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  1. Default Midwest (Iowa) to California with 3 little ones

    Hey everyone!

    Looking for some advice. My wife and I would like to take a road trip in April from Iowa to Southern California with our three little (5 and under) kids. Time is very, very flexible and seeing as we will probably have to make many stops we would like your help planning this trip!

    Please provide some suggested must-see stops (outdoors, museums, etc). We are ok with traveling several miles off course to get there.

    Looking forward to your suggestions!

    Also, once we arrive in California, we would love to see more of the state and take a different way back.


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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    With unlimited time, your options on a trip like this are nearly endless. There are dozens of national parks that are in between Iowa and So Cal.

    One potential rough outline would be to head out via Colorado and Utah, and then down I-15, stopping at places like Rocky Mountain NP, Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. Then, the other way, you could come back on a more southern route, visiting places like the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Santa Fe/Albuquerque.

    Of course, depending upon your plans in California, you also could first go all the way across northern Nevada, towards Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and even to San Francisco and head down the coast.

    That's just a small sample of some of your options, I'd really start just by looking at all of your options and doing lots of reading - looking at the RTA Map Center, the National Parks Website, Paper Maps, and lots of books. Start getting an idea of your personal must-sees, and then we can help you in putting it all together.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default "Iowa" is a Big Launching Pad

    Precisely where in Iowa you start from can make a big difference in what is the 'best' route for you to get to "southern California" (presumably meaning the Los Angeles area. For example, if you are starting out from around Keokuk, then the most direct route would be through Kansas City and Wichita to Albuquerque and on to L.A. Possible stops and side trips on such a route would include cavalry forts, airplane museums, Indian Pueblos, Painted Desert and Grand Canyon National Parks, and London Bridge among many others. If you are coming from central Iowa, then the route and stops that Michael laid out might make sense for you.

    Finally, if you are departing from Lyon County or vicinity, then you should be looking at crossing South Dakota to the Black Hills (Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Wind and Jewel Caves) then crossing Wyoming through Casper, Rawlins, Rock Springs and the Rocky Mountains and Great Basin, by Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Salt Lake City and the Great Salt Lake, down past Zion National Park to Las Vegas and the Mojave National Preserve into the L.A. basin.

    Wherever your Iowa terminus is, you ought to be able to make at least two of those routes work for you.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-16-2013 at 08:07 AM.

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