Plan your road trip with must-see recommendations. Information on the beaches of California to the tundras of Yukon and everywhere in between.

North America Recommendations and Raves


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Began Gap Year Trip Six Years Ago
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  • Added on: May 10th, 2005
This is a new thread full of North America information. It is to be used for North America-specific tips, advice and recommendations ONLY. As a content-rich thread, we do not want any back-and-forth or questions. Please direct all questions via Private Messages (Click on "Go" in the left hand corner, select "My Space" and then "Private Messages") to the poster. You can also issue a PM by clicking on the poster's name and selecting "Private Message". Any post that does not contribute relevant information will be deleted. Examples include: responses to previous posts in the thread and questions. The information can be on any city, region or country in North America. Enjoy!
Girl Travels World


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Posts: 1376
Joined: December 5th, 2001

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  • Added on: May 11th, 2005
I think I'll let 'er rip here too.

Some great travel links:
Smarter Living - they have a travel newsletters focused on different areas of travel: International, student, domestic. They also work directly with:
Booking Buddy - a flight search engine with all the big guys on it like
Orbitz and my fav:

Budget Airlines:
Jet Blue
Song - Delta's budget buddy
Ted - United Airline's budget guy
Spirit - mainly east coast
Air Tran Airways
Alaska Air - heaps of service to Mexico too!
Frontier - partners with Alaska Air
America West - hub in Phoenix so almost every flight will go through here
Midwest Express
Independence Air - has anyone flown this yet?
TMA - Trans Meridian eh?
Mexicana - they have some great low fares in Mexico, US and Central to South America!
Aeromexico - Mexico's international airline has some great cheap fares

Greyhound - the link to the Mexico site is there too
BART - Bay Area Rapid Transit (San Fran)
MBTA - Massachussetts Bay Transit Authority (The "T")
Craigslist - rideshare anyone?

Trek America
Green Tortoise - Adventure travel bus/hostel tours to Grand Canyon, into Mexico and all over. They have hostels in San Fran and Seattle.

Must sees:
National Park Service
America's Scenic Drives

Bunac - Work Abroad for Americans too!
Craigslist - pick your city and post away. Great resource for jobs, rideshares, apartment hunting, buying and selling!

That's all for now. I'll be back with more later.


World Citizen
Posts: 1376
Joined: December 5th, 2001

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  • Added on: May 13th, 2005
Link to a list of Chinatown Bus routes - inexpensive buses that run from city Chinatown to Chinatown.


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World Citizen
Posts: 1156
Joined: November 25th, 2004

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  • Added on: May 13th, 2005
Roadside America - For all those great famiy road trips!
Don't worry, I tend to make a big deal out of everything.
Keep on keeping on.


Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
Posts: 410
Joined: November 8th, 2004

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  • Added on: May 14th, 2005
Hawaii...Island of Oahu:

~Pearl of purses or bags of ANY sort, just you and your camera. There are lockers available. Bus #20, 40, 40A, 42, 62.

~USS Missouri...see the signed surrender (& Japan's copy as well, where Canada signed in New Zealand's spot). Same buses as Pearl Harbor.

~Avoid the hassles of traffic and driving and take the Bus...there's a visitor's pass all-you-can-ride for 4 days for $20. There's also the monthly pass for $40. One of the main depots is at Ala Moana Shopping Center where you can take just about any bus including the #52, 55 Circle Isle bus which is about 4 hours in length and will take you pretty much around the whole island.

~This Week Oahu visitor's guide with coupons

~Spotlight Oahu Gold visitor's guide with coupons

~Hawaii's Hostels...Island Hostel's the only Oahu hostel with AC. HI and Hokondo are definitely backpacker's hostels. Pacific Ohana & Island Hostel are more for locals and are owned by the same corporation.

~For some Latin music & Salsa dancing, check out this band. They perform a couple times a week all over Oahu.

~Hiking in Oahu...84 different't slip on the guava. You will get muddy on the inland hikes, and watch out for hunting dogs and/or wild boar.

~You'll run into the ABC convenient store monopoly, for sure.

~Or if you prefer a more cultural shopping experience, stop into a local Daiei, which are soon to be a thing of the past.

~Every night at 6:30, there's the free Kuhio Beach Torch Lighting & Hula Show

~On Saturday nights, there is a free event called Sunset on the Beach where a free movie is projected on a screen on Waikiki. Bus #8, 19, 20, among others.

