USA Trip Plan - please comment

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by maya_, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. maya_

    maya_ Mouseketeer

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    Hiya everybody. Didn't know where else to put this, and it does include a stop in the West.

    My family (no kids under 18) are planning a trip to the U.S. from England next summer, and I've thrown together the following itinerary. Let me know what you think, especially if you're familiar with these areas.

    DAY ONE: Fly to Las Vegas
    DAY TWO: Las Vegas
    DAY THREE: Las Vegas
    DAY FOUR: Fly to St Louis
    DAY FIVE: St Louis
    DAY SIX: St Louis
    DAY SEVEN: St Louis
    DAY EIGHT: Drive to Nashville
    DAY NINE: Nashville
    DAY TEN: Drive to Cherokee, NC.
    DAY ELEVEN: Drive to Charlotte
    DAY TWELVE: Charlotte
    DAY THIRTEEN: Charlotte
    DAY FOURTEEN: Blue Ridge Parkway
    DAY FIFTEEN: Blue Ridge Parkway
    DAY SIXTEEN: Charlotte
    DAY SEVENTEEN: Fly home.

    Also, some of these places are included because we have family or friends there, so if they sound like a strange choice, that may be why!

    It sounds really hectic, I know, but last summer we did Chicago - Williamsburg - Charlotte - Charleston - Savannah in two weeks and we loved it. I was trying to include a similar mix of sights and attractions, excitement and relaxation, in this trip.

    All comments are greatly appreciated by my tribe and I.
     
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  3. topjars

    topjars I LOVED DISNEYLAND.....not to mention the USA

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    Im only familiar with the Las Vegas bit because I havent been to the other spots.

    This time last year I went via LA, Dallas ( to meet the Fockers), Houston (for sons wedding),Las Vegas, Yosemite, Sacramento San Francisco and then back home to Australia.

    Vegas was great, and in hindsight 3 days wasnt enough time for me. Not that I gambled but I only saw half the strip and spent one full day helicopter/rafting from Hoover Dam...recommended (www.blackcanyon.??)

    If I do another trip I would do the exact same places!

    Goodluck

    Gary
     
  4. Judy from Boise

    Judy from Boise <font color=teal>Watch out – might take away your Moderator

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    Vegas will be very hot that time of year, so pick a hotel with a great pool ! You will want to walk the strip at night.You can also spend time during the day at the Forum shops, or Venetcian.
     
  5. jims2cool

    jims2cool WDWFAN9 Hunka Hunka DH

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    The Hoover Dam is only 45 min. away... A must see !!! I always rent a car from Dollar and travel around. Or you can take a tour bus... but I bet a car is cheaper to do....
     
  6. LadyyRedd

    LadyyRedd <font color=red>Someone stole my toothpaste/Chapst

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    Is St. Louis one of the family stops? If not, I would cut a day from St. Louis and add one to Vegas. There is just so much to see there. I've been to both cities and think you would do better with 3 in vegas and 2 in stl.

    Kimya
     
  7. Peri

    Peri <br><img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/i

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    I have been to St Louis, Vegas, and Nashville plus some other towns in the South. (Lived in Nashville)

    All three are really really nice cities - Vegas is very special and adult, of course, but St. Louis is so friendly and so indicative of the South (the good bits). St. Louis has a fabulous bus system and a wonderful arboretum if you like plants and flowers - just beautiful! Plus the river (complete with Riverboat for gambling). In Nashville, you have the music tradition, of course, but also several antebellum mansions - president Andrew Jackson's beautifully preserved home and a modern art museum called Cheekwood, that is an absolute treasure - and a river front and river boats.... and the Parthenon! Yes, a recreated Parthenon downtown in a park - ha ha.

    Even if you "have to" visit the relatives in these towns, there are plenty of things to see and do! Since this is your second trip, I assume you will come back again, and then you can focus more on the West - San Francisco, Disneyland, Tombstone Arizona, Denver..... well you will get around to it!

    Enjoy your visit! We love going to the British Isles!
     
