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  1. Default From Colorado Springs to San Fancisco and beyond?

    Hi, We are planning on a big 75 day trip exploring the USA with our two preschoolers, before heading to New Zealand .

    As it stands, our trip is divided into three parts, and any thoughts, or advice you may have would be appreciated.

    Part 1: Arrive New York, then hire a car to travel down to Washington DC via Lancaster, Amish country, etc.

    Part 2: Fly to Florida and spend time down there with a hire car.

    Part 3: Fly to Colarado Springs, and hire an RV. Travel across country: Moab, Monument Valley, Tuba City, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Las vegas, Yosemite NP, Morro Bay. Take coastal route up to San Francisco and beyond. Possible end point Portland?

    It is Part 3 that we are not sure of.... Our main problem is we do not know where to finish so that we don't have to do much travel to either get to LAX, or Vancouver to fly to New Zealand? Thinking possibly cutting out Las Vegas (maybe not the best place to see with preschoolers in tow!?) and taking a more direct route to the coast?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default How much time in the RV ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Your trip sounds like quite an adventure! There is much to see and do on your road trip in 'Part 3' of your journey, but you don't say how much time you are setting aside for this section.

    There are so many options for routes and attractions, it would be best to look around the forums, road trip planning pages and the Map centre to see what else takes your fancy. There are things around Colorado Springs, such as 'Garden of the God's' and 'Cave of the winds, and 'just up the road' is Rocky mountain NP, plus much, much more !

    Las Vegas isn't too far from GC on route to the coast/Yosemite and could be fun for a couple of day's, Lot's going on besides the Casino's, including some pretty cool street shows along the lines of the Bellagio water fountains, including an 'erupting volcano' and 'Pirate ship battle'.

    Where to end ? Time will be a factor in your decision, but from Yosemite you could head to SF and then drive down the coast and drop the RV off in LA and spend a little time there before going home.

    Let us know how long you have and any other info/ideas you might have after looking around and then we can help piece it all together. It would also help to know when in Spring you are travelling, as some high elevation routes may still be off limits when you travel.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'd suggest that you drive from DC to FL - otherwise you will be paying for 2 rental cars and you will have another set of airfares. There's a lot to see on the way, and even if you just drive straight down without sightseeing it's only a 2 day trip. It should not cost more than $200 for petrol to get from DC to FL.

    I'd also suggest you fly into Denver instead of COS - airfares will probably be less and you will have a wider choice of RV rentals. You will not be able to drop the RV off in Canada, so keep that in mind. I'd look at LAX, and finish the trip driving south along the coast, so the scenic pullouts will be on your side of the road.

  4. Default 45 days in the RV?

    Thanks so much for your replies, you have helped hugely already ... and also created more questions!

    • Sorry forgot to mention that as it stands we are looking at 45 days for "Part 3". I realise I have not explained our plan very well, which is to travel to Colorado Springs (Thanks for the Denver flight tip - will pick up an RV there?) travel across country: Moab, Monument Valley, Tuba City, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Las vegas, Yosemite NP, Morro Bay. Then take coastal route (139) to San Francisco. We would then like to continue up to Redwood country - which ends at Brookings. So do we go up through Oregon and end in Portland or Seattle to train/fly to Vancouver OR drive back to San Francisco and fly to LAX?

    • I have been looking at Colorado Springs today and it looks like so much to do. But trying to focus on the overall plan at this stage.

    • Re-looking at the map, Las Vegas is on the way anyway, and I think you have convinced me with talk of 'erupting volcanoes' ... my three year old would love that!

    • Looking at our itinerary, we would be in Colorado Springs right at the end of May. Not sure if that should count as spring or summer, so hope i am not in trouble for being in the wrong section :o

    • We were originally going to drive from Washington to Florida, but have weighed up taking the train or a flight. A flight seems our best option for travelling with two young children. There is lots we want to see on that route, but will have to put that on the wish list for return trip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Lucky you !

    Wow, 45 day's, I'm so jealous !! Just kidding, that will make for an awesome trip with so many possibilities. You could consider doing a complete loop, starting and ending in Denver for instance. You have time to do so and it would save on a one way drop off fee, and with a route more to the South towards Grand canyon and back from the North after heading up the coast, a visit to Yellowstone and the Tetons becomes a possibility.[?]

    Keep searching around the forums and planning pages and as you start to piece your plan together, keep asking questions and we will help to 'fine tune' your trip.

    Enjoy the planning !

  6. Default

    Hi, well there is lots of planning going on here. Have been on here most days looking up different threads for help. We are trying to finalise RV quotes at the moment. Just wondering if anyone can advise what our fuel budget should be for 4000 miles? Also, when it comes to booking campsites is there a particular book or website to use? I have come across a few different ones, and not sure where to start really. Would like to book as much as I can from this end, as would feel a bit nervous ending up in a Walmart carpark with the kids. I have heard good and bad things about KOA sites? Any advice would be appreciated.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default National park camping for me !

    For fuel you can reckon on a return of 9/10 mpg and allow extra mileage fro drives through the National parks etc. You can check prices on sites like 'Gas buddy,' but for a 'ball park' figure and to be safe[ish] reckon on $1500.

