Thursday, November 17, 2011

Winter Honeymoon Road Trip?

Dear Jamie,

Thank you for your fantastic website and brilliantly compiled book. It has been a huge inspiration to my plans.

Here's the thing; I am getting married in London UK on Sunday 11th December 2011. Having celebrated in style we then fly to New York to begin a road trip honeymoon. We plan to take it easy for a few days in NY and then spend a couple more days with family friends in Philadelphia before hitting the road. Our plan is this; we want to potentially head south from Philadelphia to Georgia or thereabouts and then head across towards Texas. We then want to head north and try and visit some of the National Parks around the four corners of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.

But I wonder -- what are these places like in Winter?

We then want to head across to California and take the coast road up to Oregon to visit family. My question is this; can you advise me on driving conditions and enjoyment restrictions on covering these various areas in Dec/Jan time? What would a good scenic winter route be from Texas to the Californian coast? Bearing in mind that we want to see as much of the natural beauty of the country as possible. We have around 5 or 6 weeks for our trip. Can't wait to embark on it. Any winter advice would be hugely appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


PS: We don't want to ski!



Dear Philip --

Thanks for your message, and I hope I can help.

First off, I'd suggest you wait to get a car until you're ready to leave Philadelphia and hit the road for real -- New York City is one place where a car is an expensive burden, and you can catch one of the few surviving trains services down to Philadelphia, which will spare you the aesthetic pain of the New Jersey Turnpike.

So get a car in Philly, wind down the coast (via Cape May, and the Outer Banks, and Charleston SC and Savannah Georgia...), then decide whether to drive into Florida or not -- but make time for New Orleans, and Deep South towns like Natchez and Oxford Mississippi.

From there on west to California and Oregon (both of which are wonderful!), the troubles with travel during winter are pretty obvious -- fewer hours of daylight, and colder / snowier weather making some roads treacherous. Also, some of the national park sights, like the cliff palaces of Mesa Verde, are sometimes closed during winter, mostly out of concern for safety (slippery snows causing honeymooning tourists to plunge to their deaths -- makes for not-so-great PR...) But Chaco Canyon and Canyon de Chelley are open year-round, and truly unforgettable, as are the other sights like Monument Valley, and Arches and Canyonlands and all the other Utah parks

But there are many upsides to off-season travel -- not least of which is the fact you avoid summer's sweaty crowds, especially in the Southwest. To my eye, the Grand Canyon, and the red rocks of Utah, look best with a dusting of snow -- and Taos and the other Pueblo communities of New Mexico are truly amazing, with their blending of native and Christian traditions. New Year's Eve in Las Vegas? And the coast of California and Oregon can be gorgeous even in late December / January -- plus in winter you get the chance to see the migratory grey whales, which are pretty amazing creatures (Santa Barbara CA is a great place for whale-watching and honey-mooning, too!)

So basically -- go for it! :-)

Congrats, and thanks for writing! With best wishes,

Jamie Jensen


Post a Comment

<< Home