Overland United States of America Travel

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Visiting United States of America[edit]

Give a brief overview of what it's like to visit. How easy is the border, how safe is the country, are there great things to see and do, etc.

Entering United States of America with a Car or Motorbike[edit]

Correct as of: September 2013

Required Paperwork[edit]

(To check if you need a travel Visa for United States of America, application instructions and fees see: United States of America Visa online application at VisaHQ.com)
List the paperwork required to enter with a vehicle, including number of copies

When shipping a vehicle to the USA from outside the country, as of mid 2013 the following fees apply:
Handling Fee: $60.00 USD
Bill of Lading: $50.00 USD
Documentation Fee: $45.00 USD
ISF 10+2: : $95.00 USD

Temporary Importation of a Foreign Vehicle shipped in to the USA[edit]

Summary of process:

  • Obtain EPA approval prior to Shipping (took two weeks in August 2014)
  • Complete all documentation and forms

The rules:

US Border Protection & Customs - http://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car

Non-residents may import a vehicle duty-free for personal use up to (1) one year if the vehicle is imported in conjunction with the owner's arrival. Vehicles imported under this provision that do not conform to U.S. safety and emission standards must be exported within one year and may not be sold in the U.S. There is no exemption or extension of the export requirements.


For CBP clearance you will need the shippers or carrier's original bill of lading, the bill of sale, foreign registration, and any other documents covering the vehicle. You will also be required to complete EPA form 3520-1 and DOT form HS-7, declaring the emissions and safety provisions under which the vehicle is being imported. Vehicles that meet all U.S. emission requirements will bear the manufacturer's label on the engine compartment in English, attesting to that fact. For vehicles that lack such a label, the CBP inspector at the port of entry may require proof of eligibility to import under the EPA exemptions or exclusions specified on form 3520-1.

Vehicles that do not meet all U.S. emission requirements, unless eligible for exemption or exclusion must be imported through an independent commercial importer (ICI). EPA will not allow the vehicles' release to the vehicle owner until ICI work is complete. The ICI will perform any EPA-required modifications and be responsible for assuring that all EPA requirements have been met. Some vehicles cannot be successfully imported or modified by an ICI, however, and in general, ICI fees are very high.

Cleaning the Undercarriage

To safeguard against importation of dangerous pests, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that the undercarriage of imported cars be free of foreign soil. Have your car steam-sprayed or cleaned thoroughly before shipment.


Temporary Vehicle Imports for Non-residents Motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment for personal use may be imported for up to one year. The vehicle must be imported in connection with your arrival and it must be owned by you or on order before you depart from abroad. Only individual nonresidents may import a vehicle through a nonresident exemption. There is no Customs bond required, however EPA requires that written approval must be obtained prior to importation.


  • Importer must file with U. S. Customs, upon entry, an EPA Form 3520-1 declaring code "O;" and attach the EPA letter of exemption.
  • Importer should keep a copy of the EPA approval letter for future proof of EPA exclusion.


  • Importer must be a nonresident;
  • Vehicle may not be sold or otherwise transferred to another party in the U.S.;
  • Vehicle must be used primarily for personal use by the importer while in the U.S.;
  • Use of this exemption is prohibited if the vehicle is to be used primarily to conduct business, or for principle use by persons other than the importer (or spouse of the importer); and
  • Vehicle must be exported after one year, or upon the nonresident departing the U.S., whichever comes first.
  • Here are the full EPA guidelines to importing a motor vehicle in the USA http://www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/documents/420b10027.pdf

To import your vehicle in the USA you must temporarily import it, this process does not require a Carnet de Passage

Obtain Non-resident Temporary Importation Approval from the EPA, this process can take up to 14 business days to complete and is required before sailing; Required supporting documentation.

a. Non-resident Temporary Importation Approval request - Signed letter (example here)