~Take the free, green Hilo Hattie shuttle if you want to hitch a ride to either the store or the nearby Kmart which has a Little Caesar's.

~Dole Plantation...complete with a pineapple garden maze to make you feel dumb.

~Snorkel at Hanauma for me, $5 for you.

~If you choose to drive up towards Kaena Point, you can currently see the plane wreckage from the set of ABC's Lost, which is filming in Oahu.

~Sea Life Park where '50 First Dates' was filmed.

~Free ukelele, lei making, hula lessons at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.

~$1 movies ($.50 on Tues and before 3) at the movie theater on Restaurant Row

~In the winter months from about December to April, you can go whale watching.

~Also in the winter months, the surf is it's highest on the North Shore.

~Our local newspapers are the Honolulu Advertiser & the Star Bulletin & free weekly entertainment paper. everyday. Aloha!


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Lost in Place
Posts: 97
Joined: March 23rd, 2005

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  • Added on: May 19th, 2005
If, for some reason, you end up in colorado, you must go see
the Great Sand Dunes national park.
There are miles and miles of 800 foot tall sand dunes at the edge of this huge desert vally, surrounded by the snowy-peaked Sangre de Chriso mountains in all directions. I can't even describe the place; it's simply amazing. Very surreal and sort of magical (as well as very physically daunting!) I visit almost every year and am continually blown away (I just got home from there about an hour ago in fact). Go there in early spring, when the runoff from the mountains creats this stream at the base of the dunes that actually flows in waves (it's weird).
Please go, it's amazing. It's about a 4-5 hour (3.5if you're me!) drive from Denver; but the drive is part of the fun too, because you're going through the rocky mountains and the views are breathtaking.
Camp in the back country if you want to avoid the tourists. Don't forget bugspray, and remember that there are a lot of bears in the area!


Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 179
Joined: May 3rd, 2005

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  • Added on: June 13th, 2005
In a similar vein...

I think anyone that has the opportunity should most definitely visit Zion National Park in southern Utah. I believe it is often overlooked when people talk about national parks in the US. I have been to many of the bigger names, and Zion remains my favorite for its unearthly landscape and rich biodiversity. It may be the most beautiful place I've ever seen, with the possible exception of...

Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine. There's just something about this place that is unique in my mind... I highly recommend going here by any means necessary! Bar Harbor does get crazy in the summer, though, so be warned.

I remember reading an article a long time ago about how unusual rock formations generate unique electromagnetic signatures that can actually impact a human's nervous system, in ways not entirely understood. I would say both of these places had a great impact on me that has lasted my life so far. Smile
"The Earth is a great place to visit, but I ain't stayin'"


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Street Food Connoisseur
Posts: 520
Joined: August 2nd, 2004

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  • Added on: July 5th, 2005
the Gatineaus in Quebec. Costs almost nothing to get into the national parks, camping or visiting, almost nobody on the beaches, you can go on a long weekend in the summer camping and there is nobody on the lake. Decent fishing, great scenery, FANTASTIC bakery in wakefield, also home to 'le moutton noire', a little jazz place if im not mistaken. definetly worth the trip.
Finally hitting the road! Check out my blog, it will enlighten you to no end im sure.


Lost in Place
Posts: 50
Joined: June 30th, 2005

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  • Added on: July 8th, 2005
If you are in California, the route on the Pacific 1 HWY is GORGEOUS. When I went, we rented a car in Los Angeles, and drove up the coast to San Francisco. We took three days doing it, and stopped in a bunch of the little towns along the way. The drive is almost entirely right on the coast of the ocean! LA and San Fran were fun towns to visit as well.

I don't know much about hostels in Cali, because I was traveling with my mom so I we stayed in hotels. But I have some friends from England who traveled around America and had a hard time finding hostels. They mostly stayed in cheap motels and economy hotels.

From my travels, I found that a lot of European and Australian students were fascinated with the idea of the American "Spring Break". So if you are looking for a really busy party scene, this may be something you enjoy. During the month of March is when American college students go on spring break. Many students head south to warm tropical areas, for a week without school, filled with drinking, clubbing, meeting members of the opposite sex, etc. You will find this in (but not limited to)Panama City Beach, Miami, Daytona, and the Florida Keys-all in Florida. South Padre Island in Southern Texas on the Mexican border is another popular spot. Panama City Beach is home to the biggest club in America-Club La Vela. Cancun and Acapulco in Mexico are some other popular destinations for Spring Breakers. The week before and after easter is when the highschoolers will invade these towns, so you may want to avoid these spots during these two weeks. I've been to Cancun, Panama City Beach and South Padre Island, and I had a great time in all of these places.

