I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, but I did visit Mount Rushmore with my family as a teenager. This is a must-see that every American should visit at least once in their lifetime. Another impressive thing to see is Devil’s Tower in Wyoming ( remember the ending of Close Encounters of the Third Kind? ) We visited both of these on the way home from Yellowstone National Park, which is one of the most spectacular and unforgettable must-sees of all. Anyone who’s going there should plan on at least four or five days to see and experience everything. And people heading to Mount Rushmore shouldn’t miss the Badlands, not too far east of there. The terrain is so bizarre that you’ll think that you just landed on another planet.
You all have been extremely helpful with my trips in the past, and I need some help for a friend. For her honeymoon, her and her husband will be going on a 2 week road trip across the US. They are starting in St. Louis, wanting to end up in San Fran, before heading back home. They have NO plans right now of a route and are just starting the planning process. They will be going in late October. They are pretty sure they want to hit Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon. Do any of you have any suggestions of places to go/see/eat?? They are wanting some obscure, fun places also that are not necessarily touristy places. Any would be very helpful. I am trying to help out with some research since they are busy with wedding plans!
Thanks for the advice! I don’t think they want to see everything, just trying to get ideas and whittle them all down. I know they are concerned about the weather and terrain that time of year, so thanks for that advice. I have never been in that area, so wasn’t sure how the roads would be.
I agree! When a kid, I took a three week trip from western NY state to “out west”. We made a big loop, up over the great lakes in Canada, then down through Michigan, etc. Seen some amazing things, Yellowstone, the Badlands, the four corners of the U.S., etc. All on state roads and camping the whole time!
I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, but I did visit Mount Rushmore with my family as a teenager. This is a must-see that every American should visit at least once in their life time. Another impressive thing to see is Devil’s Tower in Wyoming ( remember the ending of Close Encounters of the Third Kind? ) We visited both of these on the way home from Yellowstone National Park, which is one of the most spectacular and unforgettable must-sees of all. Anyone who’s going there should plan on at least four or five days to see and experience everything. And people heading to Mount Rushmore shouldn’t miss the Badlands, not too far east of there. The terrain is so bizarre that you’ll think that you just landed on another planet.
Late October Interstate highway driving is 90% no problem. It pays to check the forecasts when crossing the Rockies and Sierra’s that time of year…something I get the feeling a honeymoon couple might ‘forget’ to do. Mt Rushmore should be OK. Grand Canyon is a no brainer (South Rim only) it is always open. The North Rim usually closes for snow by Nov 1, so it could be more difficult.
Monument Valley is beautiful in the Fall, as is the Canyonlands area. Desert weather may be brisk, but not wintery at that time of year.
If I were asked for serious advice about this trip, I would suggest either of the two following alternative plans—
1. A flying-Honeymoon to San Francisco. Fly out and back and get a package of hotel and car to give you several days in California for sightseeing…Napa, Yosemite, Redwoods, & The City.
A quick look at Travelocity on AOL gave me over 30 trip/hotel options for 10 days and 9 nights ranging from $750-$2000+(per person) using non-stop flights from STL to SFO. Car would be extra as would breaking up the nights for different hotels. But that is still fairly inexpensive travel.
2. A roadtrip to Mt Rushmore then thru the Utah national parks to the Grand Canyon then home…no California segment. Still a lot to see and drive, but two weeks on the road might be doable. The weather could have an impact on this in the Rockies on the way out. I-40 on the way home would be no problem. This would be cheaper travel and certainly less crowded, but they would mis San francisco…if that is important to them. A lot depends on whether they enjoy driving and ‘nature’ sightseeing, as opposed to city-visiting?????
Please do keep us informed on your planning progress..
Folks, Read Heather’s Post carefully. There is NO Question that a roadtrip to see some of the Natural Wonders in the American West would be a great Honeymoon ride! What is Needed here is a realistic schedule for the trip…THEN some suggestions for food etc. I think it will be a hectic couple of weeks for these young folks, if they try to do this trip in just TWO WEEKS ! Give it more time, or shorten the travel destination distances.
Two weeks for the round trip is really moving along and not taking much time to “See” anything. That goes double if they really want to zig-zag from St Louis up to Mt Rushmore (South Dakota) then South to the Grand Canyon while driving West. Even doing one on the way west and the other stop on the return doesn’t allow much of any time for seeing San Francisco, or anything else along the way.
Trying to meet their schedule I would do the following….
WestBound,– St Louis to K C then north on I-29 to I-90. West to Mt Rushmore and Devils Tower. By Late October Most of Yellowstone is closed to thru traffic and the possibility of winter snows make that a questionable route unless they are outdoor freaks and can prepare for the worst (and a 4×4). So from Devils Tower I would go South either thru WY to I-80 or US 30 West to I-15. Then west on I-80 to San francisco
Plenty to see and do in the Bay area…
Eastbound,– South on 101 and or I-5 to CA-58, east on 58 thru Bakerfield to I-40 in Barstow. I-40 to Williams AZ then to the Grand Canyon. From the Grand Canyon go NE on US 160 thru the Monument Valley to US-191 then North thru Canyonlands N P and Arches NP and Moab and then to I-70. I-70 east to St Louis. The I-70 ride thru the Rockies is one of the prettiest rides on any interstate highway.
Personal Opinion…This is WAY TOO MUCH TRIP for the time scheduled. The couple will be driving very long days and not have the time to divert on side roads or walk the areas to give you a feel for what you are seeing (briefly) I would suggest (strongly) adding at least one more week to the trip to give you more than a few hours at each of the three major stops…and hopefully several others in between.
Please Keep us advised of their travel plans and schedule. With this time limit any suggestions I make for food stops would have to be using a drive-thru window…to keep them on the time line.
Road Trip – St. Louis to San Francisco, CA
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