  • Your full name, current foreign address, phone number, Fax number, and email address (if applicable)
  • Your U.S. address, phone number, Fax number, and email address (if applicable)
  • Vehicle year, make, model and Vehicle Identification Number
  • A statement explaining the reason for your visit to the United States. (work/school/vacation).
  • The date of the importation
  • Location of the vehicle and the Nonresident at the time of request.
  • The duration of the importation.
  • Proof of ownership (Registration or title documents from country of origin).
  • Copy of passport

b. Supporting documents

  • Copy of Vehicle Registration certificate
  • Copy of passport
  • The above can be emailed to: Imports@epa.gov

Documentation for Customs / your clearing agent

  • Power of attorney for customs purposes (the agent should provide paperwork)
  • Copy of the Non-resident Temporary Importation Approval from the EPA (as above)
  • EPA complete declaration forms 3520-1 (EPA) (form here)
  • DOT HS-7 – A Declaration re Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Tick box (5) stating that the vehicle does NOT comply with USA standards and that you will export it within 12 months.
  • CBP Form 3299 Declaration for free entry of unaccompanied articles Tick box Code ‘O’ stating imported by a non resident for personal use for a period of one year. (form here)
  • Bill of Landing
  • Supplemental declaration for unaccompanied personal & household effects
  • To whom it may concern statement for customs (example here)
  • Copy of flight itinerary showing that you will arrive in the USA around the same time as the vehicle
  • Copy of passport

Please see This post for links to examples of letters and forms

  • Shipping your vehicle from North Europe to North America (Canada & USA) with a RORO, you have the following options:

WWL is one of the few companies that deals with individuals (https://www.2wglobal.com/) Seabridge is a German company that organizes RVs and Overland vehicle shipping. (https://www.seabridge-tours.de/?language=english)

As of July 2017 WWL ships FROM Liverpool, Gothenburg, Southampton, Bremerhaven, Zeebrugge TO Halifax, NY, Baltimore, Portsmouth, Savannah, Galveston, Charleston, Brunswick, Port Hueneme, Tacoma.

As of July 2017 Seabridge ships FROM Liverpool, Antwerp & Hamburg TO Halifax, Baltimore, Brunswick, Los Angeles, Seattle.

Process at border[edit]

We crossed the land borders twice. Once from Yukon, CA to Alaska, USA (August 2015) and second from British Columbia, CA to Washington, USA (September 2015). Both times the border officials asked NOTHING for the van. No documents, no physical control. The van is registered in Greece with Greek plates.

NOTE: Both Canadian & US borders have no exit border posts which means that you do not get EXIT stamp from the country. (It does not work the smae for the airports though.)

Cost of entry[edit]

As of September 2015, entering to (and exiting from) the USA is FREE OF CHARGE for vehicles.

However, we paid 6 USD pp for the ENTRY stamps in our passports (Yukon-Alaska August 2015).

Permitted length of stay[edit]

State the permitted length of entry for the vehicle

Extension of stay[edit]

Describe the process to extend the permitted length of entry for the vehicle, if possible.

Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country[edit]

Describe if/how a vehicle can be stored, and for how long.
Also mention if the owner / temporary importer can leave the country while the vehicle is in storage.

Exiting with a vehicle[edit]

There is no EXIT border post of USA to Canada & Mexico. We crossed twice (USA-Canada Sept 2015 & USA-Mexico February 2016) and there was nobody to physically check the vehicle, ask for any importation documents or stamp our passports.

