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  1. Default Pittsburgh family road trip out west

    Hi we are 2 adults & 3 kids ages 12, 7 and 3. My husband has 2 weeks off this summer and so we're thinking of heading west because we've never been there. Is it feasible to road trip that far and back with 3 kids? We have no clue how long we'd need to get out and back. Various things out west that we know we'd like to see (but not necessarily close to each other): Mesa Verde, the Grand canyon, the Crazy Horse memorial, Yellowstone national park, Las vegas, Mount Rushmore, an old western ghost town (any suggestions?).

    So we'd be driving from Pittsburgh out and back, willing to camp with our tent where we could. Want an interesting, fun adventurous trip the kids will always remember. Oh and we want to do it within 2 weeks and on a TIGHT budget : )

    Doable or we should just say forget it and go to Niagra Falls?

    Totally open and hoping for suggestions!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default It is a little tight on time

    Quote Originally Posted by Breiz View Post
    Hi we are 2 adults & 3 kids ages 12, 7 and 3. My husband has 2 weeks off this summer and so we're thinking of heading west because we've never been there.
    A perfect reason to hit the road! Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.
    Is it feasible to road trip that far and back with 3 kids?
    You certainly could do some of the western attractions -- but the reality is that a round trip from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas would require a minimum of eight days of driving (8-10 hours per day) and if you factored in time for stops at places like the Grand Canyon and other parks, you will spend most of the vacation in the car. Which can be pretty great -- but I think the ages of your kids would suggest that this might be more of a strain than is worth it.

    As an aside -- I have always loved visiting Pittsburgh -- "the giant marimba" at Fort Point State Park is one of my favorite "finds". I just posted some ideas of places to visit within 1-2 days of Pittsburgh and a road trip around the Great Lakes is always a good possibility in the summer. Other destinations that are "more feasible" would be the Blue Ridge Parkway in Tennessee and a road cruise along the Mississippi, including stopping in Mark Twain's Hannibal, Missouri. And the arch in St. Louis is very, very cool.

    But since you want to go to the west....

    I would speed run to Pueblo, Colorado and take US-50 over the continental divide and then south on US-550 over the Million Dollar Highway (maybe even splurge for the train ride) and visit Mesa Verde and Petrified NP, Grand Canyon and then head north on US-191 to Monument Valley and all the way to I-70 (and Arches NP) and then zoom home.

    Here are some budgeting tips. The Junior Ranger Program is pretty cute at national parks -- here is a little info about it.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Here's another option

    With 3 kids, you might have a more enjoyable trip if you don't travel quite as far. This will also help keep your budget down because you'll be using less gas. I suggest that you consider going to South Dakota. While it's not quite the "wild west", it certainly will give you a taste of the western world that I think will satisfy you.

    You can see Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, the Black Hills, Crazy Horse Memorial, Deadwood, Wounded Knee, and more. You might make a quick trip into NE Wyoming to see Devil's Tower, too. If any of you are Laura Ingalls Wilder fans, you might check out the former family home and museum in De Smet, SD.

    This will make your roundtrip mileage about 3000 instead of 4400. Both of these are minimum mileages before sightseeing. But that's a huge difference in terms of travel time and cost.

    Anyway, this is what I'd probably do. I'd save a more western journey when you have a bit more time and funds.

  4. Default Thanks!

    Thank you for the suggestions. I think our main reason for going west would be because I wanted to go to Mesa Verde. Perhaps a western trip would require flying out instead of road tripping. I'm going to check out the destinations you mentioned that are closer to us and see what we think. Thanks for all of your help, I'll post again with more questions I'm sure : )


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