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Introduction Reasons to RV What Type of RV is Best for You? Reservation Tips Before You Go Basic Road Rules Maneuvering Your RV RV FAQs Invaluable RVing Tips RVing in the City Types of Campgrounds Fuel-Saving Tips How to be a Green RVer United States 101 Food You’ll Find Top 10 National Parks Top 10 Scenic Drives 50 Fascinating Tourist Attractions Off the Beaten Path The American Indian Experience Planning Your Trip & Driving Distance Chart Itinerary Ideas Forgotten Anything? A Checklist of Final Things to Consider 3 4 5 7 10 13 15 19 21 23 24 27 29 31 35 38 41 44 58 60 65 65 73
Disclaimer: We have done our best to ensure the accuracy of this information, and apologise if any of the information in this book is incorrect or outdated, but accept no liability for any consequences arising from this.
For thousands of Americans, setting off in the RV (recreational vehicle) to explore their incredible country at their own pace is the discovery of a new lifestyle, a fantastic way to vacation on their own terms, or an enviable yet quite common way to spend a hard-earned retirement. If you’re reading this book, congratulations on making the decision to follow in their footsteps! The United States is a vast country with almost every type of landscape imaginable, and an RV holiday in the USA is one of the best ways to see this amazing diversity. The States are home to scenic grandeur that’s hard to match anywhere in the world. There are wind-blasted deserts with an eerie, serene beauty; jagged mountain ranges rising above 14,000 feet (up to 20,000 feet in Alaska) with year-round snowfields and glaciers; some of the longest rivers and deepest gorges in the world; forests of giant redwood trees that are among the largest and oldest living things on earth; and a plethora of other spectacular vistas. Renting allows you to try various types of RVs and learn from real experience which one best suits your particular needs. Or, perhaps you already know and enjoy the RV lifestyle but aren’t ready to own. Many people rent RVs simply for the fun, freedom and flexibility of taking RV trips to a special event or destination.
Recent studies show that RV trips remain the most affordable way for a family to travel because of the significant savings on hotel and restaurant costs, even with fuel prices and the cost of ownership or rental factored in.
Read on to get the best advice, tips, tricks and secrets on where to go, what to do, how to plan and mistakes to avoid, to truly get the most out of your American RV holiday.
Reasons to RV
RVing is a completely unique way to travel and has plenty of advantages: • No expensive hotels or motels needed • You can experience nature, but in comfort • You can sleep in your own bed and use your own bathroom • You have ultimate itinerary flexibility • You’re always packed and ready to go • The travel part is just as enjoyable as the destination • It’s easy to follow special diets or take your favorite foods • It’s healthier – you’re more likely to be active on RV trips and maintain healthy eating habits • It usually costs around 40-60% less than travelling by place, rental car, hotels etc • You have financial flexibility – it’s easier to control how much or how little you spend on your vacation • Great for retirees – flexible, comfortable, affordable, stress-free, accommodating and community-based • No flights to catch • No security hassles • No long lines or lost luggage
YOU’RE MORE LIKELY TO STICK TO HEALTHY EATING ON AN RV VACATION.
What Type of RV is Best for You?
Generally speaking, the larger the unit, the more space, privacy and comfort it will afford you. However, larger RVs will be more costly to rent and operate. It’s important to fit the size to your needs and desires, especially things like the level of privacy when sleeping. Be careful of small units which claim to sleep five, six, or more. Check the size of the beds. Adults need a full 6 feet of length for comfort. (Note to overseas travelers: America is one of the few places in the world which hasn’t adopted the metric system, so you’ll have to convert feet, miles, gallons, quarts, acres, etc, to metric units you can comprehend).
The basic types of units offered for rent in North America:
Class A Motorhomes A vehicle built on a self-propelled vehicle chassis weighing from 15,000 to 30,000 pounds and stretching from 24 to 40 feet in length. They contain a kitchen, bathroom, sleeping and dining facilities accessible to the driver’s area. Systems include electricity, heating, air conditioning, water and propane gas. Sleeps 2-7 people. Living systems are self-contained, but when staying at camping grounds, most users hook up to electricity, water, sewer drain, and cable television.
Class B Motorhomes Built on an extended van as opposed to a truck cassis. Typically smaller than a class A or C motorhome, they can be just as luxurious with all the same creature comforts such as kitchen, shower and toilet. They are perfect for a couple or in some cases 3 passengers who want everything a larger motorhome has to offer, but with added maneuverability and fuel economy.
Class C Motorhomes Class C Motorhomes are sometimes referred to as mini-motorhomes, and are scaled-down versions of Class A motorhomes. They stretch from 20 feet to 31 feet in length. They are usually built on truck chassis, with sleeping bunks atop the cab. The living area is accessible to the driver’s area. They sleep 2-6 if you include children. They have less features, space, and privacy than larger units, but are more economical to operate and easier to drive and park.
Travel Trailers These might not be practical for overseas travelers or Americans who fly to a pick-up point since they need a heavy-duty vehicle to tow them. Towable units, 13 to 35 feet in length, have full living facilities, but it’s illegal to use them while driving. Best when parked at a campground for extended periods while you use the towing vehicle for local transportation and sightseeing. Check with your rental agent to make sure your tow vehicle, hitch and wiring are adequate. A Toy Hauler is similar but with an added garage door on the back for motorcycles and other large sports equipment.
Pop campers/tent campers A lightweight, towable unit with collapsible sides which is about 10 feet in length when closed, and 15 to 23 feet when opened. When set up, they provide kitchen, dining and sleeping facilities for up to eight people. Check with your rental dealer to make sure your tow vehicle, hitch and wiring are adequate. These units are an option if you want to spend part of a motoring trip camping out, using toilet facilities provided at campgrounds.
Tips on placing a reservation for RV rentals in the USA
There’s more to renting an RV than there is to renting a car. Here are some tips to help you have a great experience and avoid disappointment when renting an RV. Book early to get your first choice of vehicle In peak times of year, there simply aren’t enough RVs to go around. Anyone who rents RVs regularly (such as many Dutch, German and English tourists visiting the US) will know how important it is to book six months or more in advance. If you are looking to travel in shoulder seasons (May – early June, August – early October) and especially peak season (June – July), your chances of securing your first choice vehicle, dates and locations are greatly diminished the closer you get to your travel dates. Even if you are booking for peak season 4- 6 months prior to your travel dates there is a chance your first choice may not be available. You have very little chance of getting your first choice if you are booking Book early to get the best specials Many of the larger RV rental companies in the USA have very generous “Early Bird Specials”. These reward people who book (and in some cases pay) early. Specials can include a 10 – 20% off the normal base rental costs, and this is often combined with one or more additional elements of the rental at greatly discounted rates. These other elements can include free additional miles, half price unlimited miles upgrades, no one way fees, free convenience kits, or other standard fees reduced or removed. To qualify, bookings for the coming Summer season must be received by either the within 4 – 6 weeks of your travel date for peak season . So plan ahead, book early, and get the pick of the fleet.
Plan ahead, book early, and get the pick of the fleet.
end of December or January preceding. Some early bird specials may continue into February but they will be of a lesser value than the offers that are in place for bookings received by December or January. You will not find better value for a Spring - Summer rental than what you will get if you place your reservation in December – February. Many RV rental companies increase the standard pricing on their vehicles as vehicle availability for shoulder and peak seasons decreases. Make no mistake, the best RV rental companies will rent a very high percentage of their fleet across peak and shoulder seasons, so their prices are far more likely to increase than decrease as these seasons get closer. Book your RV before your flights Do not book your flights first especially if you are travelling inside of 2 months. There are far less RVs available in the USA than there are seats on planes coming into and out of the country! By all means investigate flights before booking your RV, but make sure you have secured an RV before confirming your flights. You may find that your first choice RV rental is not available but your agent has come back to you with alternative suggestions that may have variation in the pick up or drop off dates or even locations. If you have booked your flights first you may now find it hard or expensive to change these to enable you to take the alternative RV rental suggested. Many people make this mistake and end up having flights booked but never secure an RV.
Further to above, do not wait for cheap last minute deals on flights before booking an RV. Your chances of securing an RV that fits between your return flight dates and locations is greatly diminished the closer you get to your RV travel dates. And what money you save on a cheaper last minute flight will be more than swallowed up by a more expensive rental price on the RV which typically increases as your travel dates get closer to booking dates. Understand the terms and conditions Read terms and conditions especially payment and cancellation fee clauses before placing your reservation. Because RVs are specialty vehicles all RV rental companies need at least a percentage of your rental paid in advance. Many will expect full payment 35 days prior to travel dates. All RV rental companies impose cancellation fees if a booking is subsequently cancelled. These increase dramatically as the numbers of days prior to the start date of your rental decrease. If you cancel within 7 days or “no show” you can expect to be charged for the full cost of your rental and most companies will still expect around 25 – 30% of the cost of the rental if you are cancelling inside of 30 days prior to your pick up date. If you do need to cancel your booking, let your booking agent know of your cancellation in writing as soon as you do. They may be able to negotiate better terms with the rental company on your behalf if there is a good reason for the cancellation and the notification period of your cancellation gives the RV rental company a chance of renting your unit to another customer.
Don’t treat an RV reservation like a car reservation Do not make multiple reservations on different websites in an attempt to increase your chances of securing a vehicle. Doing this could result in you being chased for cancellation fees on more than one vehicle! RV rental companies do not work like car rental companies where they overbook fleet to counteract the percentage of customers who “no show”. A good online agent with relationships with multiple RV rental companies should be able to search and find a vehicle for you, so sit tight and let them use their relationships to do the searching for you. Be flexible in your plans, especially if you are wanting a one way rental If you are booking a one way rental between two different locations all of the above points become far more poignant. The number of vehicles assigned to one way rentals are more limited than the numbers of vehicles that a rental company will be happy to rent back to the same location. Rental companies need to be very careful that large components of their fleet don’t end up in one
or two locations due to too many one way rentals in the same direction. So book early and do not book flights first if you are looking to rent one way. With cross country one way rentals (e.g. New York to Los Angeles, Boston to Las Vegas, Denver to San Francisco) you are more likely to secure a vehicle and get a better price if you travel from West to East, particularly if your rental is mid or late Summer. More people want to one way from East to West so essentially by renting in the reverse direction you are helping the RV rental company redistribute their fleet. Talk to your rental agent to see if they know of any “relocation specials” coming up. Book with an agent like iMall Motorhomes Ltd who operate www.rvrentalsalefinder. com Their buying relationships with the RV suppliers can mean that their pricing is better than what you would get direct. A good booking agent can offer other knowledge and services relating to RV rental and should also be able to find alternative vehicles for you should your first choice not be available.
Be flexible in your plans, especially if you’re wanting a one way rental.
Before You Go
Ready to hit the road? Well, it’s not just a matter of jumping in and going. The more journeys under your belt, the smoother your departures will become, but in the meantime here are some tips to help:
Choose a Campground
It doesn’t matter what your destination is or how long you’re going for, you’ll need somewhere to stay when you get there! With more than 16,000 U.S. campgrounds, and probably a few million campsites, you can be as picky as you like, especially in traditional tourist areas. However, they vary hugely (there is a chapter on just how later in the book) so you need to consider and plan what facilities you’ll need at which points in your trip. It’s also worth considering whether you want the full-service resort with cable TV, golf courses and the works; or the low-cost, more basic but closer-to-nature setting of a national park. A campground directory is a very worthwhile investment to provide comprehensive listings and evaluations for almost every private campground in the country.
There is in fact a right way and a wrong way to load your RV. It’s important to balance out right and left weight-wise, or you’ll end up with a lean. It’s also essential to load heavy items near the floor so it doesn’t end up topheavy and large items don’t risk falling on your head! If you’re towing, make sure you check the weight limit for the trailer hitch. Distributing about 10 to 15 per cent of the cargo’s weight in the front is the best way to reinforce the hitch connection – too little weight and you’ll end up with fishtailing; too much and the extra weight buckles the hookup. While there aren’t luggage restrictions in an RV, overloading any vehicle is dangerous. Nothing places you at risk like an RV that has exceeded its weight limits, also known as the GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating)
there are more than 16,000 campgrounds in the u.s.
for motorized vehicles and the GCWR (gross combined weight rating) for tow vehicle and trailer combinations. Exceed this number and you compromise your safety (not to mention, it’s also against the law). After loading, take your RV to a truck scale to check how it stacks up.
