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  1. Default L.A. - Grand Canyon - Carlsbad Caverns - Tuscon - L.A.

    Hello! I am taking my daughter on a summer trip to the locations listed on the thread topic. We are car camping, except when in Tuscon where we will be staying with friends.

    So, three questions: 1. Best car camps along the way? 2. What else (other than the Grand Canyon and Carlsbad Caverns) do we NEED to see on this trip? My daughter will be 10, and is into science and animals. 3. Suggested itinerary for 7 days and 9 days (one night in Tuscon)?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by atomx; 12-23-2010 at 12:19 AM.

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

    Default ideas and advice

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There are certainly plenty of places you can add into this trip. You've got all of the desert National Parks, including Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Saguaro, and maybe Organ Pipe. Around the Grand Canyon you could work in stops at Walnut Canyon and Petrified Forest/Painted Desert, or you could even go to Monument Valley. And in New Mexico, White Sands could be a good stop. I'd also recommend stopping at the desert museum in Tucson - which is as much a zoo as it is a museum. Just keep in mind, you're going to need a good 4-5 days on the road just to cover the miles between your major stops already.

    For car camping, its hard to go wrong with the campgrounds right in the National Parks, or in many cases there will also be State Parks or National Forest land campgrounds nearby too both of which can also be great values. There will certainly be private campgrounds too, but they will usually cost a little more with those you have to be a little more careful that they actually have decent tent sites, as many are much more designed for the RV crowd.

    As far as an itinerary, that's your job. We're certainly here to give you suggestions and ideas, but we're not a full service travel agency. When you come up with a plan that's based on the interests of you and your family, we'd love to see it and offer you additional suggestions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default And a couple more.

    The Mather campground at Grand canyon South rim is in a nice wooded setting but just a short walk to the rim and village area. You will need to book as soon as you can after the booking window opens, sites can sell out real quick.

    Another couple to add to Michael's excellent suggestions for consideration would be The Lowell Observatory, and the Mojave National preserve. One more sprung to mind, Sunset Crater volcano.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A 'Few' More Ideas

    Michael has given you a number of great suggestions for possible additions to your itinerary that I think your daughter would love. I have a couple of other points to make. The Junior Ranger program at the National Parks and Monuments is almost custom made for your doughtier's interests. Be sure to make your first stop at the Ranger Station or Visitor Center of each park you come to and ask for the age appropriate activities in the program and have your daughter ask any questions that she has before you start your exploration of the park. Those are invaluable resources. And when you complete your visit, check back in, turn in her activities sheets, and she will get a number of souvenirs, be sworn in as a Junior Ranger for that park, and will have learned quite a bit about the geology, wildlife, archaeology, etc. of the park.

    As for some other specific worthwhile scientific and wildlife stops: Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments on US-89 heading south from the east entrance/exit of Grand Canyon National Park, the Museum of Northern Arizona and Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Meteor Crater just outside Winslow, Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, Roswell, NM and the nearby Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, San Andres National Wildlife Refuge near White Sands, Flandreau Planetarium and Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson as well as Kitt Peak National Observatory or Biosphere 2 both a short distance out of town, and finally Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Joshua Tree National Park as you get back near home.

    There will obviously be no shortage of opportunitie4s, just some of the best of the best for you daughter to choose from.


  5. Default

    Thanks everyone for the input--I really appreciate it.

    When I told my ex / daughter's mother of my plans, she said she is taking our daughter to the Grand Canyon in the spring, so I've decided to go to Monument Valley instead. We're going to go on one of the horseback tours (my kid is pretty good on a horse). Has anyone had any experiences on these tours? Which tour would be the best for someone who has never been to Monument Valley?

    And is there a campground in that area I should choose over others?

    Thanks again!

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

    Default Casting the net a little further.

    I am pretty sure that tent site options are limited in Monument valley. I have heard the old Mitten view campground is having [had] a Hotel built on on it and there are only a few primitive sites behind the visitor centre, as in dust and rock. Gouldings lodge I believe to have a few tent sites but not sure if they are reservable.

    As Grand canyon is off the agenda I would like to open up another Avenue for you to consider. How about heading further North from LA and head for Zion NP in Southern Utah, it is truly magnificent ! The towering red cliffs surrounding you as you walk along the Virgin river is quite memorable, you can even continue your walk in the Virgin river as you walk through 'The Narrows'. There is wildlife galore and many easy Trails to walk, Emerald pools and Weeping rock are two more. At Weeping rock you can stand under the water that has taken 1200 years to get to this point. Watchmen campground [NP service] is lovely and located in a quiet spot but, in easy reach of the free shuttle buses that take you into the canyon or the lovely town of Springdale, you would need to book early.

    On the way there you could visit 'Valley of fire' just North of Vegas and after Zion you have the magnificent rock formations of Bryce canyon, through Page where there are the Antelope canyon tours and Lake Powell and then still the opportunity to visit Monument valley.

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