Driving in United States of America[edit]

Recommended books for Overlanding in United States of America[edit]

Lonely Planet Usa's Best Trips (travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Usa's Best Trips (travel Guide)
by Lonely Planet, Sara Benson, Greg Benchwick, Michae...
From $15.03 on Amazon
Work Less To Live Your Dreams: A Practical Guide To Sa...
Work Less To Live Your Dreams: A Practical Guide To Sa...
by Dan Grec
From $click on Amazon
Don't Go There. It's Not Safe. You'll Die. And Other M...
Don't Go There. It's Not Safe. You'll Die. And Other M...
by LifeRemotely.com
From $click on Amazon
Americas Overland - The Driving Handbook
Americas Overland - The Driving Handbook
by Donald Greene
From $29.95 on Amazon
99 Days To Panama: An Exploration Of Central America B...
99 Days To Panama: An Exploration Of Central America B...
by John Halkyard, Harriet Halkyard
From $20.96 on Amazon
Overlanders' Handbook: Worldwide Route And Planning Gu...
Overlanders' Handbook: Worldwide Route And Planning Gu...
by Chris Scott
From $22.49 on Amazon
Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: A Route & Planning Gu...
Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: A Route & Planning Gu...
by Chris Scott
From $click on Amazon
South American Handbook 2017 (footprint South American...
South American Handbook 2017 (footprint South American...
by Ben Box
From $20.22 on Amazon
TRAVELIVING - a romantic & practical guide

TRAVELIVING - a romantic & practical guide
by The Pin Project

at 10$ on thepinproject.eu

Travel insurance for United States of America[edit]

World Nomads offer the most flexible Travel Insurance at the best prices for multi-country / multi-year trips. You can buy, extend and claim online, even after you've left home.

Vehicle insurance requirements[edit]

Insurance is technically mandatory in the USA for any driver. This applies to most states but not all. We've never been asked for it. The insurance really insures you to drive any car at all.

Cost of vehicle insurance[edit]

We have been dealing with the ex-pat department at AIG Insurance. Dealing directly with the underwriter so this is much easier than the normal call center staff. We have a 1 year policy with the cover we need for under $800.00 USD (UK Registered Land Rover). Some notes for those of you who also need it. You may not need un-insured and under-insured motorist bodily Injury (BI) cover as its likely your home travel policy will cover this. Ours does so don’t waste your money on that. You can also get much lower lever of cover based on the minimum requirements for some states in the USA. You can check out the lowest requirements by googling.

As an example we got fully comprehensive cover $20,000.00 USD including zero excess glass cover with $1,000.00 USD excess/deductible for collisions, property ($100,000.00 USD), bodily injury cover ($300,000.00 USD for others) for the price mentioned. This is a high level of cover for the USA which is nowhere near the cover levels in the UK !

If you only want the minimum you can go a lot lower than we have. If you just get the legal minimum and the price drops a lot !

If you have young adults with you the premium will be higher as they insure the car for any driver including anyone in the household that might drive it, even if they do not. So if you have a 17yo with you it will be expensive. You need to give them an address but this is used for USA rating so it can be ANY address in the USA. They do not send anything there. Its all done via Email and Phone. You will need scans of all documents for the car and you.

Where to purchase vehicle insurance[edit]

Insurance can be obtained quite easily from a number of insurance companies:

  • The Sunrise Group
    • This company is excellent at dealing with non-US vehicles, being driven by non-US citizens, without US licenses or addresses, for US and Canada:
    • www.sunriseworldwide.com
    • Sarah DeStaffino
    • 206 N Woodland Blvd Deland, FL 32720
    • Telephone: 386-738-2812
    • Fax: 386-734-0903
  • Progressive (Will allow getting insurance online as self-service in most locations. They do not give insurance to foreign license holders whose US address is in New York City and some other high risk metropolitan areas.)
  • State Farm
  • AIG (The company is AIG and the number is 800-343-5761. There’s a few people there but if you get hassle ask for Kathy. Sometimes they are on voice mail. The will insure foreign cars of different types, but not sporty or higher performance cars.)
  • Freeway

We did a 6 month insurance with Progressive (everything online). We paid 370 EUR for a year contract for coverage in both US & Canada (May 2015-May 2016)

It was the only website and company that we managed to go through all steps for purchasing. Having a US address is a must (we asked from a cousin to use his address from Texas). However, there is a condition that the vehicle must be garaged in the address you provide meaning that the vehicle must be registered also there. I am not sure if you are covered in case of accident and how exactly works for foreign registered vehicles who just use a US address but are registered out of the country!