• Bottle opener • Matches • Plastic bags • Cling wrap and foil • Garbage bags and plastic bags • Detergent • Sponges and cloths • Toaster • Tupperware • Dishtowels • Cleaning supplies Bedroom and Bathroom • Sheets, blankets and pillowcases • Alarm clock • Laundry supplies • Beach and bath towels • First aid kit • Toilet paper • Clothes pegs Interior Miscellaneous • Camera • Cellphone • Laptop • Relevant chargers/adapters • Calling card • Maps/GPS unit • Campground directory • Vehicle rental/insurance paperwork • Pens/paper • Power board Exterior • Outdoor chairs • Tool kit
As for what to take, a lot depends on where you’re going, what time of year, how big your RV is and how long you’re going for. You’ll pack differently for a few days at the local RV park than for a two-month journey; full-timer RVers will have much different packing list than those going on a weekend trip. Again, even though you don’t have any restrictions, you are limited by room. Start by allowing every passenger one suitcase for clothing, toiletries, medication, and essential items. As for the rest of the provisions, here are some suggestions of things you might need. Check with your rental agent to see what items are included in your package. Kitchen • Food/drink • Pantry basics such as spices, sauces and seasonings • Paper towels • Oven mitt • Can opener
• Flashlight • Jumper cables • Chemicals for holding tanks • Duct tape • Insect repellant • Tyre pressure gauge • Electrical cords • Freshwater hoses • Sewer hose • Wheel chalks and levelers • Rubber gloves • Cable for cable TV hookup
Walk around the outside of the RV checking for things such as tire pressure, that doors are properly closed, hoses and power cords are tidied away and slide-outs, awnings and entry step are fully retracted. Look up to see that you are going to clear tree branches, signs or other objects. Inside, make sure things are properly stowed, that drawers, refrigerator etc are latched, and so on. Also make sure everything in the driver’s cabin is adjusted to the driver’s needs. Make certain that nothing has changed outside on your vehicle, like a car just parked too close, or a child who has walked near. Check for traffic from all directions. Pull out slowly and merge into traffic. You’ll need a more comprehensive checklist when breaking camp - including turning off appliances and propane, disconnecting power and water hookups, dumping the tanks, etc. It doesn’t hurt to write this routine down so you know you haven’t missed anything.
It’s always good to have a little routine to follow before you set off from anywhere. The leaving process can turn chaotic fairly easily so it’s common that things, such as leaving items behind or not securing attachments properly, can happen.
duct tape can come in handy for just about anything.
Basic Road Rules
Traffic laws and regulations can vary between each of the 50 states (although most are similar). So when picking up your vehicle be sure to ask if there are any unique driving rules in the states that you will be travelling through.
These are the main road rules to help you along the way: • Drive on the right hand side of the road. • By law, every vehicle occupant must wear a seatbelt. • Maps, speedometers and road signs are all in miles per hour. • Speed limits vary between the states, so keep an eye out for signage. • You can turn right on a red traffic signal, but only after stopping and checking for traffic. • Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is an offence in some states. If you do need to make or take a call, pull over to the side of the road.
Drivers Licence In the US you aren’t required to carry an International Driving Permit if you hold a valid driving license from your home country. You may need to have held this license for one year. Toll/Turnpike Information Tickets issued at turnpikes may be marked with a time. If the time in which you reach your destination indicates you’ve been speeding, you’ll be fined. Make sure you stay in the truck lanes, not the “cars only” lanes. Restrictions When you pull into a road stop for a break or gas, stay out of the “cars only” sections - the size of your vehicle may put you into
a truck category. Many areas have signs indicating trucks/buses/campers. Try to observe the truck rules, eg mostly stay out of the passing lanes when they don’t allow trucks; use the slow lanes on a long hill; and give trucks the room they need. Sometimes it’s vague as to whether you should take your RV into areas that state “no trucks”. Generally, if “No Trucks” is qualified with “hazardous cargo”, a weight limit, height limit, width limit, or similar restriction, you need to obey it. Sometimes “No Trucks” signs also specifically list trailers, RVs, and/or buses. “Cars Only” is another clear indication that RVs shouldn’t be there.
“No Trucks” without any other explanation doesn’t apply to RVs, however. “No Commercial Vehicles” doesn’t apply to RVs. “Trucks excluded from left lane” tells you that you shouldn’t really be there, but you’re allowed. “All Trucks” or “All Commercial Vehicles” at an inspection/weigh point do not apply to RVs – that’s only for trucks that are hauling commercially. Alcohol and Drug Limits The blood alcohol limit for driving in the USA is .08% Driver Fatigue It’s imperative you realise the potential hazards for accidents on the road due to sleepiness and lack of concentration. Every year a huge number of accidents occur due to driver fatigue. It is for this reason that many RV rental companies insist that renters arriving on international flights must stay overnight in a hotel before being allowed to drive their vehicles.
Tips to help you stay alert: • Make sure you are refreshed and rested before a long drive. • Every two hours, take a break from driving. • If possible, share the driving with someone else. • Avoid really big meals and drink plenty of fluids. • If you begin to feel sleepy, try to nap for up to 40 minutes. • If you’re feeling very tired, find a place to stay overnight.
every two hours, pull over and take a break from driving.
Maneuvering Your RV
The transition from driving the family car to driving an RV IS different, but not necessarily difficult. Driving even a 10+ ton rig can be done safely once you’ve had a proper education in it and a little practice. Physical size or stature isn’t important; but health, alertness, mature judgment, dexterity, driving experience and common sense are. The tips below will help you to be a safe RV driver: • The passenger is not a co-pilot. The passenger is a navigator, and should take responsibility for that job. However, the “pilot”/driver makes final decisions on where to turn, stop, go, or not go! • Campervans are taller than passenger vehicles, so know the clearance height required and consider things like service station canopies and low-hanging branches. Many rental companies will expect customers to pay the full cost of repair if their vehicles are damaged “overhead”. • The additional weight and size (length) of an RV makes it less maneuverable than a passenger vehicle. A safe maneuver in your family car may be dangerous in the RV. Since it’s heavier, the RV may not stop as quickly and you’ll need more following and braking distance. Defensive driving in an RV requires making changes slowly, braking gradually, and being familiar with its handling characteristics. Your RV is • Some highways either restrict or recommend non-use for vehicles over a certain length, so research which roads you can travel and how to access them. There’s a vehicle code that restricts the operation of housecars over 40 feet only on specified highways and within one mile of either side of those highways for access to fuel, food, or lodging. These highways include (but are not always limited to) the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, and all state routes. Only the very longest Class A RVs are over 40 feet in length.
the passenger should take the responsibility of being the navigator.
much wider and longer than even the biggest of cars, and while you may begin to feel like you can park or maneuver it anywhere, don’t become complacent. Take corners (sharp corners, like at intersections or into and out of parking lots) a little wider. Pull out straight, then turn, a little later than you would in a normal length car. • If you’re towing an RV, you should also be aware of brake fade. Brake fade can happen when the brakes are overheated from prolonged use or the brakes are out of alignment. To help avoid brake fade, use the lower gears to allow the engine to help slow the vehicle. • If you are going to tow something behind you, consider whether your RV can carry the extra weight up steep mountains or slippery surfaces. Make sure the hitch attachment is secure, and also consider the total length of the campervan and attachment combined. • Stopping should also be practiced on traffic-free side roads or empty parking lots before you embark on your journey. Perform maximum braking stops from various speeds so that you will be able
to judge how your RV will perform when you need to stop. (This may seem like it will tear up or wear out your RV, but you will be happy you did this if you really have to perform a panic braking operation!) Air brakes can take getting used to, since they have an additional one-second response time that isn’t present in hydraulic braking systems. The pedal on an air brake is much softer than on a hydraulic brake. An exhaust brake enhances both gas and diesel engines ability to help with the braking process and are especially important descending long and steep grades. • High speed turning also requires practice because the mass of an RV causes a momentum that makes the rig want to go straight much more so than an car. This weight has a much higher center of gravity and therefore turning can make it more prone to tipping. The suspensions of RVs are not as capable as a car. • Another space that is extremely important to judge is following distance. In good weather and on roads with good visibility, you need to have a following distance of four seconds (pick
High-speed turning is different in a heavier vehicle.
a landmark that the vehicle you’re following will pass and then count four seconds until your vehicle gets to the same spot). The higher the speed, the greater the following distance must be, and add time for poor visibility and bad weather. • Always make sure you can “see” a forward motion path out of any parking lot before you enter it. Backing up should be avoided if at all possible, as there are lots of blind spots around your RV. Use another member of your party to direct your vehicle from the rear (the length of these vehicles in particular is hard to judge). Make sure they are visible in your rear mirrors. Even in traffic, leave enough room in front of you so you can go forward if the car in front stalls. When you have to back up without assistance, get out and go back to look just to be sure it is safe to do so - even if you’re blocking traffic. • Be prepared to be passed by large trucks (semis, lorries) going in both directions. They will rock your vehicle with their “wake”, but it shouldn’t be necessary to correct your vehicle’s direction by
steering. When you see them coming, you should have both hands on the wheel and hold it firmly, steady and straight ahead. If there’s a strong cross wind in the area you are traveling, you‘ll notice “wind shadows” when you go under overpasses or past trucks that block the wind. Remember to try to maintain the wheels in a straight line, even while the RV yaws or rocks back and forth. If you overcorrect, you may lose control. • There are a lot of animals crossing roadways, especially in the morning and evening. If you find one in your path, do NOT swerve to miss it. Hold your steering wheel rock steady and use your brake. Better that the animal should get hurt than your passengers or other motorists. When a large RV begins to swerve, it can be deadly, and nearly impossible to bring back into control. • Give yourself plenty of time for lane changes and use your signals. Don’t hesitate once you decide to make a lane change, and don’t slow down to merge. It’s vitally important to match your speed as closely as possible to the traffic around you.
hold your steering wheel steady when being passed by trucks - and even when wildlife is in your path.
• Should you decide you want to go off road it’s essential you discuss this with someone local, both to get their advice (on weather conditions, the best route, fuel availability and so forth) and to make sure someone local knows your intended route. It’s also a good idea to discuss your intended route with your rental company regarding their policy of driving the RV on unsealed roads. • If you do break down in a remote area, don’t try and get out and walk. People who stay with their vehicles are usually located quickly and easily. Stay in the shade, conserve water, and prepare effective signals. • When travelling in remote areas, always take a sufficient supply of water – 5 liters per person per day. • If the road you’re driving on is dusty, be cautious as it may be concealing potholes and/or washouts. • RVs are naturally slower than passenger vehicles. It takes longer to climb a hill in an RV because it’s heavier than a passenger vehicle. Keep this in mind, practice good manners, and observe the law by using turnouts when there are five or more vehicles behind you that wish to pass. The drivers behind you will be able to see ahead more easily if you try not to drive next to the center of the
lane. If you are traveling with other RV owners in a caravan, be sure to leave enough space between your RV and the RV in front of you for other drivers to enter when they want to pass. • It’s really important to learn how to correctly connect and disconnect the vehicle in tow if you have one. There are many accidents caused by inattention to detail that can end up with a loose towed vehicle or serious accident. Be careful each time so that you aren’t injured by a towed vehicle that was not properly braked or blocked. • Bad weather conditions such as wind, fog, snow, and ice, are hazards to all motorists. In your RV you have an advantage over other passenger vehicles due to the added weight over the drive wheels which gives the vehicle better traction in bad weather. However, its added weight can also make it more difficult to move if it gets stuck. Plan your trips to avoid bad weather conditions as much as possible. • Remember, if hazardous weather conditions require the use of windshield wipers you must also turn on your headlights.
Q: Can I travel into Canada (and vice versa?) A: US-registered RVs can travel to Canada and return to the US, and Canadianregistered RVs may enter the US and return to Canada no problem. One-way rentals between the two countries are not allowed, however. If you’re a Canadian resident you aren’t allowed to rent a US-registered vehicle in the US and travel back into Canada. Q: What about Mexico? A: Travel into Mexico with an RV is allowed, however there are restrictions and you’ll probably have to get separate insurance and adhere to certain special conditions. Q: What kind of fuel does an RV need? A: Most RVs use unleaded 89 octane. Dieselpowered vehicles are becoming more common. Q: How much fuel does an RV use? A: Vehicles use approximately 22 feet: 8-11 miles/gallon (18-28 liter/100 km) 25 feet: 7-10 miles/gallon (23-33 liter/100 km) 32 feet: 6-8 miles/gallon (25-35 liter/100 km) Q: What kind of power supply does an RV have? A: Your RV will have either a V8 or a V10 engine. The refrigerator, microwave, stove and high output range are operated with propane gas; the power for the air conditioner is supplied during driving by the engine, and when the engine is off, by an outside 110V power supply, or a generator, if installed. RVs have a dual battery system, meaning that the engine battery is separate from the battery system used for internal appliances such as the fridge, lights and water pump. The appliance battery system will last about 12 hours when fully charged (the batteries recharge when you drive the vehicle). Since the engine battery is separate, if you flatten the appliance batteries, you will still be able to start the engine and drive. All vehicles have the facility to plug into an external electricity supply. The level of amps used for power hookups vary from RV to RV – make sure you know which ampage your vehicle uses when booking campground sites. Q: Can I travel one-way to a destination or do I have to do a round-trip? A: One-way reservations are available between many rental centers by advance reservation only and are subject to availability and some restrictions. A drop off fee may apply. Remember one-ways between the U.S. and Canada aren’t allowed. Q: Is it safe to drink the water in the RV water tank? A: It’s not really advisable as you’ll be filling the tank from a variety of locations and there’s no guarantee that it’s fit to drink.
It’s ok for washing and bathing but it’s best to stick to bottled water for cooking and drinking. If you run out of bottled water, make sure you boil the tank water if you do need to drink some. Q: Are there any size restrictions on campgrounds or parking lots? A: There may be some campgrounds that don’t allow RVs over an overall length of 25 feet. If you’re driving a very large RV, check in advance. Q: What should I do if I have an accident? A: You must notify the rental company within 24 hours of an accident and make a full report in writing as well as file a police report - even if you aren’t injured. Q: What amenities are available in a typical RV? A: At the very minimum, an RV provides temporary living accommodations consisting of a bed, food storage, food preparation, and dining area. On very small trailers, cooking and dining facilities may be accessible only from the outside. Most RVs include the following amenities: • Bed with mattress • Kitchen with sink, stove, and refrigerator • Bathroom with sink, toilet, and shower • Living area consisting of table, chairs, and sofas • Heating and air conditioning • Entertainment electronics such as a TV, radio, etc.
