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  1. Default Fall Travel from Boston to the Grand Canyon and back

    Hi, we are new to this Forum and hope that someone may give us some much needed advice. We plan to rent a car to travel from Boston to the Grand Canyon in mid-October. We have a total of 15 days. We thought about flying out to AZ and traveling from there, but we would really love to show the family the best of America. We have teens interested in US History, and we are interested in sites of natural beauty. The idea of small town America is really appealing, so we probably won't stop in any major cities. Is it realistic for us to make this journey given our time restrictions? We thought we might travel northern routes on the outbound leg and southern routes back east. Would love to rent an RV, but cost, plus insurance (non-resident drivers), plus gas, is prohibitive. Will most likely stay in motels/hotels along the way. Have looked at the AAA website for route planning. But really unclear which is best route. Also, any idea how many days it will take to make it to the canyon, given that we would like to see a sight or two along the way each day. Any suggestions would be greatly apprreciated. Many thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Putting the Road in RoadTrip

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Yes, you can make a great trip to the Grand Canyon and back in two weeks, and while much of it will be driving, you'll be driving through varied (and beautiful) parts of the country with time to make the occasional stop on the way and still have a few days at the Canyon. For a 'northern' route you might want to look at I-90/I-80/I-76 to Denver and then I-70 across the Rockies, using US-191 to head south past Arches National Park and Monument Valley to the Canyon. And for a 'southern' route, I-40/I-44 to St. Louis and then I-70/I-81/I-84 back home (or vice versa). Either of those routes could be driven in 5 days, but allocating 6 to each allows you time to stop at the many attractions along them and still have 2-3 days in northern Arizona.


  3. Default

    AZ Buck, thank you for your response. I was beginning to feel doubtful about the trip but am looking forward to it once again now that I know it is doable. Just a few more wee questions if you don't mind:

    *Is it possible for you to suggest a good, accurate, up-to-date, easy to read, State-byState road map? I will be hopefully downloading a Trip-tick based on your suggestions, but a good lamintated map is invaluable.

    *Will the route that you suggest allow us to take in Bryce Canyon and Zion? I've read that they are fabulous.

    *We are a family of five, and have encountered problems booking rooms to accomodate us, any 'large' families out this with suggestions to get around this? Also, in terms of budgeting, what is a good ball-park figure for hotels/motels on the road?

    Thank you, what a wonderful forum!

  4. Default

    Appologies, a few more questions:

    *from reading other posts I understand that winter conditions could hinder road travel in early November. Are there any road alerts that we should know about given our estimated traveling dates:
    Boston to Grand Canyon October 18-23
    Grand Canyon to Boston October 26 to October-November 1

    *Ball-park figure on miles we should travel each day? Speed limit on interstate roads?

    Thank you again

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    If you want to visit Bryce and Zion, just continue west on I-70, rather than going south at Arches. US-89 will take you near both parks, and down towards the Grand Canyon.

    For a good laminated map, I've got the Truckers version of the Rand McNally atlas. It costs a bit more than the standard paperback atlas (which you can get for about $5) but its laminated and spiral bound so it holds up extremely well. My 07 version is still going strong - and I my maps get a whole lot of use and abuse. Atlases made by American Maps have also gotten high marks on this site.

    We generally recommend keeping your driving distances to 500-600 miles per day. Interstate speed limits will typically be 65 mph in the east, and 70-75 in the west.

    The one area where weather will be a big concern is if you are planning to visit the North Rim. By late October, the north rim is starting to shut down for the year, and it will be in reduced services mode until snow eventually forces the closure of the highway. If you are only planning to stop at the South Rim, this won't be a problem at all. Otherwise, there is a chance you could see snow elsewhere along your trip, but that's just going to depend upon the luck of the forecast.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Averages.

    Consider 500-600 miles a day to be equal to roughly 9-10 hours on the road. When driving at the speed limit you will not be able to maintain Interstate limits as an average speed over long distances by the time you add in time for rest breaks and to fill with gas etc. As an example; if you were to travel for 10 hours at 70 mph and only stopped for 1.5 hours in total [lunch and a couple of short breaks] your average speed would only average out to just under 60mph.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    We are a family of five, and have encountered problems booking rooms to accomodate us
    Generally, local fire codes limit occupancy of a hotel room to 4 people. This site may help you find a way around that.

    what is a good ball-park figure for hotels/motels on the road?
    A ballpark figure is hard to come up with, as room rates vary widely with location and quality. For rough budgeting, I'd figure $100 a night being that you may have to book 2 rooms in some locations.

  8. Default

    Midwest M, thanks for tips on Maps, mileage and weather; Southwest D, thanks for further tips on mileage, really great to have this expert knowledge; GLC, this link is a great resource, We have always had a difficult time finding a good place to fit us all. I plan to put this link to good use to find accomodation that will suit my family. Thankyou for helping us out. I am gathering more info and questions all the time, is it ok to come back in a few days with more questions?
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 07-09-2010 at 02:20 PM. Reason: corrected typo

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default You are welcome.

    Appologies, a few more questions
    No need to apologise ;-)

    I am gathering more info and questions all the time, is it ok to come back in a few days with more questions?
    Of course it is, we are here to help each other.

    As well as searching the forums, [you can use the search function and scroll down the page where you will find "similar threads" ] don't forget to look around the rest of the RTA site where you will find lots of info and suggestions on road tripping techniques, routes, budgeting and so on. All this can be found in the tool bars near the top of the page, but when I say the "rest of the site" keep in mind that I have been here a while now and I am still discovering new pages !

    Have fun !

  10. Default

    Thanks SW Dave.
    I've been on the AAA triptik looking at our first stop en route which will be Niagara Falls. Looking at the next stop, it will most likely be in the Chicago area. The Triptik brings me through Canada for this. Would I be better off staying in US-I-90, considering immigration stops etc? Also, not very interested in going into Chicago because of the potential nightmare of finding our way around, any suggestions on where to look for lodging either before or after we reach Chicago?
    Looking at accomodation in the Grabd Canyon village, looks like they are booked for our dates, but will phone them in the hopes that something opens up. If not, has anyone stayed at Tusayan? Any good? Or should we opt for Williams? All we want is a decent, clean place, we hope to be out and about in the Canyon most of the time.
    Lastly (for now) on our return to Boston, we think we will take I-40/I-44 to Saint Louis, as recommended by AZBuck, however, if we were to head instead for Tennessee (Memphis and Nashville) and from here for a route leading to a stop over in Washington DC, would we be expecting too much. in terms of fitting our travel back to Boston in only six days of driving.

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