Thursday, April 28, 2011

Boston to California -- with 2 Dogs!

Hi Jamie,

I'm planning a road trip from Boston to Santa Barbara in August. I'll be traveling with my daughter, best friend, and two dogs. Route 6 to Route 10 interests me as I love the coastal scene and would like to visit family in Georgia and friends in Texas. I'm not sure how many hours a day we will last in the car or how far we'll make it in between stretching and fetching stops. Can you help me figure out were to stop at night, how to find pet friendly lodging and how many hours I should be driving per day to make it to our sleeping destination each night?

Thanks so much!

- Heather


Hi Heather -

Many thanks for writing to me at Road Trip USA -- I hope I can help you & your fellow travelers to have great time on the road this summer.

Starting with the basics -- where to spend the night -- I'll point you toward my favorite group of nice, moderate priced motels: Best Western.

Independent and locally owned, well run, and usually with a lot more personality than your national chains, Best Westerns are very welcoming and comfortable, and almost all will let you bring your dogs indoors with you at night.

Now for the harder part, planning days and stops. Boston to Santa Barbara -- and back again? -- is a BIG TRIP. It's roughly 3000 miles, and I would count on a good 10 days each way, traveling something like 300 miles each day -- with nice long breaks for leg-stretching and sight-seeing. When I road trip I stop all the time -- and though I don't have dogs, I do have young children, who are pretty indistinguishable from puppies most of the time, so I think I know what works.


Every couple of hours, get out and walk around for 20 minutes, minimum. If you're near a town, walk around downtown and do some window-shopping. Or bring a tennis ball and play fetch -- basically, you'll all benefit from getting out of the car, as often as possible. If you drive 2 hours, exercise for a little while, drive some more, then stop and have a meal and a nice walk, then drive some more and find a place to stay, the trip will be a blast.

Drive 5-6 hours a day, at around 50/60 mph, and everyone will be happy. If you can share some of the driving with your friend, or your daughter, you could maybe expand the daily limits this a little, but any more than 400 miles a day and you run the risk of developing white-line fever (I know when I'm driving too much, because I start chanelling Merle Haggard!)

About your route, the Atlantic coast has some excellent destinations, but August is peak season and places like Ocean City MD and Myrtle Beach SC can be "zooed out", as we say here in California for "very crowded". Further south, both Georgia and Texas can get very hot in August, but Savannah for one is gorgeous, and worth the sweat. Ditto San Antonio Texas, and Bisbee Arizona, and most of the other destinations and detours I highlight in Road Trip USA.

Hope these suggestions help you all have a great time.

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

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Anonymous Brady Cartee said...

Your post made me remember a very smooth trip we had a year ago to a cousin's place. We stopped over a field to stretch our legs a bit. It was very refreshing after the long drive! Plus, it was an additional change of scene. I hope this also works for you.

1:13 PM  

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