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  1. Default Southwest Road Trip in April

    I am trying to plan a surprise roadtrip for my husband 40th birthday. He has always wanted to go out west for a trip and I am thinking of going when the kids are on Spring Break from school in Virginia.

    We have two boys 7&8 years old...both very active and like adventure.
    We would arrive a Wed April 1 and would need to fly out on Thurs (17th).

    Here are my questions?

    1. Given the weather from April 1 to 15 are the following places doable?

    - Fly in/out of Las Vegas
    - Hit Hoover Dam, Death Valley, Sedona, Grand Canyon South Rim, 4 Corners/New Mexico, Moab, Canyonland National Park, Arches, & Bryce

    2. Is this doable in 2 weeks

    3. What route would you suggest? How many days/nights do I need in each place. What is the mileage like between each place

    4. What excursion should I do at each place to give us a mix of experiences

    5. Is there something I am missing on my list or something I should scrap?

    6. Would you do the trip in a mini-van and stay in hotels? Or is booking an RV a better idea?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Sounds like a great Spring break route!

    Quote Originally Posted by vbreb View Post
    I am trying to plan a surprise roadtrip for my husband 40th birthday. He has always wanted to go out west for a trip and I am thinking of going when the kids are on Spring Break from school in Virginia.
    Sounds pretty fun to me. Here are some suggestions for planning a great family road trip. Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! And here are some tips for a fly-n-drive roadtrip.
    1. Given the weather from April 1 to 15 are the following places doable?
    You should have no problems with the weather for these locations.
    2. Is this doable in 2 weeks
    Sure, but you might want to cut some of it just to reduce the time in the car.
    6. Would you do the trip in a mini-van and stay in hotels? Or is booking an RV a better idea?
    Unless you have lots of money to burn, I would get a comfortable sedan or SUV and stay in motels.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The 'Classic' Loop

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The general loop you're describing is a RoadTrip classic. I'd do Death Valley as a day trip out of Las Vegas and I'd do the rest of the trip in a clockwise direction for the simple reason that this would put you on the canyon side of AZ-64/US-180 as you drive along the south rim of the Grand Canyon, and on the parking lot side of the road as you cross Hoover Dam. Also plan on coming down US-191/US-163 from Arches through Monument Valley. How much time to spend in each place is a very personal choice and will be up to you and your family. Do keep in mind though that while you do have plenty of time for this loop, you don't have all the time in the world and you will have to keep an eye on the calendar to make sure that you have time for some of the later venues in your trip. Each of the national parks will have posted and signed trails and most will have ranger led talks/walks. Check at the visitors center or ranger station when you arrive and see what's available and what appeals to you. Unless you have traveled by RV before and genuinely liked the experience, I'd go with a comfortably sized vehicle and sleep in real beds and take a real shower each night. RVs are not a money saving alternative.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Junior Ranger Program

    Your two kids might also enjoy the Junior Ranger Program at the national parks -- here is some more info on that.

    Mark

  5. Default

    Sounds doable.

    I've been to Four Corners and Arches and swear by them. To fully see Arches, I'd recommend a good 4 hours minimum (more if you want to hike all the way to Delicate Arch, rather than distant view point).

    The road in the park is around 20 miles long or so, and you have to drive back. Just the drive itself would take 90-120 minutes, plus stopping and walking trails.

    Not all the arches are visible from the road, so most will require a short walk to them that takes all the time. Also, don't rush from Four Corners to Canyonlands/Arches, as US191 is quite beautiful with many places to pull off and see other rock formations (including a few arches).

    I drove US191 in the early morning (after seeing Four Corners at 8am-9am), and saw Arches early afternoon. Really wish I had taken my time to see more of US191 and spent more time on the trails in Arches.

    Arches, to me, should be one day by itself.

    If you plan on going to Bryce Canyon after Arches and Canyonlands, I-70 west of Green River is quite scenic as it goes over the San Rafael Swell. Then down US89 to the park.

    All of southern Utah can be amazing and picturesque, so even the point-to-points can eat up time if you're inclined to stop and marvel the sites like I did when I drove through.

    Sykotyk

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Lucky man !

    Hi there, that's a great Roadtrip and Hubby's gonna love it !

    3. What route would you suggest? How many days/nights do I need in each place. What is the mileage like between each place
    Either way around but I would be thinking I-15 through St George and the 9 through Virgin and stop at Zion [or straight to Bryce]. Bryce back to the 89 onto I-70 or Scenic byway 12 to Torrey and Capitol reef N.P. and then to Moab/Arches. On the way to Four corners on the 191 take a detour to Mesa Verde on the 491. Visit 4 corners and take 160towards G/C but you could head north back on 191 and then 163 through Monument valley. Enter the G/C by the East entrance and leave by the South to Sedona /Hoover dam.

    That is just an idea to work from, and you will need to balance it to suit your needs and travelling time, but all distances are easily covered. [It might be a bit "busy" with the kids, but there are so many short stops in between.]
    A break down would look like this; Vegas 2 nights]> Zion [1 night, arrive lunch time/leave following P.M] >Bryce [1 night]> Arches[2nights, poss 1 in between at Capitol reef]> Mesa Verde [1night]> between M/V and G/C [1 night]> G/C [2nights] >Sedona area [2 nights]>Vegas over the Dam.

    If you visit 4 or more main parks it will be cheaper to but the N.P's Annual pass for $80 at the first entrance to the first park you visit.

  7. Default Info is so helpful

    Thank to all for the feedback. I am trying to understand why clockwise is better than counter clockwise.

    Sounds like everyone thinks that hotels are better than RV. I am starting to lean that way.

    I am worried I am trying to do too much in 14 days with kids. Especially since I would like to do some excursions, jeep tours, etc.. while on the trip.

    What is everyone's thoughts on New Mexico (Santa Fe, etc...) and Durango/Mesa Verde?

    All of this info is so helpful.

    If there are excursions, hotels, sites that are must sees please let me know.

  8. Default

    I haven't done a lot of touring of New Mexico to give an idea. But, I think 14 days is doable. Just be prepared to 'cut' things from your trip if you decide to take more time.

    Keep your plans fluid enough that you're not held to a specific mileage to drive in a particular day, etc.

    Sykotyk

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    Sounds like everyone thinks that hotels are better than RV. I am starting to lean that way.
    It really is a "lifestyle" choice, and certainly a dearer one than a car and Motels. I love travelling by R.V but if it's something you are not familiar with or don't have a passion to do I would stick to the car. It might be too much of a surprise if it's the first time, Lol!

    If you want a more relaxed pace you could cut out Arches and from Bryce canyon drop down through Page to the Grand canyon [and possibly M/V]. This would give you lots of "down time" for walking and exploring the parks.

  10. Default southwest roadtip travel agent

    Who knows the best travel agent to work with to put together airfare, different hotels, auto rental for our Southwest roadtrip.

    I want to begin to book something today.

    Thx

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