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San Francisco, New York City, Nevada, Salt Lake City, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, Brooklyn

Road trip from California to New York: routes, places to see, sleep, & eat?

A couple friends and I just decided to take a major road trip across the United States in May!  We are starting in San Francisco and making our way to Brooklyn in hopefully 15 days.

What are good routes to take? We want to avoid major highways so we can really see the backroads of the U.S. What are cool attractions we should stop and check out? We're all in our early-20s.

6 Answers

top answer by
Kelly from Boulder

It depends on what you like to do, but I would highly recommend working your way through Utah and Colorado. If you like hiking at all, Moab has really interesting scenery and rock formations. Arches National Parkis good for short walks and Canyonlands National Park has some of the most amazing hikes I have ever been on. I would also like to check out Bryce Canyon City and Zion National Park, but I haven't been there yet. The landscape in Colorado is totally different, but also really beautiful. Once you make it over the mountains, you can stop in Boulder or Denver and visit some great microbreweries.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Moab (city)
  2. Arches National Park (park)
  3. Canyonlands National Park (park)
  4. Bryce Canyon City (city)
  5. Zion National Park (park)
  6. Boulder (city)
  7. Denver (city)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Brian from Columbus

So many options and way too many choices :) I suppose you should narrow down which states you want to visit along the way. Or maybe one particular highlight that's important to you. Some people prefer the northerly route along route 90 because of the Dakotas and whatnot (Mt RushmoreDevils Tower National MonumentBadlands National ParkYellowstone National ParkRedwood National Park) - I've always wanted to but haven't had a chance to make that trip yet. What I have done is the southerly route along route 10 - which would be a much longer trip, but more pleasant weather for sure (JacksonvilleNew OrleansCadillac RanchApache TrailJoshua Tree National ParkCarmel). I've heard route 70 is perhaps the most boring heading through (PittsburghColumbusIndianapolisSt. LouisKansas City (Missouri), but you do have the opportunity to visit Arches National ParkDenver, and Las Vegas that way).

You should use a tool of some kind to find obscure places. That was what was most fun for me on my cross country trip. Places I never would have found: Lambert's Cafe, home of the throwed rolls; Oak Alley Plantation - right out of the movie Forrest Gump; and the Apache Trail - a 19 mile dirt road well worth the diversion for it's amazing scenery and wilderness.

Find a tool like to help you find crazy cool stuff. Good luck - have a great adventure!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mt Rushmore (attraction)
  2. Devils Tower National Monument (region)
  3. Badlands National Park (park)
  4. Yellowstone National Park (park)
  5. Redwood National Park (park)
  6. Jacksonville (city)
  7. New Orleans (city)
  8. Cadillac Ranch (restaurant)
  9. Apache Trail (attraction)
  10. Joshua Tree National Park (park)
  11. Carmel (attraction)
  12. Pittsburgh (city)
  13. Columbus (city)
  14. Indianapolis (city)
  15. St. Louis (city)
  16. Kansas City (Missouri) (attraction)
  17. Arches National Park (park)
  18. Denver (city)
  19. Las Vegas (city)
  20. Lambert's Cafe (restaurant)
  21. Oak Alley Plantation (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Aleks from San Jose

When you're towards the end of your journey, you should definitely stop by Arches National Park.  It is extremely beautiful, pretty cheap and a must see in regards to nature's beauty.  You can even take the hike up to the Big Arch but you better bring some high quality H20 with you cause that trip is looooong.  Good luck and have a ton of fun ^_^

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Arches National Park (park)
2 thankscomments (2)

answered by
JT from United States

For the Mountainwest. Denver is a great city with plenty of things to do for your group. If conditions permit, Upon departure, take US-40 to Salt Lake City. Stunning mountain scenery at a much slower pace than any interstate. Also, if you ski or snowboard, you'll have plenty of world-class resorts en route (Keystone Resort Winter Park Resort Breckenridge Ski Resort Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation Park City) If US-40 is closed in spots for the winter, I recommend I-70 over 1-80. Initially you'll climb the foothills outside Denver, go through the Eisenhower Tunnel, and slowly watch the landscape change into red-rock plateaus of Western CO and Eastern Utah. Near Green River take US-6 north to SLC. Plenty of great skiing and boarding in Utah as well. Temple Square is pretty cool to check out as well. If you're a drinker, don't be put off by the negative stigma Utah has. A lot has changed since it hosted the 2002 Olympics. Sundance Film Festival Park City Lodging is also coming up at the end of the month, which may or may not align with your schedule.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Keystone Resort (attraction)
  2. Winter Park Resort (attraction)
  3. Breckenridge Ski Resort (attraction)
  4. Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation (attraction)
  5. Park City (city)
  6. Eisenhower Tunnel (attraction)
  7. Green River (city)
  8. Temple Square (attraction)
  9. Sundance Film Festival Park City Lodging (hotel)
2 thanks

answered first by
Polly from Washington, DC

I hate to link to an outside map on Trippy, but it would be pretty cumbersome with all the points. Here's a google map of some points of interest that are vaguely along your way, if you cut straight across the middle of the United States rather than going north or south. Sorry for the gap in the middle - that's territory I haven't covered yet!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. United States (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
laura from Ohio

You must go to the Avenue of the Giants. It's totally amazing. You can drive through a tree!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Avenue of the Giants (attraction)
1 thanks

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