The United States of America is such a vast and incredible country. It is a great American dream for most who live there to road trip from one end of the country to the other and after doing it it is not hard to see why.
Start in New York City to get your fix of the largest and most versatile city in the country with more than 50 hostels to choose from. There is nothing that you cannot find in New York, so take your time and explore. There are plenty of hostels, just make sure you book early. From here head down through Philadelphia and see the liberty bell on your way to Washington, DC. Check out the museum strip and impressive marble architecture of the capital city.
Head down through the Virginias to the music heart of the country. Start in Nashville and get your country music fix before heading south to Memphis to get in touch with the blues and have some of the famous ribs along Beale Street. As you head further south you will get to New Orleans, home of jazz music and some of the best music festivals in the country.
For a bit of upper class beach time, you can head over to Florida and check out the Everglades or Disney World in Orlando (limited hostel options), or work on the tan at Miami beach (lots of great hostels to choose from). Or instead you can head west into Texas and check out some more music in the capital, Austin (offering a surprising number of hostels for a small city). The Carlsbad Caverns here are some of the largest caves in the world and are very impressive. Moving along into New Mexico and through to Arizona you will arrive into canyon and cactus land. Check out the giant saguaro cacti as you drive through the area. Visit Monument Valley, Mesa Verde and head up to the Grand Canyon. From here it is a short drive over to Vegas to try your luck with some gambling and live the life of luxury for a while.
Explore the California coast from here going through the Joshua Tree National Park or Death Valley to get over to Los Angeles. Visit Hollywood and check out the home of the stars before heading up to San Francisco along the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the most spectacular drives in the world. The Yosemite National Park is worth spending a couple of days in hiking as it has some incredible scenery and wildlife here, and there are some great hostels in Yosemite that are well situated for nature lovers.
Keep heading north up to Oregon and Washington state to hang in Portland and Seattle. They have some incredible wine and hiking through this region so get your walk and drink on. Heading back east you will find the Glacier National Park in Montana, home to some of the American Rocky Mountains. Check out the first national park in the United States, Yellowstone, heading south from here into Wyoming. The crazy landscape and features will blow your mind and will be unlike anything you have ever seen.
Make your way back to New York through South Dakota, visiting Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Wall Drug, and the Badlands along the way. There aren't a lot of hostels in South Dakota, or in the Midwest in general, so you may want to consider other accommodation options, including camping. Head over to the lakes and check out the cities of Madison, Milwaukee, and of course Chicago! Home to the Blues Festival, Chicago is a fabulous city that is not to be missed along the way, featuring about a dozen hostels.
There is so much to do in the United States you can spend your entire life trying to get through it and still not see everything. Hostels only tend to be in major cities along the way so do your research before you leave as you don't want to be stranded along the way.
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When you are in New York City, always have quarters so you can ride the buses easily.
Tampa is the only true city in Florida -- real people, no attitude, and great nightlife. Go!
Everyone thinks of Orlando as the city with a lot of amusement parks, but actually the amusement parks are all located south of the city (mostly around Kissimmee). The city itself has a great downtown with a lot going on and it's worth checking out.
Provincetown is a nightmare. Why is it that every hotel/motel/guesthouse/hostel makes you rent for minimum two nights? Want to pass through P-town for a nice overnight trip? Good luck.
We visited the Big Island in 2004 and are going again this year. We loved it. It was great to visit the towns/cities when we wanted, but also easy to get away and enjoy solitude on many quiet beaches. The rainy, jungled, Hilo side had dramatic thunder storms -- very cool! Kona was definitely more touristy, but …
The town of Bend is great with first class slopes nearby and big city amenities with a small town feel. It's a touch of Colorado in the Pacific Northwest without the high prices. You can get here from Portland or Eugene by bus in about 3 hours. There also an Amtrak shuttle from a stop about an hour away.
I spent two months traveling the U.S.A., and without a doubt the highlight was Chicago. A big city with friendly people, a stunning waterfront, and real vibrancy. The inner northern suburbs like Lakeview and Lincoln Park are full of great bars and restaurants and awesome nightlife. Check it out.
The bus station is very near the airport just west of downtown. The Amtrak however pulls up to a spitoon in the middle of a tiny Native American reserve town half-an-hour out of town. This year in Late September, it's still over 100 degrees F every day. Tempe is probably a more interesting place for 20 somethings …
New Paltz is quite possibly one of my favorite places in the country. The scenery is amazing with the Shawangunks and the Ridge, not to mention Mohonk Mountain and Bonticaue Crag. I would recommend coming here just to see the natural beauty of the area. It has its own unique beauty and people are often shocked that …
Sabino canyon, although a 3 mile walk from the end of the bus line, is the closest (and possibly most awesome) place to hike in Tucson.
Pack a sweater! Because Santa Cruz is in California and a beach town, many people think it will be warm and sunny. Actually, it can get surprisingly cold. Also, don't count on swimming in the ocean, unless you wear a wetsuit. As with most of Northern California beaches, the water is freezing.
Denver is a growing city. Progression with almost everything can be seen. It's a safe place compared to other large U.S. cities. The vibe is right in the middle, nothing extreme on either side. Some really cool stuff to find here but you have to look.
Minneapolis is a great city with a lot of diversity and lots of Swedish Americans. The people are very nice and the city is beautiful. Set on 10 or so lakes, it is a perfect summertime get away.
Eugene is a great city, filled with personality. The hippy-ness gets to me a little sometimes, but other than that, I have a wonderful time in Eugene.
I wouldn't recommend hitchhiking. There are two prisons in the area, one being an honor camp, meaning there is not much preventing an inmate from breaking out, but his honor. There are escapees quite frequently. Some years ago, when the police were looking for an escapee, all the hitchhikers between Port Angeles …