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  1. Default Memphis to Grand Canyon

    My family is wanting to plan a roadtrip from Tennessee to The Grand Canyon for the week of July 12-20. We have 2 boys ages 8 and 13. We would like to make a stop or 2 in route and something fun for the kids at or near Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. My husband has visited the Canyon multiple times as a child and says it wasn't ever enjoyable because they drove and drove, arrived, looked at the canyon and left. So we are looking for activities to make it more interesting and memorable.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    With a teen and a child, you'll want to take plenty of breaks from the road to give them the memories. It's a little over 1400 miles (3 day drive) between Memphis and the Grand Canyon, with several places that you and the kids might enjoy stopping:

    In Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City Memorial comes to mind. Texas has two things to open your eyes: in Groom Texas, there's this huge cross, and then near Amarillo is Cadillac Ranch. Boys usually love to eat, and there are two great choices in Amarillo if you go through there at mealtime: Calico County Restaurant or the Big Steak place.

    Albuquerque has a lot to offer, from the Nuclear museum to the Rio Grande Nature State Park to Petroglyph National Monument to the ride up Sandia Peak on the tram.

    Further along the route, there is Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert, on the east side of Arizona before you get to Holbrook.

    After the Canyon, if you choose to drive up to Las Vegas, you could take AZ-66 at Seligman to Peach Springs and back to I-40 before catching US-93 up to LV. Reportedly, a lot of the inspiration for the Disney-Pixar movie CARS came from this old section of Rt. 66, so if your boys are CARS movie fans, they might enjoy this part of the drive.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Short Stops All Along the Way

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    All of the suggestions that Donna gave you are spot on, especially for young boys, but you should also plan to just stop at local parks every 2-3 hours just to let them get out of the car, blow off some steam, and get some fresh air. The driver should also take a break from the monotony of the road as well. One other largish stop should be at Petrified Forest National Park. Then there are a number of other great stops in the Flagstaff area including Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and Lowell Observatory. Then, between the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, there's the longest remaking stretch of old Route 66, which was, as Donna notes, the inspiration for the 'locations' in the movie Cars.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default More ways to make this trip memorable.

    You have come to the right place to plan and avoid your children growing up with the same memories your husband has. I feel for him. Whereas I am only vaguely familiar with the route you will be taking, I do know that this article will help you and your husband get a great perspective on making roadtrips an interesting and exciting adventure for your boys.

    Be sure to sign the boys up to the Junior Ranger program when you get to the National Parks. This will give them a great understanding of the parks, and some great souvenirs to take home.

    Something my grandchildren all do on all trips is to keep a journal. This can even be started during the planning process. You are including them in the planning, are you? It will help them get more out of the trip. During the trip, be sure that at the end of each day, you sit down and allow the boys to express the highlights of the day. Get each child to record these in a book. This can come in the way of words, drawings, photos, brochures or even a leaf picked up on a walk. Just anything which will remind them of a particular place / activity. If the boys have their own cameras, leave space to add prints of photos to the journal.

    A couple of my grandchildren have a shelf full of journals from trips they have enjoyed. Great to look back on. Six year old grandson shared his journal of a trip to Britain with his grade one class mates during 'show and tell'.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default The difference a day [or two] makes.

    If there is any chance of adding a couple of days then it's something I would recommend, presuming that it is a round trip. {?} With a few short stops as described below, it does equate to roughly 6 days of driving out and back, leaving just a couple of days spare for the Grand canyon and not including any time for the onward leg to Vegas. I would also look at trying to change the route up a little on the way home. Perhaps one way you could include a detour through Monument Valley and Four corners. If you done that on the way out, you could then enter the South rim via the East kiosk along Desertview drive which has viewpoints along it and follows the natural direction of the Colorado River into the main canyon area.

  6. Default

    Be certain to drive down Historic Route 66 through Peach Springs Arizona from Seligman! Peach Springs Arizona is where Pixar got the inspiration for Cars as DonnaR57 mentioned and it is a great drive! From Peach Springs you can visit the Hualapai Reservation and time permitting, schedule a one-day white water rafting adventure for your family! Age 8 is the cut off for white water, and it is an adventure to remember! Or visit the West Rim of the Grand Canyon on the way to Vegas just after Kingman. From Hwy 93 you can take Pierce Ferry Road to Grand Canyon West and see the glass bottom bridge "Skywalk", visit the Ranch, take a helicopter ride to the bottom and more! Grand Canyon West is located about 2.5 hours outside of Las Vegas. We are not National Park but will be on the way to Vegas! Anything you decide will certainly leave you and your family with a lifetime of memories. Have fun and safe travels!

    Management Edit> This member is a commercial business -- and this post is a bit closer to the infraction of rules than we like...
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-27-2014 at 12:50 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Grand Canyon West certainly is not the National Park, and the views you'll find there aren't the same as the famous ones you'd find at the National Park. There is also a huge difference in price.

    Your entire family can visit the National Park for $25. Going to Grand Canyon West to do the skywalk will cost you about $90 per person, and cameras are not allowed on it. Access to Grand Canyon West also requires several miles of travel on unpaved roads, which can be a contract issue if you are in a rental car.

    That's not to say GCW is necessarily a bad place to visit, but I would never consider it a place to go instead of visiting the National Park. If you want to spend the money to go there, I would recommend doing it in addition to the National Park.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default No comparison.

    Definitely be sure to go to the National Park, where you will see those magnificent views with which you are familiar from pictures and movies. Your girls will benefit greatly from the Junior Ranger program, and have some nice souvenirs to take home.

    There's nothing like taking one of the short hikes into the canyon to get a perspective of just how grand it really is. Nothing else can give you that... not the flight over the canyon, not the Skywalk. The south rim is spectacular and unique.


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