Driving license[edit]

Technically you need an IDP but really you do not. Its easier if you have one but we have NEVER been asked for one. Florida changed the law to force you to have one but this is illegal under the Geneva Convention so the law was repealed in April 2013. However the law was not changed so you could get into trouble without one but it is NOT an offense any longer. Do not worry about Florida. I'd get one if you can and if not I'd not worry about it. I just renewed mine as we were passing the post office at home. If we were not passing I would not have bothered.

Driving side of road[edit]

RHD vehicles can be driven in United States of America without a problem.

Mandatory items in vehicle[edit]

State any mandatory items that must be carried in the vehicle. (i.e. safety triangle, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, etc.)

Vehicle registration, prof of insurance, and the drivers driver license.


General Road quality[edit]

Extremely good roads, all major and minor roads are paved. If a road is not paved, you are probably trespassing.

Road signs[edit]

Road signage is excellent.

Toll roads[edit]

Toll roads mostly exist in the northeast and are cash only unless you have an EZ-Pass, I would recommend just buying one and placing a certain amount on the pass. The only states where they don't work are Kansas and Florida where they have their own system. New York and New Jersey have the highest tolls upwards of $7.00 USD but most are $0.75 USD to $3.00 USD.

Golden Gate Bridge. Drive accross. Do not worry. They have no mechanism to pay for foreign cars. (we asked)

Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Same as Golden Gate. Do not worry. (we have at least two travellers who have not paid plus us)

Tolls around Detroit and into Canada. If you can get through the broken gates do it. Do not pay if you can avoid it. (we did not pay and did not get fined)

Bribery in United States of America[edit]

Do not even think about bribing it will only make the situation worse. Police in America will never ever take a bribe. If they think you are trying to bribe them they might take you to jail. No cash will ever be exchanged with a policeman outside of a police station. If you receive a ticket, some police might try and scare you by saying you can't leave the country until you pay the ticket or fine, this is incorrect. It is a good idea to pay either way.


The boarder patrol operates random check points with in 60- miles of the international boarders looking for people illegally entering the country and drugs. Most check points will have work dogs sniffing the vehicle for illegal drugs. The Boarder Patrol web site is at http://www.cbp.gov/border-security/along-us-borders/overview. Vehicles with foreign license plates may have to show passports and proof of legal entry, but not always.

California has agricultural check points to mitigating the transportation of invasive species. For the most part they will ask if you have any fruits or vegetables, look at them for signs of fruit flies and send you on you're way if nothing were found. If there are signs of invasive species, they will throw the items in the trash and you are free to proceed. Their web site is http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/pe/ExteriorExclusion/borders.html

Traveling with pets[edit]

Many hotels and motels have clear policies about staying with pets - ask in advance. Some chain hotels are considered "pet friendly" and some others are "pet tolerant," meaning they will charge extra for pets and reserve a higher amount than simple incidentals for security deposit in the event that any damages are incurred by your pet during the stay.

Some states have requirements about location of pets in the vehicle, some require them to be secured separate from the driver so as to not provide a distraction or hazard.

Most business establishments, especially places where food and drink are served or prepared, forbid pets inside. US Law requires the admittance of official (registered) service animals, such as seeing eye dogs.

Gas and Diesel price in United States of America[edit]

Last updated: January 2016

Currency and unit to display:

Gas and diesel prices vary across the country, and change quickly.

Gasoline Grade Price
Regular (87) $2.87 USD per Gallon (US)[1]
Diesel $3.13 USD per Gallon (US) to $5.00 USD per Gallon (US)

An excellent resource for finding the nearest & cheapest gas station is www.gasbuddy.com. The smartphone app works fantastic and we saved lots of bucks in Canada & USA.

Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency[edit]

Lower 48-states: In general, local gas shortages only happen in if there is a catastrophic weather event. For the most part gas stations are less than 50-miles apart. There will be blue information signs posting where fuel stations are further apart than this.

