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  1. Default Family Road Trip Syracuse to Grand Canyon

    Considering a 2 week family road trip in early July from Syracuse to Grand Canyon. Two kids, 9 and 11. Initial thoughts for target destinations include Mall of America (kids), Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon. Kids would like to "check off" passing through as many states as possible.
    Questions:
    1. Is 2 weeks reasonable?
    2. Suggested key routes?
    3. Suggestions on additional or alternative target destinations?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default A lot in a little

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    2 weeks to drive from Syracuse to the Grand Canyon and back is possible, but the extra stops you've listed might be more than you really want to do.

    Running straight out the the Canyon and back would be about 4700 miles, or 8-9 days of solid long haul driving. That doesn't allow for much time to stop along the way, so if you were stopping at things along the way (a good idea always, but moreso when traveling with kids) you might want to plan for a couple more days on the road. With 14 days for this trip, that wouldn't be a problem.

    If you add Yellowstone and/or the Mall of America, you add about 700 miles to that total, or another 2 days or so of driving. Now you are up around 11 days of driving, so you spend just one day at Yellowstone and one day at Grand Canyon, you are close to being out of time.

    I don't think I would go that far north. What you probably would have time for is to spend some time going through Colorado and Utah on your way there, and then take a more direct route back (or vise versa). There would still be lots to see, and it would be a little easier to do in just 2 weeks.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy Tom View Post
    Considering a 2 week family road trip in early July from Syracuse to Grand Canyon. Two kids, 9 and 11. Initial thoughts for target destinations include Mall of America (kids), Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon. Kids would like to "check off" passing through as many states as possible.
    Questions:
    1. Is 2 weeks reasonable?
    2. Suggested key routes?
    3. Suggestions on additional or alternative target destinations?
    Hey Tom!

    Funny that I ran into your post on my first day on this forum!

    We're planning a very similar trip for early August, with our two daughters, 10 and 8.

    I've done about twenty different possible combinations of destinations/routes/etc., and I came to the conclusion that trying to include BOTH GC and YNP in the same road trip is, while doable, is just too much stress to put on the kids. If it were just my wife and me, we would consider it, but even then, it doesn't leave a lot of time to slow down and enjoy.

    Ultimately, I think we've decided on three weeks. Starting in Syracuse (or Geneva, where we live...my MIL lives in Clay, and we may invite her to come along), we're planning to drive to St. Louis. I just have this thing about "starting" our road trip West at the Gateway Arch, and after playing with the routes, it only added about two hours.

    Denver's next (actually Boulder, where we have family). We'd like at least two days at RMNP before heading further west.

    From Denver, I think we'll head to Jackson Hole. We'll take somewhere around three days in GTNP and the west side of YNP. We've been there before, and now that the kids are old enough, there are some specific things we really want to do with them that we haven't been able to do on previous trips (email me if you're interested in the specifics of Yellowstone and the Tetons-they're my favorite place on Earth-and I've got lots of opinions!!)

    From the Yellowstone area, we'll head north to Bozeman to visit my 91-year-old Great Aunt. We'll stay there for a couple of days (probably visit Hyalite Canyon and maybe Virginia City. After Bozeman, we'll head back into YNP from the Northeast, being sure to hit the Beartooth Highway. We'll probably stay in the Rough Rider cabins in YNP and do a couple of hikes in the Canyon region. After a day or two, we'll head to Cody, WY. A partial day in Cody ought to do it.

    From Cody, it's on toward Rapid City, Mt. Rushmore, and the Badlands. Not sure how long we'll stay there. It just depends on how the kids are doing, and how badly we want to get home by that point.

    From there, the route home will go through Dearborn, MI to see the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. From there, it's about 7 or 8 hours home via the northern route through Detroit, into Canada, and crossing back over at the Falls.

    I like this route because outside of the first day or two, the drives are somewhat shorter, the scenery is pretty phenomenal, it keeps a real "destination" in front of us until we get almost all the way home (hopefully keeping the kids involved and interested), and hits:

    Columbus, OH
    Indianapolis, IN
    St. Louis
    Kansas City
    Denver
    RMNP
    Jackson Hole
    GTNP
    YNP
    Beartooth Highway
    Cody, WY
    Mt. Rushmore
    Badlands NP
    Chicago
    Henry Ford Museum
    Detroit (yeah, I know...great....)
    Lake Erie North Shore
    Niagara Falls

    If the mood strikes us, we'll definitely try and get off the interstates. Rt. 40 looks like a great diversion that takes us to St. Louis, but according to Google Maps, it just adds waaayyyyy too much time to use it for a significant portion of the trip. I wish we had about two months!

    Anyway, like I said, feel free to email me if you want some opinions, or if you have other ideas to share! Enjoy the planning process!!

    Dan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Great suggestions, Dan!

    Thanks for stopping in and helping out a fellow roadtripper. I always enjoy when new people at the forums share their knowledge. I hope you will help us help you with any trip planning help you might need for your own trip, report here about your trip when you get home, and continue to visit us and help other travelers.

    Happy Trails!

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