On the other hand, if you are looking to relax and if you are not looking for a crazy busy, binge drinking atmosphere- you will want to avoid many of these places, especially February-April :-)

Sor Raimunda

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World Citizen
Posts: 1343
Joined: March 16th, 2004

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  • Added on: August 14th, 2005
Free internet for tourists in Playa del Carmen (Mexico)

Calle 3 Sur (between 5 Avenida and the beach)-near the ferry station-

15 minutes of internet free!! on the tourist information office =)



Lost in Place
Posts: 60
Joined: August 24th, 2005

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  • Added on: August 25th, 2005
The Pacific Northwest is one on the most beautiful places I've been to...and lived. The Columbia River area and the Gorge is amazing! There is a lot of camping and sight seeing to be done in the Cascade Mountain range. Seattle and the Puget Sound area is also a great time. I recommend if you're in the area...take the ferry from Seattle to some of the Islands in the Puget's amazing! The Olympic Pennisyula also has tons to do....not to mention it's a rain forest. If you're an active person and enjoy hiking and scenery...the Northwest is definitly the place you want to be!
Eat, Drink, and be Merry....for tomorrow we'll die


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Mod Squad
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Joined: January 1st, 2001

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  • Added on: August 29th, 2005
Just got this one from some Brits.

Their observation: "Everything in the USA runs on quarters."

("quarters", for those just learning the Yank vernacular, are 25 cent coins)

They whinged that all vending machines, pay telephones and parking meters in the work on quarters, and that all other coins are useless.

Their suggestion: when you are at the bank get a "roll" (or $10.00 worth) of quarters for all your needs, otherwise you will never have enough on hand.


Thorn Tree Refugee
Posts: 10
Joined: July 5th, 2005

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  • Added on: November 8th, 2005
Thought I'd throw in some support of my home state here (I swear they should hire me for the tourist bureau, I'm forever talking it up).

Most people skip Kentucky on their US visits, because it's out-of-the-way, not near any of the big cities (although Louisville, Lexington and Covington/Newport are pretty decent medium-sized cities). But if you're looking for some wonderful (and cheap) getaways to nature, you have GOT to check out the Kentucky State Parks. Especially in the southeast and south-central parts of the state, there are fantastic views, great hiking, canoeing, swimming, horseback-riding, rock climbing, whatever. In fact, Red River Gorge (next to Natural Bridge State Park) is a HUGE hotspot for climbers- they come from all over the country. (And if you're in the Gorge, you MUST eat at Miguel's Pizza.)

A lot of the State Parks have cultural events, especially in the summer, where you can see traditional crafts and dance, historic life in the area, etc. I think all the cabins in the state resort parks have been recently renovated and are VERY nice, and cheap! A cabin that sleeps four with a full kitchen and a deck (with a grill) runs at about $100-$150 on a weekend in high season. The resort parks also have the Best. Buffets. Ever. All-you-can-eat fried chicken, shrimp, chicken-fried steak, derby pie, etc. for $10-$12.

During the summer weekends, the parks can be crowded (especially the very popular ones like Natural Bridge and Cumberland Falls), but with Kentuckians, so you'll get to meet some of us friendly locals (don't believe the stereotypes of Kentuckians, we're not all barefoot tobacco-chewers)!

And if you make it over here (which I hope you do), try an Ale-8-One, a locally-brewed ginger ale. Yum!

Hmm... anyone know how one gets to write a guidebook? I think I could easily write one for the Kentucky State Parks!

Barton Keyes

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Posts: 13
Joined: November 11th, 2005

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  • Added on: November 14th, 2005
I can also recommend the USA by Rail website, which features train travel in the United States and Canada: USA by Rail
USA by Rail travel guide


Thorn Tree Refugee
Posts: 3
Joined: November 27th, 2005

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  • Added on: November 28th, 2005
As another Kentuckian I must also say kentucky is a place to visit. The Louisville area in particular is nice. Try the Louisville international airport if you need a way to get here. Things to do include the newly finished Muhamed alli center, Churchhill Downs (where the world famous kentucky Derby is run), The fraizer arms museum (all kinds of arms dating from bronze age on up)and The Louisville slugger museum where over 70% of major league baseball players get their Bats. I'm not saying Kentucky is a must see or anything like that but rarely do i get the oppertunity to defend Kentucky on a world wide scale. email me if you need any help with KY.


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