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Kristin from Edinburgh asked

12 days in USA - where to travel?

I have 12 days in the USA in april. I have flights into and out of Dallas, TX. I can rent a car or fly. I had considered travelling to San Francisco and LA while there. Any recommendations?

Dallas (Texas)   San Francisco (California)   Los Angeles (California)

12 Answers
top answer by
Sean from Hudson Valley

It is possible. The question should be, is it worth doing. 

Dallas to Los Angeles is 1,436 miles (2.311 km), and Dallas to San Francisco is 1,817 miles (2,924 km).  Driving either route takes twenty four hours, and that's without stopping.  In addition, Los Angeles to San Francisco is a six hour, 382 mile (615 km) drive, minimum. 

So, driving to any of these locations is going to take at least a day out of your itinerary.  Now, mind you, if driving is a passion of yours, then by all means, this is for you.  However, if what you really want to do is spent time in any of these locations, then you need to ask yourself if the time lost, expense and aggravation are worth it.

I did some quick number crunching for you.  Right now the cost of a rental car in April is about $200.  Assuming you use a compact car with good gas mileage, you'll spend $75 in fuel just get to Los Angeles.  With a return trip to Dallas that come to $350.  I didn't figure tolls, parking and insurance into this figure.  Now, round trip airfare from Dallas to L.A. in the same time period starts at around $166.

Personally, I've never been to there, but the people I know from L.A. tell endless horror stories about the traffic there.  So you need to think about the time you'll spend sitting in traffic.  It is time lost.  Whenever I'm in San Francisco I only use a car when traveling into or out of the city.  I walk or use public transportation all other times. 

I also priced flying from Dallas to L.A., then to San Francisco, and back to Dallas.  I see airfares starting around $360.  It seems that for relatively the same amount of money you can fly to your desired destinations and save yourself a great deal of time in the process.  After all, less time in transit means more time site seeing.

Finally, I'd like to toss this idea out to you.  I've only driven a little bit of the pacific coast highway, but I'll never forget it. It's stunningly beautiful, and a blast to drive.  I have a personal goal of taking my Triumph up the west coast before I check out.  Needless to say, I priced this out too.

Flying from Dallas to L.A., then from San Francisco to Dallas can be done for around $227.  A one way car rental from L.A. to San Fran; $64.   A tank of gas will cost about $30 on the coast.  All said, that runs about $320.

Oddly, the most complicated way to do things (in terms of making the necessary reservations) is also the most cost and time effective way to do things.  Also, it just may be the most fun!

Sorry, for throwing so much data at you, but I hope it helps.  Let me know what you do.  I'd love to hear about it.

Comments (1)

The weather in Los Angeles is usually better than SF but it depends on month you travel. If winter, the fog can be very bad from LA to SF in the valley, so keep in mind. Agree nothing more breathtaking than driving the Pacific coast Highway 1 (PCH 1 coast). A lot of scenery, views and small towns along the way. Visit Big Sue to view CA redwoods too.
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answered by
Claire from Fort Worth, Texas

From DFW, fly to Denver rent a car and head west into Utah, hit all the national parks there, then head down to grand canyon, Sedona, through tucson (Saquaro National Park there) and return to Dallas.  

You could theoretically visit  Mesa Verde National Park Arches National Park Zion National Park  , Bryce, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument , Grand Canyon National ParkCanyonlands National ParkCapitol Reef National Park Carlsbad Caverns National Park , White Sands National Monument Guadalupe Mountains National Park  and see some of the most unique to the US scenery you will find.  

