Autumn road trip in the western US
June 17, 2017 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Our tenth wedding anniversary approaches, and we're considering a road trip from our home in Seattle. We have family and friends in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and California, but we also want to do new/fun/weird/scenic things. Help us fill in the gaps, pick the best route, and plan our accommodations. There are lots of good previous questions about road tripping in these areas, but of course we are unique.

We're aiming to spend two-three weeks in September/October, possibly including our anniversary on October 6.

The main anchor points we want to hit are Boulder CO, St George UT, Phoenix AZ, Los Angeles CA, and Portland OR. We're considering this rough itinerary, but nothing is set:

-East from Seattle toward Spokane, through Montana and Wyoming to Boulder
-West through Utah to St. George
-South to Phoenix
-West to Los Angeles
-North to Portland, including some time on the Pacific Coast Highway
-and then home

What should we do/see along the way? We've spent a lot of time in the Utah/Arizona stretch already, so especially seeking recommendations for the other legs of the trip. We're a mid-thirties couple who like national parks, weird landmarks, and noteworthy sandwiches. We might spend a day at Disneyland.

How should we celebrate/take advantage of our anniversary? Spending the day in quiet contemplation on a gorgeous hike would be in keeping with our relationship, but so would finding the place along the route that would give us the most cool free stuff.

Where should we stay? It would be nice to be flexible in case our plans change or weather happens, but we don't want to get stranded with no place to stay at the last minute. We could borrow some camping gear to bring along, but we'll want to do the majority of our sleeping indoors.

We've never done a drive like this before so general road trip advice is also welcomed. (We considered driving when we moved across the country a few years ago, but wised up and flew instead.) Google Maps is ok but the ten-destination limit may be a dealbreaker here.
posted by doift to Travel & Transportation (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
When you're heading north from Los Angeles you should spend a night at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, because it is ridiculous and hilarious and a very weird landmark. At the very least you should hit up Hearst Castle while you're in the area and eat at the Madonna Inn's totally weirdo steakhouse.
posted by padraigin at 10:17 PM on June 17, 2017

Near West Yellowstone as you drive from Montana toward Wyoming is this lovely hot springs resort, Chico Hot Springs. Some of the buildings are historic and the hot springs feed into one large hot pool and one smaller hotter pool which I imagine would feel good to get into in the fall. They also have their own organic garden that they use in their restaurant. They also have live music on weekends in their bar.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 5:20 AM on June 18, 2017

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