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  1. Default Roadtrip from SF to Houston with 2 toddlers

    Hello, I'd like to get a good advice on the best route to take, stops and sight seeing suggestions for our family. This is the first long road trip we'll be embarking together with our 2 toddlers. We are relocating from SF area to Houston area. We'd like to make it in 4 days or stretch it to 5 days. Take note that I have a 2 year old who is VERY impatient on long trips. Thus if you can suggest the best way to divide our route that will serve also as a mini vacation for our family. Thanks in advance for any tips you can suggest.

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

    Default A start.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    There is not a single 'best route' as that is based on individual tastes and circumstance, but I can give you a couple of pointers to help you decide. First, if you plan to do this trip in 4 days you will be on the road for 8-9 hours a day with only basic, but regular stops for gas, food and a little time to allow the toddlers to let off a little steam. With that in mind you won't be able to wander far from Interstate, so you will find this thread handy that has rest spots nearby on every Interstate.

    I5 to I10 is one option via Pasadena and Moreno Valley, but I would stay clear of the LA area by getting off I5 to Bakersfield on CA58 to Barstow and then I40. After Kingman you could cut down to Phoenix and Tuscon and continue through on I10, or continue along I40 through Albuquerque to Amarillo and down through Wichita Falls and Fort Worth. With the latter ,and an extra day you could visit the Grand canyon for a memorable experience.

    Dividing your trip into equal segments will give you a little time out of the car each day and to relax wherever you end up for the evening. With the 'impatience' of your 2 year old I would stretch to that extra day and try to make it a little more fun. For example taking the I40 route you could stop in Barstow, Flagstaff [Grand canyon?] Santa Rosa, Wichita Falls and on to Houston. With 5 days you would also have the option of getting off Interstate and cutting through places that may interest you. Time to get the map out and see where they might be !

  3. Default

    Thanks for the advice. My husband was looking into stopping in Las Cruces and staying on I10. We will definitely stop by LA area to visit and stay with a family friend as our first stop. But I will let him know about the rest of your suggestion. I really want to see the Grand Canyon but he advised it will be a re-route in such a way that we will go back and forth. Is there another way from Downey CA to get back to the route you suggested leading to Barstow, Grand Canyon, etc? I am so glad I ran into this website and your information/tips are so helpful!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default geography

    Your husband is right, LA/Downey is quite a ways south of the Grand Canyon, so there is no way to go from there to the Grand Canyon without a degree of zig zagging.

    The fastest way to get to GC from there would be to take I-10 to I-15 up to Barstow and then continue on I-40 as previously mentioned.

    The question is really going to come down to having that 5th day or not. If you've only got 3 days from LA to get to Houston, then I'd stick to I-10. Going to the Grand Canyon would be about a half day detour, so if you have one more day, then you could go via the GC and have about a half day to quickly explore it before continuing on towards texas.

    I will say that if you stick to I-10, Las Cruces will not make a good overnight stopping point for this trip. The distance to LC is about 1/2 way between LA and Houston, but you really need 2 overnight stops. Tucson and Fort Stockton would be better places to look.

  5. Default

    Hello again and thanks for your valuable advice. I'd like to get another advice on the best way to divide the route. Do we just drive let's say 400 mi/day and determine where to stay for the night? Is there a map online that will provide us the tool to do this? I really appreciate your help in getting us through this road trip. The 5th day is still up in the air for us as we determine when our moving truck will arrive at our new place so as not to incur additional storage cost.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default (All My Life's a) Circle

    Quote Originally Posted by rayjay
    Do we just drive let's say 400 mi/day and determine where to stay for the night? Is there
    a map online that will provide us the tool to do this?
    That's certainly one quick and easy way to determine where to stop each night, and RoadTrip America offers a mapping tool that does just that. Note that down near the bottom of that tool is the option to draw a circle of a given radius (and 400 miles is one of the standard choices) around a given point. You just choose the radius you want, click on the 'Draw Circle' button and then click on your starting point on the map. You will need to make minor adjustments if you're going to be on mostly back roads or making many stops (Don't plan on getting quite as far;) and how much farther you might be willing to go if there's a larger town with more lodging options just down the road, but the basic tool is there and easy to use.


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

    Default The difference a day makes.

    While that 5th day is up in the air, it's difficult to suggest how to best divide your route. You should certainly look at the map and find places that are interesting to you and then see how you can make that fit into your final plans. It looks as though LA is the first night for sure. If you have 3 days for the remainder then around Tucson and Fort Stockton would makem reasonable overnight stops. You could push on a little further but for night 2, Las Cruces would be a real stretch, and beyond what we would recommend to travel in a day.

    With an extra day you could play with your options and see what suits your tastes in other areas.

  8. Default

    Thanks AZBuck and Southwest Dave! This forum is so valuable especially to us who are first time road trippers going state to state. Will keep you updated of our final route and stops. Appreciate all your suggestion and more power to this site

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