    For RV parks it depends on what experience you are looking for. I tend to think of KOA's as feeling as though you are in the same place night after night with familiar surroundings but perhaps the resort type facilities will suit you. There are many private campgrounds that have all the amenities and by simply putting in a City/Town name followed by 'RV Park' into your search engine, you will come up with many results. The best places to stay in an RV, in my opinion, are right in the middle of the National parks at the heart of nature. No you won't get swimming pools or 'Hook ups' but the RV's come equipped with a generator for power when needed, [you have to observe silent hours] and most sites have a fire pit for evenings around the camp fire. A lot of the parks do have shower/loo blocks and 'dump stations' to empty your tanks and a fresh water filling site. With an RV NP campgrounds have limited numbers of sites and I would be looking to book them as soon as possible. Go to and you will find info on every NP, campground info included.

    In the Roadtrip field report section of the forums you will find a couple of our RV trips that covers much between Denver and San Fran between them where you might find some campground choices of use.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    We have an entire section of campground guides, although there are likely newer versions of many of them. Woodalls is probably the "gold standard" with practically every campground in the country listed. The downside is that it actually might be overwhelming because it has so much information.

    I liken KOA to the McDonalds of the camping world. They are the biggest and most well known, but its a pretty cookie cutter experience and you certainly pay for the name. There's nothing wrong with them specifically, but I personally tend to stay away from them as they aren't my idea of ideal camping (but I'm also a tenter, and not an RV traveler.)

    I personally lean towards public facilities. National Parks are certainly hard to beat, but don't overlook National Forests and other similar lands. State Parks are also a good possibility, and they are more likely to have full hookups for the RV. covers reservations for Federally run camping sites, while Reserve America handles them for many state facilities.

  9. Default

    Hi Nikna! Where are you from? This is so exciting! I am doing a bit of it my self with a 3.5 yr old boy and 1.5 year old girl. I wanted to share with you, as an experienced mother and toddler fun lover, the interesting things we are headed towards. We seek adventure, but also family which sways the location a ton. We are planning on flying into SF from Honolulu, spending one day, rainy it will be with food and sunny it will be spent at the Golden Gate playground and Bison pasture, butterflies in there too. Staying at an AirBnB place that has "Family friendly" checked and sends very safe "Aunty" vibes from the boarding digs, read great things about it. I wish I could spend more summer time here, but can't. Maybe leaving March 14 or April 1. We are taking the "Coast Starlight" Amtrak train that is pretty neat on board and part coastal to LA. We are staying with a friend. Picking up our car and then checking the weather. You won't need to but I think Spring is so beautiful almost anywhere, but would love to see it on the West Coast soon! We will be driving back through the fun scene city of Austin, TX and staying with a friend. I would love to see this part of the country, haven't in years, But I would love to see the natural beauty of Montana and other middle states some day too. We are going to fall in love with the warmer climates and people coming across and I have found great guides for food in (I promise I am not spaming them! Just a mama!) They got the goods on routes.. Also is going to be awesome to check out as well! Any summer climates in May should have a lot more to pick! Playgrounds.. not doing so great on getting photos for the respite. Seems more malls have merry go round indoor pics for rainy days, but Goodness the Play museums! Top ten on! Makes me want to find any though..

    I agree with above members that having a small RV (Class B, Roadtrek, Sprinter) and staying in State, Federal or close to any WLR viewing areas are the best way to do this! I also hope you get a festival or two in on the way. Toddlers are a wonderful simple audience and I love the meadow space that makes them happiest (or at least mine). If I were dreaming, I would do all the pristine coastal areas and some well known tourist lakes and put in some time at WLF in the middle too. Mountains call me as well. The cluster of industry and big cities are fun too, but I like it more when something for my toddler is going on, like Dr. Sueus Birthday, or like a top Children's Museum.. My kids aren't extremely happy going to water parks, zoos, or art museums yet. Ponyrides and fireworks are a whole other story. really surprised me when I found "Farmstays" and I went with my sister and her homeschooling group to a Ranch and had a fun time feeding all the animals from the back of a "Hayride" truck, it was fun.. most websites say "Call ahead and we will fit you in with another group" and that is what we did, had a great time. Gardens, walks, and best playgrounds are high on my list, I did find a public garden website or two, but the playgrounds I am having a not so great time.. San Fran has major public playgrounds, like the Golden Gate's Huge long slide poured from concrete into a hill... wow.. So if you find any, I would love any clues!!! Aloha!

    PS. We are heading towards VA for family and friends, trying to relocate in an Organic Area and we are aiming to stay close to our family, but they are moving soon too. We are looking around Asheville, NC and staying on the mountain range or coast line and heading on up towards Maine. We hope to find a little walkable town themed around a little lake and walkable town with an organic co-op and lots of small town gardening spirit far away from a major city life, but within driving distance of about 3.. It looks like New England is growing organic food really well, here is an interesting map and will help you on the West Coast!

    Happy Travels!
    Last edited by greenacresmama; 03-10-2011 at 05:51 PM.

  10. Default

    Thanks for all the tips. Sounds like they are certainly thirsty vehicles! I like the KOA - McDonalds analogy, I kind of got that feeling from visiting the website. It isnt really our cup-of-tea either. We are tenters usually too, but like I have the odd sneaky McDonalds, I guess we might end up in a KOA the odd night :)

    Your trip sounds great 'greenacresmama', and thanks for the organic food tips. I too want to try and be as healthy as possible on this trip, and was wondering if there is a camping recipe ideas forum on here? Have not had a chance to look yet.

    I have one more question, this time regarding RV sizes. We had planned on getting around 25ft, but our quotes have all come back with C30 options that are all a lot cheaper. I am guessing it is because it is not a popular size.

    Any advice on this. I am worried a C30 is too big. One of the travel agents said if you can drive a C25 you can drive a C30. Which is all well in good, but she won't be the one out there in it. It sounds huge to me, and I also understand alot of camping grounds have a size restriction under 30?

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