Monday, June 27, 2011

Cross-Country (and back!) in a month, with National Parks

Hi Jamie,
My name is Michaela. My boyfriend & I are planning a road trip through the US. We are going to be on the road for +-36 days. We wanna start in Maryland and go to the National parks (Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite NP, and many more) and do a kind of adventure thing like go hiking, rock climbing, kayaking and rafting. In between I wanna stop in the cities (Seattle, Detroit, Chicago, LA, Las Vegas,...).
So my question is if you could give me some suggestions for National Parks because there are a lot and I can't decide where to go. And it feels like that I want to see too many things and at the end of our road trip I'm disappointed. Would you think there will be enough time to go to the west coast and back?
Thank you very much.


Hi Michaela -- 

Thanks for your message, and for sharing your road trip plans. 

I cannot see how, after a trip like you describe, there is any chance of you being disappointed.  Your plan sounds excellent!  Balancing out the big cities ad the great outdoors, and being as active as you describe, sounds ideal.   

You didn't say when you plan to take the trip - I suspect summer, which is good. Other times of year get more complicated, but not impossible.

There are indeed a lot of national parks, but one place I think you should concentrate your time is Utah, where there are endless options for hiking and climbing and rafting and kayaking (and mountain biking, too!).  The town of Moab is a great base, but if you are prepared camp that is perhaps an even better option, because you can wake up in the outdoors, without having to hop into the car (noch einmal!)

Besides the National Parks, there are also many historic sights in beautiful locales, especially in New Mexico, where the region around Santa Fe is full of heritage ranging from native Americans (as at Acoma Pueblo, pictured above) to legendary Route 66.

So you have plenty of time to see everything you want to see, and to do everything you want to do.  I usually suggest 10 days to do the whole cross-country drive, so you have that plus an "extra" 18 days to enjoy yourselves.  Hope you have a great trip!  I also hope you'll get a chance to check out my book, and if you want any more specific advice, please feel free to write again. 

For now, Happy Trails, 

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

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