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  1. Default First Timer; Suggestions, Please

    My fiance' and I have decided we want to take a trip from Dallas, Tx to the West Coast, (7/7/12 -7/19/12). We are traveling with our 8 yr old nephew. We have twelve days from start to finish. We are on a very limited budget. Since we have our nephew, what would be the shortest route, that we can still see sights, and budget friendly overnight stays.

    Fiance' and I will just be glad to have the time off together, quite stress free drive, and of course the sights. I have heard that the San Diego Zoo and Legoland will be places for our nephew to enjoy.

    Suggestions on how far to drive daily without being tired at the end of the day, and without boring the heck out of the 8 yr old.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    BTW, did I say we have never done a road trip ever :-)


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    How far to drive daily: We generally suggest about 550 miles maximum for a given day behind the wheel. This equals 10-11 hours of drive time, factoring in traffic conditions, rest stops, construction, etc. Any longer than that and a trip can really start to feel more like work than something enjoyable. That said, driving for that long you'll likely feel tired at the end of it.

    You stated you have 12 days in total, but did not state whether or not this is a round trip - that will make quite a bit of difference in the suggestions you are likely to receive. Dallas to San Diego is about 1400 miles by the shortest route, but the shortest route isn't always going to be the best.

    Would you consider San Diego a "must" (perhaps you are visiting family there, etc.)? Or would an alternate destination be in the cards?

  3. Default

    The 12 days is round trip. Since we don't have family there the plan is for very budget and family friendly lodging. The destination is the West Coast, so we are open to an itentiary. Some of the reviews I've read on this site, spoke of the San Diego Zoo, and Legoland which I thought our nephew might enjoy. At the same time, I really want to do some adult things that may not bore the 8 yr old.
    Wine tasting or sporting events or places of interest are also things that we would like to do if possible.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    To go out there, you may want to take 287 to Amarillo, then roughly follow I-40 into California. Among other things, this will take you near the Grand Canyon. The most budget-friendly place to stay near the GC would be in Flagstaff. You could very easily spend a whole day in the park without getting bored, then you could stay the next night in Williams.

    You could also go to Las Vegas, if you have any interest - but there's not a whole lot you can do there with an 8 year old in tow.

    If you bypass LV, you could take the old 66 routing out of Kingman to Oatman, which is a neat little town to visit - then return to I-40.

    You can then take I-15 to LA and spend some time there if you want, or just stay on I-15 to San Diego. In addition to the zoo, there's Sea World and the Safari Park.

    For your return trip, you could take I-8/I-10/I-20. If you have any interest in military aviation, Tucson is the home to the Davis-Monthan "boneyard" - all the out-of-service aircraft in preservation, there's a museum on site.

    I would limit your driving to around 500 miles a day or less.

    Budget and family-friendly lodging in large cities will generally be found out in the suburbs.

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