Death Valley California use to have a 80-mile stretch without gas. It is best to stay topped off in desert regions. On Highway 395, going through eastern Oregon / Washington there is a 300-miles without gas.

In many states, especially ones with strong agricultural/forestry/mining production, there may be 2 prices advertised for diesel in rural areas - in these cases, the lower priced fuel has not had the state fuel taxes added into the price as the vehicles using it are not intended for road use (no highway tax, road tax, department of transportation tax, etc.). The definition of "non-road use" is not off-road, overland, or off-highway, but rather exclusively non-road use like tractors, farm machinery, logging and or mining equipment, and vehicles that do not convey on roads unless trailer-ed. This fuel usually has a dye (often red) to indicate presence in the fuel tank, which may be inspected by law enforcement personnel. When in doubt, ask - there are expensive fines for using improper fuel on public roadways.

Gas and Diesel Quality[edit]

Sulfur content of diesel is 10ppm and winter grade is automatically introduced in filling stations. Shell seemed to do this first.

Safety and Security Considerations[edit]

The United States has the 24-hours a day, 7-days a week never shut down, never impede traffic philosophy. As always, it best to drive slower at night or below the posted speed limits.

Vehicle parking[edit]

In general vehicles can be parked on streets or in lots. Watch out for metered spots and no parking zones (especially in urban areas). Vehicles parked illegally in urban areas are often booted or towed which can result in large fines. Also watch out for private lots that require payment. Often they are patrolled 24 hours and vehicles that have not paid will be booted. When parking in rougher neighborhoods make sure valuables are not visible and that the doors are locked.

Special driving considerations[edit]

A List of special things to be careful of (i.e. Unsigned speed bumps, abnormal road rules, people or animals on the road, etc.).
When driving in rural areas you will find wildlife on the roadway. In the Western part of the country (AZ, MT, UT, NM and so on), if you hit and kill a cow or horse, you will be responsible to pay the owner of this animal 2 times the owners declared value. Try extra hard not to strike farm type animals with your vehicle.

Security advisories and information[edit]

Camping in United States of America[edit]

Organized "pay" camping is as common as hamburgers and hotdogs in North America. Facilities commonly found at these campsites vary with price and location. The most expensive I have seen were $1,000.00 USD a month at big city California beach locations with full hook-ups, and swimming pool, rec room and washing machines. Middle of the road places are around $25.00 USD to $30.00 USD per night with full hook-ups or around $350.00 USD to $500.00 USD a month. Full hook-ups, is electric, water, and sewer. If they allow tents, the cost is about half the full hook-up cost.

Keep in mind RV-parks are not campgrounds. I was rudely reminded of that in Las Vegas Nevada. Because of the numerous compromised people visiting Las Vegas their rules are very discriminatory to keep things to a manageable level.

"Wild camping" or "boondocking" is officially called "Dispersed Recreation Camping" by The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management or BLM for short. It is also perfectly legal to disperse camp in any Nation Forest except where expressly prohibited, usually near established camp sites. A well organized web page at http://www.boondockingguide.com can answer all you're questions on "wild camping" or really just "camping."

"Roadside" camping or "car camping" or "stealth camping "is very common. You are allowed to stay at most major interstate highway road side rest areas for 8-hours. Truckers stay there all night arriving just before dark and departing before sunrise. It can be hit or miss finding a place towards midnight near major cites. Rest areas have bathrooms with drinking water, pick-nick tables and often a place to fill up water bottles. The first rest area in the state will have free state maps and tourist information. Coffee is served on major holidays to promote safety.

Over night sleeping at truck stops is very comfortable. They generally have showers, laundry rooms, food and more for the truck drivers "home away from home" over night stay.

Wall-Mart is also a common place for transit RV (recreational vehicle) traveler to park over night. Some Wall-Marts do not allow over night parking. A GPS waypoint list is maintained at www.poi-factory.com/ and http://halberstadt.macmate.me/Walmart/Walmarts.html of locations that do and do not allow overnight parking.