  8. Peri

    Peri <br><img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/i

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    And I almost forgot - this is important - in St. Louis there is an enormouse park complex filled with museums, etc - but Do Not Miss the science museum - this is built out over the expressway with glass blocks for the "floor" so you can see the vehicles driving beneath your feet and there are speed observation areas, and other scientific measuring devices you can use when watching the traffic. This is a hands on museum and it is definately world class.
     
  9. disneyfan55

    disneyfan55 DIS Veteran

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    We have done the cross country thing 7 times from NJ to the west (4 times all the way to the Pacific, the others just as far as AZ and NV) We plan the trip very extensively. I actually make a binder for each day and list attractions route etc for the day. I do contact each state we will either be driving through for all free info. When we finally decide where we will stay, we also request info from those areas. If you will be visiting our National Parks/Monuments, their site has a wealth of helpful info. You can even stay in many of the larger ones. We have visited MANY of these and stayed in quite a few, too. You can also receive info from the NPS as well as print it from on line. If you find you will be visiting many, they have an annual pass which costs 80 but is good for all parks and up to 4 in your party. If it's a NP that charges by the car that is also included. If over 62, you can get a Senior pass for 10!! That's good for life. Not sure if you have to be a US citizen for the Senior Pass. Any other questions, please feel free to ask. There is a website Roadtrip America that helps planning roadtrips in the US. I don't know if you have visited it. Happy Planning. Planning is a great part of the fun for us!!
     
  10. maya_

    maya_ Mouseketeer

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    Wow, you guys! I'd just about given up on this post, and then I come back from two weeks in Spain and there's a little goldmine of information. Thank you so much!

    St. Louis is not one of the family stops, it's just somewhere I've always wanted to go (I saw a picture of the Gateway Arch when I was about nine and formed a strange attraction to the place, which only got worse when a friend of mine told me he'd had the best pizza ever there). I've re-written the schedule to include 4 nights in Vegas and only 2 in St. Louis. The only thing with Vegas was, some of the older members of my party were concerned about the heat and intensity of Vegas for longer than a couple of days. But everywhere's air-conditioned and I told them that spending longer there means you can take it a little slower.

    We're going to hire a car for the Grand Canyon / Hoover Dam trip. I hate guided tours.

    I know it will be very hot when we are there (there were days last year in Virginia that were 104, and the humidity in South Carolina nearly killed us). Unfortunately, I work as a teacher, so the school summer holiday is really the only chance I get to travel. Normally the USA is a better bet because all the places in Europe put their prices sky-high during this time.

    Thank you so much for all your info - there are some things you just don't know until you visit a place, or talk to someone who knows it well.

    Also - thanks for PMing me, disneyfan55. I hadn't checked this thread in weeks!
     
  11. LadyyRedd

    LadyyRedd <font color=red>Someone stole my toothpaste/Chapst

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    We did both of these on our trip to Vegas. We did rent a car and drove to both. The Hoover Dam was cool, but if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't do the Dam Tour again. It wasn't what I thought it would be. You basically see a movie and then go underground and learn about the stuff there. I thought it would take you over the dam and back, but it didn't. We did get some great views of the dam, but honestly, I got the same good views after I left the tour. You can also walk out and across the Dam on your own without doing the tour.

    It was only $12, so if you feel you really need to take it, do. I just wouldn't have had I known what it was.

    As for the Grand Canyon, make sure you go to the South Rim. That is where the best views are. It's a 5 hour drive there and a 5 hour drive back, so don't try to do it in the same day, you will be WIPED out. Plus, seeing sunset over the canyon and then sunrise the next morning was one of the most awesome sights I've ever gotten to see!

    Kimya
     
  12. maya_

    maya_ Mouseketeer

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    OK, the trip plan now reads:

    Sun 20 Jul: Fly Manchester - Las Vegas
    Mon 21 Jul: Las Vegas (Strip attractions)
    Tue 22 Jul: Grand Canyon (one of us is holding out for the helicopter trip!)
    Wed 23 Jul: Las Vegas (other attractions)
    Thu 24 Jul: Fly Las Vegas - San Antonio
    Fri 25 Jul: San Antonio (city sightseeing)
    Sat 26 Jul: San Antonio (Alamo)
    Sun 27 Jul: Fly San Antonio - St Louis
    Mon 28 Jul: St Louis (city sightseeing)
    Tue 29 Jul: St Louis (Six Flags)
    Wed 30 Jul: Drive St Louis - Nashville
    Thu 31 Jul: Nashville (city sightseeing)
    Fri 1 Aug: Drive Nashville - Cherokee
    Sat 2 Aug: Drive Cherokee - Charlotte
    Sun 3 Aug: Charlotte
    Mon 4 Aug: Charlotte
    Tue 3 Aug: Charlotte
    Wed 4 Aug: Fly Charlotte - Chicago - Manchester

    Yeah, it's evolved a bit.

