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Old 12-29-2009, 09:08 PM
 
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Im going to the U.S in February from the UK. I need some advice on what places I should visit. I only have one month to travel around the country. Since I have such limited time there I want to visit the most famous and fascinating places. The problem Im having is deciding what those places are. I will be starting my trip in New York City. I plan to stay there for three days. After New York I dont know where I sould go and Im also having trouble deciding between flying or train travel.
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:25 PM
 
Location: San Diego
5,027 posts, read 13,422,694 times
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Some of my favorite major cities in the US are NYC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Austin, St. Louis, Portland and San Diego. One month is a lot of time and you can see plenty. I'd recommend flying, since train travel within the US is not like it is in Europe. We can't seem to get that straight. There are many other smaller cities, and such, but given it's a month, I would stick to the major tourist cities in different parts of the US. I'm sure people will mention National Parks and such, but honestly, unless you're a US history buff, Mt. Rushmore is meaningless and I really could have done without ever seeing it. The only one you might be interested in is the Grand Canyon, though I wouldn't go out of your way to do so. Could be a side trip from Las Vegas!
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Old 12-30-2009, 01:05 AM
 
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Probably depends whether you like rural or urban areas and other factors. It'd probably help if you had specific likes or dislikes as there is so much to do here.
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:29 AM
 
Location: Bucky Palace, London
114 posts, read 216,278 times
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Here's another Brit on another first 'Journey of Discovery' to the USA!!! I am also going late Feb for just under a month and am having similar problems to you, it's just too big a place for me to get my head around.
I am going to rent a car, get a good guide book and just go with the flow. For some reason I fancy the Florida Coastline, not necessarily Miami, the Florida Quays and I really want to go to New Orleans, but don't understand why I do, just like the sound of it! Who knows where we will end up. Exciting though isn't it?
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:04 AM
 
Location: In the moment.
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Good Luck to the both of you!
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:47 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 9,945,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcdavis View Post
Im going to the U.S in February from the UK. I need some advice on what places I should visit. I only have one month to travel around the country. Since I have such limited time there I want to visit the most famous and fascinating places. The problem Im having is deciding what those places are. I will be starting my trip in New York City. I plan to stay there for three days. After New York I dont know where I sould go and Im also having trouble deciding between flying or train travel.
In the NYC - Boston - Washington DC coridoor, you could get around by train and save yourself time, money, and headaches. I'd recommend visiting all three of those East Coast cities to get a feel for EC culture. DC is great for monuments and museums.

After that, I'd try to book a rail trip to Chicago, but check your times to see if the rail is going to eat up too much of your schedule. It's not much cheaper than flying (they're both expensive!) and another option is Greyhound bus. Don't expect Eurolines quality service, though. Everyone with money either flies or drives their own car.

After Chicago, you could try making your way to St. Louis or (much farther) Omaha for a taste of the Midwest if you want to experience what people mean when they say "Red States". If you keep to the coasts you will remain firmly planted in the most liberal parts of American society. It's worth the effort to visit the heartland and see how people actally live in "flyover country"

If you want more rural America head north toward Montana. You can visit high plains towns like Billings and try to make it to Yellowstone, Glacier, or another national park in the Rocky Mountains.

If you are hungry for more varied culture, you can try the southern gulf coastal cities like New Orleans or Houston.

If you went north, you can then head for Seattle or Portland in the Pacific Northwest, see the coastal redwood rainforests and beautiful clifftop ocean views.

If you went south, you can visit the desert city of Pheonix as you hop across to Southern California.

Either way you go, I highly recommend budgeting at least 10 days to visit some of the Southwestern Cities: San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Franisco. All are served by a coastal rail line. It's only 4 hours from San Diego to LA. Then no more than 1.5 days to reach San Francisco. I believe the rail line runs all the way up to Seattle if you are coming down or going up that way.

San Francisco is my favorite city in the US, so spend at least 3 days there taking in the sights, smells, day-and-nightlife!

...

Be aware, in Feburary all the cities north of St. Louis will be bitterly cold and possibly hit by major snowstorms (especially plains cities like Omaha, Denver, Billings, etc.) which will freeze you in place for several days, or divert your flight elsewhere. Yellowstone or other parks will probably be closed or only accessible by snowmobile (you can rent them, and it's a fun but rough ride)

A southern route could be fun, but even Florida gets chilly in Feb. Miami might be warm enough for a swim, but anywhere north of Orlando is going to drive you out of the water after a quick dip, especially if a cold front swings through. The Ocean in Sothern California will also be too cold to swim without a wetsuit during that time of year.