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM), manages a very high percentage of non private land in western USA. Their main web site is http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en.html. Camping information is found in the local BLM field office web site under recreation. They have downloadable maps and end less amount of information.

The most popular BLM camping areas, by number of winter visitors, are the BLM LTVAs, short for Bureau of Land Management Long Term Visitor Areas. For a fee of several hundred dollars visitors may camp for as long as seven months. See: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro/recreation/ltvas.html and http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/recreation/camping.html

Camping guide books[edit]

There are many campground directories for RV-parks. None of them are great at covering all camping locations. The priority of these directories is on paid commercial RV and camping locations. A internet search of "campground Directory," will give you pages of directories. Woodalls, Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory are a few. They are available at Camping World and RV supply stores and some sporting goods stores.

A non commercial web site that excels in GPS GPX files of national forest camping locations is located at: http://www.uscampgrounds.info/

The Escapees RV Club - http://www.escapees.com/Default.aspx has a directory called Day's End. The Directory has boondocking and low-cost parking opportunities. Day's End listings are submitted by traveling members.

Several More Directories - http://alternativeto.net/software/ultimate-us-public-campgrounds/

Drinking water[edit]

Tap Water is safe to drink in the United States.

In general, all tap water is safe to drink unless posted, "Non Pot-able Water" (meaning do not drink it).


Paper maps[edit]

Reise Know-How are amoung the best paper maps. Purchase paper maps before arriving in United States of America

Usa - Northeast
Usa - Northeast
by Reise Know-How Verlag
From $9.29 on Amazon
United States Classic [tubed] (national Geographic Ref...
United States Classic [tubed] (national Geographic Ref...
by National Geographic Maps - Reference
From $13.59 on Amazon
United States Classic [tubed] (national Geographic Ref...
United States Classic [tubed] (national Geographic Ref...
by National Geographic Maps - Reference
From $13.54 on Amazon
Lonely Planet Usa Planning Map (travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Usa Planning Map (travel Guide)
by Lonely Planet
From $3.97 on Amazon

GPS Maps of United States of America[edit]

The following web page sums up Map Makers in the USA. http://www.gpsinformation.org/dale/mapmakers.htm

GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in United States of America[edit]

  • FreeCampsites.Net is the largest data base of free and almost free campgrounds, boondocking locations, wild camps, and overnight parking covering the USA. Reviews, pictures, maps, coordinates, water, dump stations...
  • iOverlander is a website and iPhone application designed by Overlanders, for Overlanders. It contains GPS co-ordinates and reviews for camping, hotels, propane, water, mechanics, borders and much more.

There is a overwhelming number of web sites to get GPS coordinates. Here is a few that stand out above the rest.

http://www.uscampgrounds.info/statemaps.html http://www.campfone.info/ www.poi-factory.com/

Special Overland Travel interests[edit]

Everywhere in the United States is a good place to go overlanding. But if your definition of overlanding is a remote, long-distance journey entirely on primitive, unmaintained roads that would snap a Hundai into multiple pieces, then you'll have to do some research. The United States contains many rugged and remote areas, however many of them are designated as Wilderness areas in which any motorized vehicle is prohibited. And its system of highways and paved roads are also vast and well connected. These two factors combine to mean that there aren't too many cohesive, dirt-only, long-distance, remote and isolated overlanding routs in the country. But there are still a few out there:

  • Mojave Road. This 147 mile (237 km) primitive road in The Mojave Desert of California and Nevada is possibly the most iconic overlanding road in the country.
  • Denali Highway. Don't let the word "highway" fool you. This is 135 mi (217 km) gravel, lightly-traveled road in Alaska is loaded with sharp turns, stunning beauty, panoramic views and a sense of isolation that is difficult to find in the lower 48. The highway is becoming little used and poorly maintained, and closed to all traffic from October to mid-May each year due to snow.
  • White Rim Road. This 100 mile (160 km) dirt road in Utah is one of the most scenic and popular overland destinations in the country. In fact, the whole state of Utah has a seemingly unlimited number of off-road adventures.
  • The Alpine Loop, which is made up of the many trails near Ouray, Colorado. It is known as one of the best off-roading destinations in America. Some of the names of the individual roads and trails are: Cinnamon Pass, Engineer Pass, California Pass, Mineral Creek, and Yankee Boy Basin - which all add up to about 85 miles or 137km. The altitude ranges from about 9,000 ft (2,700 meters) to 12,000 ft (3,600 meters), which means it's usually open and clear of snow from July to September, and the many different trails and terrains to choose from make it flexible and accessible to almost anyone in almost any vehicle.
  • The north rim of the Grand Canyon. While the south rim is not only a paved road crawling with tourists, it also costs $30 per vehicle. Yet the north rim is rugged, remote, and endless miles of dirt, mud, snow, rocks, sand, water crossings, and epic views of the Grand Canyon. Also known as the Arizona Strip, this 3-million-acre (~12,000 square km) remote wilderness is awash with dirt roads and jeep trails, some of which even take you into the drainage of the Grand Canyon itself. Modified 4wd vehicles are required for the majority of the roads, though there are several maintained roads suitable for small cars and large RVs.
  • Padre Island National Seashore. The beach itself is technically a highway and there are no vehicle restrictions, no reservations are needed, and a camping permit is required. This out-and-back "road" on the southern coast of Texas may not qualify as a true overland adventure, as you cannot enter on one side of the barrier island - which is the world's longest - and exit on the other, but it is a worthy destination non-the-less. Vehicles may drive along the beach who's damp, fine sand makes for a great, hard, compact surface. However, there are soft, dry spots. 4-wheel-drive vehicles with the tires aired down (highly recommended after the 5-mile marker), can drive South for up to 60 miles (97km) until reaching Mansfield Channel, at which point the vehicle must turn around as there is no bridge onto South Padre Island. It is recommended that drivers bring with them a winch, a shovel, and a spare tire. The idea is that, if you get stuck in the sand, you can dig a hole several meters in front of the vehicle and bury the spare tire in the sand with the winch cable attached to the tire. This provides an anchor to winch yourself out.
  • Rampart Range Road. Built in the 1930's, this well known and well-maintained trail runs through Pike National Forest and almost the entire length of Colorado's front range south of Denver. It crosses a number of counties from its north end near Sedalia all the way down through to Colorado Springs. It is 60 miles (97km) long and there are numerous off-shoots, spurs, exits and entry points along its length.
  • The Lost Coast, which is a few hours north of San Francisco on the Pacific coast. It's south portal is Usal Road which is the most rugged and challenging section - it can be closed off and impassible during the rainy season. From the south take Usal Road (county road 431) 19 miles to Four Corners junction. From here, well-maintained dirt and gravel Chemise Mountain Road goes north 6.5 miles, crossing into Humboldt County to end at paved Shelter Cove Road. After a sharp left turn, go west on Shelter Cove Road for only 0.5 miles and then take a right onto King's Peak Road that travels 12 miles through the King Range National Conservation Area. It ends at paved Wilder Road which is 8 miles south of the town of Honeydew. In total, this route through the Lost Coast is at least 46 miles (74 km) of one of the country's most isolated coastlines in one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world.
  • The Rainbow Trail on the east slop of the Sangre De Cristo range in Colorado. This 100 miles (160 km) trail is for MOTORCYCLES & QUADS ONLY; a Jeep is too wide. It hugs the perimeter of the Sange De Cristo wilderness area, but you can cross the mountain range to the north along Hayden Pass and to the south along Medano Pass which goes through the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. In late Summer 2017, parts of the Rainbow Trail and Hayden Pass were closed after the Hayden Pass Fire damaged part of the trail.
  • High Water Mark Trail, also known as the Ozark Overland Trail. This 140 mile (225 km) 4x4 trail system in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas also contains some very high water crossings--a vehicle specially modified will be required when the water is high. Other than the water crossings, it's not a super technical trail. Mud terrain tires might be a good idea though. View the route in google maps.
  • The Rubicon Trail. Perhaps the best known and most popular 4x4 trail in the world, this 22-mile (35km) track near Lake Tahoe, California, is a brutal rock crawling pilgrimage that contains almost too much rock-crawling pleasure to be mentioned in an overlanding wiki.
  • Moab. A discussion of off-road destinations in America would not be complete without mentioning the network of 4x4 trails known as Moab. The "slickrock" terrain surrounding Moab, Utah, provides a unique, high-traction driving experience that is perfect for rock crawling. Although the numerous trails range in difficulty from fairly easy to the most extreme, you'll need high clearance and low range 4wd for even the easy trails.

