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Old 10-18-2019, 08:59 PM #1
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Solo road trip, East Coast to West Coast. Looking for ideas/cool things to do

Hi everyone,

I'm currently on day 3 of a coast-to-coast road trip with no time limits and very few plans. I started in South Florida and I am currently in Atlanta, Georgia. My first stop was a stargazing park in Central Florida followed by Ocala National Forest, camped out overnight in both places and hoping to find more nice free camping spots along the way. I've had an opportunity to swim in the crystal clear springs around Ocala National Forest and have seen 4 black bears in the wild (was in my car both times, one was a mama bear crossing the road with 2 large cubs, other was a small one near my campsite), and that was just in 2 days.

I've been slowly preparing supplies and equipment for a road trip like this, however I never really took any time to plan out a route, all I knew was that I wanted to see more of this country. I am sleeping in my rooftop tent and have a fridge along with cooking equipment, although I have mostly gone for fast food since I've been tired after all the driving. The plan was to make it to Washington state before snow sets in, or weather gets too cold for me to handle, while visiting as many National Parks , Forests, and other natural areas as possible. Having spent my life in South Florida, I don't do well in the cold, but I think I am prepared for temparatures as low as 30*. Ideally I would spend 3-4 hours driving per day and then find a nice place to explore with a quiet place to camp out, but it looks like I may have to have longer driving days to make it to the Northwest before it gets too cold for me.

If anyone has any ideas for cool places to visit along the way, I open for any and all suggestions, looking for some hidden gems that are off the tourist paths. My 5th gen is mostly stock and I am a complete newbie when it comes to driving offroad, so I would be hesitant to take anything but some nice easy scenic trails. Also open to meeting up with anyone and going wheeling or grabbing a beer if its along the way or not too far out.

Currently on the list is:
Badlands NP, SD
Yellowstone NP, WY
Redwood NP, CA
Yosemite NP, CA
Joshua Tree NP, CA
Pretified Forest NP, AZ
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Old 10-18-2019, 09:53 PM #2
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Never been personally, but if I were in the same situation Id check out Utah too
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:43 PM #3
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Arches or Moab for sure. Grand Teton in Wyoming.

If you're coming to the PNW area, Bend in Oregon (Mt. Bachelor), Glacier in Montana
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:58 PM #4
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Uh, how about the Grand Canyon?
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:58 PM #5
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There are endless possibilities

To name a few.

In Washington, Coulee Dam, Mt St Helens, Columbia River, Stonehenge.

In Idaho Craters of the Moon, EBR-1 nuclear reactor museum, numbers hill in Arco.

In Kansas, The Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Mid America Air Museum in Liberal.

High Unitas Wilderness east of SLC, UT

Easy unpaved drive between Goblin Valley SP and Castle Dale with a visit to Wedge Overlook. See the rock paintings and old bridge at stops along the way.

Chaco Cultural Nat’l Park in NM. Quiet, easy going, limited camping.

Lots Native American cultural and ruins to see around Four Corners.
Ships Rock in that area.

Most any place in northern Arizona and southern Utah. All of it. Limitless.

Sedona AZ

Near Tucson, Pima Air and Space, Saquaro NP, Mount Lemmon
Chiricahua Nat’l Monument in AZ is quiet and near Tombstone.

Railroad museum and locomotive maintenance shop in Eli, Roth Copper Pit, charcoal kilns, and Great Basin NP.

Just a start.

Last edited by Jodeckm; 10-19-2019 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 10-19-2019, 06:05 AM #6
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Donít miss Grand Tetons while youíre near Yellowstone.

Utah: Moab (Arches, Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, Fisher Towers), Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods, Natural Bridges, Capitol Reef, Bryce, Red Canyon, Zion.

Arizona: Page (Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, Glen Canyon), Grand Canyon


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Old 10-19-2019, 07:56 AM #7
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Up in northern CA-

If you like trucks and machinery the California Agricultural Museum in Woodland is neat and pretty big.

I believe itís highway 70 between Oroville and Lake Almanor thatís is a twisting canyon road with white water and railroad tracks. I thought it was neat.

Lassen Volcanic NP before it closes due to snow. The Cinder Cone hike is great.

Check out the Sundial Bridge in Redding.

Black Butte and the Shasta Dam tour.

Out on the coast, little country road 211 between Weott and Ferndale drives within touching distance of Redwoods and right down to the coast.

Jedediah Smith Redwoods and Crescent City.

Up in Tillamook Oregon, the gigantic old wooden blimp hanger museum is neat.
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:05 AM #8
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I'm planing on a month long cross country trip and back in the next year or so. I'm envious! lol

Curious what others post, though ill be stopping short of CA though.
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:54 AM #9
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Iím here in WA and would suggest you hit up Telluride, CO, Crater Lake, OR and Mt Rainier national park on your way up. Donít worry about below 30* up here. We rarely get below 40*, do however get a nice rain jacket.
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Old 10-19-2019, 12:09 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phyzman View Post
Donít miss Grand Tetons while youíre near Yellowstone.

