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  1. Default Leaving July 6th!!! New Orleans to L.A., with stops in Grand Canyon and Vegas, HELP!!

    I have been too busy to plan places to stop, things to see along the way of our summer road trip, and I just discovered this forum, so I'm taking a chance to see if anyone can give me ideas. We are a family of 4 with a 6 year old boy and an 11 year old girl, traveling in a Yukon XL on a road trip from New Orleans to Los Angeles, with stopovers in Grand Canyon and Vegas. We live in New Orleans, and plan to leave on July 6th. I have 2 weeks to work with. I plan to travel north through Dallas towards I-40, and hope to make the first stop in Amarillo, TX. Do you think this is too much for the 1st day, or should I stop sooner? I was hoping to make the next night in Flagstaff as a base point for the canyon, spend the night there, get up early to see the canyon, and back to Flagstaff that night. For the next day, what is recommended to see near there? What is a MUST SEE besides the canyon itself? I hope to be in Vegas by the 10th, and spend 2-3 nights there, then on to LA. Any suggestions for the journey along the way?

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

    Default the wrong foot

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but cutting back your plans for the first day are essential. Amarillo is nearly 900 miles, and that's a horrifically bad way to start a trip. Its way too far to be safe, but its also going to make for a miserable drive, where you're all going to end up overtired and cranky for days to come, spoiling much of your trip.

    The most I'd recommend is getting just past Dallas/Fort Worth, with Decatur, TX being a good place to look. On your second day, Albuquerque would be a good target point, leaving you still another half day to get to Flagstaff. Those are still going to be very long days of 10-12 hours on the road, but at least will give you time to make some short stops at places like Cadillac Ranch, the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa NM, and Petrified Forest/Painted Desert.

    We don't really do "must sees" here, as that depends so much upon you and your interests, but there are no shortage of other options in Northern Arizona depending upon what you, and just as importantly, what your kids like to do, including several other National Parks and Monuments.

  3. Default

    The first day is too long. You'll probably be exhausted, and most kids would be quite unhappy about being in a car for that amount of time. Can you take 2 1/2 - 3 days to get to Flagstaff?

  4. #4


    As others have pointed out, New Orleans to Amarillo in one day is just not realistic. Unless your kids are very unique, you'd be hearing, "Let's get to the motel and go swimming" and "Are we there yet?" for about 750 miles.

    Perhaps being from Louisiana you've been to Natchitoches but, if not, it might make a nice stop. It's one of the oldest and most interesting towns in the area. The architecture of it's downtown area is kind of a small version of The French Quarter. Right in the area is an alligator farm the kids would probably enjoy. If you're familiar with the film Steel Magnolias, this is where it was filmed.

    When visiting Grand Canyon, rather than backtracking to Flagstaff, you might consider spending a night in Williams, Arizona which is one of the premier Route 66 towns. You could pick up US 89 in Flagstaff and take it to Arizona 64 and enter the Park from the east entrance. Arizona 64 becomes Desert View in the park and there are several excellent viewpoints along the way. Desert View takes you in to Grand Canyon Village where you can walk the Village Rim Trail and expeience some of the best overlooks. Then, if you want to see more, you can catch the West Rim Shuttle. The west rim can only be reached by shuttle - you cannot drive it. Be aware that Grand Canyon is very crowded in the summer and just finding a place to park in the Village can be a problem. The east rim is much less congested. After seeing all you want to see in the Village and the West Rim, you can then take Arizona 64 in to Williams for the night.

    Leaving Williams, you might consider picking up old Route 66 at Seligman. There is a great little drive in restaurant/ice cream shop in Seligman called The Snow-Cap the kids would get a kick out of as well as several fun and interesting shops and street displays. Follow Old 66 in to Kingman and then pick up US 93 to Las Vegas. Better yet, you could continue on to Oatman, Arizona on the very old Route 66 alignment over Sitgreves Pas. Oatman is an old mining town that has reinvented itself as a tourist attraction. Wild burros which are descendents of the burros who worked the mines wander the streets begging for food and they stage a "gunfight" in the streets each day about noon.

    Have A Great Trip!!
    Last edited by Charlie H; 07-02-2012 at 03:29 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default You need a slow holiday.

    Quote Originally Posted by kauaicalls View Post
    I have been too busy to plan places to stop, things to see along the way of our summer road trip, ...
    Sounds like you really need a break, a good holiday. Slow down, take your time and wherever you are, be there! Try not to focus too much on where you have to be for the night. Relax and enjoy the journey as you go. Make sure you have time to stop when the 6 year old sees something of interest, and help the 11 year old explore what catches her fancy. Then spend the night whenever and wherever you feel it is time.

    Your children will surely appreciate their dad (?) having more time for the unimportant... the trivialities on which children love to focus... the things which will leave them with lifetime memories.

    Enjoy the journey.


  6. #6


    Well said Lifey!! Adults to often forget that a child's attention span for scenery is very short and that kids do not necessarily enjoy the things adults enjoy or think children should enjoy. Kids remember the little things like climbing on some rocks, wading in a mountain stream or feeding some wild animals. As a child in the early '50's, my parents took me on some wonderful trips to the Black Hills, Yellowstone and Colorado. What did I remember? Feeding wild burros in Custer State Park, playing on a little swinging bridge in Spearfish, South Dakota, climbing around in the Badlands, visiting Wall Drug and seeing the bears in Yellowstone. Several years ago we visited the Royal Gorge and while waiting to take the cog railroad to the bottom of the gorge, a little kid of about 4 years old was crying his eyes out and obviously wanting to be anywhere but where he was - probably back at the motel swimming. His father's comment, "Straighten up!! We brought you here to see things and have fun and you're going to see things and have fun whether you like it or not." True story.

    Speaking from experience, I can say that if adults see to it that the kids enjoy themselves on a trip, the adults own fondest memories of the trip will be remembering the enjoyment of the kids.

  7. Default

    You guys are awesome! I so wish I had found this site sooner! My only issue with the first day is that I have driven to Dallas before and the trip is plain awful! Nothing to see at all until Dallas is in front of you, so I wanted to try to log in as many miles as possible on the first day so that I can take my time near the more interesting areas. We usually drive 9-10 hours to Orlando every summer, so I figured tacking on a couple more hours would not be a problem, but you are probably right. Maybe I could shoot for Wichita Falls?

    The places you mention, Cadillac Ranch, the Blue Hole, those are on the route? Is the Painted Desert on the route also, or will I need to make a detour? I do want to take my time, I just want it to be interesting so my son doesn't ask to go back to New Orleans!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Even Wichita Falls is too far - my software says you should spend the first night about halfway between Tyler and Dallas.

  9. #9


    If we've whetted you appetite for Route 66, you might want to check out:

    I especially recommend the last entry on the page: Discover Historic Route 66

    All the places you mention are on Route 66.

    If you do Painted Desert/Petrified Forest, you will come out near Holbrook, Arizone where you could spend the night at the Wigwam Motel. It would probably be a highpoint of the trip for the kids.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Seeing the world through your children's eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by kauaicalls View Post
    My only issue with the first day is that I have driven to Dallas before and the trip is plain awful! Nothing to see at all until Dallas is in front of you, so I wanted to try to log in as many miles as possible on the first day so that I can take my time near the more interesting areas.
    When you start with that thought, then yes, it will be exactly what you expect. Maybe get your children to look out the window and alert you to any interesting sights or signs. And then follow their suggestions. (Unless you have already told them there is nothing.)

    You may enjoy and benefit from this article.


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