Author Topic: Please help me find local attractions in the US!  (Read 14377 times)

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Cereal Killer

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Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« on: February 16, 2012, 08:55:39 AM »
Hi all,

I'm planning to visit US in June 2012 with my boyfriend and therefore I'm after some advice.

We're going to fly to New York, stay there for a couple of days (too short, I know, but our time is limited!), and then start to travel to the west, something like New york - Washington D.C. - Miami - New Orleans - Dallas - Roswell - Las Vegas - LA - San Fransisco. In total we have about 4 weeks to do this so something might have to be left out.

What I would like to hear from you is recommendations of local oddities/festivals/anything fun along this general route. It doesn't have to be in any of the cities I mentioned, as we would like to visit smaller places, too, as they often are surprisingly interesting. So, if any of you know there's a great "Cats and Giraffes festival" in some tiny town, or the World's biggest spoon -museum, or things like that, please let me know! Or anything you consider very typical for your area, that could be interesting for a foreigner to experience, I want to hear about it!

I also would like to know if there's an especially over-the-top tacky honey moon suite somewhere in Las vegas, as we're getting married there.  :P

We hope to use trains and buses as much as possible but if it's very much cheaper or faster we can also fly or rent a car for some journeys between destinations.

ScubaGirl

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2012, 09:09:24 AM »
Wow, that is an ambitious plan!  Generally speaking, you could take a train from NY to Washington DC.  From there you may just want to fly from place to place.  There is a lot you can see on the road but there is a lot of nothing to see as well and it takes a lot of time out of your trip.  Personally I'd skip Miami and fly to Orlando and do Disney then rent a car and spend a day or two in the Tampa/St. Pete area.  I prefer to the Gulf side to the Atlantic side.   Or, Key West is pretty cool for 2 adults.

If you haven't already, start checking out the official tourist websites for each state and city you want to visit.  Often times you can have them send you printed material - which I like because I can then look over everything at my leisure.

Whereever you go I hope you have a fantastic time!

ncgal

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2012, 11:30:41 AM »
Hi all,

I'm planning to visit US in June 2012 with my boyfriend and therefore I'm after some advice.

We're going to fly to New York, stay there for a couple of days (too short, I know, but our time is limited!), and then start to travel to the west, something like New york - Washington D.C. - Miami - New Orleans - Dallas - Roswell - Las Vegas - LA - San Fransisco. In total we have about 4 weeks to do this so something might have to be left out.

What I would like to hear from you is recommendations of local oddities/festivals/anything fun along this general route. It doesn't have to be in any of the cities I mentioned, as we would like to visit smaller places, too, as they often are surprisingly interesting. So, if any of you know there's a great "Cats and Giraffes festival" in some tiny town, or the World's biggest spoon -museum, or things like that, please let me know! Or anything you consider very typical for your area, that could be interesting for a foreigner to experience, I want to hear about it!

I also would like to know if there's an especially over-the-top tacky honey moon suite somewhere in Las vegas, as we're getting married there.  :P

We hope to use trains and buses as much as possible but if it's very much cheaper or faster we can also fly or rent a car for some journeys between destinations.

Ok, if you plan on spending just a few days in each, going by bus or train, then 4 weeks might get you from NY, DC, Miami and New Orleans.  NY to DC, easy trip by train.  DC to Miami, well, I think that is  a 2 day trip by train and even longer by bus.  Honestly, to hit all the main areas that you want to hit, and not flying, well, I don't believe it is possible, unless you stay on the train the whole time, just seeing the sites out the window.   

Since you are planning on getting married in Vegas, I would just stick to the west coast. 

jmarvellous

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2012, 11:46:25 AM »
I would personally skip Roswell. I planned a 2-week Texas-to-Arizona road trip that included a day there. We were totally done after about two, maybe three hours -- the museums and kitsch weren't enough to merit more than a drive-through, IMO.

There is lots of nothing between your stops, I agree. If I were you, I might do 1.5 weeks east (NY, DC and FL), 2.5 weeks west (CA and NV, because that'll include your wedding), and skip the middle (and I love the middle, and live there). That way there's plenty to see on a future trip!

DavidH

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2012, 12:03:41 PM »
I'm going to second the comments on Roswell, it's very small and 3 hours would,  I think, be the maximum time.  On the other hand, Carlsbad Caverns just south of there is very much worth seeing. 

On the subject of over the top honey moon suites, the Madonna Inn in San Louis Obispo CA is very much over the top and a about halfway from LA to SF (each room is different and the website is worth a look).  Hearst Castle is also near there and worth seeing. 

camlan

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2012, 12:17:38 PM »
If you are looking for local oddities, there's this website: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/

I can't speak to its accuracy for the states where  you will be visiting, but for the states that I've used it for, it's been pretty good.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn

Phoebelion

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2012, 05:54:05 PM »
Can't say anything about Rosewell as haven't been there.

But if you're into UFO stuff, you might want to drive out to Area 51 instead when you're in Vegas.  Nice drive, but be sure to have a map.  It seems like you're driving forever.   Be sure to take your picture in front of the road sign and stop at the Alien Inn.  Feel free to take picutes outside there also.  I don't know how they feel about picutes inside the place - I didn't try.  It's a super small diner type of set up  and you can see all the pics and stuff the locals have taken.  Also can get your souveniers there for UFO  stuff. 

You can then drive around the whole Area 51 site.  You'd never know anything was there if it wasn't for the all the Government Property stay out signs.

WhiteTigerCub

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2012, 06:15:13 PM »
Note that anywhere south in the US is going to be getting hot in June. TX, NM, NV and AZ especially unless you plan on sticking to the northern parts of the states.  Trains and busses won't be much of an option for seeing them unfortunately. In the SW we heavily rely on our autos because the public transit really is nill.

