I'm trying to plan a trip to the US for earlyish next year (between Feb-May) for around a month and a half. I've done a fair bit of travelling in groups but never on my own. I've come up with a very basic sort of itinerary but am a bit stuck now. Also keep in mind I'm a 22 year old female from Australia and really don't want to rent a car. I do want to travel earlier in the year due to my job finishing at the start of February so won't have any income between then and travelling but understand that weather may not be the best. Also I'm interested in the nature side of things and realise that some areas in the big parks may be closed off.
So anyway this is what I'm kind of thinking:
Probably around March I'll fly into LA then either stay here for a couple nights to recover, or fly straight across to Austin, Texas for a few days. Not too much that I've got my heart set on here but want to make the most of the trip by experiencing different areas of the country, plus it will also be nice and warm I'm hoping.
Then maybe somewhere else in the South before heading to New Orleans for the French Quarter Fest (11-14 April). Would really love to go to this so am attempting to plan the dates around it but if it makes it too difficult then its fine. Also not sure if people go for each of the 4 days of the festival? Or if I attend one or two days then it'll be enough.
Then back to LA for a group tour that I'm yet to choose. There's so many but it will be around 10-14 days and will definitely include LA, LV, San Diego, SF, and Grand Canyon... and either Bass Lake, Yosemite, or Zion Park. Will these nature attractions be okay around this time of year? Obviously if they were terrible then the tours wouldn't run but any personal experiences would be appreciated.
After the tour I'd either end in LA or SF and would train/fly up to Portland. I think the vibe here would really suit me so this is definitely up there on my list. However, how hard is it to visit the parks around here without a car? It seems thats the best way to get out of the city but again I'm unsure.
Then travel up to Seattle for a few more days before heading home.
As you can see its a bit all over the place but I'm just not sure how to move forward with it. I really want to make the most out of this trip as I've wanted to go to the US for as long as I can remember and I don't necessarily have a time limit (apart from the 90 days for the ESTA). Apart from the obvious New York I haven't found anything that I have to go to east coast for so I'm not sure if its worth the travel time/money to go. I'll be mostly staying in hostels which I've already had a look at for most of these places too, apart from a couple nights where I might book a motel/hotel for some time to myself.
Any tips/advice/comments/questions are very welcome!! Thanks in advance :)