Q: Is it complicated to hook the RV up to campground facilities? A: No, connecting the RV to campsite facilities needs no technical expertise. You’ll receive instruction on these connections at the time of pickup, but if you’re at a campground with a “full hook up” you simply plug into the mains supply, connect your black water (sewage) pipe to an inground sewer outlet and hook up a fresh water connection. Other campgrounds with limited hookups may offer power only. No hookup means your unit is self-sufficient – in the U.S RVs have sewer pipes/outlets. In the US there may be common barbecue areas - make sure you read the camp instructions carefully regarding fires. Q: Is there any “RV etiquette” I should know before I get to the RV campground? A: An RV campground is not too different from a normal neighborhood – it usually just involves courtesy and common sense. Being a good neighbor at a campground means keeping your hookup neat and quiet. Loud music and barking dogs are definitely not appreciated - many RVers are early risers, so allow your neighbors to get their rest. If you arrive at a campground at night, dim your headlights and keep the noise down as you set up. RVers often stake out their hookups with a chair or a folding table - that means they’ll be back and you should look elsewhere for a spot to camp. Above all, extend a hand of politeness friendship to your fellow RVers. You’ll be surprised just how helpful and considerate they can be.
Invaluable RVing Tips
• Take soft and collapsible luggage, not rigid suitcases, to fit in the often small storage compartments in RVs. • Don’t try and tick off too may sights in too short a time, or you will spend your whole trip looking out the window of your RV. • Get off the well-trodden tourist routes and interact with the locals to discover parts of the States that are generally reserved for local knowledge. Successful RVing relies on a community spirit and you’re likely to find more of this out in the less-populated areas. • Leveling blocks can be handy if you don’t • Don’t underestimate the power of the sun even when the temperatures aren’t extreme. Apply waterproof SPF30+ frequently, and cover up with sunhats, clothing and sunglasses. The last thing you want is to get burnt on the first day of your holiday and spend the rest of it in pain and unable to go in the sun at all! like sleeping on an angle, but planks (or VERY thick cardboard) are also worthwhile to place under your wheels as you park if it looks like it will get very muddy. • If you do get badly burnt, take an antiinflammatory such as ibuprofen (eg Advil), moisturize frequently, drink loads of water and avoid more sun. Also avoid applying aloe vera gel unless you are certain it’s pure – many highly-colored versions actually have a high alcohol content which further dries out the skin. • When parking at a holiday park, unspoken etiquette is to position your RV so your sliding door does not face your neighbor’s door. That way you can avoid enforced chit chat and retain some privacy.
don’t try and squeeze too many sights into a short trip, or you’ll feel too rushed.
• When leaving a campground with a hookup make sure you have disconnected the power, water and black water before driving off! • Bring all the essentials, but don’t overpack. Do you really need more than one pair of the same type of shoe? You’ll be glad for any square inch of extra space to live in inside your campervan. • Spring-type clothes pegs come in handy for countless things – keeping open bags closed, replacing the fiddly closures on sliced bread… and hanging up your clothes of course! On this note, clotheslines at holiday parks fill up very quickly. Wash your clothes and hang them out at night. • Glasses travel well in beer coolers (those foam cups that keep your beer bottle cool), or polystyrene sheets with different-sized holes cut in. • Take wire coathangers rather than plastic so you can bend the hooks around to stop them jumping off the rail even on really bumpy roads.
• Check the alignment of other people’s TV antennas when you arrive at a holiday park – chances are they’ll be pointing in the right direction! • Cook double the amount of any food you make, especially stews, curries, stirfries etc so you have an easy reheatable meal at the end of the following day’s travel. • Make sure everything is stored away securely before driving. In particular, check refrigerator doors, side entry doors and cupboards have security latches deployed correctly. A moment’s care could save you a costly or messy load of foodstuffs, crockery or other belongings. • Make certain living quarter vents are closed before heading out on the highway and other external components on your vehicle are secure. These could include side entry steps, side awnings and side compartment doors.
cook double the amount every time so you can just re-heat the next day.
RVing in the City
• Plan your route accurately and schedule your arrival in any major city to avoid commuter traffic. Just to give you an idea, it is possible to drive through Los Angeles from one side to the other in about one hour, but that has to be done at 3 am! It takes about 2+ hours to do the same drive at 10am or 2pm, but it takes 4+ hours to do it at 7am or 4pm. • Since you aren’t on a schedule, leave the freeways in large cities during commuter hours to the commuters. It just takes a lot less effort and causes a lot less stress on the driver if you plan things to avoid high traffic times. Lurk on the edge of a city for an hour or two if you have to. • When you have to drive in large cities on the side streets, you need to have very good maps and do a lot of planning so as not to get lost or drive into an area that will put you at risk. GPS Navigation systems are hugely helpful in these times and the good ones will guide you with verbal instructions for every turn and never let you get you lost, or turn onto the wrong or a dead end street. Even if you happen to make a wrong turn, the good navigation systems immediately plan a new route to get you to the street address you have chosen. • Almost all RVs have propane tanks on board, which can mean you aren’t allowed to travel through certain areas of cities such as through tunnels – and often there is no signage until it’s too late to turn back. You could find yourself having to take detours onto narrow streets and it can take you hours to get around a city without going through a tunnel or taking a road that doesn’t allow RVs. It’s a much better bet to leave the RV on the edge of a city and take the train or ferry into its heart. Plan your route carefully when leaving the city – it could take longer than you think! • While an RV makes for excellent cheap accommodation in cities, and almost all cities have excellent centralized RV parks, it’s an extremely frustrating experience driving your RV around during the day as your form of transport within the city. It’s recommended to leave your RV at the RV park and utilize the city’s public transport system instead. Many large attractions have RV parks actually attached to them – such as Disneyland – and some large department stores such as Walmart even allow RVs to park overnight in their carparks.
Types of Campgrounds
In the States, there are an estimated 8,000 public and another 8,000 privately-owned campgrounds catering to the needs of 61 million campers using tents, travel trailers, motor homes or other types of RVs. Note: Not all campgrounds can handle the bigger RVs. Check out whether each one can when reserving a campground. If you have a wide-body vehicle or slide outs, make sure this is known beforehand. These restrictions are most common at government parks and older campgrounds – often they were designed and built before the newest, largest RVs became available. Electricity is only offered at some of these sites; some have little or no services whatsoever. The basics are usually fresh water, bathrooms (sometimes with showers) and a small visitor’s centre. There are lots of different types of governmentrun sites: State Parks; National Parks; Bureau of Land Management (BLM); Army Cops of Engineer Projects; and National Wildlife Refugee Systems. If you know Government-Run Hundreds of millions of acres of pristine, protected American land falls under the jurisdiction of the government and most offer at least some kind of camping, you are heading for wildlife areas where campgrounds may not have power hookups, consider renting an RV with an inbuilt generator. albeit often with a lack of facilities and hookups. However, the scenery and natural surrounds are often rewarding enough to offset this. You’ll also pay very small fees and admission costs at these campsites – the average cost of a private campground is probably the most you’d ever pay at a federal- or state-owned one.
There are a few distinct types to choose from:
government-run campgrounds are cheap and scenic but more basic.
Private Campgrounds The majority of campgrounds in the States fall into this category – often they’re family businesses or owned by people passionate about the RV lifestyle. They all have different locations, rules, sizes, opening seasons, prices and facilities so it’s hard to say what a “typical” one is like. They can range from about $15 to $60 per night, with $20-$25 being average. The most basic facilities will usually be LP gas, dump stations, bathrooms (with hot showers), a communal room, and parking sites.
dramatically reduced fees, RV park directory, members’ publication, and discounts on services such as insurance. They often cost several thousand dollars a year, however, to join the large groups so it’s a matter of weighing it up against how long you are RVing for – (high start up costs are only offset if you plan to RV regularly). Check if pets and kids are allowed and make sure you read the fine print carefully in terms of what your membership fee pays for and what it doesn’t. Boondocking
Private campgrounds fall into one of two categories: franchise-owned (such as Kampgrounds of America, or KOA) which provide a similar experience at each one you visit and offer repeat guests reduced rates etc; and RV resorts, which are often upscale with premium facilities and located in warm-weather climates. Membership Parks This is a bit like a time-share arrangement. In most cases members choose a “home park” which serves as their base between visits to other locations, and they have access to a system of hundreds of parks across the States. Membership includes
Also known as “dry camping”, this means camping without any of the hookups (eg sewer, water, electricity) and you have to rely on the amenities of your RV. It can refer to anything from parking in a friend or neighbor’s driveway to being out in the middle of a forest. If you want electricity, heat and so on you will need to rely on your RV’s generator, holding tanks etc. While it’s obviously a versatile (and free) option, it’s not without its risks. It can be uncertain in terms of safety and security and if you’re on private property or in violation of stopping restrictions you may get a rude wakeup call!
self-sufficient camping is known as “boondocking”.
As previously mentioned, some large department stores such as Walmart and Camping World allow boondocking in their parking lots. There’s some basic etiquette to follow if you’re going to stay at one of these – make them aware of your presence, buy a few things as a thank-you, don’t sprawl out over a huge area with slideouts, awnings etc, and don’t stay more than one night. This type of independent camping requires that your RV is totally self-sufficient; your deserted retreat won’t have any hookups, so water, electricity, and sewage are your concerns now. This takes a little extra planning! • Before departing, make sure the fresh water and LP gas (propane) tanks are filled right up, your water tanks (for waste water and sewage) are empty, and you have plenty of fuel. A generator and a high-quality converter/charger are a must to keep your coach battery charged and to run energy-hogging items such as an air conditioner or microwave. • Upon arrival, turn on the propane and be sure to switch the refrigerator to LP gas operation. If you’re cold, set the furnace, which works off the LP gas. Make sure the carbon monoxide, smoke alarms, and propane leak detectors are activated and in good working order. Carry extra batteries if they run off dry cells.
• The generator works off gasoline, so keep an eye on your fuel tank. To activate the onboard water system, you must first activate the water pump — for hot water, turn on the water heater for a while before you plan to shower or wash dishes. Be sure the water heater is filled with water before switching it on. Onboard lights and fans are powered off the coach battery, but run the generator every so often during the day for a recharge. • Your RV should have some kind of monitor panel, informing you of your exact levels of LP gas, water, and tank capacities. Check these vitals daily to avoid any surprises. • You should have little trouble camping in this manner for two to three days — longer if you practice good conservation of your resources. Take quick showers and wash dishes sparingly, which frees up your water and holding tanks and eases up on the LP gas. Turn off unnecessary lights and appliances to conserve battery space and keep furnace usage to a minimum.
Compared to car travel, where you have to eat at restaurants and sleep in motels and hotels, vacationing in a RV is extremely economical. After initial outlay of renting or buying, gasoline and campsites are the major expense. Food costs around the same as at home because you cook your own meals. Overnight accommodations are reasonable, usually from about $5 to $25 a night. A surprising number of public campgrounds are still free.
Today’s RVs are lighter weight and more fuel-efficient than ever. Some compact motorhomes get similar gas mileage to larger SUVs. And many towable RVs are constructed of lighter weight materials making them towable by the family truck, SUV or minivan. To maximize your savings, use the following tips to help you conserve fuel: • Camp closer to home. With more than 16,000 campgrounds nationwide, you can enjoy the outdoor experience whether you travel five miles or 500 miles.
activities, convenience stores and lots more. • Drive at 55 instead of 65. Keeping speed constant and lower saves fuel. • Pack lighter by not topping up fresh water tanks until at the campground and by purchasing firewood and other camping materials on site to keep the RV lightweight while traveling. Be sure holding tanks are dumped before heading out to also help lighten the load. • Tune up the engine of your motorhome
• Stay longer in one place. Many RV parks are vacation destinations in their own right, offering pools, playgrounds, hiking trails, entertainment centers, organized
or tow vehicle, inflate tires properly and conduct regular maintenance to maximize fuel efficiency.
make sure holding tanks are dumped at regularly to lighten your load.
• Use the grade of fuel recommended by the engine manufacturer to increase miles per gallon. • In the summer months, travel later in the day when the weather is cooler and the vehicle air conditioning is needed less. • Save on entertainment costs by bringing along your family’s favorite DVDs, games and sporting equipment.
Some other facts to keep in mind: • Fuel is typically only the fourth largest expense on a road trip, behind lodging, food, vehicle payment and maintenance. • Airfares and hotel rates also rise when fuel costs increase and fuel surcharges are added. You can avoid those costs in an RV. • Fuel prices would need to more than triple from their current level to make RVing more expensive for a family of four than other forms of travel.
even if fuel prices rose considerably, RVing is still one of the most affordable ways to travel.