All beaches in the US tend to have high surf during the winter months, so be cautious even if you are just going for a walk. In Southern California-- which has the tamest waves on the West Coast, the surf can exceed 5 meters and sweep across jetties and beaches without warning. There are no lifeguards on duty in the winter (except possibly in Miami).
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Airports all over the world
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Where ever you finally decide to go, don't try to do too much. I once took a 3 week vacation in the southwest region of the U.S. 10 days into the trip I had already driven 3000 miles across 5 states. I got so burned out I checked into a motel for 2 days and did nothing but rest. I ended up returning the rental car a week early and went home.

If you decide you want to see different regions of the U.S. I would recommend taking the train from region to region. Get a room in the sleeper car and rest up while traveling on the train.
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Colorado
4,308 posts, read 11,811,302 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by English Liz View Post
Here's another Brit on another first 'Journey of Discovery' to the USA!!! I am also going late Feb for just under a month and am having similar problems to you, it's just too big a place for me to get my head around.
I am going to rent a car, get a good guide book and just go with the flow. For some reason I fancy the Florida Coastline, not necessarily Miami, the Florida Quays and I really want to go to New Orleans, but don't understand why I do, just like the sound of it! Who knows where we will end up. Exciting though isn't it?
I did a very similar trip quite a few years ago and it was great. I started in NO and drove from there along the gulf coast all the way down to Key West. This was before Hurricane Katrina so NO will look quite different but it is a great city to visit. FYI - it had a lot of crime problems before the hurricane and my understanding is that things are almost as bad again now, if not worse, so be careful and sensible. The local "uniform" is shorts, t-shirt and trainers. Don't carry big expensive cameras or fancy designer handbags, keep your money close and don't flash your credit cards around. Don't walk anywhere alone, even in broad daylight but especially at night. If you do go out at night stick to the busy streets but keep an eye out. Having said all that I hope I haven't frightened you off - it really is a great and fascinating place to see. You should definitely tour the French Quarter and Garden District, try to get out of town to see one of the plantation houses, take a tour of the bayou, have beignets and coffee at Cafe du Monde, get your fortune told in the square outside the cathedral, go antique-ing on Magazine Street and eat at any of the zillion really great restaurants.

By the way, do NOT go to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. It's the world's biggest ripoff and not nearly as much fun as you might think. A better time to go is during April for Jazz Fest.
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:03 AM
 
32,103 posts, read 33,010,060 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
In the NYC - Boston - Washington DC coridoor, you could get around by train and save yourself time, money, and headaches. I'd recommend visiting all three of those East Coast cities to get a feel for EC culture. DC is great for monuments and museums.

If you went north, you can then head for Seattle or Portland in the Pacific Northwest, see the coastal redwood rainforests and beautiful clifftop ocean views.

If you went south, you can visit the desert city of Pheonix as you hop across to Southern California.

Either way you go, I highly recommend budgeting at least 10 days to visit some of the Southwestern Cities: San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Franisco. All are served by a coastal rail line. It's only 4 hours from San Diego to LA. Then no more than 1.5 days to reach San Francisco. I believe the rail line runs all the way up to Seattle if you are coming down or going up that way.

San Francisco is my favorite city in the US, so spend at least 3 days there taking in the sights, smells, day-and-nightlife!
I would add Philadelphia as a must see from the historical point of view to your Northeast corridor part of your USA trip. Philadelphia is kind of a half way point on a (train/car) trip between NYC & Washington D.C.
Since you will be here only a month, I suggest that you fly to San Francisco which is a great place to visit. SF is also a great place to start a trip to the Northwest section of the USA. From SF you can visit the famous Napa Valley vineyard area as well as Muir Woods to see the famous Redwood forests. It is also gives you access to Yosemite Park.
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:24 AM
 
16 posts, read 28,651 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcdavis View Post
I want to visit the most famous and fascinating places.
I would have to say the most fascinating place is West Virginia. I don't know how much you like nature, but I personally think it's the most beautiful state in America. I would recommend Blackwater Falls State Park outside of Davis.
Hope this helps a little
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