#1 7-2-2017 2:47 PM

luxor
Edinburgh, Scotland
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Transport Advice for Southwest/ West Coast USA

Hi all,

My boyfriend and I are planning a trip around the west/south west area of the USA in May 2018ish for around about two weeks.

We are starting in Austin, Texas and hoping to visit:
LA, San Francisco, The Grand Canyon (and small nature areas around there such as the Horseshoe Bend, The Wave and Havasu Falls etc), Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore. 

We are not planning to drive as from the UK and not confident enough on American roads, could anyone recommend the best way and the best routes travelling between these places? Finding it quite difficult to find the information online. (We also don't have a huge budget).

Thanks!

 

#2 7-2-2017 5:50 PM

grandmar
RosalieAnn
Leonardtown, Maryland
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Re: Transport Advice for Southwest/ West Coast USA

I have been told (never done it myself) that you can get around California by bus (LA, SF, Yosemite etc), and it should be possible to get from Austin to LA by train.  There is a train to the Grand Canyon but it's a day trip train. 

IT is possible to get a tour that would take you to some of these places (I know Tauck has some ridiculously overpriced tours (Like $3600/each for a week) that go to some of the National Parks - but the one for Yellowstone includes Mt Rushmore, but not the Grand Canyon etc.)  I don't know of any transportation in Yellowstone other than a car.  The NPS does offer bus tours in the summer, but you have to get to the park first.

 

#3 7-2-2017 5:51 PM

ulis
Uli
Vienna, Austria
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Re: Transport Advice for Southwest/ West Coast USA

If you don't want to drive (it's more easy than in continental Europe), Greyhound buses go almost everywhere
https://www.greyhound.com

 

#4 7-2-2017 6:58 PM

Tommy743
Montana, United States
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Re: Transport Advice for Southwest/ West Coast USA

I know you don't want to drive but based on the sites you want to visit it would be your best choice. The areas you picked are all great and the roads not too bad. Keep in mind these areas are pretty remote so you won't see the kind of traffic like you would back home. You would get used to the driving quick. Plus....if you drive you could add Moab to your trip on the way to Yellowstone. Arches National Park just out of Moab is a top 10 park and worth it.  You will not go wrong staying in any of the towns around Yellowstone.....Cody, Gardiner, West Yellowstone are all awesome little towns. Have fun!

 

#5 7-2-2017 8:17 PM

grandmar
RosalieAnn
Leonardtown, Maryland
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Re: Transport Advice for Southwest/ West Coast USA

There may be a problem with car rental - depending on the ages of the travelers.  Sometimes people under 25 have a problem.

But I do agree - as long as you do all your traveling out in the country, driving isn't too bad in the west.  It's pretty wide open.  I wouldn't advise driving in SF though - there's public transportation in the city.

 

#6 7-3-2017 4:35 AM

kvom
Kirk
Cumming, Georgia
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Re: Transport Advice for Southwest/ West Coast USA

Your plan is a poor one as you are hoping to visit relatively remote areas not well served by transportation and you are underfunded.  Plus the areas you list are far apart, and you have only two weeks.  The Grand Canyon - Yellowstone - Rushmore route alone is 1300 miles.

 

#7 7-3-2017 1:19 PM

shavy
Belinda
Belgium
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Re: Transport Advice for Southwest/ West Coast USA

I agree with Kirk (Kvom). I think you should check the map first

Too bad you're not driving, I understand you drive on the wrong side, is the same for us driving in UK but only take a few minutes

To rent a car in US you must be 25 years old

We have done the rockies a couple of years ago. We have three weeks and rent a car.

Yellowstone is huge I don't know how to see the park without your own vehicle. Grand Teton is also worth to see. Mount Rushmore is very touristy and is a very long way from Yellowstone.

 

#8 7-3-2017 3:06 PM

fransglobal
Francis
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Re: Transport Advice for Southwest/ West Coast USA

To cover all that even with a car in two weeks involves a lot of travel time. Not sure it would be realistic with or even more so without a car.

A good site for working out to get from A to B worldwide is www.rome2rio.com.

 

#9 7-3-2017 9:46 PM

grandmar
RosalieAnn
Leonardtown, Maryland
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Re: Transport Advice for Southwest/ West Coast USA

If you have not traveled in the US it might be hard to understand the distances.  It will take over 20 hours to drive from Austin to LA as it is over 1300 miles. 

I'd advise you to give up the idea of visiting Yellowstone on this trip as it is just not possible without a car.  The only way you could do it without driving is to take a tour with a group.

Perhaps fly from Austin to San Francisco.  From there you can visit  some of the redwood parks and maybe Yosemite by bus and you could also go to Los Angeles.  You could also fly to Las Vegas -- from there you can get day trip tours that go to the Grand Canyon.  But you will be hard pressed to do even that much in 2 weeks

Last edited by grandmar (7-3-2017 9:47 PM)

 

#10 7-7-2017 11:09 AM

CMTinPHX
Christopher
Phoenix, Arizona
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Re: Transport Advice for Southwest/ West Coast USA

Write off Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone entirely if you're not driving. Not feasible. Consider a day trip to Yosemite instead.

You can bus from Austin to Flagstaff and book a day tour to the Grand Canyon. Then over to California from Flagstaff by Greyhound or Amtrak.

Don't forget Couchsurfing and Airbnb...

Last edited by CMTinPHX (7-7-2017 11:12 AM)

 

#11 7-23-2017 7:47 AM

katzgar
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Re: Transport Advice for Southwest/ West Coast USA

The roads in America are long strips of concrete or asphalt so pretty much like what you are used to.  Not driving means you can only go to places that Amtrak or greyhound go so look at their route maps. Once you get to a station you would use a local taxi or city bus. work out the miles on gmaps

Last edited by katzgar (7-23-2017 7:48 AM)

 

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