In addition to the roads, trails, and networks of roads/trails listed above, many folks (who are often Adventure Motorcyclists) have assembled cross-state and even cross-country tours and have shared those routes on the internet - either for free or for a small price. The tours are a mix of jeep trails (unmaintained two-track roads), single-track routes for motorcycles (though many have alternatives for 4-wheeled vehicles), country/mountain dirt roads, paved roads, and highways - the later being at a minimum. A few of them include:

  • The Trans America Trail
  • The Great Western Trail is a long distance route that can take travelers all the way from the US-Mexico border to the US-Canada border, and travels through 5 western US states. As of summer 2018, no one has completed the the Great Western Trail all the way from Mexico to Canada, but a planned route can be viewed here.
  • Trans-Wisconsin Trail View the route in google maps
  • Backcountry Discovery Routes in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Mid-Atlantic, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Check out the interactive maps on their website.
  • Expedition Utah
  • Southern Colorado Backgrountry Overland Tour View the route in google maps

Vehicle Maintenance[edit]


4x4s / Trucks


Local Garages[edit]

Add known good mechanics here.

Greer Automotive Services (aka: "GAS")

Buy or sell a car or motorbike in United States of America[edit]

In some states it's relatively painless to purchase and register a vehicle as a foreigner, in other states it's very difficult.

  • Arizona - Overlanders have reported it's very easy to register a vehicle in Arizona. You don't need an address, and it can be done while using a 90 day "visa waiver", or a longer term 6+ month visa.
  • Alaska - Overlanders have reported it's also easy in Alaska - you need an address (hostel, hotel or Air BnB works fine) and can use your license from your home country. Doesn't matter if you're on a 90 day visa waiver.

Keep in mind you may use a vehicle as a tourist for one year, that may not be able to import. So do not think that you can legally import the vehicle even though it is in the country. The main rule is that vehicles must be 25 years or older to be imported into the USA.
If you have a newer vehicle that was never sold in North America (Defender, Land Cruiser, etc.) you CAN NOT import it into the USA unless it's older than 25 years.

The following is a copy and past from U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site: http://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car

"Exceptions The following vehicles need not conform to emission or safety requirements but may NOT be sold in the U.S. and may require EPA and DOT declarations:

Those imported by nonresidents for personal use not exceeding one year. The vehicle must be exported at the end of that year - there are no exceptions or extensions."

Also read "Registering a foreign registered vehicle, car or motorcycle in the U.S. with the Department of Motor Vehicles" at https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/425/~/registering-a-foreign-registered-vehicle,-car-or-motorcycle-in-the-u.s.-with

This is a important point from the referenced web site above. "If you bought or were given an imported vehicle from someone in the U.S., and they did not clear it through CBP before selling or giving it to you, there could be a problem. It is illegal to sell an imported vehicle that has not been formally entered, and it is subject to seizure."


Links to the source of any information - blogs or discussion forums, etc.

  1. Gasoline and diesel usage and pricing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Helpful External links[edit]

Add any helpful external links here.