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Hi, this will be my first time driving across the country. I'll be driving to Yellowstone from Pittsburgh, Pa. I'm looking for input on cool places to stop along the way from anyone who's maybe done a similar trip.

 

p.s. Scenic outdoor areas to take a good walk and stretch the legs would be of particular benefit :)

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Hey Brandy! I took relatively the same drive last year, driving from NJ to Montana. I started on I-80, drove west and then took (i believe) I-29 in western Iowa up to I-90 in South Dakota, then continuted west into Wyoming (and eventually into Montana). Some of my stops along the way (starting with Iowa, because i was visiting some friends before Iowa and whats there really to see in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois lol) included The Bridges of Madison County (yes, based on the movie)... its just south west of Des Moines, Iowa in the town Winterset off I-80. If you like the movie, you can actually see the same covered bridge where it was filmed.... In south dakota, i stopped at the Badlands which i would HIGHLY RECOMMEND driving through! Being from the east coast, i was amazed at the landscape. If you've never seen it, you will be too! After the Badlands, I stopped and saw Mount Rushmore which was pretty cool, not as interesting as I thought it would be, but its amazing to see. I think there's some hiking around there too. In Wyoming, you can stop in see Devil's Tower - I didnt get the chance to see it because it was snowing on the day I drove through and I didnt think driving an hour off the interstate would be a good idea. These are just some thoughts and places!

Do you plan on camping? If you do, I could recommend some camping places along the way as well. Let me know if you have any more questions or anything else! It was an amazing drive when I did it for the first time last year. What else are you thinking of seeing along the way?

-Jason
Thanks Jason! I'll definitely have to check out the badlands. I'm due in Yellowstone may 13 haven't planned my itinerary or anything yet. Unfortunately, I have to do the drive in 3-4 days and probably alone. I might consider camping, haven't really thought much about that. If you can recommend some places with showers that would be ideal. Thanks again, I really appreciate it.
Jason, I got my dad to let me take his Jeep Commander. I'm considering parking at a campground along the way and sleeping in the back of the car to save some $. Since I have never done this sort of thing I was wondering if you would recommend it. Are there any campgrounds with showers? Thanks!
Hey Brandy! Im not sure the rules of campgrounds when it comes to sleeping in your car, so it would be best to check with each campground. I stayed at a few campgrounds, but mostly stayed with some friends along the way. Although i always try to support local campgrounds, sometimes if its too cold i'll stop at a KOA campground and rent a cabin. That may be a good choice for you if you dont plan on tent camping - KOA Cabins tend to be cheaper than motel rooms. I haven't found too many other campgrounds that have cabins (although i'm sure they are out there). Check out their website at www.koa.com they have campgrounds all over the country and you can reserve them based on whatever route you'd like to choose.

Are you not planning on tent camping at all? Hope that helped, let me know if you have any more questions or any more suggestions i can make.
And yes, alot of campgrounds do have showers!!! the KOA ones do too!
Hi Brandy,

I've driven to YNP from Pittsburgh several times. Most recently I have taken to driving all the way to Badlands without stopping overnight. I find all of the states between PA and SD to be pretty boring from a scenery standpoint.

The Badlands NP is a good place to visit. It will be best if you get a motel room in Wall, SD rather than Rapids City if you are going to drive through Badlands. I too found Mt Rushmore to be boring. It looks better in pictures. Might look pretty good at night if lit up. I also visited the Crazy Horse Memorial. Look it up on the net. I enjoyed it more than Rushmore and even got to watch an explosion.

If you can get to Devils Tower, do go. It will take some time though.

When you are planning your trip home, consider taking a meandering southern route along back roads through Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and NM. I did that on my first trip home. Visited Arches, Zion, Bryce, Mesa Verde, and Navajo National Monument, and RMNP. Took me two weeks. Also, the drive across NM, TX, OK, and Arkansas is less boring.

Most amazing experience on my first trip: Buffalo chips covering the grass around the Xanterra personnel office in Gardiner.

Enjoy your stay! When you enter the Black Hills, you will know that you are not in PA anymore.
90 or 80? (I went both routes) (I'm from OH)
My friend and I are doing a similar drive so we are sort of in the same position. I live in MA and he lives in Cincinnati so I am driving out to meet him. From there we are heading to Chicago for a day stay overnight then make the trip over to Badlands. We are going to spend a day exploring Badlands and find someplace to camp there. We want to head over to Glacier NP from there and spend a day or two there exploring and such. If everything goes according to plan we will have two days to get to Yellowstone, specifically Gardiner and get settled and ready to check in. Our check in date is May 29th. We plan to leave Cincy on the 19th.
The KOA campgrounds have cabins you can rent. They have a free guide at any KOA and map. I camped with my cat in the National Parks and KOA's last year and never had a problem. I had a 20 dollar tent easy to put up. If you go to Mt. Rushmore make sure you see Crazy Horse also.

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