Taos is the name of the "indian village" with Pueblo referred to in another post (near Santa Fe (New Mexico) )  It is much more than that; it is an artsy place too I love it there 

road trip #2

South/Eastern  US:  From DFW rent a car and head east on I-30 up into Arkansas   Dig for diamonds in  Crater of Diamonds State Park, enjoy the spas in Hot Springs National Park, tour the William J Clinton Library in  Little Rock, then pick up I-40 east in Little  Rock  and head for Memphis.  Visit Beale Street, enjoy the Blues Music scene, Sun Studiowhere many great talents made their first recordings, Mud Island river park and steamboat museum, eat barbecue and ribs anywhere, hit the Peabody Hotel and watch The Ducks make their grand entrance or exit, then back on I-40 East to Nashville  Country Music Hall of FameGrand Ole OpryRyman AuditoriumCheekwood-Art & GardensArts District.  From Nashville it is a short drive up I-65 north into Kentucky to Mammoth Cave National Park, containing the world's longest mapped cave system, currently 400 miles of passage. Spend the night in the Cave area if you like.  You can sleep in a wigwam Wigwam Villiage Inn #2!  

For reference purposes if I am not stopping anywhere I can leave west Fort Worth and be in Kentucky in 14 hours  Six to Little Rock, two more to Memphis; four more to Nashville and 1 more to my home town  (straight driving time.  

Now, at this point returning south toward Nashville, you can go to Shiloh National Military Park, down through Mississippiand return to Dallas via I-20   OR you can continue I65 south to Huntsville, tour the Redstone Arsenalwhere the Shuttles were built, tour Jack Daniel Distilleryin Lynchburg then continue south on I-65 until you hit I-20 

OR you can head west from Mammoth Cave on the Western Kentucky Parkwayto the Purchase Parkway Cross the River Dyersburgand follow I-55 south until you get to 40 and return west to DFW 

If you are here in April,  you will see bluebonnets!  A short drive south of the DFW area is Ennis (Texas) home of the Bluebonnet Days festival  If bluebonnets are in bloom when you are here don't miss seeing them  in a large field which  you can find south of either Dallas or Fort Worth and around Austin.  

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mesa Verde National Park (park)
  2. Arches National Park (park)
  3. Zion National Park (park)
  4. Bryce (city)
  5. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (attraction)
  6. Grand Canyon National Park (park)
  7. Canyonlands National Park (park)
  8. Capitol Reef National Park (attraction)
  9. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (park)
  10. White Sands National Monument (attraction)
  11. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (park)
  12. Taos (city)
  13. Santa Fe (New Mexico) (city)
  14. Arkansas (attraction)
  15. Crater of Diamonds State Park (attraction)
  16. Hot Springs National Park (park)
  17. William J Clinton Library (attraction)
  18. Little Rock (city)
  19. Memphis (city)
  20. Beale Street (attraction)
  21. Sun Studio (attraction)
  22. Mud Island (attraction)
  23. Peabody Hotel (hotel)
  24. Nashville (city)
  25. Country Music Hall of Fame (attraction)
  26. Grand Ole Opry (attraction)
  27. Ryman Auditorium (attraction)
  28. Cheekwood-Art & Gardens (attraction)
  29. Arts District (attraction)
  30. Mammoth Cave National Park (park)
  31. Wigwam Villiage Inn #2 (hotel)
  32. Shiloh National Military Park (attraction)
  33. Mississippi (attraction)
  34. Huntsville (city)
  35. Redstone Arsenal (attraction)
  36. Jack Daniel Distillery (attraction)
  37. Lynchburg (city)
  38. Western Kentucky Parkway (attraction)
  39. Purchase Parkway (attraction)
  40. Dyersburg (city)
  41. Ennis (Texas) (city)
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answered by
Erick from Los Angeles

Awsome! You will definitely have a nice trip, I've been in San Francisco and you should walk trough the Golden Gate and drink a coffee at cafe bellini (best coffee I've ever drunk).

Another tip I can give to you is to ask for a private transportation service like ShuttleWizard , it's one of the best options.

Good luck!

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answered by
Eric from Riverbank, California

Depends on what you want to see. SF and LA are both nice, but what are you into?

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answered by
Kavin from Miami

If you are into beaches, water sports, and Night Life, then I would highly recommend, Miami and Key West in Florida.