How to Be a Green RVer
Like everyone, RVers have a responsibility to protect the environment. But what does it really mean to be “green”? Well, it’s anything that respects the natural environment – from reducing harmful effects on the natural surroundings to using products which cause less damage to the world. With nearly one billion tourists traveling the globe every year, it’s more important than ever for us to minimize our individual impact on the earth’s natural and cultural resources. RV vacations are more environmentally friendly than fly-drivehotel vacations, according to new studies comparing carbon footprints. Many RVs have solar panels to help generate their own power source, for example. Do your part to help preserve the great outdoors by following these conservation tips: • Keep streams and lakes clean – when washing, take the water and wash things away from the source, and let soapy water soak through soil to be filtered. • Minimize the use of disposables. Mix your own cold drinks from powders, and assign a mug to each family member rather than using paper cups. Discard excess packaging at home. • Recycle as you travel. Take note of campground recycling categories; they may be different from those you use at home. • Always use marked RV campsites. • Keep your RV on roads that it is equipped to handle.
Respect fire bans and Keep campfires small to minimize ash and pollution.
• Keep campfires small to minimize the amount of ash and pollution. Don’t put anything into the fire pit that will not burn, such as plastics, foils, and metals. Observe fire rules, which may change each day with weather conditions. Ensure your campfire is fully extinguished before you leave your campsite or retire for the night. • Use nontoxic cleaning supplies and tank additives. • Where pets are permitted, keep them indoors or use a screw-in stake. Tying them to trees can damage fragile bark. • Work with nature. In hot weather, use natural shade, awnings and canvas covers. In cold weather, park where the RV will be protected from north and west winds.
• Try and keep your air conditioning use to a minimum. • Leave campground showers, the dump station, and the campsite as clean as you found them. • At the end of your trip, dispose of all trash properly. • Keep to the tracks when hiking – there’s less risk of damaging fragile plants and ecosystems • Respect the country’s heritage – many places in America have spiritual and/or historical significance
To preserve resources, use natural shade when it’s hot and natural shelter when it’s cold.
United States 101
Location and Landscape
• The United States is a vast country that encompasses more than 3.5 million square miles (nine million square kilometers) and is home to more than 281 million people. • Forty-eight of the country’s 50 states are located in the central portion of North America.
• To the east is the Atlantic Ocean, and to the west is the Pacific. Canada forms the northern border of the United States, while Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico lie to the south. • The United States also includes the states of Alaska, located in the northwest corner of North America, and Hawaii, which is a series of islands in the Pacific Ocean.
• Washington, DC, is the capital city of the United States. • The country’s landscape is as varied as you’d expect such an immense region to be. Mountain ranges run through both the eastern and western areas of the United States, with prairies and farmland making up much of the central part of the country.
• The climate is just as varied. The South has warm temperatures year-round, while tremendous seasonal changessnowy winter months and hot, humid summer months-characterize the Northeast and Midwest. The coastal areas of the West have a moderate climate, while the mountainous areas
Climate Zones of the Continental United States
Semiarid Steppe climate Humid Subtropical climate Marine Westcoast climate Mediterranean climate Humid Continental (warm summer) climate
Humid Continental (cool summer) climate Highland (alpine) climate Tropical Wet/Dry Season climate Midlatitude Desert climate
see more seasonal variations. The deserts of Arizona and Nevada are extremely hot and dry. • The climate can vary dramatically, not just within a state, but within a small region. In the mountains of Colorado for example, you could have been cycling in shorts in July and within an hour later been freezing in 35-degree (F) snow. Be prepared! • Much of the U.S. is open and cloudless. Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses are the norm. Hats are a must, too. And everyone sunburns more at high altitudes – and many of the fantastic scenic areas of the U.S. – especially in the west – are at significantly higher elevation than you might be used to. Most of Yellowstone National Park is above 7,500 feet (2,300 meters); elevations in Rocky Mountain National Park range from 8,000 to 14,000 feet (2,400-4,200 meters). Altitude can cause significant breathing and other health
problems. The simple rules are: 1) go slow the first day or two at altitude, 2) drink lots of water, and 3) limit alcohol intake.
The seasons are as follows: Spring: March, April, May Summer: June, July, August Fall: September, October, November Winter: December, January, February
• The national language of the United States is English. Not many Americans speak another language. • If they do speak another language, such as in pockets in the central states where small communities speak German or one of the Scandinavian languages, or people living or working along the U.S.
majestic mountains run through both the eastern and western of the U.s.
border with eastern Canada, where French may be a second language for some, they will almost always speak English too. • But in general, it’s an English-only country - the one exception being along the southern U.S. border from California to Texas where there are communities where Spanish is the first language, and some residents may not speak any English. Also in those areas, many native English speakers know a fair amount of Spanish. • Therefore, it’s probably essential that you (or someone in your traveling group) speak English. There are obviously exceptions but on the whole but you shouldn’t rely on Americans understanding any other language.
• By world standards, American is a fairly young country, even when you consider the first people entered Alaska from Russia about 15,000 years ago. Christopher Columbus then “discovered” America in 1492 and the first colonists arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. • U.S. history is very varied and interesting, and much of the eastern U.S. has many historic sites – such as battlefields from the Revolutionary and Civil wars, and historic communities from the 18th and 19th centuries.
christopher columbus “discovered” america in 1492.
Food You’ll Find
Traditional American cuisine has a history dating back to long before colonists arrived. Native Americans had their own cooking styles for a wide range of foods, which mostly included: • Fruits (largely berries) and nuts • Root vegetables • Game birds • Alligators, frogs, snails, turtles Many recipes, in hand written recipe books, brought to America by migrant women have been passed from one cook to another down the years and variants of these recipes still form part of “traditional” American food, particularly in that region. The style of cooking followed closely along the line of British cookery up right up until the Revolution. These methods continued to develop over the last two centuries with the influx of immigrants from various countries across the world, the different influences from which have combined to create unique regional styles throughout the country. Nowadays, “American” cooking is the fusion of multiple ethnic or regional approaches • Fish • Whale, seal, walrus • Crustaceans and shellfish • Bread made of cornmeal Grilling and spit roasting were popular as well as cooking vegetables directly in the ashes of the fire. (The Native Americans were the first in America to create fire-proof pottery to place in direct flames). With European colonization, the styles of cookery changed hugely. Many ingredients and cooking methods were introduced from Europe and English colonists planted crops familiar to them from back home especially (unsurprisingly) in New England. into a melting pot of new cooking styles. However, while some dishes considered typically American may have their origins in other countries, American cooks and chefs have considerably altered them over time. Hot dogs and hamburgers, for example, are both based on traditional German dishes but in their modern, popular form they‘re now considered “American” dishes.
The States’ regional cuisine is characterized by its huge diversity, with each region having its own distinctive cuisine styles, mostly based on immigrant influences and what ingredients are available locally. Northeast The cuisine of the Northeastern United States encompasses the styles of food of the states above the Potomac River. Maryland, Massachusetts, and Maine are havens of seafood, while Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York cuisine is heavily influenced by Italian and German immigrants to industrial centers such as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Jersey City. Associated foods: Italian, lobster, blueberries, clam chowder, crabs, hot dogs, pretzels, bagels, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, clam bakes, baked beans, brown bread. Midwest This region draws its culinary influences most notably from the cuisines of Europe, manifesting in everyday Midwestern home cooking that epitomizes simple, hearty dishes that make use of locally grown foods. Its
culinary profiles are along the lines of what you might imagine when you think of typical “American food.” Associated foods: Wild rice, grains, apple pie, beef and pork sausages, turkey, freshwater fish, cold-climate fruit, potatoes, Greek, Polish, Italian, Norwegian and German dishes, Coney Island hot dogs, barbecue, sweet corn, meatloaf, casseroles. Southern Soul food, Creole, Cajun, Lowcountry, and Floribbean are examples of Southern cuisine, elements of which have recently spread north, affecting the development of other types of American cuisine. Southern Native American culture is the “cornerstone” of Southern cuisine from their culture came one of the main staples of the Southern diet: corn. The term “soul food” dates back to the first half of the 1960s, but now generally just refers to a type of Southern country or home cooking familiar to both blacks and whites of the South. Associated foods: Peppers, crawfish (lobster), cornbread, grits, eggplant, kola nuts, okra, black-eyed peas, melons, crab, oysters, shrimp, beans,
catfish, rice, gumbo, wild game, deep fried chicken, cobbler, pit barbecue, gravy, doughnuts. Western The locavore movement (eating locally produced food) is a major influence here, as is the concept of sustainability. The influence of the Native American cultures of each area, but especially in the Northwest and in Navajo country, is important as is the “bounty of the land”, ie the things hunter-gatherers and fishermen would have found, are also influential. In the plains and mountain states such as Utah, Montana, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming, cowboy/ranch culture is evident, such as variations on the beef theme, outdoor cooking, and things like chuckwagon dinners. Along the coast, seafood is important as is of the Pacific Rim, and fusion cuisine has become extremely popular. Near Mexico, the influence of that country is obvious. A growing wine industry is of great importance along the West Coast and increasingly important inland and to the north, not only in California.
Associated foods: Blackberries, oranges, mushrooms, beef, avocado, Rocky Mountain oysters, wild game, seafood, Mexican food, sushi, baby back ribs, organic food. Southwestern Cuisine of the Southwestern states is made up of a fusion of recipes for things that might have been eaten by Spanish colonial settlers, cowboys, Native Americans, and Mexicans throughout the post-Columbian era. It’s often known as “Tex-Mex”. Southwestern cuisine is similar to Mexican cuisine but often involves larger cuts of meat, and less use of things like organ meat. Like Mexican cuisine, it is also known for its use of spices (particularly the chili pepper) and accompaniment with beans cooked in a variety of ways. Associated foods: Salsa, chili con carne, rattlesnake, burrito, rice, beans, stuffed peppers, tacos, fajitas, King Ranch Chicken.
Top Ten National Parks
1. Glacier, Montana Many regular RVers say that Glacier is the best National Park in the entire country, and not just for the breathtaking scenery that encompasses pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes. There are also fantastic lodges and services, and abundant wildlife. It can attract lots of crowds, however that’s simply testament to its value as a special place to visit. September usually sees fewer people (and mosquitoes) but lots of animal activity - goats, wolves and grizzlies, to name a few. 2. Big Bend, Texas This park’s visitor centre is among the best in the country, as is the scenery where desert meets mountains on the Rio Grande. There are many things to do – such as hiking to the South Rim (when it’s not closed for part of the year due to falcon nesting). This is a park where you can really commune with nature without the crowds 4. Yellowstone, Wyoming Some would argue that the unique scenery and lodging would make this the best National Park to see – it’s certainly one of the most famous. However, a lot of people tend to agree – Yellowstone is also famous for its crowds. Try visiting the geyser basins in the early morning to avoid the majority 3. Bryce Canyon, Utah The main drawcard of this National Park is the stunning mountain scenery – while it’s Utah’s smallest National Park, you’ll see rock formations like nowhere else in the world. If you’re heading this way make sure you leave plenty of time to thoroughly experience its beauty – natural amphitheatres, gorgeous views, multicolored hoodoos, dramatic canyons and fringing fir forests. of other people trying to do it too. In fact, the Spaniards dubbed it “El Despoblado” or “The Uninhabited Land.”
glacier national park is thought by many to be the best in the u.s.
of the throngs crowding round the usual spots such as Old Faithful – it’s a great time of day for wildlife-spotting too. Otherwise, take a hike, paddle or horse ride into a more remote part and discover equally amazing spots of your own. 5. Zion, Utah The mind-boggling rock stratifications and excellent staff at this park make it a fantastic place to visit. Although there are large crowds, it’s known for being a particularly family-friendly choice. Check out landmarks such as Angels Landing or the Great White Throne, or drive the Mt Carmel Highway to see the Great Arch of Zion and the Zion Canyon. Located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert regions, this park’s unique geography and variety of life zones allow for really unusual plant and animal diversity. 6. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee The wildlife alone makes this park one of America’s most fascinating: try 4,000 types of flora (found in five distinct forest zones)
and 450 varieties of fauna, including elk, bear, boar, river otters, and hellbenders (salamanders that can grow to the size of a human toddler!). You can see some of this biodiversity on more than 850 miles (1,368 kilometers) of hiking trails. Don’t let the fact that Great Smoky is America’s most popular national park make you apprehensive - only 6 percent of the park’s visitors head into the back country – so that’s exactly what you should do. 7. Sequioa, California This park is said to be just as magnificent as the nearby Yosemite, but without the crowds. You can spot some of the world’s largest trees, as well as bears out in the back country. Add lakes, stream, snowfields, rivers and mountain peaks and you have the recipe for something close to a paradisiacal wilderness. Stand on top of Moro Rock for arguably one of the best views in the world. 8. Grand Teton, Wyoming Again, the spectacular scenery of this park outweighs the annoyance of large crowds (best avoided in October) to make it still one of the best to visit. The soaring, rugged,
zion is known as a great family-friendly park.
snowy Grand Tetons provide an aweinspiring backdrop for your explorations – try driving or hiking through Jackson Hole for excellent wildlife-viewing – try and spot some buffalo, moose, pronghorn, marmots, deer, muskrats, beavers, otters or elk. Paddle or fish the famous Snake River. 9. Acadia, Maine These islands were once the territory of robber barons, meaning they stayed unpopulated and therefore well-preserved for a long time. These days though, parts such as Bar Harbor are swarming with tourists although the Western side of the island, less so. The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast. Take your pick of spectacular mountains to climb or enjoy rugged coastline, serene lakes, pretty forests and scenic trails. Try driving the 27-mile Park Loop Rd, one of the most picturesque drives in the whole country (albeit a challenging one – confident drivers only!)
