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  1. Default Summer roadtrip from Florida

    Hi. I'm glad I found this website! It's great. I just started looking at it and would love some suggestions. I have a husband and three children. Two boys, ages 9 and 11, and one girl, age 5. None of them have been anywhere other than Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. We have a truck and a camper and do local camping trips. This summer I would like to plan a roadtrip for two weeks and would love some tips or ideas. I've been on a roadtrip when I was 19 and went from Florida, up through Kentucky, over to Colorado, Nebraska, over to Vegas and California and then I-10 home to Florida. I loved Utah and thought it was beautiful! I want to take the kids somewhere out west but know two weeks isn't time to see everything with them. I would love a family friendly 2-wk trip itinerary and need to know if it's worth the gas and time to lug the camper along. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Too many miles perhaps ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    If you want to explore the West and only have 2 weeks to do it in I personally think that you would be better of flying out and renting a car or RV for the duration of your stay.

    On the other hand if you want to do a road trip and say loop through Colorado and New Mexico and possibly a little of Utah you could make it work if you find places of interest on the way and keep on the move throughout your journey, rather than having a destination as such. The problem is this could amount to 4500 miles overall, depending on your starting point and the need to travel an average of 320 miles a day which isn't going to be that family friendly !

    If you can't find more time and would like to take the camper have you considered the Great Smokey mountains and Blue ridge parkway, I hear they are great !
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 01-05-2010 at 08:13 AM. Reason: Typo's

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

    Default Other Considerations

    The two things you haven't told us and on which your final decisions ultimately depend are: What do your family members want to do, and where in Florida are you starting out from. As a general rule of thumb, taking about two days to drive to a destination (and two days back) is roughly worthwhile for a two week vacation. If you're leaving from Key West, two days would barely get you to New Orleans. If you're leaving from Pensacola, two days would get you into eastern New Mexico. So, as Dave points out, if the point is to get 'there' in as few days as possible of solid driving, 'there' can't be all that far away. But, that may not be what you, and as importantly your family, have in mind. You could, say, take 4 more leisurely days of driving with time-outs along the way to see a fair bit of the section of the country your driving through (which you also haven't seen) as well as 4 days back, still leaving you 6-8 days in your destination area. If you want to wee 'the west', then I agree with Dave that New Mexico, northern Arizona, Southern Utah and/or southwestern Colorado would make a great destination. You wouldn't be able to see it all, but you could see a few of the best sights in some detail, even over 6 days.

    Economically, it gets fairly expensive to fly 5 people cross country and rent a car. You'd also probably have to use motels as renting an RV or camper would also add considerably to your costs. So, if your family is used to traveling by camper and has enjoyed it that might be the way to go. I would caution you, however, that two weeks in a single truck and camper may be a bit more togetherness than you'll all want, even if you have handled shorter trips without a problem. At this point I think your entire family should sit down and see what kind of trip appeals to them all, what places they'd like to see, how much time and effort they're willing to put into it in terms of planning and civility, and see if you can't come up with an outline that suits you.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    Thanks for the replies! We live in Tampa. My husband and I are both self-employed so our family is used to spending a ton of time together. I am fortunate enough to have no expectations from them regarding a trip (they have no idea what's out there to see) so I have a lot of room for ideas. I would like to drive 12 hours straight the first day and bypass AL, MS, LA and stop somewhere to sleep the first night. I think my main objection is just to show them the west so more of a looking and driving trip than a destination trip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Have a look around for ideas.

    I still think it's a good idea to sit down and include the kids in your plans, it will make the adventure a lot more enjoyable for them and you if they feel involved in the trip. Twelve hours "straight" is a long time for the kid's to endure and it will be worth getting off Interstate to allow them to let off steam at regular intervals. The good thing is you can pull off at anytime you want for the night when you feel you have done enough for the day.

    Have a look around the forums [you will find pages and pages of info on most places using the search function] and when you have some dots on the map we could perhaps make some suggestions to fill the gaps in between the dots.

    Enjoy the planning !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default a great way to ruin a trip

    Trying to drive 12 hours on your first day is just not a good way to get a trip started on the right foot. You're going to have everyone tired and cranky from day one, and you'll spend the rest of your trip trying to overcome that. Its one of those things that always sounds great on paper, and is horrible in practice.

    I also think that you really need to make sure you are building a trip that everyone in your family will enjoy, not a "I want to show them this, so this is what we're going to do" type trip. A "looking and driving trip" can be fine for adults, but there just aren't many kids who really have the patience for such a thing especially on the scale that you are talking about. They need to be able to get out and actually do some exploring, or everything is going to look the same. I also would give you a strong reminder that spending a lot of time together in the same house is not nearly the same thing as spending long hours, day after day, crammed together in a moving vehicle.

    I would strongly encourage you to take another look at how you are approaching the trip, and make sure you have a trip where the goal is to have fun, and getting input from everyone involved, not just a trip where your goal is to make sure that your family checks things off a list of things you think they should see. If they have no expectations, you should be taking advantage of this opportunity to learn together about what is out there, which will be both educational and help build excitement for the upcoming journey.

  7. Default Great suggestions!

    Thanks again! I am going to break out our America book (with maps and places) and plan with the family tonight (good time to do it since it's 30 degrees here in Tampa in the evening!).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default great idea

    That sounds like a great idea.

    30 degrees? I'm jealous, it was -1 (actual temp, not wind chill) when I drove into work this morning!

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

    Default Rough Outline

    In that case, given that you might be delayed a little in getting packed and on the road, and that you won't be amongst the fastest vehicles on the road, and that out of your 12 hours will have to come food, fuel and bathroom breaks, I think a good goal for your first day's drive would be north of New Orleans, perhaps at Fontainebleau State Park on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. From there to, say Albuquerque, could be done in two days of steady but manageable driving. Or you could take three days and see some of the sights on the way from the strange (the Bonnie and Clyde ambush site in Gibsland, LA), the historic (Dealey Plaza in Dallas), the interactive (Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo), or whatever else captures your interest.

    From Albuquerque, you could then spend about a week making a loop of the southwest that included Petrified Forest, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde and Taos before taking another 4 days or so, and possibly a different route, back home.

    AZBuck

  10. Default

    Thanks for the great suggestions AZBuck (just what I was looking for!). Can't wait to look up all of those places. Midwest Michael- don't be jealous of 30 degrees. Us Florida people really aren't accustomed to it and are having a very hard time with it. Just as if this summer you had 100 degrees. That would feel great to me!

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