If you are in mood to try Amusement Parks, or if interested in NASA, then I'de suggest a visit to Orlando

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Miami (city)
  2. Key West (city)
  3. Orlando (city)
answered by
Gloria from Elizabethton, Tennessee

Nashville It is a good time to visit music city. There is the Grand Ole Opry and Broadway downtown. We have a replica of the Partheon in Centennial Park. The Opryland Hotel  is beautiful. Come try out Loveless Cafe on highway 100. From Nashville you could go to Memphis or Gatlinburg, which the Smoky Mtns is amazing in spring.

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Nashville (city)
  2. Grand Ole Opry (attraction)
  3. Broadway (attraction)
  4. Centennial Park (attraction)
  5. Opryland Hotel (restaurant)
  6. Loveless Cafe (restaurant)
  7. Memphis (city)
  8. Gatlinburg (city)
answered by
Fritzi from San Francisco

I recommend you fly into LA, spend a few days there, then drive route 1 to San Francisco.  One the way from LA to SF you can visit Santa Barbara(beautiful architecture and mission), see  San Luis Obispo (great wine, did you see the movie Sideways?) Hearst Castle, drive Big Sur, stop at Nepenthe and Post Ranch Inn, Visit Carmel By the Sea, Point Lobos Monterey,  then into SF for a few days in the city.  Here is my break out:  2 days in LA, 4 days on the road, 2 days SF, play with it, you can extend or compress this trip at any point, depending upon weather and how you are enjoying the scenery.  Be sure to check road closures on Route 1 because we had some recent mud slides that closed the road.  But it should all be fixed by April. Accommodates at all price points are along the way.  I think you will really enjoy this trip.

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Barbara (city)
  2. San Luis Obispo (city)
  3. Hearst Castle (attraction)
  4. Big Sur (city)
  5. Nepenthe (restaurant)
  6. Post Ranch Inn (restaurant)
  7. Carmel By the Sea (city)
  8. Point Lobos (attraction)
  9. Monterey (city)
answered by
Janelle from Charleston

California is a bit far from Texas for a 12 day road trip.  If you're flying into Dallas, I'd recommend spending most of your time in Texas and New Mexico so that you're maximising your sightseeing time rather than spending long periods in a car.  Spend 2 days in Dallas, then drive south to Austin and San Antonio, both of which are fun cultural destinations with great food, music and museums.  I'd then head west towards Midland (Texas), which has a few interesting sites related to the oil industry, then to El Paso, which although a large city is largely off the beaten path and has some interesting sites.  Then I'd head north towards Albuquerque and especially Santa Fe (New Mexico), before turning east back towards Dallas.

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Austin (city)
  2. San Antonio (city)
  3. Midland (Texas) (city)
  4. El Paso (city)
  5. Albuquerque (city)
  6. Santa Fe (New Mexico) (city)
answered by
Kay from Santa Fe

When you drive to Los Angeles, you should stop for a couple of days in

Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Since it was settled by the Spanish in 1610,

it has interesting history. As a result, there are five top class museums,

200 art galleries, 100 or more shops, plus excellent restaurants.

20 minutes away is an Indian village called a pueblo. There are 19

Pueblos in New Mexico.  Definitely worth a stop.

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answered by
Erick from Los Angeles

Hey Kristin, that's awesome!

You definitely need to walk trough the Golden Gate Bridge and visitSausalito . 

Are you traveling by car or you came by airplane? If you need to move from one point to another, I highly recommend you to use a private transportation service .

Have a nice family trip!

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answered by
Rachel from Chicago, Illinois

The US is a huge country, but you can do the major places, Miami, LA, Las Vegas and if you're up for the flight New York.

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answered by
Justin from Phoenix

San Francisco is nice enough, but I wouldn't even consider Los Angeles. I think foreign visitors overlook Portland and Seattle to an unbelievable degree. Some of the nation's best food, beer, scenery and culture.

On the other hand, there's another plan if you want to experience the vastness of the desert southwest: Drive to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and maybe think about swinging north toward Santa Fe (New Mexico).

So why not LA? Terrible traffic, very spread out, a bit harried and rushed. Hollywood is incredibly disappointing. My oddball choice for favorite attraction is La Brea Tar Pits because you have this amazing geological site right in the middle of a seemingly dead concretescape.

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