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Sharing Our Itinerary: 3 Month Roadtrip from Phoenix to Alaska

Think Joshua Trees in the Mojave Desert. Think kayaking through the world’s largest sea caves. Think overnight in a Napa Valley Vineyard, and watching the sunrise from the beach over San Fransisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

Think wilderness camping in Alaska, with tours to see Grizzly bears, orcas and more. Think walking among Californian Redwoods, and putting your neck out because there is no way you can see that high. Think one kick-ass itinerary which combines all of the above experiences into one epic roadtrip, and you’re thinking of our next big adventure!

Having settled in Phoenix and spent the last 6 months exploring every inch of the desert as we possibly could, we’re now craving the beach, and have decided to take 3 full months to complete the length of California’s Coastal Highway 101, all the way to Alaska! We will be taking in over 10 amazing National Parks along the way, looking at three months worth of hotels, and throwing a lot of wilderness camping into the mix.

We’re going to be traveling the entire length of North America’s west coast, driving through California, Oregon, Washington State, British Columbia and Alaska, bringing you the best in adventure travel along the way! And we couldn’t be more excited!

Here are the highlight’s we’re working into our trip. We drive from Phoenix to Alaska starting April 10 2015 via the coast, and then drive all the way back through the middle of each State. We will sell our car in Phoenix upon our return, and then did I mention we’re moving to Australia?!

Roadtrip Highlights

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park. Photo by Don Graham

Camping in the Channel Islands

Channel Islands

Channel Islands. Photo CC by Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith

San Fransisco including the Golden Gate Bridge & Alcatraz

San Fran Golden Gate Bridge

Photo credit: Nicolas Raymond

 

Napa Valley

An Authentic 13th-century Tuscan-inspired Castle in Napa Valley. Visting Castello di Amorosa.

Portland

The Hotel Vintage Portland: 9 Reasons to Book an Absolutely Wild Stay.

Seattle

Seattle's bubblegum wall.

British Columbia – Two Weeks for Vancouver & Vancouver Island

Alaska Brown Bear

Alaska – Two Weeks including Camping in Denali National Park

Denali National Park

Washington State – Two Weeks

Olympic national Park Megan

Yosemite National Park, California

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, United States

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park. Photo CC by Giuseppe Milo

Arizona – What Better Way to Say Goodbye to the States than with the Grand Canyon

Photo by Grand Canyon National Park

Australia

Time to say goodbye. The United States has been a wonderful home over the past two years, and has provided us with an amazing base to explore this side of the world, with cheap and amazing access to Central and South America, as well as affordable flights to Europe. But it’s now time to say goodbye.

We aim to land in Australia mid July this year, and will set up a new base in Canberra before deciding where to travel next. With close proximity to Asia, New Zealand, Antarctica, and heck, Australia itself, the possibilities are exciting and endless!

How to Plan an Epic Roadtrip

A trip of this proportion requires an epic amount of planning. We’re looking forward to just driving the Californian coast and being flexible enough to spend more time in each destination as we see fit and changing it up as we go along, though we’ve learnt that if you don’t at least plan out a backbone of your trip and figure out where you want to go in advance, you’ll likely miss out.

For instance camping on the Channel Islands in California books out months in advance, and we’re hitting Alaska and British Columbia during peak season. We don’t want to forget about that old tea house we read in a blog, or the sushi place we heard about from a friend. We don’t want to miss out just because we didn’t properly plan it out.

Another one of those essential travel apps you should download, our entire itinerary is being put into TripVerse, where you can create your very own personal, pocketable itinerary you can read offline – perfect for an epic roadtrip!

It’s a free app, and an amazing and easy way to compile your itinerary when you’re planning a trip.

Creating an itinerary is literally as easy as clicking “Add activity”, and then adding the information about each new activity, whether it be your hotel for the evening or that great fish & chips shop you were told you shouldn’t miss.

The app has FourSquare integration, so it stores the address and phone numbers of each place for you as you type to add the location name – incredibly useful. It also gives you the option of adding a cover image to each individual activity. Just to make it pretty!

Add the location name, the time and date, and any notes you have about that specific place, and TripVerse throws everything into one easily accessible offline itinerary viewer that removes the distraction of carrying paper itineraries for travelers.

The beauty of this app is that once your activities are added it includes map functions with directions, and you can cache the maps to be available offline – all for free!

So worst case, if you’re driving and your GPS goes down, you’ve got the back-up of already cached offline maps.

It’s easy to become fully immersed in the perfect trip you’ve planned with TripVerse. It’s also a travel plan-sharing platform, so if you feel like your trip is epically awesome, you can make your itinerary public and let others view it.

By the same token, you can also search for itineraries based off what others have already created, and share your trips with your friends.

The Discover function lets you explore trips made by fellow travel enthusiasts and Facebook friends as well as bookmark trips that inspire your future travel.

Additionally, you can edit your profile to store info like your passport details and hotel loyalty numbers.

Get TripVerse

Follow our next big adventure on Facebook: Please “like”!

Meg Jerrard is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure!  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Follow their journey on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

    39 Comments

  1. You have picked amazing places, though I admit I’m disappointed you are not hitting San Diego. I have done from Phoenix to Vancover, BC and we plan on doing up to AK on the Harley. Have a wonderful time and look forward to following along!

    • Thanks Heather! And I know, we really wanted to make San Diego happen because there are so many amazing people based there – came down to not having enough time in the end and having already visited San Diego in the past :(

      So excited to follow you driving on the Harley though, that sounds like it would be amazing too! Have always wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle – it’ll happen one day!

  2. This will be epic and a first for anyone I know driving all the way up to Alaska. Good thing you’re taking the time to make stops along the way! I hear Vancouver is highly rated so happy to hear you have 2 weeks there. You’ll get great weather in Alaska by the time you arrive also. Curious as to where you will go after Australia!! Have a great trip and hoping I will catch you guys before you leave!

    • Thanks Angelica! We’ve definitely been going back and forth about making the whole drive – I think there’s an option to fly from Seattle and pick up a rental car in anchorage worst case if we run into too much trouble.

      I’ve heard the same about Vancouver – really making sure this time we spend a lot of time in each place – no more of this 1-2 days in a destination, we’re really going to take our sweet time getting to know each destination intimately :D

  3. Wow this looks epic! My one recommendation for Vancouver is to walk up Grouse Grind, itll be the worst hour of your life (in the moment) but it’s worth it once you get to the top.

    Also, will be looking out for the Voodoo Doughnuts picture in Portland :)

    ENJOY!

    • Thanks Jub! Just looked up Grouse Grind and it looks amazing, thanks for the tips! And lol it always is, I usually hate the actual climbs but the view is always worthwhile once you get to the top :D

      Have definitely written down Voodoo Doughnuts – I’m ALL for a great Doughnut :D! Thanks!!

  4. An epic roadtrip! I’m looking forward to reading about it. Depending on how long you are in Vancouver and for how long, let me know! Would be happy to take you out for a drink or a meal

    • Thanks Megan! Will definitely let you know. Right now we’ve hammered out the actual destinations, now it’s time to start planning the day to day and how long we’ll spend in each. Definitely let me know if you have any tips for what not to miss in Vancouver!

  5. We plan on taking a road trip this August/September when we are home in the USA. What type of vehicle are you driving?

    • We have a Chevy Malibu which is ours, so we’ll be taking it on one last trip before we sell it and move back to Aus. It’s a great little car – tonnes of room inside and also has a power point on in the interior which is great for using my laptop and charging batteries on long car rides.

  6. Hi Meg,

    The Alaska tours sound awesome! Seeing orcas and grizzlies would about be the best thing I could do in the States because I’m a wildlife fan, and those 2 apex predators are about as good as it gets.

    I forgot if you guys ever visited New York City, but if you’re willing to hit the other side of the country it’s well worth a week or so. No place on earth like it. No wildlife though. Well ummm…I mean, no animal wildlife lol!

    Ryan

    • Thanks Ryan! I can’t WAIT for Alaska – it’s been on the list for so long, and spotting a grizzly bear would just be the highlight of my year!! We travel mainly for the wildlife, so that would be huge :)

      We spent a bit of time in NYC last year lol there’s definitely wildlife to be found in the city, but you’re right…just not the animal kind :P

  7. Oh, wow! Sounds like quite an adventure!! Vancouver is high on my list of places to visit!

    • Thanks Priya, can’t wait! Will feel Vancouver out for you and let you know what the scoop is :D!

  8. This sounds like an amazing adventure!! Sad to hear you’re leaving the US, now that I’ve finally moved back, would’ve loved to meet up! We’ll be visiting the West coast a few times over the next few months, maybe we’ll bump into you :D

    • I seriously can’t wait!! We just keep missing each other with our timezones! The world’s a small place though so I have no doubt we’ll bump into each other finally at some point :)

  9. What an amazing road trip!! We have been to all the places on your list, except Alaska, Channel Islands and Yosemite. Oh, and Alcatraz because we are dummies and waited too long to book the tour! We live 45 minutes north of Portland in Washington state. I honestly don’t think that there is anywhere more beautiful than the Pacific Northwest! Vancouver, B.C. is one of my favorite cities as well. Try to make it to Victoria, B.C. if you can as well. If you have any questions on what to do in Washington or around Portland let me know! :)

    • Thanks Valerie! So excited and can’t wait! Thanks for the tip on Alcatraz, I have actually heard that you need to book that in advance.

