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Cross Country Road trip

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Next Summer my daughter and I will be driving from Vegas to Pittsburgh on a 3 week vacation. We love roller coasters and Theme parks. I'm trying to plan a few must see stops on our drive and I'm curious what are the must see coasters that we should stop at along the way.... I have yet to even plan a route or other sights, but when me and my stepdad did this trip in '98 we took a northern route to, and a southern route back. I would really like to hit a few parks like every other day depending on locations. So, if anyone has some suggestions I would appreciate it... Thanks!!

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I've done two cross-country road trips.


First was three weeks: NorCal down southern US and over to the East Coast, up the coast to NYC, Niagara, then Ohio, over to Chicago and then the Dakotas, Yellowstone, then home. We hit up a few theme parks on that trip and landmarks/places of interest.


Second was 5 days: NorCal to Ohio for me to move out for grad school. Purpose was not for theme parks, so we didn't hit any, but did do STL City Museum.


One thing I will say about these types of trips is not to underestimate the amount of time you will spend driving. Three weeks will go fast. IMG_3797.thumb.jpg.6073c8609fd524945ebf7057c4d56a6c.jpg

Picture is somewhere in Nevada, I think. It's not impossible to hit a park every other day but it is improbable as there are a lot of states you'd have to go through that have a whole lot of nothing.


Looks like if you chose the northernmost route, you could hit up maybe Lagoon in Utah (EDIT: Lagoon is also out of your way for the direct route), Six Flags Great America in the Chicago area, then do Cedar Point and Kings Island in Ohio (KI is out of the way but worth it). Of course hit Kennywood when you're in the Pittsburgh area. I'm not sure how far east you want to go after Pittsburgh, but Knoebels in Elysburg, PA is a great park if you can swing it, and Hersheypark in Hershey, PA. There are others further east and south that are great, but then you're going even further out of your way and adding more drive time.


For the trip back, if you take the southernmost route, you could easily hit up Worlds of Fun in Kansas City (but if it's a "good park" is TBD). If you want to detour, Silver Dollar City in Branson is great and you could maybe swing Holiday World, but it looks like both of those would be away from the direct route.


Really, you need to do a day-by-day plan and figure out how much driving you want to do every day, and factor that in with the length of time you'd have available to take detours to theme parks. You might be better off just flying to PA and renting a car to hit the parks in the NE.


Also, RCDB is a great resource to figure out which parks might be near locations you will stop at.

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There are so many options here and because I don't know what else you like besides theme parks I don't know what to suggest. Do you like national parks?


It would only add about an hour to go up to Lagoon and then take 80 the whole way, but if you go the suggested route outlined above you'll literally drive right by Glenwood Caverns (which is amazing) and you can hit the two Denver parks. I'm 50/50 on which route I would prefer.


You could also go to Lagoon and take 90 and 94 which will take you through Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone which is probably the most amazing place in the entire country. That would also allow you to hit the Minneapolis parks but it would add about 8 hours (which is worth it because Yellowstone). In the same amount of time you could also leave Yellowstone, ignore the Minnesota parks and take 90 and see the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse (lol). None of those things are overly great but once you get east of the Rockies you'll be hating your life all the way to Chicago and those things help to break it up a little. Any other route you take will be uninterrupted misery, and this is from someone who loves driving.


With either of the last 2 options you'll also go through the Wisconsin Dells. So... there's that.


The cliff notes version is that there are like 4 or 5 different ways to go and if you gave us a bit more information on what you like besides theme parks we could probably help you out a bit better. Either way though, it should be a fun trip (aside from the plain states, lol).

Edited by coasterbill
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From Pittsburgh its about 1 1/2-2hrs north to Waldameer to hit up Ravine Flyer II. Using the route above itd be quite a bit of a detour to hit Kings Island but I think I liked it better than Cedar Point.

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Sorry for bumping the thread, are you using an electric vehicle or a gas vehicle? I have a tesla model 3 and the same route will it be enough range for me? When I will arrive in Pittsburgh I am planning to leave my car there as my friend wanted to test my car for a week or two. On the way back I want to buy an air ticket to Vegas airport with help of topflightsnow. That would be much easier for me as I do not like long trips as I am feeling bad after long trips.

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