10. Rocky Mountain, Colorado This iconic region is full of jaw-dropping scenery, framed by the famous snowcapped peaks. At least three million travelers visit the park every year, making for some fairly inconvenient traffic jams but once you’re off the beaten track, you’ll find unpopulated wilderness in spades. Try Trail Ridge Road, which winds its way for 50 miles between glacial peaks, crossing the park from east to west and then dropping into the Kawuneeche Valley. The road travels for 11 miles above 11,000 feet and for 4 miles above 12,000 feet.
There are just under 400 National Parks in the US – even a list of the top 50 would still be full of great ones to visit.
grand teton provides a majestic backdrop for your explorations.
Top Ten Scenic Drives
1. Seward Highway, Alaska Starting at Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, the drive down to the fishing village of Seward is sublimely rugged. To your left lie the steely waters of Turnagain Arm and to your right rise the Chugach Mountains. You’ll then cut through Chugach National Forest and go past Resurrection Bay. The trip is about 127 miles long and should take about half a day. 2. Old Spanish Trail, Louisiana Begin this Cajun-style road trip in Houma on the Bayou Black Drive, following a section of a nineteenth-century Spanish frontier trail. Framed by sugarcane fields and oak forest, the byway runs past swamp tours offering glimpses of Louisiana wildlife – think otters, deer, bobcats, wild pigs and alligators. Also of note are the old Southern mansions and communities with a distinct French flavor - St. Martinville, also known as “Petit Paris,” is just a few miles before the byway’s end in Breaux Bridge. 4. Pacific Coast Hwy (Hwy 1), California No trip to California is complete without a jaunt along the almost surreally scenic Hwy 1, one of the US’s most iconic roads. Slipping out of San Francisco by the Bay, the narrow road ribbons above the ocean, 3. Turquoise Trail (Hwy 14), New Mexico The Turquoise Trail is 45 miles from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and has been a major trade route since at least 2000 BC. Today it’s the scenic back road between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, lined with quirky communities. Sights along the way include Tinkertown (an animated miniature village) and epic desert scenery. FUN FACT: Hikers along the Creole Nature Trail may be glad of the enormous number of birds – this area of Louisiana also has at least 39 species of mosquitos!
the seward highway is sublimely rugged.
overlooking beaches strewn like jewels on one side, with soaring redwood trees on the other. Follow it for 332 miles till Santa Barbara. 5. Route 66 (initial section), Illinois to Missouri America’s iconic “Mother Road” kicks off in Chicago on Adams St just west of Michigan Ave, but in Illinois, much of the old road exists only in scattered sections paralleling the interstate. Still, over the 300 miles (to St Louis) there are many roadside attractions and oddball stops to be taken, plus pie shops and drive-ins for eateries. Although not technically the most “scenic”, it’s still a must-do. 6. Custer Scenic Byway, South Dakota The 33-mile Custer Scenic Byway cuts through the southwestern corner of South Dakota, through the rolling hills of the Great Plains. Before heading north, you go underground, through 70 miles of winding passageways amidst incredible limestone formations. Further along, the one-mile Rankin Ridge National Recreation Trail explores above ground. The Needles
Highway features amazing scenery and at Sylvan Lake at the end of the drive, you can hike up Harney Peak — the highest American mountain east of the Rockies — for a view of the Black Hills and nearby Mt Rushmore. 7. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina The southwestern tip of Virginia is the most rugged part of the state. Turn onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, a two-lane highway over the southern Appalachians of Virginia and North Carolina, and you’ll find yourself amongst fir trees, gurgling streams and gushing waterfalls. Wildflowers bloom in spring and fall colors are amazing. Often riding the very crest of the Blue Ridge, most of the drive takes place high above any settlements but the land below the parkway is dotted with mountain villages and visitor centers. 8. San Juan Skyway, Colorado Snaking for 232 miles (one to two days’ worth) through the San Juan and Unacompahgre National Forests, the loop travels past towering San Juan peaks, high-
there are many uniquely american stops along route 66.
country forests and ancient Anasazi ruins. You’ll pass the 285-foot Box Canyon Falls, and can stop at the nearby hot springs for a relaxing soak. The famous “Million Dollar Highway” section of the Skyway, a 50-mile stretch from Ouray to Silverton, curves through the Red Mountains, along the steep sides of the Uncompahgre Gorge, through tunnels, and above thundering waterfalls. The mountain passes are sometimes closed in winter. 9. Mt Baker Scenic Highway, Washington This one-hour drive winds upwards into the towering peaks of Washington’s Northern Cascades. Just seven miles into the drive, a quick detour lets you find the magnificent 175-foot Nooksack Falls - one of the thundering waterfalls that gave the Cascades their name. After meandering through the forest of Mount Baker Wilderness, the road soon ascends above the trees, offering grand views of the North
Cascades high country. Stop at Heather Meadows for a picnic and a view of Mount Shuksan, reflected on nearby Picture Lake. The last 10 miles climb up Artist Point from where you can hike one mile to the active volcano Mount Baker. 10. Overseas Highway (Hwy 1), Florida Large parts of this gorgeous island-hopping highway that runs 160 miles from Miami to Key West were built on bridges left from the hurricane-destroyed Overseas Railroad. Now, streams of travelers swarm down from the mainland to indulge in the serene jade-green waters of the Florida Keys, laidback island lifestyle, great fishing and idyllic snorkeling and diving.
stop at the mesa verde ruins on the san juan scenic byway.
50 Fascinating Tourist Attractions
1. Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California The make-believe world of Disneyland opened in 1955 and is a combination of theme rides, recreated worlds and cultures, and film shows, all mingled with eating and shopping. It is possible to cover the entire grounds from opening to closing, but there’s an RV park on site which makes it easier to spread your visit over two days if you’re on a more relaxed schedule. If you’re on limited time or budgets it’s advisable to study the layout of Disneyland in advance and plan to hit the most popular attractions before lines get too long. 2. Ocean One Pier, Atlantic City Ocean One has attracted visitors since 1906 when Captain John Young opened his famous Million Dollar Pier at this location. The Boardwalk is the most famous and most popular attraction in Atlantic City. All 3. Hoover Dam, Nevada Holding back the Colorado River and Lake Mead, Hoover Dam is a feat of engineering and an impressive sight. Built from 1931 to 1936 in a concrete gravity-arch design, the dam is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985. 30 miles south of Las Vegas, significant traffic delays are possible as construction of a bypass, scheduled to be completed in 2010, is ongoing. the main attractions line this eight-foot wide, four-mile long stretch of wood that was built in 1970 along the shores of the ocean. The boardwalk can be explored on foot, by bike or in the legendary rolling chair, a large whicker chair that is pushed by an attendant like a rickshaw (at 1605 The Boardwalk).
the hoover dam in nevada is an impressive sight.
4. Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia The Arlington National Cemetery is where some of the most famous people in the United States are buried. There’s a visitor’s center that features maps, books, and various exhibits. The cemetery is spread over 600 acres, immaculately maintained, and very active with over 100 burials taking place each week. It can be visited on selfguided tour, or via a paid tour shuttle leaving from the visitor’s center. 5. Adventureland Park, Altoona, Iowa A theme park that re-creates the late 19th and early 20th century Iowa, featuring Main Street, River City, Last Frontier and Alpine Village. Over 100 shows, attractions and rides are available. 6. Independence Rock State Historic Site, Alcova, Wyoming Towering above the Sweetwater River about 53 mi. south-west of Casper is the treasure trove of pioneer history, the monolithic Independence Rock, on which settlers heading west left their marks for prosperity. Also known as the “register of the desert” the large rock outcropping is situated at 6028 feet above sea level and is more than a mile around. A mile further south-west is an impressive natural monument known as Devil’s Gate.
7. Napa Valley, California Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley are the best-known and largest vine-growing areas in California. Viticulture, introduced into California about 1825 by Spanish Franciscans, was developed to its present high standard by growers from Germany, Alsace, France, Hungary and Italy. As well as experiencing the viticulture of this region you can also visit White Sulphur Springs, Old Faithful Geyser, or Napa Valley Museum. 8. Apalachicola, Florida This charming town in the Panhandle of the state has a fascinating old Historic District and is also the centre of Florida’s oyster fisheries. Near the town are the offshore St George Island with its gorgeous beaches; St Vincent Island, a nature reserve (turtles, various species of birds); and the beautiful unspoiled St Joseph Peninsula. If you love nature stop by the Apalachicola National Estuarine Reserve and the Apalachicola National Forest. On the southern edge of the Apalachicola Forest is the historic Fort Gadsden. 9. Grand Canyon, Arizona Created by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon was once described as “the grandest place on God’s earth”. The jaw-
Book campsites and hiking permits for the Grand Canyon National Park well in advance.
dropping magnitude of this canyon, its beauty, its structure and colors, leave even the most worldy visitors awestruck. Since the Grand Canyon is at times overrun by tourists it is recommended to book accommodation or a camping site and to apply for the “backcountry permit” you need for hiking in the Park in plenty of time – even months in advance, if you’re planning on going during the main holiday season. 10. Birch Aquarium at Scripps, La Jolla, California The Scripps Aquarium is the oldest and biggest American marine institute and employs a staff of 1,000 scientists and other personnel. It belongs to the Institute of Oceanography, part of the University of California since 1912. The aquarium’s mission is to provide ocean science education, to interpret oceanography research, and to promote ocean conservation. The aquarium, which has 300,000 visitors every year, portrays marine life in the coastal waters and research progress is displayed across 22 tanks. 11. Sausalito, Marin County, California This former fishing village on San Francisco Bay at the northern end of the Golden
Gate Bridge is a charming place to stop. Originally it was a port for whale-hunters and other trading ships, today it’s inhabited mainly by commuters from San Francisco. The numerous house-boats which line the harbor today have become the symbol of Sausalito and the narrow streets, full of little corners and some linked to others by wooden steps, add to its appeal. There are lots of art galleries and a pretty view of San Francisco. 12. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, Florida Formerly the home of early 20th century industrialist James Deering and built in 1916, this mansion features 34 rooms surrounding a central courtyard. The 28-acre estate and Italian Renaissancestyle villa is filled with European furniture and decorative arts from the 15th to 19th century and the gardens showcase multiple beautiful of Italian and French fountains, pools and sculptures. 13. Key West, Florida The southernmost city in the continental U.S., Key West features a unique mixture of cultural influences and has a colorful history. The food is Afro-Caribbean and
Key West has a tropical, laid-back vibe.
Spanish and there’s a tropical, laid-back feel, enhanced by the Caribbean-influenced architecture – some houses are built out of coral-rock or salvaged ship-boards from shipwrecks, and others straight from the Bahamas. Key West’s sunsets are worldfamous and the town is a haven for the arty and bohemian - many well-known writers have lived there, including Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost and Tennessee Williams. 14. Sears Tower Skydeck, Chicago, Illinois Until 1996 the 110-story, 1453-foot Sears Tower was the world’s tallest office block. While there are now at least three taller buildings, the view from here is still a mustsee. On a clear day you can see up to 50 miles over four states, and get a bird’s eye view of Chicago’s distinctive architecture. The SkyDeck observation area, where you can also experience interactive exhibits is on the 103rd floor - 1,353 feet above the ground. 15. Ebbett’s Pass Scenic Byway, California Stand amongst some of the oldest and largest living things on earth – Calaveras Big Trees State Park contains the northernmost grove of giant sequioias
(sierra redwoods) in the country. Some of the trees are over 250 feet tall, up to 25 feet in diameter and up to 2000 years old. 16. Space Center / NASA, Houston, Texas 25 miles south-east of Houston is the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, home of the world-famous Mission Control, the monitoring centre for all NASA-manned space flights. There’s an excellent Visitor Orientation Center with a space exhibition that includes films, models, astronauts’ rations, samples of moon rock and objects from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollomanned space programs. You can try on astronauts’ helmets, steer a simulated spacecraft and possibly even meet a real astronaut. 17. Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona About 45 miles southwest of Tucson, on Kitt Peak, high in the mountains of the Sonora Desert, is the Kitt Peak Observatory. One of the most important astronomical stations in the world, it has 18 telescopes (including a giant solar telescope) and a museum. Tours are given at 10am, 11:30am, and 1:30pm, and last about an hour.
the giant sequoias on ebbett’s pass scenic byway are some of the oldest and largest living things on earth.
18. Petrified Wood Park, Lemmon, South Dakota This forest of fossil logs, created as a park contains buildings, pyramids, and towers constructed from petrified trees and grasses over 50 million years old. The museum is a circular shaped building constructed of petrified logs. It features pioneer relics and fills an entire city block in the heart of downtown Lemmon. Recent renovations and careful maintenance make this one of the better-manicured rock sculpture parks. 19. The Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada The 2.5 mile-long central section of Las Vegas Boulevard that runs through the city (generally speaking from Mandalay Bay Hotel to the Treasure Island Hotel) known as the Strip is lined with revue theaters, nightspots, and luxury hotels set in beautiful gardens – the glittering neon signs of which make it especially mesmerizing at night! Every evening there are two shows at each establishment: the dinner show at around 8pm, and the cocktail show at 11pm. You can also see the world’s only permanent circus, an indoor changing sky, and the tallest freestanding structure in the West.
20. Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona An hour’s drive south of Flagstaff is Montezuma Castle, a dwelling built into a recess in a sandstone cliff which rises to a height of 100 feet above Beaver Creek. The first whites who came to the U.S. thought it was an Aztec settlement but it is now known to have belonged to the Sinagua Indian peoples who farmed the surrounding land between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries before abandoning the area. The dwelling has 20 rooms on five levels and could be entered only on ladders. A paved, 1/3 mile loop trails takes you through a tranquil sycamore glade and past the ancient cliff dwelling. 21. Red Rocks Park, Morrison, Colorado Red Rocks Park is located just north of Morrison, with 640 acres of magnificent red sandstone formations at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Within the park are diverse animals such as deer, mountain lions, foxes and raccoons - the Trading Post loop hiking trail is 1.4 miles winding past rock formations, valleys and a natural meadow. The internationally known Red Rocks Amphitheater is located within the park – once ranked as one of the Seven
red rocks park is known for its sandstone formations, this natural amphitheater in particular.
Wonders of the World. In the Visitor Center, you can tour the exhibits featuring the music history, geology, paleontology, and the Civilian Conservation Corp. 22. Mystic, Connecticut The charming old boatbuilding and whaling town of Mystic is now a popular New England tourist resort. Aside from excellent seafood and unique souvenirs the Marinelife Aquarium and the Mystic Seaport are its main attractions - the latter being the largest open-air martime museum in the United States – it’s very child-friendly with some wonderful old wooden ships for them to clamber on. 23. Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia The Okefenokee Swamp, known to the Indians as the “Land of the Quaking Earth”, is home of the remarkable “floating islands”, which quake underfoot but still support whole forests and past Indian settlements. This area of swampland in southern Georgia is over 770 square miles of watercourses, cypress swamps and swamp grassland, and home to many endangered species (including no fewer than 10,000 alligators). Boat trips into the swamp are available from the little town of Waycross.
24. Petroglyph National Monument, Albuquerque, New Mexico Seven miles northwest of Albuquerque is Petroglyph National Monument, stretching 17 miles along Albuquerque’s West Mesa escarpment. The monument protects a variety of cultural and natural resources including volcanoes, archeological sites and more than 17,000 carved images. These symbols and drawings scratched in the rock (petroglyphs) by prehistoric and historic Native American and Hispanics make it the largest prehistoric rock art collection in the world. 25. National Automobile Museum, Reno, Nevada If you’re a car enthusiast, you won’t regret stopping by the National Automobile Museum in Reno. The museum has cars from vintage right through to modern and features traveling exhibits. The museum Features more than 220 antique, vintage, classic and special interest vehicles and is divided into four galleries: 1890s-1910; Teens-1930s; 1930s-1950s; and 1950s and Beyond. 26. Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida; and Williamsburg, Virginia Busch Gardens is a 335-acre Africanthemed family entertainment and adventure
there are more than 17,000 images carved in rock at petroglyph national monument.
park featuring amusement rides, live music, performances, crafts, and exotic animals in natural habitat settings. Some of the highlights include the exciting rollercoasters and the “Edge of Africa” safari where you can observe animals grazing on the plains amongst reproductions of African villages and camps. If you love rides and animals, this is the place to go. 27. Minnehaha Park and Falls, Minneapolis, Minnesota To view a 53-foor waterfall in the middle of a major city, head here. As well as this, the beautiful 193-acre park features limestone bluffs and river overlooks; oak, elm, silver maple, basswood, hackberry and cottonwood trees; native and prairie woodland wild flowers; and several sculptures. 28. Alcatraz Island, San Francisco The former penitentiary of Alcatraz, located in San Francisco Bay, is a fascinating place to visit. First discovered by the Spaniard Ayala, the rocky island has no springs and so remained uninhabited for years. Then during the California gold rush, a lighthouse was erected and soon afterwards the island
was fortified and became a military prison during the Civil War. From 1933 to 1963 it became the most infamous, feared and secure of all federal prisons in the U.S. After the prison was closed, the island was virtually forgotten for six years until it was taken over by Indians who squatted there for seven years. The island has now been open to visitors since 1973. Wear warm clothes and book your tickets in advance, especially between May and September. 29. Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, Illinois Enjoy the tranquility of this 12 acre Japanese garden complete with cascading waterfalls, ponds, streams, rock formations, winding lanes, a tea house and guest house built in the authentic Sukiya style. It also includes the recent addition of The Garden of Reflection, which contains the Event Pavilion, three huge bronze angel sculptures, conversation areas, new viewing deck, and more strolling paths. As well as native species, there are hundreds of Japanese koi (colorful hybrid carp) and Chinese grass carp. Other fauna include ducks, geese, largemouth bass, bluegills, crayfish, turtles, rabbits, birds and chipmunks.
the former penitentiary of alcatraz has been open to visitors since 1973.
30. Area 51 Museum, Alien Zone & Cosmic Juke Box, Roswell, New Mexico If you think The Truth is Out There but also appreciate kitsch value, this is the best attraction in the infamous small town of Roswell. Pose for photos with dummy aliens in your choice of around twenty hand-made dioramas, view a crashed saucer scene, and enjoy the alien bar and the upside-down room, as well as the “alien autopsy” diorama. The museum ends with the “City of the Future,” a miniature model of a sci-fi cityscape illuminated with black light paint.
the tramway offers access to hiking and camping trips in this famous San Jacinto state park. 32. McKenzie Pass, Santiam Pass Scenic Byway, Oregon Here you can experience a fascinating phenomenon – an underwater forest. More than 3,000 years ago, a volcano eruption created a clear lake, which swallowed trees that are still rooted to the ground today. Take a boat ride and paddle directly over the submerged trees. 33. Kentucky Horse Park Description
31. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Palm Springs, California Open since 1963, two 80 passenger cars depart every half hour from the valley station on the northern edge of Palm Springs. The railway, built in Switzerland in the early sixties, winds its way up the difference in altitude in fourteen minutes, during which time you pass through several climatic zones. Even if it is a hot day in the valley, it’s refreshingly cool on the peak. Rising 8500 feet above the desert floor,
The world-famous Kentucky Horse Park lies 10 miles north of Lexington. Go to the Visitor Center for films about the park and information on activities and events. The International Museum of the Horse and the American Saddle Horse Museum give a history of horses, while famous race horses are honored in the Hall of Champions. There’s a guided walk through the park (the Walking Farm Tour) that includes demonstrations from blacksmiths, wagoners, and harness makers, and a
mckenzie pass is home to a lake that has swallowed a forest.
parade of thoroughbreds (the Parade of Breeds Show). You can also go horse trekking or for a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. 34. Wind Cave National Park, Hot Springs, South Dakota 10 miles north of Hot Springs is the Wind Cave, part of one of the largest karstic cave systems so far found on earth (and now a National Park). It was “discovered” in 1881 when a hunter noticed a strong current of air coming from a narrow cleft in the rock, although American Indians of the area have known about it for longer then that. Differing air pressures inside and outside the cave produce air currents that can reach a speed of up to 50 miles an hour! With a maze-like, underground chamber system, Wind Cave also features the world’s largest concentration of “boxwork”, a rare formation of thin calcite fins that resemble honeycombs. To top it off, several hundred bison graze on the beautiful park-like roof of the cave system. 35. Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, California From its humble beginnings as Walter Knott’s fruit stall in 1920, the farm has
developed into the present pleasure park to which new attractions are constantly being added. The emphasis is on re-awakening themes of America’s past, such as the gold rush, a Spanish-American fiesta village, the “Roaring Twenties”, a 19th century railway which runs round a large part of the grounds, and a reproduction of the Independence Hall in Philadelphia (with its Liberty Bell in the original size). 36. Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, Utah Bingham Canyon, about 25 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, is the world’s largest opencast copper mine that doubles as the largest man-made hole in the earth’s surface (it’s almost 2.5miles wide and over 2950 feet deep!). There’s a great view into the terraced interior of the mine from the Visitor Center, which also contains informative displays and video shows on copper mining. You can also observe huge trucks taking copper ore to the crusher, where it’s compressed and put on a fivemile-long conveyor belt. 37. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona In southwestern Arizona is Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, home to
organ pipe cacti at organ pipe cactus national monument.
some 30 different species of cactus. The eponymous organ pipe cactus can reach up to 23 feet high and has spectacular blooms from May to July - but because of the scorching heat during the day, only opens them up after sunset. There are two notable scenic drives - The Ajo Mountain Drive and the Puerto Blanco. The national monument is far from other popular tourist sites and is relatively little visited (which will either work for you or not, depending on what type of trip you have planned) and is best visited in springtime. 38. National Aquarium, Baltimore, Maryland Opened in 1981, the Baltimore Aquarium on Pier 3 is world-famous and undoubtedly Maryland’s leading tourist attraction. Features of particular interest are the five-story Tropical Basin, the Open Ocean Exhibit (sharks) and the “Wings under Water” basin, with various species of ray. On Pier 4 is a separate Marine Mammals Pavilion. Housing more than 16,000 creatures, the Baltimore Aquarium exhibits a variety of species in their natural habitats. You’ll encounter animals such as stingrays, sharks, sea turtles, bullfrogs,
phytoplankton, monkeys, sloths, iguanas, puffins and thousands more. You can also catch an up-close view of bottlenose dolphins as they leap and tumble with the Baltimore Aquarium trainers in the liveaction dolphin show. 39. Craters of the Moon National Monument, Iowa South of Arco in south-eastern Idaho is a lunar landscape created by volcanic eruptions between 15,000 and 2,000 years ago. There are excellent examples of almost every variety of basaltic lava as well as tree molds (cavities left by lava-incinerated trees), lava tubes (a type of cave), and other interesting volcanic features. This region of lava flows can be explored on signposted circular routes. 40. Frederik Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids, Michigan The outdoor landscaped gardens and Lena Meijer Conservatory (the largest in the state) feature exotic plants from all around the world. The indoor and outdoor sculpture galleries include work by internationally renowned artists; you can walk outdoor nature trails and boardwalks; or enjoy fun
the national aquarium in baltimore is impressive outside as well as in.
with the kids in the Children’s Garden. There’s also the Arid Garden, Carnivorous Plant House and the Michigan Farm Garden. 41. Alaska State Museum, Juneau, Alaska The Alaska State Museum in Juneau features permanent exhibits such as Alaska’s Native Peoples, Natural History, The American Period (of Alaska’s history), and Russian America, plus temporary exhibits throughout the year. The first floor features remarkable ethnographic galleries where you can learn about the Aleut, Eskimo, Athabaskan and Northwest Coast peoples. The American Period deals with the development of Alaska’s natural resources - fisheries, timber, minerals and oil - and there are lots of fascinating artifacts from the period of Russia’s reign over Alaska before 1867. 42. Boone Hall Plantation, South Carolina 8 miles north-east of Charleston you’ll find Boone Hall Plantation, one of the finest plantations in the southern states. During the 18th and 19th centuries cotton, and later pecan nuts were grown there. The restored mansion with its gardens and majestic half-mile avenue of oaks has been
a frequent setting for film and television productions. A reminder of the slaves who made this splendor possible is provided by nine 18th-century brick huts, among the few surviving examples of original slave huts in the U.S. 43. Coney Island/ Astroland Amusement Park, Brooklyn, New York For over 100 years New Yorkers have been escaping to Coney Island to enjoy the fun-filled atmosphere. Some of the more popular attractions at Astroland include the “Cyclone”, a world-famous wooden rollercoaster built in 1927, the “Wonder Wheel” (the world’s tallest Ferris wheel) and the “B and B Carousel”. There’s also the beach, boardwalk, aquarium and games. 44. San Diego Zoo, California This is one of the largest zoos in the country and certainly one of the most picturesque – it features exotic plants, colorful flowers and amzing water features as backdrops to the animal’s habitats. The zoo has occupied its current site since the early twenties, but is continually being extended. Because of the gradient of the canyon, you’ll face some steep winding climbs, but will be rewarded by amazing sights. If you prefer you can take
coney island’s “wonder wheel” is the world’s tallest ferris wheel.
a bus trip through the canyons and over the hills – you’ll still be able to see a great number of the animals, as well as listen to expert commentaries. There is also a cablerailway which travels over the tree-tops from which you can have a bird’s-eye view of the zoo. 45. Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California This 160-room Victorian residence has evolved over 38 continuous years from an eight-room farmhouse to what it is today. Its original owner, Sarah Winchester, drew the plans up herself, resulting in anomalies like staircases going nowhere (except places like the ceiling) doors opening on to blank walls and windows that look out to nothing. The number 13 occurs frequently in the design of the house: there are 13 bathrooms; many of the rooms have 13 windows; several windows of Tiffany glass contain 13 jewels; there are rooms with 13 wooden panels; many of the staircases have 13 steps. A fortune-teller is said to have advised her, after the death of her husband, to build a house to protect herself from the ghosts of all those who had been killed by a Winchester rifle – the company her family
once owned. Note: Children 9 and under aren’t permitted for safety reasons on the guided Behind-The-Scenes-Tour. 46. Niagara Falls, New York State Canadian province of Ontario The Niagara Falls – one of the largest, most impressive and best known waterfalls in the world - lie in the far north-west of New York State, where water from Lake Erie thunders over an almost 200 ft drop to flow into Lake Ontario. The water plunges over a horseshoe-shape rock wall 700 yards long at the Horseshoe Falls (which are in Canada), and, to the north-east, over the straight American Falls, 360 yards long. The frontier between the United States and Canada runs along the middle. Below the falls the Niagara River flows through a gorge which narrows to the north west to form the Whirlpool Rapids. The best views of the falls (which are beautifully illuminated at night) are from the observation towers on the Canadian side, or you can take a boat trip in the “Maid of the Mist” (waterproof coats and hats provided) which sails past the American Falls into the clouds of spray under the Horseshoe Falls.
the niagara falls are beautifully illuminated at night.
47. Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota In 1927 the American sculptor Gutzom Borglum began the task of carving heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, each over 60 ft high, out of the granite rock of Mount Rushmore (5725 ft). Work continued until 1941, when his son Lincoln carried on the work after his death. The project was suspended due to financial shortages and WWII but 50 years later, in a ceremony on July 3rd 1991, President George Bush formally declared the huge sculpture complete. An avenue flanked by the flags of all the states of the Union now leads to the Visitor Center and from midMay to mid-September the monument is illuminated at night – get there for the lights-switching-on ceremony each evening at 9pm. 48. Great Salt Lake, Utah The Great Salt Lake is a remnant of a much larger freshwater lake, Lake Bonneville. Half an hour’s drive northwest of Salt Lake City, the largest inland lake west of the
Mississippi is 72miles long, 34miles wide and up to 50 feet deep. When the original lake was left with no outlet and shrank due to evaporation, it left the Great Salt Lake Desert. The combination of evaporation with the inflow of mineral-rich surface waters led the salt content of the lake to rise steadily, at one stage reaching 27% (eight times as high as the world’s oceans). In the last few years the water level has risen as a result of heavy rainfall. At the south end of the lake are swimming beaches and a recreation park with boat hire. 49. Universal Studios, Los Angeles, California One of Los Angeles’ most iconic attractions, the Universal Studios was created in 1915 by film pioneer Carl Laemmle as two silent film sets on the site of a chicken farm. As an advertisement for the new film industry he arranged tours of inspection for 25 cents, when he explained to the visitors how films were made. Today you can still get a glimpse of behind the scenes of filmmaking but on a slightly bigger scale! See King Kong , Jaws, or Alfred Hitchcock’s
Mt Rushmore was declared officially complete in 1991.
“Psycho” house; or find yourself in the middle of an avalanche or earthquake. You can even witness films actually at the production stage. The tour takes two hours after which you can see the show in the Entertainment Center. 50. French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana The Vieux Carre, or French Quarter of New Orleans (the old town center) extends along a crescent shaped bend on the Mississippi. French influence is particularly evident in the buildings with their arcades, wrought iron balconies, red-tiled roofs and picturesque fountain-filled courtyards. The African Americans who settled in the town,
together with the old established Creole inhabitants, created jazz around the turn of the 19th century in the entertainment quarter and in nearby Bourbon Street. These days the district contains a profusion of jazz spots and places of entertainment, unique restaurants, cheerful cafes, souvenir shops, galleries and old hotels.
Fun Fact: Drive from desert to mountaintop along the Sky Island Scenic Byway in Arizona, and in just 27 miles you will pass through biological diversity equivalent to a drive from Mexico to Canada.
french influence is very evident in the architecture of the french quarter.
Off the Beaten Path
There are many “must-dos” in the States that you think of straight away, such as Disneyland, or the Empire State Building. But there are also lots of less mainstream, quirky gems tucked away for you to discover – visit one or two of them and you’re guaranteed a respite from the crowds as well as some unusual memories.
1 The Baranov Museum Building, a National Historic Landmark in Kodiak on the Alaska Marine Highway, is the oldest of only four Russian structures remaining in the U.S. Built in 1808, it is the oldest building in Alaska. 2 The Coronado Trail Scenic Byway in Arizona is the least-traveled federal highway in the U.S. An old cowboy once scoffed when he heard of the plans to build the road, “There ain’t even a good horse trail”. Oddly enough for a highway so little used, the Conorado Trail was America’s first federal-aid highway. It was completed in 1926. 3 On the Country Music Highway in Kentucky, you can enjoy country music history and refuel your vehicle at the same
time at the Country Music Gas Station in Louisa. 4 Get the jumbo box of popcorn and enjoy a show at the Fox Theater, the largest surviving motion picture palace in the world, located on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. 5 You won’t have to prick your finger on the Paul Bunyan Scenic Highway in Minnesota, where the mayor of Manhattan Beach, artisan Frederick Gridley, also known as the Viking warrior Frederick Bearclawed at Hostfest, tells tall tales and makes world-renowned thimbles. 6 Check out one of the country’s bestpreserved collections of shipwrecks and submerged cultural artifacts at the
the coronado trail scenic byway is the least-traveled federal highway in the u.s.
Underwater Preserves in Lake Champlain and Lake George on the Lakes to Locks Passage in New York. 7 A peach in the sky might make you think you’re seeing things, but if you’re driving the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway in South Carolina, you’re not hallucinating! It’s just the Peachoid – a giant water tower painted to look like a peach. 8 Look for lightning bugs lighting up the night sky in the “Firefly Capital of the World”, otherwise known as Boone, on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. 9 You can indulge your sweet tooth on the Connecticut River Byway in new Hampshire and Vermont. With over 111 feet of counter space and three tiers of candy
shelves displaying some 700 jars of sweet things such as licorice, taffy, mints and jawbreakers, Chutters Store in Littleton, New Hampshire, claims to be the largest candy counter in the world – and even holds the Guinness Record for it! 10 Don’t think you’re entering a surreal scene from a horror movie as you drive the Talimena Scenic Drive in Arkansas and Oklahoma. In spring and fall, the high water table may make iron-rich water seep through the asphalt, causing the byway to “bleed” red water.
the roads along talimena scenic drive appear to “bleed” in spring and fall.
The American Indian Experience
• Native Americans comprise a large number of distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which exist as political communities. There are 562 federally recognized tribal governments in the United States. • The terminology used to refer to Native Americans is contentious – many actually prefer “American Indian” to “Native American”. • Predictably, European colonization of the Americas led to conflict between the two different cultures. The American Indians had been hunter/farmer subsistence societies with significantly different value systems than those of the European colonists. The differences, combined with the shifting alliances among the different nations of each culture led to great misunderstandings and long lasting conflicts. • Today, they have a unique relationship with the United States because they can • The largest tribes in the U.S. are Navajo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Sioux, Chippewa, Apache, Blackfeet, Iroquois, and Pueblo. • Just over a third of Native Americans in the United States live in three states: California, Arizona, and Oklahoma. • These tribes have the right to form their own government, to enforce laws, to tax, to establish requirements for membership, to license and regulate activities, to zone and to exclude people from tribal territories. Limitations on tribal powers of self-government include the same limitations applicable to states; eg neither tribes nor states have the power to make war, engage in foreign relations, or coin money. be found as members of nations, tribes, or bands of Native Americans who have sovereignty or independence from the government of the US.
american indians have a unique relationship with the United states.
There’s no better way to become familiar with American history and American Indian culture - the people, heritage, history, tradition, philosophies, and arts - than to experience it personally. In the past this might have involved expensive and time-consuming pilgrimages to faraway places, today, just about anywhere in North America there’s a powwow or art exhibition nearby. If you can take the RV a little further, imagine what it might be like to visit Native American places with names like Medicine Hat, Bad Axe, Starved Rock, Devils Tower or the Four Mountains of the Navajo! Immerse yourself all you can – just remember to be aware of cultural differences and honor Native American traditions.
performances of traditional Indian dances. http://www.indianpueblo.org Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico The best time to visit the Aztec Ruins National Monument in the far northwest of New Mexico, on the border with Colorado, is spring or fall. Settlers who reached this area in around 1800 found a Pueblo Indian settlement and thought it was an Aztec town. The settlement, which was occupied between 1100 and 1300, consists of 400 rooms and there’s a museum illustrating the old Indian culture. www.nps.gov/azru/ Havasupai Indian Reservation, Colorado
Here are some various examples of ways to experience the American Indian culture: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center gives an informative overview of the history and culture of the Pueblo Indians. You can watch as beautiful craft objects are produced by traditional techniques and also sample Indian cooking. At weekends you can see
In the canyon of Havasu Creek (a tributary of the Colorado River), around 450 Havasupai Indians (the “people of the blue-green water”) live a secluded life, subsisting partly on their modest farming activities but now mainly dependent on the tourist trade. In this paradisiacal valley the Havasu has created several cascading waterfalls and carved out basins in the travertine rock which form alluring bathing pools. www.havasupaitribe.com
the aztec ruins national monument was in fact a pueblo indian settlement.
Billie Swamp Safari, Florida Explore 2200 untamed acres of Florida Everglades on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. You can experience the Critter Show, swamp buggy eco-tours, and airboat rides. In addition to their paid activities, you’re welcome to stroll the grounds and enjoy the displays and exhibits including an authentic Seminole village with many native Seminole chickees, a boardwalk nature trail, animal and reptile exhibits including a herpetarium, an alligator pit, Florida panther, black bear, African spur-thighed tortoise, goats and sheep. The gift shop is filled with native arts, crafts, clothing, jewelry and souvenirs. The Swamp Water Café serves American fare and Seminole delicacies.
demonstrations, and guided tours of indoor exhibits and outdoor village sites. www.alaskanative.net/en/main_nav/ about_us/ Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Centre, Mashantucket, Connecticut The center offers interesting experiences for all ages, from life-size walk-through dioramas that transport you into the past, to ever-changing exhibits and live performances of contemporary arts and cultures. Extensive interactive exhibits depict 18,000 years of Native and natural history, while two libraries (one for children), offer a diverse selection of materials on the histories and cultures of all Native peoples of the United States and Canada. www.pequotmuseum.org Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, Florida The museum’s exhibits and artifacts show how the Seminoles lived in the Florida swamps and Everglades. The museum film, “We Seminoles,” tells their story in their own words, including the dramatic struggle to remain in Florida. Nature trails take you
Alaska Native Heritage Centre, North East Anchorage, Alaska An educational and cultural institution for all Alaskans, the Alaska Native Heritage Center provides a unique opportunity to experience Alaska’s many diverse Native cultures at one location. There are programs in both academic and informal settings, including workshops,
see animals like this florida panther at billie swamp safari on the big cypress seminole indian reservation.
throughout the beautiful 60-acre cypress dome to a living village. The museum store sells authentic patchwork clothing, beadwork, carvings, jewelry, and other art forms by the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes. www.ahtahthiki.com Iroquois Museum, Howes Cave, New York This museum is an educational institution dedicated to fostering understanding of Iroquois culture through Iroquois art. It acts as a venue for promoting Iroquois art and artists, and a meeting place for people to celebrate Iroquois culture and diversity. The anthropological institution is fueled by research on archaeology, history, and the creative spirit of modern artists and craftspeople. www.iroquoismuseum.org Cherokee Heritage Centre, Tahlequah, Oklahoma The building that houses the Cherokee National Museum was designed by Cherokee architect and Cherokee National Historical society board member Charles Chief Boyd. The design symbolizes a
traditional Cherokee dwelling, built low to the ground and illuminated at both ends by natural lighting. The museum houses the permanent Trail of Tears exhibit, temporary exhibits, two major art shows each year, and the genealogy center. You can also visit Adam’s Corner Rural Village and the Ancient Village. www.cherokeeheritage.org Oconaluftee Indian Village, North Carolina Oconaluftee in North Carolina is a recreation of an 18th-century Cherokee village and is one of the country’s best American Indian living history museums. Actual members of the Eastern Cherokee Nation inhabit the village, offering demonstrations of crafts and life in general. Visits to several traditional dwellings allow you a look at day-to-day items used for generations among the Cherokee. There’s a replica of a seven-sided council house, an extensive and authentic herb garden, and there’s a mile-long nature trail adjacent to the village. Tours are available. www.westernncattractions.com/village. htm
there are many places around the country where you can immerse yourself in american indian culture.
