Based on my experiences and on the places on my bucket list, I have designed a road trip (using Roadtrippers). This road trip visits 14 states and Washington DC.
So this is what it looks like, all 6,581 miles of it:
And these are the cities and places I’d suggest that you visit and the number of nights that I would stay there:
- San Francisco, CA (2 nights, 3 if you’re travelling from far away. You’ll be super jetlagged)
- Yosemite National Park, CA (2 nights)
- Sequoia National Park, CA (1 night)
- Los Angeles, CA (2 nights)
- Las Vegas, NV (2 nights minimum – There’s so much to see and do)
- Zion National Park, UT (2 nights)
- Bryce Canyon National Park, UT (1 night)
- Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim), AZ (2 nights)
- Monument Valley National Park, AZ (1 night)
- Petrified Forrest National Park, AZ (1 night)
- Santa Fe, NM (1 night)
- Roswell, NM (0 nights – I’d visit Roswell on the way to Carlsbad)
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park (1 night)
- San Antonio, TX (1 night)
- Austin, TX (2 nights)
- Houston, TX (1 night)
- New Orleans, LA (2 nights)
- Tallahassee, FL (1 night)
- Miami, FL (2 nights)
- Orlando, FL (3 nights – If you planning on doing a theme park as well as the Everglades, I’d stay at least 3 nights)
- Jacksonville, FL (1 night)
- Atlanta, GA (1 night)
- Jack Daniels Distillery, TN (0 nights – Visit on the way to Nashville. It breaks up the journey)
- Nashville, TN (2 nights)
- Columbus, OH (1 night)
- Pittsburgh, PA (1 night)
- Niagara Falls, NY (1 night)
- Washington District Of Columbia, USA (2 nights)
- Atlantic City, NJ (2 nights)
- Philadelphia, PA (1 night)
- New York, NY (3 nights)
Total Nights: 45 nights
You could make this trip shorter by staying only one night per destination (29 nights), but as there’s a lot of driving involved, I’d recommend breaking up the driving a little.
Another way to shorten the trip would be to skip driving down into Florida, and go straight to Tennessee from New Orleans, perhaps with 1 night in Alabama. I’d recommend Birmingham. You could visit the Civil Rights Museum, which I found very moving.
So how much would all of this cost?
It’s hard to say really because lots of things can effect the price. For example, travelling alone is a lot more expensive than travelling in a small group. I have done some basic research I have found the following:
Accommodation – $25 pp per night – I would suggest camping/staying in a wooden lodge for most of the nights to save money. A lot of the National Parks have camping grounds, so I would stay there.
Food – $20pp per day. I would recommend getting a cool box and making your own lunches rather than eating out. Las Vegas and Los Angeles can get quite pricey for food and drink.
Fuel/Gas/Petrol: Well you’re driving 6,851 miles, so your gonna need a lot of fuel! If you drive in an economical car and avoid high speeds, you’ll save some money there.
Car Hire – If you don’t already live in the USA and own a vehicle, you’ll need to hire a vehicle. I would suggest getting a campervan/RV or mini campervan. That way you can stay in your campervan and save some dollar!
Then of course you’ll need to book your flights to San Francisco and back from New York. Check out Skyscanner and Expedia for some flight deals. If you’re flexible on your dates, make sure you go off-peak to avoid extra charges!
What type of road trip is this?
I think that this road trip is a bit of an all rounder, it ticks all the boxes. If you’re into nature and hiking, there are some great national parks included. You get to see a Natural Wonder of the World and one of the largest waterfalls. Then there’s the night life of Austin, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Miami and Atlantic City. For all you beach bums, there are some opportunities to go to the beach such as in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Florida. There are many excursions that you can do in the locations for all you thrill seekers. For example, you could visit the theme parks in Orlando, there are jeep tours in the Monument Valley, there are alligator tours on the Everglades, you could white river raft in the south and you could go on a boat trip in the Niagara Falls.
Let me know your thoughts!