Travel 2 weeks in USA

Myrkur

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Jun 9, 2011
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I'm from Europe and next year, we would like to go to the USA for 2 weeks. We would like to start on the west coast, in San Francisco and fly to New York and spend there at least 5 days because I've been there last year for a week and I felt like I could have spend more time over there. I've been to all the places before, but I was a little child and cannot remember going there even though there are many pictures from it :P But I would like to go to San Francisco, Lake Tahoe (Tahoe Forest), Sequoia, Death Valley, Grand Canyon but I am guessing that will not fit into our two weeks if I also like to go to NYC. Anyone have any suggestions where I REALLY should go. What is a must see. Perhaps we could do 2,5 weeks, will THAT be more reasonable?
 

boxermom

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Aug 26, 2006
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San Francisco is a great city to visit. Is there a reason you want to go to Death Valley? I don't think I would spend some of my limited time there. If you can stop at the Grand Canyon, please do! It's incredible--I didn't want to leave; it gave me such a spiritual feeling of peace.

Never enough time to spend in New York!

I haven't been to Lake Tahoe, though I'd love to. Dh has been there and says it's beautiful.
 

redney

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Since all of your sights are on the West Coast, I'd focus more time there. Perhaps NYC is a trip for another time?

You could fly into SF, stay there to explore, rent a car and drive to Tahoe. You could detour a bit north on the way to to Tahoe and spend a day or 2 in Napa and/or Sonoma and then onto Tahoe. From Tahoe, you could drive south to Yosemite and down to Sequoia & Kings Canyon. Continue on to Death Valley, over to Vegas and then to the Grand Canyon. Then you could backtrack to Vegas to fly out or drive longer down to Flagstaff and Sedona, AZ and then fly out of Phoenix.

It's a lot of driving but you could hit all of your destinations and see a variety of beautiful scenery along the way!
 

Swanky

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I agree. If you're flying to West coast but have heart set on a full week in NY then you will be VERY pressed for time. The West coast has a TON to offer. Napa Valley is a must do/see while near SF IMO.


What time of year are you coming? Death Valley is pretty brutal. You could drive through it to Scottsdale, Grand Canyon or Las Vegas, etc. . . from the Los Angeles area if you'd like to see LA for a day. The fly out from Las Vegas.


The drive from San Fran is GORGEOUS, you'd drive through Monterey, Santa Barbara, etc. . .
 

Hatfield1313

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Spending a full week in NY would make you more pressed for time.... I live in Los Angeles and personally, this is my list of musts:

Grand Canyon for sure. If it helps, I had a little less than 24 hours to spend there when I went, but found for myself that that was plenty (I really only cared about seeing it though, you may want another day and book a mule ride). There's a shuttle that takes you from one end of the South Rim to the other and I was able to see most of that side in about 6 hours. Definitely catch a sunset there. And from the Grand Canyon you can go to Vegas (fantastic shopping, three Louis Vuitton stores, Gucci, etc etc). Death Valley is about as fun as the name sounds, it personally wouldn't be on my list of must sees on a 2 week trip.

Yosemite (and everything Redney mentioned in her post, Sequoia, Tahoe, San Francisco, etc)

Yellowstone! OMG Don't miss Yellowstone. It's right up there next to the Grand Canyon I think.

If you want to see LA you really don't need more than a day, nothing fantastic here (of course, I live here, so my perception obviously comes from someone who sees the damn place day in and day out, but if you come, consider taking a tour of a studio. I suggest Warner Brothers, it'll be the best bang for your buck and give you a Hollywood experience, and you're pretty much guaranteed to see someone famous on that tour if that sorta thing tickles your fancy, perhaps even try and catch a taping of a TV show. PM me on that one for more info if you want).

The above, if you wanna take some time, could probably be pulled off easily in a week and a half depending on how you decide to travel (drive or fly?). You COULD do it in a week, but you'll end up feeling rushed I think.

I would almost make a circle... Perhaps start in Vegas, then go down to the Grand Canyon. From there come up to LA, then just head up the coast (however Kings Canyon/Sequoia is a little more inland, so for that you'll have to figure out how you want to route your trip, maybe skip Santa Barbara), and head all the way up to San Francisco, Yosemite, Tahoe. From up there you could catch a flight then to Yellowstone if you decide that's a stop you're interested in and from Yellowstone head to NY.
 
Oct 20, 2008
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I would go to Death Valley in the spring after an El Niño winter. The entire valley is carpeted with wild flowers - amazing! I tried to do the California wild flower watching almost every spring when I lived there but friends and I got really excited during El Niño.

Agree with the others that you should devote the entire two weeks to the west coast otherwise you're short-changing yourself.
 