Utah: Moab (Arches, Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, Fisher Towers), Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods, Natural Bridges, Capitol Reef, Bryce, Red Canyon, Zion.

Arizona: Page (Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, Glen Canyon), Grand Canyon


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I strongly second this list and would add Mesa Verde (CO) and Dinosaur national monument on the UT/CO border.
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Old 10-19-2019, 12:56 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkviv View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm currently on day 3 of a coast-to-coast road trip with no time limits and very few plans. I started in South Florida and I am currently in Atlanta, Georgia. My first stop was a stargazing park in Central Florida followed by Ocala National Forest, camped out overnight in both places and hoping to find more nice free camping spots along the way. I've had an opportunity to swim in the crystal clear springs around Ocala National Forest and have seen 4 black bears in the wild (was in my car both times, one was a mama bear crossing the road with 2 large cubs, other was a small one near my campsite), and that was just in 2 days.

I've been slowly preparing supplies and equipment for a road trip like this, however I never really took any time to plan out a route, all I knew was that I wanted to see more of this country. I am sleeping in my rooftop tent and have a fridge along with cooking equipment, although I have mostly gone for fast food since I've been tired after all the driving. The plan was to make it to Washington state before snow sets in, or weather gets too cold for me to handle, while visiting as many National Parks , Forests, and other natural areas as possible. Having spent my life in South Florida, I don't do well in the cold, but I think I am prepared for temparatures as low as 30*. Ideally I would spend 3-4 hours driving per day and then find a nice place to explore with a quiet place to camp out, but it looks like I may have to have longer driving days to make it to the Northwest before it gets too cold for me.

If anyone has any ideas for cool places to visit along the way, I open for any and all suggestions, looking for some hidden gems that are off the tourist paths. My 5th gen is mostly stock and I am a complete newbie when it comes to driving offroad, so I would be hesitant to take anything but some nice easy scenic trails. Also open to meeting up with anyone and going wheeling or grabbing a beer if its along the way or not too far out.

Currently on the list is:
Badlands NP, SD
Yellowstone NP, WY
Redwood NP, CA
Yosemite NP, CA
Joshua Tree NP, CA
Pretified Forest NP, AZ
Stop in at Moab Utah and go see Arches National Park and Canyon Lands National Park. Both are right there! Free camping for thousands for miles outside the park boundaries. Needles Overlook is a Must, trust me. And there are many trails on either side of the road on your way to the overlook. Just pull down one and you can camp on the side of a canyon. Amazing views! Beautiful sunsets! I was there last year and really loved it. From there head north the the Bonnivile Salt Flats. All three are on the way to Washington!!!
Take pics and share no matter where you go, Safe travels.
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:48 PM #12
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Thanks everyone that has replied. I will certainly be adding a few of the parks in Utah to my list along with some of the other places that have been mentioned. I am currently 30 minutes from Nashville, TN, so I'll go get a coffee and start drawing out a route, I kinda feel like I'm racing the clock to get to Washington, going to try and slow down so I can really appreciate everything.
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Old 10-19-2019, 06:00 PM #13
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There is so much to see and all spots are beautiful and sure the Grand Canyon is gorgeous and need to be named here but it’s s as well crowded...
Maybe you got the time to check out canyon de chelly - i remember it as breathtaking!

Anyways, in case you are not in a hurry to coming back home after you cross the state line of Florida again when your trip is almost over then let me know and stop by and share your adventures with me. There is definitely a cold beer in the fridge and I’m sure good food too

Last edited by Matze; 10-19-2019 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:02 PM #14
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@Matze that sounds like an offer I will take you up on. Not sure when I'll be heading back, but I doubt I will be in a hurry to get back home, hoping to see a lot more of Florida on the way back. I'm disappointed that I never realized how much there is to do here.

I am currently in Kentucky at the Mammoth cave campground, looking forward to seeing the caves tomorrow, I will start posting some photos in this thread as time goes by, I've been slacking on taking photos and travelling solo makes it a bit harder since I'm usually so focused on the experiences
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Old 10-19-2019, 10:53 PM #15
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between Yosemite and SoCal there are 2 cool places to go check out that I was at last week:

Alabama Hills- The filmed a TON of old westerns out here back in the day. You can camp right in the middle of it near some very cool looking rocks. Theres a bunch of off road trails, you can also drive up to Mt Whitney basecamp, its beautiful.On the way back down hit the off road trails to get back down to the valley.

Red Rocks is another real cool place to see, and there is some good off road trails around here called Jawbone Canyon
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