealous you get to go to the Escapist Expo.

Thus ends my list of places I've been on that list.

Hmm, I wonder when their whale watching season is? I've seen plenty of humpback whales before but I'd love to see a blue up close. Monument Valley is a great idea, didn't think of that one.

Glad I could contribute something!
I tend to holiday in August, so I imagine if you're up for a wedding in September that it'd be around the same season I saw Blue Whales in.

If I were you, I'd stop by Mobile, Alabama. They have the USS Alabama and the USS Drum. One is a South Dakota-class battleship, the other is a Gato class submarine. Both are museum ships now, so you can walk through them and stuff.

It's a bit out of the way, but while you're in California you might be interested in heading up the pacific coast to Humboldt county to see the redwoods. Some of the those trees are ridiculously huge. Also, it's where they filmed the Endor scenes from Return of the Jedi. That area's several hours north of San Francisco, though (although it is a really pretty drive).

You should TOTALLY visit Detroit. Yeahhh.

You should visit Pennsylvania and try some Tastykakes and Amish food like shoo fly pie. It's also got great countryside and cool looking towns/factories for taking photos and stuff.

Personally, I would recommend either Redwood National Park or Yosemite from San Francisco, with Yosemite being the easier choice.

New York to Montreal is about a day's drive, eight hours-ish.

TheBobmus:
The Grand Canyon is great, but don't miss out Monument Valley nearby!
Las Vegas was a lot of fun, even below the age where I could gamble. Be prepared for some seriously dry, oppressive heat both here and at the Grand Canyon.
New York is just a great city to be a tourist in, loads to see (I recommend catching a Broadway show if you like any musicals)

It's really not that bad, I think it's quite nice actually. But every time I've seen British tourists anywhere remotely warm they're bright pink and sweaty, so maybe it's just a British thing.

I would recommend against visiting Phoenix, it's not a particularly interesting American city and skipping it will save you a few hours.

Dags90:

It's really not that bad, I think it's quite nice actually. But every time I've seen British tourists anywhere remotely warm they're bright pink and sweaty, so maybe it's just a British thing.

Yes, but you have to remember we get about 3 days of sunshine a year here, tops. We're not designed to cope with heat and light, instead we've evolved to resist the depression caused by endless grey drizzle.

BlackStar42:

Dags90:

It's really not that bad, I think it's quite nice actually. But every time I've seen British tourists anywhere remotely warm they're bright pink and sweaty, so maybe it's just a British thing.

Yes, but you have to remember we get about 3 days of sunshine a year here, tops. We're not designed to cope with heat and light, instead we've evolved to resist the depression caused by endless grey drizzle.

So that's how you do it, I can only be in England for about a week before I start getting very depressed.

Advice to the op: Skip Los Angeles and just head straight to Mexico, you'll see all the same people and it's more fun ;)

Tijuana? As a person that has actually lived there, I have no idea why you would want to go there, it's a horrible city, hard to navigate and with nothing particularly interesting to see, if you have time I would recommend going to Ensenada instead, considering you still have to go through Tijuana it should take you around 2 hours to get there from San Isidro, it's not the prettiest place in México but it would give you a better representation of what the country has to offer than Tijuana, seriously Tijuana is horrible.

I'm Canadian and haven't been far into the states in a long time, but I don't know how your planning to hit Montreal. Shit I'm like an hour from the american border and Montreal is still a pretty long drive. I would suggest if at all possible you get a plane from NY to where ever you're from with a layover in Montreal for a couple hours. Save yourself the drive. Mind you I don't know all the details of your current situation lol

Thanks for the suggestions guys, feel free to keep 'em coming.

I know there's some fairly long distances in between the places we're actually wanting to see, but we want to do a pretty classic road trip style vacation with the option to get lost somewhere for a day or two if we find something interesting along the way.

axlryder:
You should TOTALLY visit Detroit. Yeahhh.

I heard on a podcast it has abandoned skyscrapers, is this true?

Matthew94:

axlryder:
You should TOTALLY visit Detroit. Yeahhh.

I heard on a podcast it has abandoned skyscrapers, is this true?

If I remember right, people are leaving the city in droves because there's no jobs, whole streets are abandoned. The fire service lets these burn down because it's cheaper than demolishing them.

I don't really know much about things to see in the US.

but I DO know that a road trip is not a road trip if this song isn't played over and over and over again.

BlackStar42:

Matthew94:

axlryder:
You should TOTALLY visit Detroit. Yeahhh.

I heard on a podcast it has abandoned skyscrapers, is this true?

If I remember right, people are leaving the city in droves because there's no jobs, whole streets are abandoned. The fire service lets these burn down because it's cheaper than demolishing them.

That will be the citys saviour.

This is a theory from a guy on the podcast about the fall, rise and fall of Detroit.

-It goes into decline
-Everyone leaves
-People hear about the "ghost city"
-Tourists visit it to see the "ghost city"
-Detroit gets money from tourism
-Detroit rebuilds
-It enters decline as the tourists leave due to it rebuilding
-The cycle restarts

In New Orleans, Ignatius and Cochon are very good restaurants and not too expensive.

In Durham, if you drive the 15 miles to Raleigh, the Pit is one of the most famous barbecue places in the country. Haven't been there, but NC barbecue is outstanding.

