I'm gearing up for our first family road trip (kids aged 6 and 11) and looking for advice. I wish I'd asked for more time off work but it's too late now, so this is what I have planned for us and welcome comments and suggestions. I've included behind the wheel driving time in parentheses (not including rest stops or meal breaks) and for the most part have us doing things in the morning and driving in the afternoon/evenings.
I know we should really spend more time in Yellowstone. I'm trying to balance that with 1. returning on Saturday so that we have a day to relax before we get back to work and summer day camps, and 2. having at least one spot after Big Sky that we're able to spend two nights with a day free of driving and packing everything up. But I'm open to rejiggering things to make more time for Yellowstone.
Thursday & Friday: Drive from Oakland CA to Big Sky MT (14hr over 2 days, no wiggle room here)
Saturday: Relax at ranch, evening wedding near Big Sky MT
Sunday: Visit Yellowstone, return to ranch (3hr round trip)
Monday: Visit Yellowstone (1.5hr), leave mid-late afternoon to drive to Arco ID (4hr)
Tuesday: Visit Craters of the Moon, then drive to Crystal Crane Hot Springs (6.5hr) (sleep in a teepee)
Wednesday: Enjoy hot springs, then drive to Diamond Lake OR to camp (4.5hr)
Thursday: Hike, splash around, visit Crater Lake (minimal car time)
Friday: Hike, splash around, visit Crater Lake, drive to Dunsmuir CA (3hr) (sleep in a caboose)
Saturday: Drive back home sweet home (4hr)
Sunday: wake up in our own beds on our own time