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  1. Default Family road trip Florida to Yellowstone..HELP!

    We have rented a huge house in Yellowstone in June, with my siblings and their families. We want to drive, to see the states, and to save money. We are staying in Yellowstone for a week, and plan to take our time on the way to the park, and pretty much drive home in 3 days on the way home. Any suggestions, sights, etc? We'll have our daughters aged 15 and 18 and our son, 8. We love history, nature, beautiful sights, touristy areas....anything! We're just starting to plan, and haven't been to most of the states that we'll pass through. We will either drive our mini-van, or rent one to drive. Thanks!

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

    Default whoa!

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Well, lets start with the first major problem with your plan. There is absolutely no way you should plan to do a family trip from Yellowstone to anywhere in Florida in 3 days. You didn't say exactly where in florida you are starting from but its 2500 miles from Yellowstone to Central Florida. Even if you were just going to Pensacola on the tip of the panhandle, you'd be looking at 2100+ miles. Realistically, you'd have to drive 14+ hours for each of those three days. That's more than any professional is allowed to drive, its a sure fire way to make you and everyone in your family miserable, and quite frankly, its not very safe. You absolutely need at least 4 days, and 5 would probably be better.

    As far as what to see going there, well, you've got about 80% of the US in front of you, so there is no shortage of possiblities. In fact, there's so much stuff that you really are going to have to help us narrow things down a bit. First of all, how much time do you plan to spend driving out there? Do you have a route in mind? Are there any specific stops that you've already got in mind? What about your kids, what places do they really want to see?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you are planning on "taking your time" on the way to the park, that's fine. I'd shoot for a week or more to do the trip justice.

    You can do the trip back in 3 days if you have 3 licensed and experienced drivers. You rotate drivers and make sure at least 1 other person is awake to navigate and help keep the driver awake. Note that this will involve being on the road for 16 hours a day or more, depending how deep into Florida you have to go and how many potty and food stops you have to make. This is what we call a "speed run". You will all be feeling pretty nasty by the time you get home if you do it, a minivan cruising at 70 mph is not exactly luxury acommodations for a family of 5. Get your sightseeing done on the way out there, because you won't get any done on a speed run.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default with due respect

    Doing this kind of drive with three experienced drivers would be fine, but this if a family trip which does add another demension to things. First of all, one of those drivers presumably has less than 2 years of driving experience and has never done a long distance trip. Second, You've going to have 2 kids under driving age who you need to account for, which does add an extra challenge.

    Physically, they might be able to cover the distance, but I promise that everyone in the family would want to kill each other by the time they got home, and no matter how much fun they had during the first 2 weeks of their trip, the misery of the trip home would certainly be one of the most "memorable" experience of the trip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I thought I alluded to that with my comment about them all feeling pretty nasty by the time they got home. I was merely saying that it would be possible, not necessarily advising them to actually do it. That is a decision that would have to be carefully examined and considered. I know 18 year old drivers who are perfectly capable of driving point-to-point on Interstate highways safely, but I also know some that scare me to death.

    Yes, 4 days would be a much better decision, no doubt. 600 miles a day is doable by one experienced driver, two drivers would make it a lot easier. That's 12 hours on the road, and in June this can all be done in daylight.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Back to Basics

    While I agree with the previous posters that three days really is a stretch for a trip between anywhere in Florida and Yellowstone, I think it's a simple enough fix to rob Peter and pay Paul by borrowing one day from taking your time on the way out to make the trip back safer and saner. If that causes you to lose one day with the family in big house, so be it. But let's look at your trip and see what you can accomplish with those two different schedules.

    On the way back, you'll have to stick to the direct route, US-89/US-26/US-287 south through the Grand Tetons and then southeast cross country through Wyoming to Rawlins where you'd pick up I-80. From there, I-80 to Lincoln (and keep in mind that I-80 in western Nebraska is following the route of the old Oregon Trail), a short cutoff on NE-2 to hit I-29 south to Kansas City and then I-70 to St Louis. I-64/I-57/I-24 from there will take you through southern Illinois and on to Chattanooga where you get on I-75 for the final run to Florida. Even with 4 days you won't have a lot of time to wander off this relatively 'direct' route, but there will be places to stop for R&R. One place to stop for sure is the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and take a short tour of the Westward Expansion Museum underground beneath the Arch. If time permits, there's also a nice Exhibit now (so I'm told) on Illinois side just north of I-270 where Lewis and Clark actually began their Voyage of Discovery.

    On the way out to Yellowstone, where you have more time, you can wander a bit more freely. One suggestion that would let you indulge your tastes for scenery and history would be to start wandering early and come up through Georgia a bit west of I-75 and visit Andersonville and FDR's Little White House. Picking up US-78 in northern Georgia would let you head west through Birmingham then on to Tupelo, MS and Memphis, TN where you can get a 'touristy' fix. From there you can follow basically I-40 west for a while, but I'd also consider a detour in Western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma on the Talimena Scenic Drive. Then a stop at the Oklahoma City Memorial would be in order. In Amarillo, perhaps a stop at the Cadillac Ranch before heading northwest across the Panhandle of Texas and driving to the tor of an extinct volcano, Capulin Mountain. I-25 up along the Front Range of the Rockies will afford miles of scenery off your port side and possible stops at the Garden of the Gods and Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and a moderate detour to Rocky Mountain National Park on the way up to Cheyenne where you'd take I-80/US -287/US-26/US-89 cutting through Wyoming up to Yellowstone.

    So, that's one example of what's available for history, scenery, and kitsch if you have the time. But time is as critical a factor in planning as any list of things to see. And if you've read this far, let me (as a former CHOP MT) also thank you for the work you do every day.

    AZBuck

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