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Cross-Country Road Trip


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Hey guys!

 

My boyfriend and I are setting out on a post-graduation road trip across the country and back (MD - CA - MD) in about two weeks, and we're looking for some help! What we need are some recommendations for where to eat, where to sleep, what to see, what to do, and so on, both in the parks and cities and on the road between them. Here's a list of parks and cities that we're (just about) definitely hitting:

 

PARKS

Cedar Point*

Kings Island*

Holiday World

Six Flags St. Louis

Worlds of Fun

Silver Dollar City

Disneyland*

Disney California Adventure*

Six Flags Magic Mountain*

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

California's Great America

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Lagoon

Valleyfair

Nickelodeon Universe

Mt. Olympus

Six Flags Great America

Indiana Beach

Kentucky Kingdom

Dollywood

 

(*) I've already been to these, but my partner hasn't.

 

CITIES

St. Louis, MO

Branson, MO

Albuquerque, NM

(Grand Canyon)

San Francisco, CA

(Yellowstone National Park)

Chicago, IL

Nashville, TN

Pigeon Forge, TN

 

Seriously, anything you've got to offer - advice, your services as a tour guide, a high-five as we drive by your house - please do! Keep in mind that we don't just want to drive through all the small towns between our parks and cities, so if there are little mom-and-pop restaurants or some crazy bowling museum or disco roller rink, mention it! I'll put a picture of our general route from here to California and back so that everyone has an idea of the areas that we're hitting, but if there's a way to go that's out of the way but has some cool stuff to see, we'd love to know.

 

We're all spread across the country on TPR, so I'm sure you guys have plenty to share. Even if it isn't along our route, maybe this thread can become a source of information for other people doing the same thing, so share away - and thanks in advance!

 

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Edited by coasterfreak101
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This has nothing to do with coasters but how much time are you spending at Yellowstone? I recommend a minimum of 2 full days because between the amazing landscapes and animal life it's one of the most amazing places in America.

 

As far as credits go, is there a reason you're skipping Knott's? Also, I recommend visiting the Santa Monica pier one night when you're in the LA area. Not only do they have a credit but it's a nice place to spend a little time and have a nice dinner.

 

This looks like an epic trip! Have a great time.

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Currently doing something similar. Starred in SoCal, currently in St. Louis (was just in Branson for SDC) heading to Ohio/Indiana next via Chicago. Safe travels your trip def looks like a winner

 

If I'd add anything, I'd say try to get to Texas as I hear the RMC's make the detour well worth it on their own.

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My longest trip was 3.5 weeks, and if there's any lesson I learned that I can pass along, it's to make sure to plan time for rest. You can go-go-go your way through a 5-day trip, but much beyond that and it gets really easy to get exhausted and not have time to rest, especially when hitting a park (or more) and driving a good bit in a single day.

 

I also don't know what you plan to do for hotels, but I would strongly recommend joining a hotel rewards program & staying with that brand. Personally, I like the Choice Hotels (Comfort Inn/Suites primarily, but also the occasional Quality or Sleep Inn) because of their amazing rewards program. They often run promotions where if you have 2 stays (has to be different hotels or non-consecutive nights), you get 8000 rewards points, which is enough to cash in for a free night at many hotels (though some are 10000/12000/16000/20000, depending on season & how big of a tourist draw the area is). And the great thing about this promotion is that you can keep cashing in. On my 3.5 week trip, I earned another 8000 points every 2 days, which ended up coming in handy near the end of the trip. They also have a deal where if you sign up for a Choice Hotels Visa, you can get 32,000 points with a purchase & your first stay.

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This has nothing to do with coasters but how much time are you spending at Yellowstone? I recommend a minimum of 2 full days because between the amazing landscapes and animal life it's one of the most amazing places in America.

 

I have about 2-3 days at both the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone - it's shorter than I would plan on if I had an extra few days or weeks to work with, but I'm hoping it's enough time to take in a good bit of each!

 

As far as credits go, is there a reason you're skipping Knott's? Also, I recommend visiting the Santa Monica pier one night when you're in the LA area. Not only do they have a credit but it's a nice place to spend a little time and have a nice dinner.

 

I've actually been to both of these, and my partner isn't in it as much for the coasters as he is for the experience and the sights - plus, my best friend lives in Ontario, so I'm out there every year already!

 

I also don't know what you plan to do for hotels, but I would strongly recommend joining a hotel rewards program & staying with that brand. Personally, I like the Choice Hotels (Comfort Inn/Suites primarily, but also the occasional Quality or Sleep Inn) because of their amazing rewards program. They often run promotions where if you have 2 stays (has to be different hotels or non-consecutive nights), you get 8000 rewards points, which is enough to cash in for a free night at many hotels (though some are 10000/12000/16000/20000, depending on season & how big of a tourist draw the area is). And the great thing about this promotion is that you can keep cashing in. On my 3.5 week trip, I earned another 8000 points every 2 days, which ended up coming in handy near the end of the trip. They also have a deal where if you sign up for a Choice Hotels Visa, you can get 32,000 points with a purchase & your first stay.

 

Thanks for the advice! I'll definitely look in to some of these - should be helpful, seeing as we're college-aged kids on a bit of a budget!

 

Not going through Vegas/Utah seems like a missed opportunity. You can hit a lot of cool stuff on the way back (Primm to Vegas to Lagoon to Denver) But I might be biased.

 

Unfortunately, my boyfriend isn't 21 yet. (It sucks.) Definitely a missed opportunity this time around, but I should be able to get out there with my friend in the near-ish future!

 

Also, I'm going to change that picture - looks like it wasn't updated so it doesn't have Lagoon and SLC in there.

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Wow, that is crazy ambitious, but if my parents could haul me and my siblings to Las Vegas and back in two weeks in a station wagon every summer and take a different way out and back each time, you should be able to easily knock this off (at your age) in five weeks!

 

I couldn't even start to tell you about all of the things you can see and do on that trip, but I concur with others in that you need to plan time for the awesome scenery of the Rocky Mountains, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, South Dakota (western) and all of the cool Mom & Pop places that you will see while driving.

 

My advice....don't spend all of your time on the interstates out west. Get out on the back roads and explore as you can take the interstates to zip across the horrendously flat and boring mid-west states.

 

Main objective = take your time & have fun!

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I'm crazy and we do things like this as some of the other TPR members know. Looking at your map, something like this would take me a few months to plan out to make sure it all went as smoothly as possible (I'm a 'planner' or OCD as my wife calls it). If you haven't, you should plan out each leg and stop to make sure you're hitting what you want to when they are scheduled to be open. Based on that and what you want to see, you may be hard pressed to do all of that within five weeks although it is quite possible.

 

Since we travel self contained, we don't stay at motels. We do, however, use campground facilities for part of our trips and boondock the rest of the time. We like KOA campgrounds because they are always consistent. They are often not the best, but are clearly not the worst and we can quickly and easily make online reservations. If we forget reservations, almost all of them make it easy for us to get a spot at any time. I'd recommend finding a nationwide motel chain like that.

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