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  1. Default Help plan my trip! vegas to vegas, 4 kids, 3 weeks of National Parks, summer 13...

    We've decided to take 3 weeks this summer to take our family to the National Parks. We have about 3 weeks, and we plan to fly in and out of Vegas, renting an RV for the touring. Any suggestions about what RV, what route, what supplies -- anything! -- would be MUCH appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    That sounds like a fun vacation! There is so much to see and do within a day or two's driving distance from LV that you will have to decide. For instance ... Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, the Utah National Parks (Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase and Arches), the red cliffs by LV ... are all close by. Grab a good atlas, see what appeals to you, and let us know so we can help. (I'm with those who say that there's a lot of enjoyment just in the planning, because there's anticipation!)

    Get your kids involved too -- they'll be happy travelers if they get to choose some of the activities. BTW, the children may wish to get involved in the Junior Ranger activities and program. There's also a "national park passport", where you collect "stamps" from every park you visit. For yourself, look into the cost of admission for each park. It may behoove you to purchase the $80 park pass that is good at most of the parks.

    Which RV is also going to be something you choose. Start with a decent company like Cruise America or Camping World, and see what there is. It sounds like you'll need one that sleeps six COMFORTABLY. Notice that I stress "comfortably" because some RV's say they'll sleep six, but two kids in a twin size bed just doesn't always cut it. As for supplies, you'll be offered linen kits, cooking kits, etc., when you rent the RV. They can add up the cost but maybe you'd prefer that to trying to cram cooking stuff and linen into suitcases (not to mention the luggage fees that some airlines charge).

    When we rented an RV, our first stop was at the grocery store. To be sure, I *had* tucked a few "staples" into my suitcase -- stuff like spices and a small bottle of catsup and mustard (inside ziploc bags) -- so that I wouldn't have to buy those too. We bought things that we knew we would consume.

    I hope this helps!

    Donna (former RV'er)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'd say the first thing you need to either figure out or tell us which national parks you are planning to visit. "The National Parks" doesn't really narrow down which places you want to go, since there are parks all over the country. With 3 weeks there are a lot of them you could visit, but you're still going to pick and chose which ones you'll be visiting, and which ones you want to spend the most time. Without that information, you can't even really start working on a route.

    As far as renting an RV, here's an article you might want to read to get started.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A wonderful experience !

    An RV trip in these parts can be a wonderful experience ! In the summer months it will get busy and with a limited number of RV sites to 'house' a large number of visitors means that you should visit the site and see when the booking window opens, make a note of it and book asap after this date. [It has been reported that at certain times they have booked out within hours of opening.

    As for which company to go with, well to be honest I would make sure you go with a reputable company and price compare, but be careful to include all extras like those Donna mentioned, plus 'mileage charges', prep fees, generator usage etc and use the 'bottom line figure' with the estimated miles you think you will cover [and some] included.

    This trip starts in SF but would work from Vegas as it's included in the loop. It should give you a feel of RV'ing in these parts but you can work out where you want to go and use some of the info. You could for example go to Yosemite but not the coast and have time to go to Arches and Canyonlands, perhaps Colorado, Mesa Verde and Four corners etc, or add the Pacific coast highway into the mix. It will also depend on how much time you might want to set up camp for in any one place and how much driving you want to do with the Kids to consider.

    Enjoy the planning and when you get to work on your itinerary just keep asking questions as and when needed, have fun !

  5. Default Spend more time out not in the rv!

    We did this a couple of years ago and we did our planning. We flew into LV and went to the Grand Canyon and you can't beat this. Bryce Canyn is cool because your looking up instead of down. We tried to put too much in the short amount of time. The best places other than the canyons were Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, Yosemity, San Fran. But we made a big mistake. We flew in and out of LV. If I had it to do all over again I would fly into LV and out of San Fran. This was at the time the best trip of my life. After seeing the Grand Canyon Me and my son rafted the Colorado river 2 yrs later. That was the best yet.

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

    Default Ups and downs.

    Hi wrbaker47 and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Sounds as though you have had a blast in the past ! One thing though.

    Bryce Canyn is cool because your looking up instead of down
    Are you confusing it with the canyon walls of Zion NP, or did you hike down in Bryce canyon ? Athough there are a couple of hikes to be done down into the canyon, Bryce has many overlook viewpoints where you spend a lot of time looking down at the magnificent rock formations.

    Enjoy RTA !

  7. Default National Parks this summer in 21 days

    I'm planning a trip for my family for late July/Early Aug. Not sure yet if we are tenting or getting an RV, but we are considering the following sites:Craters of the Moon, Yellowstone, Badlands, Jewel Cave, Great Sand Dunes, Chimney Rock, 4 corners, Lake Powell, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Moab, Monument Valley, Needles, Painted Desert, and Cheyenne. We have every question you might imagine. We're thinking of flying in and out of Salt Lake City. Good idea? We know we have too much on the list but what to cut? How many nights/days to spend in each place -- how would you lay out the 21 days? Would you finish in Yellowstone or start there and finish in Grand Canyon or Lake Powell? If we end up tenting, any recommendations about which places are best for camping and which for motels? What am I forgetting?? The voices of experience would be much appreciated as we are already late on the planning...

    Moderator Note: Please keep all questions about this trip together in the same thread.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-07-2013 at 07:06 AM. Reason: Merged Threads

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


    Salt Lake City seems like a good place to use as a start/end point, although since this is a loop, you might also look at Denver or maybe even Las Vegas and see which city has the better deals for airfare and car rental.

    I don't see a huge difference in which way you do the loop, however, the one thing you should keep in mind is the Sturgis Rally. That's typically the first weekend in August, and will have the entire Black Hills/Badlands area packed with people. I'd try to time your trip so you aren't there that week.

    Since you are focusing on natural areas, camping should be good nearly everywhere. I'd go with hotels just when you think you will want a real bed, or stay flexible and go with motels when it looks like you might see bad weather.

    You might need to make a couple cuts, but it will be up to you to decide what stops are most important. I don't see anything that's too far out of the way or an otherwise obvious choice to cut. However, when you say you want to stop in Needles, are you talking about the city in California? That one is a bit out of the way, and not a typical tourist hotspot.

    I'd sketch out a rough day-by-day itinerary so you can get a feel for how quick you'd have to be moving to fit everything in.

  9. Default

    Wow. Thanks so much for the great comments. There is already a lot of helpful stuff here that I hadn't thought of and you guys gave me additional resources to examine. Keep the advice coming and I will post updates myself as we make decisions...

  10. Default Black Hills/Badlands?

    How much time should we plan to spend in the Black Hills/Jewel Cave/Wind Cave/ Badlands area? My kids are between 8 and 13...

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