I drove across Texas once. It took an entire day driving to get from one side to the other. :/ Avoid that drive if at all possible.

Sedona, AZ is a lovely place to visit and can provide some quaint resorts and places to stay along the route. The Grand Canyon has a nice train ride that starts in Williams, AZ and takes you up to the Grand Canyon rim. I've done it and it's a great ride in an A/C conditioned car. Of course youd probably have to fly into Phoenix and then drive up but that isn't too bad as Phoenix to Las Vegas drive is only about 6 hours.

Lake Tahoe is a 10 hour drive to the NW from Las Vegas and is a great little city. I would recommend stopping there if you plan on heading up to San Francisco. You could also vist area 51 and see the bunkers the nation uses to store radioactive materials along the way. The area also has some history about nuclear bomb testing.

Going from San Francisco down to LA is at least 8 hours drive, with Solvang, Hearst Castle, beaches, etc but flights into and out of LA (LAX) will probably be some of your most reasonably priced options.

Arizona

QueenfaninCA

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2012, 06:49:27 PM »
Have you actually looked at a map and seen the distances between all those places? I know that a lot of Europeans totally underestimate the size of the US. San Francisco to LA is about 8 hours and if you look at a map, they look like they are right next to each other.

kitty-cat

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2012, 07:39:42 PM »
Have you actually looked at a map and seen the distances between all those places? I know that a lot of Europeans totally underestimate the size of the US. San Francisco to LA is about 8 hours and if you look at a map, they look like they are right next to each other.

Seconding this. Texas alone is roughly the same size as France.

Or as a joke I've heard goes: in the US, a hundred years is a long time. In Europe, 100 miles is a long way.




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Dazi

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2012, 08:44:38 PM »
I think I can help with weird Florida attractions.


I'm a big fan of St. Augustine for weird: Ripley's Believe It or Not, Oldest School House, Old Jail, Lighthouse, Potter's Wax Museum (creepy as Heck), Alligator Farm

Miami:Erotic Art Museum, Spanish Monastery, Coral Castle(Homestead, I think), Monkey Jungle

In Florida:
Butterfly World
Salvordore Dali Museum
Gatorland
Big Cat Rescue
Dinosaur World
National Key Deer Refuge


New Orleans: Insectarium (I haven't been, but it's on the list), Musee Conti Wax Museum, Marie Laveau House Of Voodoo, Canal St/City Park Cemetery (I don't remember the name)

In Louisana: UCM Museum, Angola Prison Museum, Zam's Swamp Tour

DC:  International Spy Museum,  House of the Temple (haven't been, on the list)
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Aggiesque

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2012, 09:18:13 PM »
At least with the middle of the US, you won't find quick public transport, if it exsists at all. There is so much land between cities that the businesses running a bus or train can't make money due to the cost of the fuel/few people regularly travel those distances. Now, within each city there may or may not be good local transit :)

If you are planning to stay on the ground, bring something to do- you will have, literally, days of "nothing" while going from one place to another. I'd fly between states, and take transit or rent a car within a state.

Be sure to dine in reunion tower in Dallas. You will need reservations. It's pricy. I'd do it if this is the only time you will be visting, though. It's sooo neat! http://www.dallasarchitecture.info/reunion.htm
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hyzenthlay

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 10:17:32 PM »
As others have said, there is no good realistic timely way to cross the US using train or bus. It's almost as expensive as flying, and fraught with delay.  And you'll probably find that mid summer is not a good time for local festivals and gatherings. Especially in the south and southwest. By June it's getting pretty hot.

My impression is also that a lot of visitors really appreciate the natural wonders of the US. And the southwest is choke full of them, BUT, it's a full day's drive to get ANYWHERE out here.

Skip Rosewell and plan a couple days for Carlsbad Carverns and White Sands OR head up to the Santa Fe/Taos area where you can see all the Spanish architecture and might catch one of the tribes doing a dance or a celebration of some kind. While/if you are driving up north you could stop by the Very Large Array, which has a very nice little guest center and is only about a half hour off the freeway if I recall correctly.

Cereal Killer

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2012, 03:32:32 AM »
Wow, thank you so much for all the replies! Our holiday planning really tends to be a bit ambitious, and sometimes leads to a bit of a rush. The world is so full of interesting things to see! We did look at the map, but there is a slight possibhility that we just wanted to ignore some facts of life.   :-[

As some of you suggested, it might be a good idea to skip the central part. Which is a shame, as a lot of nothing is somehow very fascinating. Of course, too much of is is just boring.  Then again, during our last holiday we travelled by train from Moscow, Russia to Beijing, China and then via Xian and Shanghai to Hong Kong, which totalled something like 10 full days in a train within 4 weeks and it never became too boring.

On the subject of over the top honey moon suites, the Madonna Inn in San Louis Obispo CA is very much over the top and a about halfway from LA to SF (each room is different and the website is worth a look).  Hearst Castle is also near there and worth seeing.
I've heard of Madonna Inn! It really is a good option.

If you are looking for local oddities, there's this website: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/

I can't speak to its accuracy for the states where  you will be visiting, but for the states that I've used it for, it's been pretty good.
This seems very useful, thank you!

It seems like seeing Area 51 instead of Roswell could be a very good idea.

Grand canyon and California redwood forest (is that what it is called? The giant trees?) are a must see, really.

Ereine

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Re: Please help me find local attractions in the US!
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2012, 05:55:58 AM »
My sister's fiance did a road trip with a friend last year. The started in New York and ended up in Los Angeles, in between the saw at least Florida, Las Vegas and Grand Canyon. It took them about three weeks and they did spend much of the time driving but they enjoed it a lot. I was skeptical because I knew the distances involved but it certainly seems to be possible.