Luvbolide

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Jun 8, 2007
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Some of these itineraries sound great, but awfully ambitious for two weeks. Calif is pretty spread out and some of these drives will take quite a bit of time. For example, Yosemite is truly awesome and gorgeous, but not really near anything. It can also be insanely crowded so you need to figure out accommodations in advance. You should also figure out what you want to see in Yosemite and how you might get there - there are limitations on where cars can go in the Valley and the crowds can really slow you down.

Death Valley is fun - for wildflowers - in the Spring, but not sure what the weather is like at this time of year. I went once, honestly as a kid, but it isn't on my list of places that I want to return to any time soon - there are so many other places that I'd like to see or see again.

I would spent time (4 or 5 days) in SF and then do a brief side trip (2 or 3 days) to either Tahoe or Napa. Do some research before heading up to Napa - there was an earthquake there recently and the downtown area has some damage. I think most of the restaurants and wineries are back up and running, but check out what you want to see.

Then I'd head from SFO to NYC for the rest of the trip.

I'd do the Grand Canyon/Sedona/Las Vegas on another trip. I'd love to see the Grand Canyon, but haven't made it there yet myself!
 

gracekelly

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I might add a trip to Chicago as you are heading east and ending up in NY. It is a great city with many things to do. I live in LA, and I think it will take you more than one day. I would not bother with studio tours etc. I would rent a car and go up and/or down the coast to Santa Barbara or Orange county. I think the major parks like Yellowstone etc are for another trip. You could fly into San Fran and then drive down to LA along the coast. Very scenic.
 

minnie04

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These are the most common attractions for tourist if you go on tour with major tour companies around the world ( I know you probably will go on your own) , but these are the highlights :
Los Angeles ( Beverly Hills / shopping , Disneyland, Universal studio , Las Vegas , Grand Canyon, SF city tour that includes Golden gate , fisherman wharf , more shopping, lol.
Then fly east coast and spend the rest of your days doing NYC city tour , Including go to Woodbury common outlet or tour to Niagara Falls from NY using local tour companies there . By the end of the trip will be dead tired. But that's pretty much the highlight they will take you , if you go with big tour companies .
 

Luvbolide

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Jun 8, 2007
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These are the most common attractions for tourist if you go on tour with major tour companies around the world ( I know you probably will go on your own) , but these are the highlights :
Los Angeles ( Beverly Hills / shopping , Disneyland, Universal studio , Las Vegas , Grand Canyon, SF city tour that includes Golden gate , fisherman wharf , more shopping, lol.
Then fly east coast and spend the rest of your days doing NYC city tour , Including go to Woodbury common outlet or tour to Niagara Falls from NY using local tour companies there . By the end of the trip will be dead tired. But that's pretty much the highlight they will take you , if you go with big tour companies .



Ugh, all the more reason not to go with a large tour company, then. I love to shop, but the highlights of SF, NY and LA is not shopping. (It is probably the highlight of Las Vegas though - LOL!) There is a ton of stuff to see and do in these cities - I wouldn't spend my limited time driving a lot and would rather spend more concentrated time on a couple of places instead of trying to see too much and not really seeing anything - if that makes sense. But others, I am sure, disagree...
 

Myrkur

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Jun 9, 2011
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Wow ladies thank you so much for all the information!!! However, I'm not sure yet if we're still going next year because we unexpectedly bought a house yay! And since moving is in December and we still have to put in a new floor, re-do the walls etc. I think we are waaay to busy first trying to settle in. But perhaps the year after we could go and this information is really really helpful so please continue posting as I would still like to make a trip like this someday and then at least I know what route to make!!
 

Myrkur

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Jun 9, 2011
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OK we completely changed our plans! We decided to split things up.
We will be going to Iceland for 10 days this summer and do NYC 10 days next Winter with Christmas! So excited. I've only been to NYC in Spring, but I always wondered how 'magical' it might looked in Winter around the holidays ...
 
Oct 20, 2008
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OK we completely changed our plans! We decided to split things up.
We will be going to Iceland for 10 days this summer and do NYC 10 days next Winter with Christmas! So excited. I've only been to NYC in Spring, but I always wondered how 'magical' it might looked in Winter around the holidays ...

"Magical" - hah! that made me laugh. (I'm allowed to be cynical, I live in Manhattan.) just don't inadvertently step into a deep snow puddle. they spring their traps on the street corners.
 

Myrkur

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Jun 9, 2011
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"Magical" - hah! that made me laugh. (I'm allowed to be cynical, I live in Manhattan.) just don't inadvertently step into a deep snow puddle. they spring their traps on the street corners.
Well winter is my favorite season and I love snow more than anything. Unfortunately last winter we did not get any snow at all here.. More like 59 degrees, sunshine and able to wear no coats.. which was pretty odd for our Europe climate.. But I believe I remember NYC had a pretty cold winter last year right? So bring it on :graucho: