Our 2020 Plans
2020, what a year (so far)!
We had to cancel our 5-month Latin America trip, which led to an unexpected 5 months at home in Virginia, which has led to buying our first house, spending more time with family and friends, and shifting gears to working on lots of other projects!
Since international travel seems to be out of the question this year, we’re now shifting our focus to domestic travel.
We were already planning to take another road trip this fall after returning from Latin America, since our 2019 road trip was such a hit! But now that circumstances have changed, we have even more time to dedicate to planning our US road trip and more weeks to spend out on the road! We are excited to make this one even more epic than 2019!
But, of course, traveling anywhere in 2020 is different than traveling in 2019. We have a lot to consider and be conscientious of even while traveling between states. Fortunately, a big part of our road trip plan already was to hit a bunch more national parks. So, now we’re almost solely focusing our road trip on national parks and socially distanced activities. We will not be hitting as many cities or public activities on this trip as we did last year. Exploring Mother Nature & keeping to ourselves will be the primary objective!
Most importantly, we are going to remain as flexible as possible with our planning this time. In past trips, we’ve always planned everything out in advance, including our exact dates for each location, plus booking accommodations and transportation in advance. Because things are changing day by day, week by week, with state policies, we know that a lot could change in the next month before we head out for our road trip. So, this time we are going to have a rough outline on where we’d like to go, but we are not going to book anything in advance.
We have to admit, this feels a bit weird to leave it open ended. But, after getting burned on having everything booked for our Latin America trip, then having to cancel all of it, each painful phone call after phone call after message after email at a time… for Airbnbs, hotels, flights and buses… we’ve learned our lesson. This is not the time for planning things precisely, it’s the time for flexibility and being able to change plans according to the circumstances.
So, if we find that National Parks or beaches are suddenly closed again, or cities are overwhelmed with cases, we will have to change our plans, and that’s okay. We’re in it for the adventure and along for the ride this time!
Our Road Trip Plans
With all of that said, below we’ll give a general outline for where we are planning to go. Our plan includes nearly 13,000 miles of driving, through 26 states, visiting 31 national parks, over the course of 8 weeks! Our previous road trip was only 3 weeks, so this is going to be nuts!
We’re planning to leave around August 7th, and return around October 1st.
In addition, this year we are planning on traveling in a mini-van!
“But didn’t you just write an article/do a video about how Van Life wasn’t ideal?!” — YES but if you paid attention, we said we didn’t think it was an ideal long term living solution for travel therapists! We did say that at some point we thought about doing a road trip in a mini-van, so here we go!
We plan to camp out in the van for much of the road trip, and we hope to be able to van-camp inside many of the national parks. We won’t be staying in the van all the time though. We will do Airbnbs or hotels every few days to get a reprieve from van life, sleep in a real bed, get a good shower, and do our laundry!
On the van camping days, we’ll rely on campground facilities, gas stations/truck stops, and probably a national chain gym membership (still trying to decide which one- Planet Fitness or Anytime Fitness?) for showers and cleaning up! And possibly occasional workouts at the gyms!
Our Rough Itinerary
Below are the stops we are planning to make! But, as I mentioned, we plan to be flexible on this as things move along!
Check it out, and please give us your feedback as we are still in the planning stages!!
- Roanoke, VA (home)
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
- Cleveland, OH
- Ann Arbor/Detroit, MI
- Upper Peninsula/Great Lakes, Michigan
- Isle Royal National Park, Michigan
- Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
- Badlands National Park, South Dakota
- Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
- Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
- Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
- Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- Spokane, WA
- North Cascades National Park, Washington
- Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
- Poulsbo/Seattle, Washington
- Olympic National Park, Washington
- Portland, Oregon
- Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
- Redwood National Park, California
- Redding, CA
- Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA
- Sacramento, CA
- Napa Valley?
- Yosemite National Park, CA
- Kings Canyon National Park, CA
- Sequoia National Park, CA
- Pinnacles National Park, CA
- Route 1: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, CA
- Channel Islands National Park, CA
- Los Angeles, CA
- Carlsbad/San Diego, California
- Las Vegas, NV
- Possibly Joshua Tree & Death Valley – but may leave for next trip due to existing reservations in Carlsbad & Vegas (hotel stays planned in 2019)
- Grand Canyon again?
- Petrified Forest National Park, AZ
- Phoenix, AZ
- Saguaro National Park, AZ
- Tucson, AZ
- White Sands National Park, NM
- El Paso, TX
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park, TX
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
- Big Bend National Park, TX
- San Antonio, TX
- Austin, TX
- Dallas, TX
- Shreveport, LA
- Hot Springs National Park, AR
- Jackson, MS
- Tallahassee, FL
- Everglades National Park, FL
- Dry Tortugas National Park, FL
- Biscayne National Park, FL
- Florida Keys
- Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- Jacksonville FL or Savannah GA
- Congaree National Park, SC
- Back home to Roanoke, VA!
Give Us Your Feedback!
So, what do you think? Is it going to be amazing? Is it going to be the worst? Are we crazy? Let us know!
- If you’ve been to any of the national parks listed, what do we need to know???
- Are there any that need reservations in advance?
- Where can you camp or not camp inside?
- What day hikes do you recommend?
- If you’ve been to these states/along this route, what do we need to see/do?
- Please keep in mind our main focus is social distancing
- We’re not going to do too much in the cities (like museums, etc)
- Preferably outdoor, just driving by/sightseeing, or take-out food recommendations!!
- If you’ve experienced traveling in a mini-van and van-camping, we would love your feedback!
- What are some things we need to know/consider?
- What are some things we can’t forget to bring?!
- If you’re going to be along our route during August-September and would like to get together for a socially distanced/outdoor meetup, please let us know!!
Let the countdown begin for our next adventure!
Thanks in advance for your feedback!