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  1. Default NYC -> Florida -> California -> Seattle and back East again. Help/Suggestions???

    Hello all I'm so glad I found this forum and community. I'm looking to take an epic roadtrip with my young family. Any input and suggestions are more then welcome!

    Who's going: Wife, a 5 yo girl, 2 yo boy and myself

    Vehicle: Planning to take our own car and put some miles on it. Chrysler Town and Country '12.

    Purpose: To take my kids to really see the country outside of our home in New York City.

    Length: 2 months (is that enough?)

    Route: This is where I would love to get some input. My tentative route is.
    Washington DC
    Williamsburg VA
    Savannah GA
    Key West FL
    Miami FL
    Orlando FL (DisneyWorld)
    New Orleans LA
    Houston TX
    San Antonio TX
    **Anywhere that is a must see between here???**
    Phoenix AZ
    San Diego CA
    Los Angeles CA (California Disney)
    Las Vegas NV
    San Francisco CA (Napa Side Trip)
    **Anywhere that is a must see between here???**
    Portland OR
    Seattle OR
    Vancouver Canada
    Banff National Park Canada
    Mount Rushmore SD
    Minneapolis MN
    Chicago IL
    Cleveland
    Buffalo NY

    I would love to include some US national parks but not sure where that would fit in. We're not the "camping" type (city slickers, i know and with a 2 year old might not be the easiest thing) so a lodge would be great.

    Lodging: will probably do cheap hotel/motel lodging where ever possible with a combination of airbnb in major cities.

    Would love folks to share their experiences and must do's. I'm sure I've missed quite a bit and would love to hear from everyone.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    San Antonio TX
    **Anywhere that is a must see between here???**
    Phoenix AZ
    San Diego CA
    Los Angeles CA (California Disney)
    Las Vegas NV
    San Francisco CA (Napa Side Trip)
    **Anywhere that is a must see between here???**
    Portland OR
    While we don't do "must see's" here at RTA because everyone's trips should be tailored to themselves, you've given several hints of what you like to do. So, that said -- between San Antonio and Phoenix there are several places that might be of interest: Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southeast New Mexico (not far from I-10), Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas (also not too far from I-10), Saguaro National Park - two sections near Tucson AZ, and Picacho Peak State Park between Tucson and Phoenix is a nice picnic spot.

    Between San Francisco and Portland, you could catch Crater Lake NP.

    Between Banff and Mount Rushmore, you could place a trip to Yellowstone if you are getting there after mid-May. Also around Mt Rushmore are both Jewel Cave National Monument, Wind Cave National Park, and Custer State Park with its beautiful Needles district.


    Donna

  3. Default

    Gotcha Donna, thanks so much for the input! Your suggestions look like great options to break up the drive with the little ones.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mistervoo View Post
    San Antonio TX
    **Anywhere that is a must see between here???**
    Phoenix AZ

    I would love to include some US national parks but not sure where that would fit in. We're not the "camping" type (city slickers, i know and with a 2 year old might not be the easiest thing) so a lodge would be great.
    Personally, a trip that is nothing but city after city for 2 months would get really old for me. I'd really encourage you to spend a little time exploring the National Parks website, because there really are dozens of possible options throughout your entire trip.

    One area I would focus on is that section between Texas and Arizona, though, as there are so many parks to explore in the 4 corners area. I notice you didn't even mention the Grand Canyon in your plan, which would be a high point for many people. In that same general area, you'd also have many more options, like Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley Tribal Park, and much more.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Not only for campers.

    You don't have to be a camper to enjoy the National Parks. I would venture to guess that half of those visiting the parks would not be campers. All you need to be is an admirer of some of the most wonderful and spectacular scenery to be seen on this planet. Especially when you are looking at UT, AZ and CO, but really, it goes for just about every national park.

    In fact, not visiting the national parks on this trip would simply be short changing yourself. As advised above, check out the NP website.

    Lifey

  6. Default

    San Antonio TX
    **Anywhere that is a must see between here???**
    Phoenix AZ
    Yes, Here are some if your family up to it ....

    If you are in to night skies: McDonald Observatory Fort Davis, TX They have very good night-sky party and live telescopes.

    Big Band National park is beautiful in spring time.

    Carlsbad caverns in Carlsbad NM, 100 miles north of El Paso, TX. There is similar one near Benson, AZ just off Interstate 10.

    if you like beauty and Hiking. Chiricahua National Monument near Wilcox AZ / This is a nice day trip.

    Tombstone and Bisbee AZ is just 25-40 miles south of Interstate 10 between Wilcox and Benson AZ.

    world's largest aerospace museums and one of the biggest aircraft grave yard in Tucson AZ.

    You can go straight from Tuscon to San Diego, CA via Interstate 8.

    Many many other attractions to see and enjoy but not sure about time frame you allocated to this part of trip.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by jm98; 03-25-2014 at 06:29 PM.

  7. Default

    The Painted Desert is beautiful and would be great for the kids (along with the Petrified Forest)

    We are lucky to have such beautiful National Parks. I hope you do take advantage of them - and many have lodges nearby if you don't want to camp.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Personally, a trip that is nothing but city after city for 2 months would get really old for me. I'd really encourage you to spend a little time exploring the National Parks website, because there really are dozens of possible options throughout your entire trip.

    One area I would focus on is that section between Texas and Arizona, though, as there are so many parks to explore in the 4 corners area. I notice you didn't even mention the Grand Canyon in your plan, which would be a high point for many people. In that same general area, you'd also have many more options, like Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley Tribal Park, and much more.

    Thanks Michael. Took a lengthy look at the site and integrating Parks into our trip. Super helpful!

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jm98 View Post
    Yes, Here are some if your family up to it ....

    If you are in to night skies: McDonald Observatory Fort Davis, TX They have very good night-sky party and live telescopes.

    Big Band National park is beautiful in spring time.

    Carlsbad caverns in Carlsbad NM, 100 miles north of El Paso, TX. There is similar one near Benson, AZ just off Interstate 10.

    if you like beauty and Hiking. Chiricahua National Monument near Wilcox AZ / This is a nice day trip.

    Tombstone and Bisbee AZ is just 25-40 miles south of Interstate 10 between Wilcox and Benson AZ.

    world's largest aerospace museums and one of the biggest aircraft grave yard in Tucson AZ.

    You can go straight from Tuscon to San Diego, CA via Interstate 8.

    Many many other attractions to see and enjoy but not sure about time frame you allocated to this part of trip.

    Cheers,

    JM98, wow had you not replied I might have missed the aerospace museum (which we love) That is now a must do for us. Thanks for the other suggestions as well, The observatory in Ft.Davis looks fantastic.

  10. Default

    A possible alternative route south from Washington DC would be via Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, over 500 miles of wonderful mountain scenery with numerous overlooks and interesting exhibits such as pioneer cabins. There are numerous towns on each side of the route for overnight accommodation. However, taking this inland route would mean missing out Williamsburg and possibly also Savannah - a tough choice.

    On the coast route, the Delmarva Peninsula to the east of Chesapeake Bay (DELaware, MAryland, VirginiA) might be worth considering as it's a quiet rural area, and the spectacular Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel from the tip of the peninsula back to the mainland with its tunnels between artificial islands where you appear to be headed down into the water is quite an experience.

    I'd echo the recommendation of Big Bend National Park but it gets very hot there in summer. There's some accommodation available in the park (probably requiring advance booking) but the towns to the north of the park such as Alpine and Marfa are a hundred miles away.

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