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  1. Default LA to Yellowstone with 3 boys this summer, 2 week road trip. ANY ADVICE?

    Hi, we are in the early planning stages of a road trip with our three boys (ages 6,8,10) this summer (July-August), from Southern California to Yellowstone Nat. Park in Wyoming. We want to take our time getting there and back, by stopping at national landmarks and doing fun things along the way. Any advice on "must-see" attractions are appreciated! We are inexperienced road trippers and have no idea where to start in making this plan.

    We want this trip to be about seeing the amazing natural wonders this country has to offer, and spending time together exploring it. We are interested in stops that would include things like hiking, biking, swimming, spelunking, sand dunes, hot springs, natural wonders..... I know that might be asking a bit much to find all those things, but we are wanting our stops to be less about amusement parks and more about nature.

    Has anyone ever taken a similar road trip and have a wonderfully constructed itinerary they would like to share? LOL! Seriously though, ANY advice would be helpful! Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Make it your family's unique trip.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    There are many who have made this trip. But why would you want to do what another has done. Far better to design your own trip, with your family's interests in mind. You could start by searching around the forums. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to check similar threads. Check the map centre and the sights tabs on the green bar above.

    What I would do is make sure I have a good large map of the US, or maps of the relevant States - OR, ID, WY, NV etc. If you are a member of AAA, these will be free. AAA maps are as good as any you can get. Check out the routes available to you, and check what is along those routes, which would interest you. You could go up through Lake Tahoe and Winnemuca, or Elko. You could check out some of the great attractions in southern ID - Bruneau Canyon and Dunes, Craters of the Moon, etc. Or any other route.

    When you have some dots on the map, there will be members here who can help you fill in the blanks.

    Get the children involved. The older ones can probably do some of the research for you. The more they have invested in this trip, the more they will enjoy it.


  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yulah View Post

    We want this trip to be about seeing the amazing natural wonders this country has to offer, and spending time together exploring it. We are interested in stops that would include things like hiking, biking, swimming, spelunking, sand dunes, hot springs, natural wonders..... I know that might be asking a bit much to find all those things, but we are wanting our stops to be less about amusement parks and more about nature.
    There are so many great routes and things to do and see between LA and Yellowstone that could eat up your two weeks and not leave you much time for Yellowstone so be careful when doing your planning.

    Yellowstone will be a great place to find hiking, biking, hot springs & the natural wonders you seek and the added bonus of wildlife! Coral Pink Sand Dunes State park in southern Utah might work for the sand dunes. It wouldn't be to far out of your way if you take I-15 up though Utah.

    Do you know where you plan to stay in Yellowstone and how many days for the park? Lodging books up quickly inside Yellowstone so if you want to stay inside the park you should really consider making your reservations. I highly recommend staying inside the park and more than one location isn't a bad idea either. When we would take our two boys we always spent a whole week in the park because there is so much to see and do there.


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

    Default Some of the 'picks'.

    As above, you have many great options but with 2 weeks available you will have to pick and choose with the help of your family depending on how much time you want to spend in Yellowstone which is a place you could spend a week at and still find new things to explore.

    One option that would require 5 to 6 days of driving and create a nice loop would be to take US93 through the Great Basin to Twin Falls where you will pass Cathedral Gorge SP and Great Basin NP and around Twin Falls the Snake River canyon and Shoshone Falls. You could continue to Yellowstone via Idaho Falls and detour to Craters of the Moon. From Yellowstone you could head south via Grand Tetons and Mormon Row and head towards Utah, perhaps via Flaming Gorge Res and choose from the National parks of Capitol Reef, Bryce canyon, Zion, and even the North rim of the Grand canyon.

    If you read this thread and cut out the part from Twin Falls to Glacier it might give you some ideas for the journey and time in Yellowstone.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Couple of Backbones to Build On

    All the advice you've gotten so far has been excellent, particularly the particulars. What I'd like to suggest now are a pair of specific routes between Los Angeles and Yellowstone that will together constitute the kind of loop that Dave mentioned and tie together many of the attractions that everyone has brought up.

    I'll describe the first one northbound because it's the slightly longer and so might be better at the start of your trip when you're fresh. But either route can be driven in either direction, of course. You'd start by heading out of L.A. on I-15 and then strike east on I-40 to Williams AZ where you'd take AZ-64 up through Grand Canyon National Park to Cameron then strike north on US-89. Take US-160/US-163 up through the Navajo Nation to Monument Valley then continue north on US-191 to Moab UT and Arches National Park. A short jog east on I-70 into Colorado will bring you to scenic CO-139 north to Rangely and CO-64 north to Dinosaur where there is one of two entrances into Dinosaur National Monument. US-40 west will take you around to Jensen UT where the second entrance is. The two entrances do not connect through the monument itself, however. Next up is US-191 north out of Vernal UT to Flaming Gorge NRA. I'd suggest a small detour via UT-44/UT-43/WY-530 up the west side of the gorge to Green River. Another short Interstate stretch on I-80 west to US-30 past Fossil Butte National Monument to Border Junction WY and WY-89 north to US-89 north to Hoback Junction WY will put you on US-189 north for the final run up through Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park into Yellowstone.

    The shorter route, described southbound, would have you leaving Yellowstone through West Yellowstone ID on US-20 west to Idaho Falls and then I-15 down to the Great Salt Lake area. Just south of Nephi UT peal off I-15 onto UT-28 south which will take you to US-89 south. Follow that (it duplexes with I-70 west for a bit) to UT-12 into/out of Bryce Canyon National Park and then UT-9 west to Zion National Park. Continue west on UT-9 to I-15 and use that to return through Las Vegas and past Mojave National Preserve back into L.A.

    As you can see, there is no shortage of great locations along your proposed route(s). And those are just the major attractions. As others have suggested, you and your family should sit down with some maps and evaluate the various roads open to you, see what else is out there in the way of smaller parks and historic sites, discuss amongst yourselves, and design a RoadTrip that uniquely fulfills your own desires.

    A couple of other generic recommendations. With all the national parks and monuments that will inevitably end up on your itinerary, plan on buying an $80 America the Beautiful National Parks Pass at the first one you come to. That will be good for all entrance fees to all the parks. 'Extras' such as camping and special event fees are not included but it's still one of the great deals going. It doesn't pay to buy it beforehand because its one year lifetime starts at the moment of purchase. They are available at any station that will charge you for your first entrance. Also, plan on signing your boys up for the Junior Ranger Program at each and every national park and monument you come to. Each program is specifically designed to help them get the most out of a particular park, is age-appropriate, and results in them receiving a number of free souvenirs to help them remember their grand family adventure.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 12-28-2013 at 01:44 PM.

  6. Default

    Thank you to all who responded. I actually did go to AAA today, and while I'm still overwhelmed, all of your responses and suggestions have given us some foundation points to start with. This is very helpful. Also didn't know about the National Parks Pass or the Junior Ranger program....very good info as well.

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