American Indian Etiquette
• Don’t touch any personal belongings without asking • Use the word “Nation” instead of “tribe” • Refer to Indian traditional clothing as “regalia”, not a “costume” • Avoid “how much Indian are you” questions • Avoid interrupting, especially elders • Avoid the word “squaw”, especially in reference to women • Avoid the term “redskin” (it actually refers to the time when Indians were hunted) • Don’t refer to anyone as “Chief” • Pueblos (traditional American Indian settlements) prohibit the drinking of alcohol during visits • Some pueblos charge a photo fee, while many pueblos do not allow photography at all. Please check with the tribal office upon arrival • Cell phones are prohibited at pueblos • Families still live in the pueblos, so use the same courtesies you would use in your own neighborhood. Do not move up close to look into windows or walk into buildings uninvited • Enter a pueblo home as you would any other: by invitation only • Do not look into or go inside kivas - these underground ceremonial chambers are sacred • When attending pueblo dances, keep in mind that the dances are religious ceremonies, so remain silent and do not applaud afterward. Do not ask questions
regarding the meaning of a dance and do not talk to the dancers or singers. Do not walk across the plaza (dance area) or between the dancers, singers or drummers • Don’t remove pottery shards, rocks or any other natural formations from Indian lands. Don’t pick fruits or vegetables from fields or trees • If you are on a guided tour, stay on the trail • Be aware that public restroom facilities may not be available at pueblos • Don’t bring your pets to pueblos • You do not need a state license to hunt or fish, but you must buy tribal permits for those sports and others such as camping. Check in advance with tribal fish and game departments, tourism offices or police to see what activities are allowed and which one require permits • Do not touch an Indian’s hair. Hair is a sacred piece of an Indian’s body and has a variety of meanings to the individual • Don’t lump all Indian people together. Tribes have many similar characteristics, but they’re not the same. Each is unique with a distinct culture and society. Don’t assume that what you see on one reservation is typical of others • Forget what you’ve seen in old western movies! Although films have improved in recent years, Hollywood has a history of distorting Indian societies. Discard those stereotypes before you venture on to Indian land
planning your trip
Planning an itinerary obviously depends on what style of traveler you are, and what types of things you want to see. You might be a casual traveler who prefers to drive at a relaxed pace, allowing yourself the time to stop at whatever river or park takes your fancy on the way, or you may want to travel at a fairly swift pace. You might be interested in scenery or hiking alone, or you may want a balance between nature, cultural attractions, and seeing the main centers. Think about what you’ll be doing day to day. Do you want to be in a holiday park each night, or just some nights? Do you want to stop at a destination each day, spend a few nights in each place, or spend a few days just driving, absorbing the sights from your van? If you’re travelling with kids, consider what family-friendly attractions exist in Keep in mind when planning your itinerary that things like trip times and mileage can differ due to driving conditions, your own driving speed and side trip adventures you choose on the spur of the moment. Also make sure you consider interspersing rest or relaxation days after days that will be particularly strenuous, such as a day-long hike. This is particularly important if you are doing a long drive the next day. Also bear in mind whether you can do a one-way trip in your campervan and are able to drop it off in a different city or town. each place. Be conscious of whether you’ll want a day here and there to just rest and relax, without travelling or doing strenuous activities. How much flexibility do you want to give yourself? Do you want to plan a rigid schedule or play it by ear some of the time?
Driving Distances Chart
Albany 957 Atlanta 1798 907 Austin 165 1037 1907 795 678 1116 1701 786 161 2795 2140 1341 2449 1774 975 607 373 1281 2793 2099 1300 2915 2470 1722 356 601 1471
Boston 960 Chicago 1802 1060 Houston 2960 2011 1500 Los Angeles 2614 1713 1134 366 Phoenix 687 783 1160 2514 2148 Raleigh 2958 2057 1459 124 354 2473 San Diego 3080 2131 1881 383 747 2823 506 San Francisco 436 690 1366 2634 2269 251 2613 2795 Washington
Here are some sample itineraries of various types, paces and lengths that include just a small fraction of things to see and do in the U.S. At the very least they’ll give you an idea of travel distances and times - mix and match and add them together to create your own perfect plan - or feel free to do them in reverse!
1. Los Angeles, California – Orlando, Florida
Trip distance: 4,222 miles Trip length: 24 days
Day 1: Los Angeles, California – Las Vegas, Nevada - 300 miles (6 hours) Day 2: Las Vegas, Nevada – Williams, Arizona – 220 miles (4 hours) Day 3: Williams, Arizona – Grand Canyon, Arizona – 119 miles (3 hours) Day 4: Grand Canyon, Arizona – Mesa/Apache Junction, Arizona – 303 miles (6 hours) Day 5: Mesa/Apache Junction, Arizona – Tombstone, Arizona – 170 miles (3 hours) Day 6: Tombstone, Arizona – El Paso, Texas – 280 miles (4.5 hours) Day 7: El Paso, Texas – Whites City, New Mexico – 120 miles (2.5 hours) Day 8: Whites City, New Mexico – Fort Stockton, Texas – 125 miles (2.5 hours) Day 9: Fort Stockton, Texas – San Antonio, Texas – 336 miles (6 hours) Day 10: Spend the day in San Antonio Day 11: San Antonio, Texas – Shreveport, Louisiana – 393 miles (7 hours) Day 12: Shreveport, Louisiana – Vicksburg, Mississippi – 175 miles (3 hours) Day 13: Vicksburg, Mississippi – New Orleans, Louisiana – 219 miles (3.75 hours) Day 14: Spend the day in New Orleans
Day 15: New Orleans, Louisiana – Mobile, Alabama – 145 miles (2.5 hours) Day 16: Mobile, Alabama – Panama City, Florida – 158 miles (2.75 miles) Day 17: Panama City, Florida – Crystal River, Florida – 300 miles (5.5 hours) Day 18: Crystal River, Florida – Naples, Florida – 279 miles (5.25 hours) Day 19: Naples, Florida – Key Largo, Florida – 160 miles (2.75 hours) Day 20: Kay Largo, Florida – Key West, Florida – 130 miles (2.25 hours) Day 21: Key West, Florida – Miami, Florida – 160 miles (2.75 hours) Day 22: Miami, Florida – Orlando, Florida – 130 miles (2.25 hours) Day 23: Spend the day in Orlando Day 24: Return the RV in Orlando
2. Las Vegas, Nevada Round Trip
Trip distance: 815 miles Trip length: 7 days
Day 1: Las Vegas, Nevada – Valley of Fire State Park, Navada – 56 miles (1 hour) Day 2: Valley of Fire State Park – Zion National Park, Utah – 130 miles (2.25 hours) Day 3: Zion National Park, Utah – Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah – 83 miles (1.75 hours) Day 4: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah – Page, Arizona – 132 miles (2.25 hours) Day 5: Page, Arizona – Grand Canyon National park, Arizona – 136 miles (2.25 hours) Day 6: Spend the day at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona Day 7: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona – Las Vegas, Nevada – 287 miles (5.25 hours)
3. Anchorage, Alaska Round Trip
Trip distance: 1154 miles Trip length: 14 days
Day 1: Anchorage, Alaska – Palmer, Alaska – 42 miles (1 hour) Day 2: Palmer, Alaska – Denali National Park, Alaska - 230 miles (5.5 hours) Day 3: Spend the day at Denali Park Day 4: Denali National Park, Alaska – Portage Glacier, Alaska – 321 miles (7 hours) Day 5: Spend the day at Portage Glacier Day 6: Portage Glacier, Alaska – Homer, Alaska – 182 miles (4 hours) Day 7: Spend the day in Homer Day 8: Spend the day in Homer Day 9: Homer, Alaska – Seward, Alaska – 176 miles (3.5 hours) Day 10: Spend the day in Seward Day 11: Seward, Alaska – Russian River, Alaska – 56 miles (1.25 hours) Day 12: Spend the day at Russian River Day 13: Russian River, Alaska – Hope, Alaska – 53 miles (1.5 hours) Day 14: Hope, Alaska – Anchorage, Alaska – 84 miles (2 hours)
4. San Francisco, California – Las Vegas, Nevada
Trip distance: 1320 miles Trip length: 16 days
(Note: Traveling in the Death Valley with RV is not permitted during June to September)
Day 1: San Francisco, California – Santa Clara, California – 44 miles (1 hour) Day 2: Santa Clara, California – Monterey, California – 77 miles (1.5 hours) Day 3: Monterey, California – Carmel, California – 5 miles (15 minutes) Day 4: Carmel, California – Big Sur, California – 41 miles (1 hour) Day 5: Big Sur, California – San Simeon, California – 69 miles (1.5 hours) Day 6: San Simeon, California – Solvang, California – 102 miles (2 hours) Day 7: Solvang, California – Santa Barbara, California – 32 miles (0.75 hours) Day 8: Santa Barbara, California – Los Angeles, California – 96 miles (2 hours) Day 9: Los Angeles, California – Anaheim, California (Disneyland) – 25 miles (0.75 hours) Day 10: Anaheim, California – Carlsbad, California (Legoland) – 67 miles (1.5 hours) Day 11: Carlsbad, California – San Diego, California – 34 miles (1 hour) Day 12: San Diego, California – Palm Springs, California – 141 miles (2.75 hours) Day 13: Palm Springs, California – Crestline, California – 69 miles (1.5 hours) / Crestline, California – Calico, California – 93 miles (2 hours) Day 14: Calico, California – Tecopa Hot Spring, California – 108 miles (2.25 hours) Day 15: Tecopa, California – Death Valley, California – 129 miles (2.5 hours) Day 16: Death Valley – Las Vegas, Nevada – 189 miles (4 hours)
5. San Francisco, California – Bellingham, Washington
Trip distance: 2672 miles Trip length: 18 days
Day 1: San Francisco, California – Bodega Bay, California – 80 miles (1.5 hours) Day 2: Bodega Bay, California – Mendicino, California – 98 miles (1.75 hours) Day 3: Mendicino, California – Redwood National Park, California – 140 miles (2.5 hours) Day 4: Redwood National Park, California – Crater Lake National park, Oregon – 166 miles (2.75 hours) Day 5: Crater Lake National Park, California – Bend, Oregon – 273 miles (4.75 hours) Day 6: Bend, Oregon – Mt St Helens, Washington – 188 miles (3 hours) Day 7: Mt St Helens, Washington – Ellensburg, Washington – 209 miles (3.5 hours) Day 8: Ellensburg, Washington – Penticton, British Columbia – 209 miles (3.5 hours) Day 9: Penticton, British Columbia – Glacier Park, British Columbia – 160 miles (2.75 hours) Day 10: Glacier Park, British Columbia – Banff National Park, British Columbia – 185 miles (3 hours) Day 11: Banff National Park, British Columbia – Jasper National Park, British Columbia – 178 miles (3 hours) Day 12: Jasper National Park, British Columbia – Clearwater, British Columbia – 200 miles (3.5 hours) Day 13: Clearwater, British Columbia – Lillooet, British Columbia – 172 miles (3.5 hours) Day 14: Lillooet, British Columbia – Vancouver, British Columbia – 167 miles (2.75 hours) Day 15: Vancouver, British Columbia – Victoria, British Columbia – 60 miles (1 hour) Day 16: Victoria, British Columbia – Olympic National Park, Washington – 60 miles (1 hour) Day 17: Olympic National Park, Washington – Seattle, Washington – 168 miles (3.5 hours) Day 18: Seattle, Washington – Bellingham, Washington – 97 miles (1.5 hours)
6. New York Round Trip
Trip distance: 2525 miles Trip length: 24 days
Day 1: New York, New York – New Haven, Connecticut – 78 miles (1.5 hours) Day 2: New Have, Connecticut – Mystic, Connecticut – 57 miles (1.25 hours) Day 3: Mystic, Connecticut – Newport, Rhode Island – 48 miles (1 hour) Day 4: Newport, Rhode Island – Cape Cod, Massachusetts – 97 miles (2 hours) Day 5: Cape Cod, Massachusetts – Plymouth, Massachusetts – 53 miles (1 hour) / Plymouth, Massachusetts – Boston, Massachusetts – 40 miles (1 hour) Day 6: Boston, Massachusetts – Salem, Massachusetts – 16 miles (0.5 hours) / Salem, Massachusetts – Rockport, Massachusetts – 20 miles (0.5 hours) Day 7: Rockport, Massachusetts – Newburyport, Massachusetts – 27 miles (0.5 hours) Day 8: Newburyport, Massachusetts – Portsmouth, New Hampshire – 21 miles (0.5 hours) Day 9: Portsmouth, New Hampshire – Portland, Maine – 53 miles (1 hour) Day 10: Portland, Maine – Wiscasset, Maine – 44 miles (1 hour) / Wiscasset, Maine – Boothbay Harbor, Maine – 14 miles (0.5 hours) / Boothbay Harbor, Maine – Acadia National Park, Maine – 44 miles (1 hour) Day 11: Acadia National Park, Maine – Washington State Park, New Hampshire – 315 miles (5 hours) Day 12: Washington State Park, New Hampshire – Wolfeboro, New Hampshire – 69 miles (1.25 hours) Day 13: Wolfeboro, New Hampshire – Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire – 80 miles (1.5 hours) Day 14: Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire – Lake Champlain, Vermont – 109 miles (2 hours)
Day 15: Lake Champlain, Vermont – Whiteface Mountain, New York – 45 miles (1 hour) / Whiteface Mountain, New York – Lake Placid, New York – 12 miles (0.5 hours) Day 16: Lake Placid, New York – Alexandria Bay, New York – 243 miles (4.5 hours) Day 17: Alexandria Bay, New York – Auburn, New York – 126 miles (2.25 hours) Day 18: Auburn, New York – Niagara Falls, New York – 143 miles (2.5 hours) Day 19: Niagara Falls, New York – Corning, New York – 171 miles (2.75 hours) Day 20: Corning, New York – Hershey’s Chocolate World, Pennsylvania – 108 miles (2 hours) Day 21: Hershey’s Chocolate World, Pennsylvania – Washington Grove, Maryland – 156 miles (2.5 hours) Day 22: Washington Grove, Maryland – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 47 miles (1 hour) / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Atlantic City, New Jersey – 60 miles (1 hour) Day 23: Spend the day in Atlantic City Day 24: Atlantic City, New Jersey – New York, New York – 125 miles (2.25 hours)
• Wh e ny o ua r e r e a d y t o b o o k y o u r mo t o r h o me f o r y o u r h o l i d a y i nt h e U S A , v i s i t R V R e n t a l S a l e F i n d e r . c o mf o r t h e b e s t d e a l s o n l i n e .
T h i s e B o o k i s b r o u g h t t o y o u b y w w w . Mo t o r h o me R e p u b l i c . c o m
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