I'd recommend spending as little time in Durham as possible though. North Carolina isn't very interesting (to be polite), so if you were penciling in more time for that outside of the expo, I'd recommend DC or Charleston, SC over Durham

Depending on when the wedding is, maybe you should try and spend a few days in North Carolina... Seriously, I'm royally upset that I won't be able to go, and this will be *THE* place to be come September.

I'd also recommend the DC area, there are tons of great museums, lots of place to eat out, and enjoy the nation's capitol. But I'm biased, I grew up in DC.

Matthew94:

axlryder:
You should TOTALLY visit Detroit. Yeahhh.

I heard on a podcast it has abandoned skyscrapers, is this true?

yeah, it's true. No one would want to visit though, given that the place is a total hellhole.

Hmm i live in Ohio. The big cities i recommend seeing are Columbus (it's our capital and home of the college team Ohio State Buckeyes), Cleveland (it's got the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), and perhaps Toledo (It's where i live and it's quite the historical place plus also there's a nice museum there)

Mr.Wizard:
Thanks for the suggestions guys, feel free to keep 'em coming.

I know there's some fairly long distances in between the places we're actually wanting to see, but we want to do a pretty classic road trip style vacation with the option to get lost somewhere for a day or two if we find something interesting along the way.

You know GPS exists, right?

And there's no good reason to get lost on interstates. Get yourself a good interstate map and you're set. I've been on three transcontinental road trips with over 10,000 miles in a car, never gotten lost like in the movies. One thing to keep in mind though is gas, make sure you have enough of it on the big stretches of no where.

I'm taking a road trip this summer, too! Just up the US west coast. As for things to do...

There's a new video game themed bar/night club thing that opened up here in Vegas. Right next to Freemont Street. I can't go into the bar yet (I am under 21) but I've heard good things. You should also go zip lining down Freemont Street. I've done it several times and it's so much fun.

Also, if you happen to be up in the north west, visit Portland, Oregon.

axlryder:
You should TOTALLY visit Detroit. Yeahhh.

I'd love to go around Detroit acting like a total tourist!

I'd end up reenacting that scene from Futurama:

"Hey, Leela! Look at me being 'mugged!' "

Of course I'd probably end up actually being knifed, but once you've been stabbed once, you know how to handle it! :D

Your West Coast plan sounds pretty solid. I spent a summer in the San Fransisco area and can tell you between the city itself, Napa and Sonoma, the abundance of national forests and the picturesque areas of the sea shore you could easily spend a week or more in that area. A group of friends and I did a spring break trip to Vegas our last year of college and I can tell you unless you really like gambling and strippers, I'd say that a 2 day visit there would be more than enough. Look through the crazy casinos and see a show or two and that's good. The Grand Canyon is great, I loved it when we went there although it's a bit of a boring drive if you're coming from Vegas.

I will caution you though, renting a car one way and putting a ton of miles on it tends to be...expensive. This is not counting gas money or an unforeseen break down. Make sure you take this in to account.

Dags90:

Mr.Wizard:
Thanks for the suggestions guys, feel free to keep 'em coming.

I know there's some fairly long distances in between the places we're actually wanting to see, but we want to do a pretty classic road trip style vacation with the option to get lost somewhere for a day or two if we find something interesting along the way.

You know GPS exists, right?

And there's no good reason to get lost on interstates. Get yourself a good interstate map and you're set. I've been on three transcontinental road trips with over 10,000 miles in a car, never gotten lost like in the movies. One thing to keep in mind though is gas, make sure you have enough of it on the big stretches of no where.

I also did a (nearly) cross-country trip from Chicago to San Fransisco with only interstate maps. A good map and a bit of planning does wonders for not getting lost.

Also you say you're going to Orlando, then I would highly recommend going to Disney. If you think it's cheesy and kiddy, then just spend a day at Epcot, which is probably the most adult oriented of the parks. You can easily spend a day there and the fireworks show at park closing is amazing. If Disney is not your speed, you could try Universal Studios which is also a blast.

Dags90:

Mr.Wizard:
Thanks for the suggestions guys, feel free to keep 'em coming.

I know there's some fairly long distances in between the places we're actually wanting to see, but we want to do a pretty classic road trip style vacation with the option to get lost somewhere for a day or two if we find something interesting along the way.

You know GPS exists, right?

And there's no good reason to get lost on interstates. Get yourself a good interstate map and you're set. I've been on three transcontinental road trips with over 10,000 miles in a car, never gotten lost like in the movies. One thing to keep in mind though is gas, make sure you have enough of it on the big stretches of no where.

When I say get lost, what I mean is finding something interesting we would otherwise have missed if we had just flown from point to point. I doubt we'll actually be unable to find our way from point to point.

I would highly suggest getting to DC, especially since it's on the way north. While in NC, I would also suggest visiting the Outer Banks--they're absolutely beautiful during the summer, and they're surprisingly homey for how many beachgoers there are.

Kaleion:
Tijuana? As a person that has actually lived there, I have no idea why you would want to go there, it's a horrible city, hard to navigate and with nothing particularly interesting to see, if you have time I would recommend going to Ensenada instead, considering you still have to go through Tijuana it should take you around 2 hours to get there from San Isidro, it's not the prettiest place in México but it would give you a better representation of what the country has to offer than Tijuana, seriously Tijuana is horrible.

This. Tijuana really isn't the place to go in Mexico. Also, I don't know if you're interested in going to a zoo, but the San Diego Zoo and the Phoenix Zoo are two of the biggest and best in the country. That's all I can really think of off the top of my head lol.

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