      We’ve got at least 2 days in Victoria BC, have 2 weeks set aside for Vancouver and Vancouver Island so can’t wait – Victoria has come highly recommended!!

      Will definitely hit you up for tips on Washington State – that’ll be the second half of our itinerary after we come back from Alaska, but do need to start planning it soon. I’m sure we’ll be there before we know it!

  10. What an incredible adventure! You’re hitting up so many amazing places that I would love to visit. I’ve never been to the west coast before, it’s on my list. So many breathtaking spots in nature to be around. You’re gonna have a blast! :)

    • Thanks Lauren! We’re so psyched to explore the west coast, we were originally just going to keep it to a Californian road trip but the figured why not do it properly and take in the whole thing!

      Hopefully you’ll be inspired to plan and organize a trip of your own in the same area :D

  11. I’m awful jealous of this trip- how many seats has your car got? Can I come? And back to Australia, hey? Awesome stuff!

    • We can always move some stuff around to make room for one more :D

  12. This road trip sounds truly epic!! I’m so looking forward to your updates from the road, it’s gonna be amazing for sure!!!

    • I can’t wait! Thanks Kami!

  13. Super jealous! Would love to visit Oregon and Washington. And Alaska again, of course. Even though you probably know a lot already, let me know if you need any tips on Alaska, I know it better than my own backyard … well, almost. Such a shame we will miss each other when there.

    • Thanks Antonette! We’ve been doing a lot of research obviously, but I’ll never say no to local tips! Definitely let us know if there’s anything we absolutely should not miss :)

  14. Ooh! What an epic road trip! I’m especially jealous of the Alaska part. Let me know when you’re in Seattle and I’ll show you around… I know all of the best secret viewpoints. ;)

    • Thanks Tracie! Oooh secret viewpoints are definitely our thing! Love whipping out the cameras for great city views! Will definitely hit you up after we have more solid dates :)

  15. What a fantastic trip you have planned. Thanks for the heads up on the app. I’ll be downloading that today. I’m Canadian, so I’d say you can’t go wrong with BC (although I am from the other coast). Washington State is fantastic. I’ve spent some time in the Mount Baker area. Being at the top of a mountain with snow and ice in the middle of July in shorts and sandals was a lot of fun!

    • No problems at all – the app really is great, I’ve needed a travel planning app like this for a while now.

      Glad to hear we’ve chosen well with BC – we do eventually want to explore your side of the country as well, but that’ll be during another trip. Have made a note of Mt Baker, that does sound fun! Thanks for the tip!

  16. Sounds like a really good road trip Meg! We did (almost) the reverse last summer from Seattle down to Las Vegas. Loved it so so much!

    • Thanks Bethaney! Oooh Seattle to Vegas does sound like a tonne of fun! I’ll be heading over to your blog to check out your tips!

  17. Great road trip! You will see some of the most beautiful scenery in the world in my opinion. I’m glad to see you are allowing plenty of time BC and are including the San Juan islands. When will you be in Seattle and Vancouver? I’d love to finally meet up!

    • We can’t wait! We’re looking at Seattle and Vancouver probably mid-late May. You’re based in both?

  18. Sounds like an amazing journey and one we have thought about doing before. From what we have seen (only in California) it’s a great coastline and I’m sure you will have a great time. Have fun!

    • Supposed to be one of the most beautiful coastline’s in the world – though will find out soon :D! You should definitely think about planning a roadtrip – maybe we’ll meet you somewhere on the road along the way :D!

  19. This sounds like such a great trip! I hope you had a great time. This coastline is definitively one of the most beautiful in the world. Portland and Seattle are wonderful cities with so much great food to offer! However, I have to agree with the comment about missing San Diego; have so much to offer. Maybe on your next journey.

    • One of the best roadtrips we’ve done, really was such a beautiful coast – couldn’t get enough of the landscapes and the views!

      Really loved both Portland and Seattle, were very grateful for being able to break up the trip with some fun city breaks along the way. Will definitely have to include San Diego on the next one :)

      Are you planning on doing the drive too? X

    • Definitely planning to do the drive from San Diego up the coast to Vancouver at least; maybe not all the way to Alaska, but we’ll see what happens!

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