    LadyyRedd, we're considering an overnight at the Grand Canyon but time and cost implications may make it a problem. There were a few other things I desperately wanted to do, but not everyone in the party is energetic enough!

    Thanks, everyone, for your help. Now it's just ten months and counting!
     
  13. MrsPete

    MrsPete DIS Veteran

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    As a North Carolinian, I have some suggestions for this portion of the trip:

    Nashville to Cherokee isn't too far, but the Great Smokey Mountains National Park andthe Blue RIdge Parkway are right there next to Cherokee. You should spend a couple days there, THEN move on to the Charlotte area.

    What on earth will you do in Charlotte for four days? I understand that you need to be there at the end of the trip for the airport, but there's little of cultural or historic interest in Charlotte. Shopping and banking, yes. Tourism? No. There are a couple museums, but nothing world-class. The architecture holds little charm. I'd rather spend an extra day in St. Louis and an extra day in Nashville.

    Or consider driving on to one of the Carolina beaches . . . of course, I don't think any of the airports in those areas are international, so you might need to drive back to Charlotte -- or on to Atlanta, Georgia. It might be about the same distance.

    Atlanta has much more for a tourist than Charlotte, and it's a quick drive down the interstate from Cherokee -- not much farther than Charlotte.

    Or perhaps you would enjoy leaving Cherokee and heading up to Virginia. You could see Colonial Williamsburg, the site of the first American colonies. You could then head up to the Virginia Mountains, which are very beautiful -- though, admittedly very much like the Blue Ridge Parkway, and see Thomas Jefferson's home Monitcello. That'd put you near Washington DC for an international flight home.
     
  14. OhMari

    OhMari WDW PreTrip and Trip Moderator Moderator

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    I would only spend 2 days in St. Louis, like above poster said, go to the beach in North Carolina, or spend time in the Smokey Mountains.
     
  15. maya_

    maya_ Mouseketeer

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    Hi, MrsPete, thanks for your suggestions.

    Actually, our time in Charlotte is staying with our family there, and they're a short distance away from Charlotte. Other than that, we probably wouldn't be going there. But as they're there, going there is a must.

    We spent last summer at Colonial Williamsburg, and I spent time in Washington DC a couple of years ago. And we've been going to NC for years, so we've been to the beaches and stuff.

    Really that bit at the end of the trip is just to see our family and friends, and wind down (on their boat!) before heading back to the UK.

    Also, we're now spending three days in the Smokies, after everyone said how wonderful it was. We're still having the three nights in St Louis, as our flight does not get in until the evening, which will only give us two full days there.

    We're now looking at a plane, helicopter and boat tour of the Grand Canyon while we're in Vegas, but it's going to be wicked expensive, so I guess we'll have to think about it a little more!

    Thanks for all your tips!
     
  16. RMH

    RMH <font color=darkorchid>I know EXACTLY how he felt.

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    My recommendation is to either plan 2-3 days for the Grand Canyon or don't do it at all. As a PP said trying to go out and back in one day will wipe you out. It is not interstate driving and it can be longer than 5 hours each way. One other National Park that, IMO, is almost as spectacular as The Grand Canyon is Zion's Canyon in Utah. It is 'only' a 2.5 hour drive and it will get you out of the Vegas heat for the day. You can drive to Zion's, spend the day, then drive back to Vegas at night and see the lights of the city as you crest the hill on 1-15. It really is an awesome sight.
     
  17. Judy from Boise

    Judy from Boise <font color=teal>Watch out – might take away your Moderator

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    I think that is a good suggestion......
     

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