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  1. Default Road Trip with kiddos

    I hope this is the right place to post and ask this question. I am beginning to plan a road trip for next summer with my kids. At the time they will be 6,8, 13 and 15. I am wondering if anybody has good ideas?

    We have traveled most of Oregon and Washington. Last year we went down to Yosemite, into Arizona around Phoenix and Tuscon, up throug Grand Canyon, over to Vegas and home.

    What is preliminarily set out: Probably in June/July. About 10 days - 2 weeks. I am thinking either up through Washington/San Juan Islands, into Canada although the kids are not thrilled about Washington, they sorta want to go somewhere new. Also considering Colorado/Utah/Montana etc. And, then I have thought of flying in somewhere and driving back.

    We love the outdoors, parks, camping, fishing, but since I am a single mom, I do really want to keep things safe. I try to stick with state parks, while maybe not as adventurous, it keeps me sane :)

    Any advice would be great! Thanks!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default You've got the basics

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    It sounds like you've got an excellent handle on what you like to do and how you like to go about doing it, so in many ways you've got the hard parts down. Figuring out where to do it can really be the fun part, although narrowing down so many great choices can be a fun challenge.

    What I would suggest for the next step is to really get your kids actively involved in the process of where. It sounds like they want to try somewhere new, and if you've already traveled in Washington alot, then I would let them work to find some new places they'd like to go. Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, or the Dakotas sound like they could all be new places that you could possibly reach in your timeframe. (you didn't say exactly where you are starting from, but I'm assuming Oregon) All of those areas have tons of state and national parks where you could do lots of outdoor exploring, and see things you and your kids will have never seen before.

    Fly and Drive trips are also fun and can be a great way to see things your timetable wouldn't allow based on the drivetime. Having said that, I'd think having to buy plane tickets for 4 kids would get pretty expensive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Here are some of our recommendations

    A few ideas to prime the pump.

    An article I wrote about planning family road trips.

    An overview about budgeting for road trips (the prices need to be updated for today's reality...)

    You already know about camping -- here are our suggestions for road trip gear

    Midwest Michael mentioned "Fly-n-Drive" road trips -- here are some more tips.

    Packing room for four kids + adults is going to be tight - here is a member's field report about an external gear box

    In these days of higher fuel costs -- you might consider doing some one-day road trips from major city hubs -- We are creating a series of recommendations for cities around the USA. Here is the directory of those suggestions (this is a work-in-progress so check back for new ones every month).

    Once you know more about your route -- we can offer tips about our favorite places.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-20-2008 at 10:41 AM. Reason: more ideas

  4. Default Thanks for your responses

    I sat last night and chatted with the kids, and we did some searching and preliminary (let me stress preliminary. . . . lol) planning. I found a link that laid out a nice route and I am wondering if anybody here is familiar with it. Often reality is different then a map lol.

    Our thoughts are this. . . .
    Spend a Thursday, friday and Sat driving to Yellowstone. This gives us time to stop and stretch, explore, picnic etc.
    Spending Sunday and Monday in Yellowstone. We would probably camp.
    Tuesday driving to grand Tetons. It looks very close, so we could drive there and spend the day exploring. Spend the night.
    Wednesday drive to Dinosaur Park, spend Thursday exploring, it doesn't look like an all day thing. We could then drive to Arches Park and arrive Thursday night.
    Friday we would spend exploring Arches.
    Saturday, Sun and Mon driving home.

    Now. . . . this is really preliminary. The kids and I have done alot of road traveling and we tend to have a day were we make very little time and then a day we just load up and drive for 9 hours. Especially when there is very little scenery lol.

    Any thoughts?

    Thank you,


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default That's a great start!

    If you camped one of the Yellowstone campgrounds nearer the southern entrance, like Grant Village, you could actually visit the Grand Tetons without having to move camp. Another option might be someplace like Flagg Ranch which is located between the two parks. I'm not much of one for back-tracking so I'd probably move to a new campsite myself but there are other options if you'd rather not.

    Thanks for sharing that US-Parks website with routing assistance. That's a new one to me and I can see that it would be very helpful for travelers. It laid out for you the same map I was creating for you in Google maps. Yes, it's a good route with lots of scenic views and varying landscape to keep things really interesting. I can't imagine any stretch along your drive where you will have "very little scenery".

    I think your allotment of days would work fine. Of course, Yellowstone offers enough to see/do where you could spend 3+ days there but 2 days should give you enough time to see the highlights. I'm not clear where your homebase is so I based my map on Portland, OR. It's about 860 miles from Portland to Yellowstone so you really could do this easily in two days to allow yourself that extra day in Yellowstone if you want it. Arches to Portland is just under 1000 miles so, again, another 2-day drive if you want to add more days to explore one of these parks.

    Great job and it's cool that you're letting the kids be involved.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Modification Suggestions

    The loop suggested by the NPS is actually quite a nice one, and there's certainly much to recommend it. I've driven parts of it on a loop drive I made a few years ago from Tucson up through the Basin and Range territory to Yellowstone and then back south through western Wyoming and Colorado. Some alternatives you might want to look at on the eastern leg of this trip include US-89 south through western Wyoming and then heading through Kemmerer to Green River, then WY-530 south along the west side of Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area to Dinosaur National Monument. CO-139 south through western Colorado is quite scenic, as is the Colorado National Monument outside Grand Junction.


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