Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. Default MT-ID-OR-CA June family trip

    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    It looks like you have a fairly workable plan, with one small exception. Craters of the Moon to Crystal Crane is probably closer to 7 or 7-1/2 hours than the 6.5 that you quoted. I don't know much about hot springs and kids except that mine never really enjoyed them; they wanted a pool where they could splash around. Also, you might want to allow more time for the drive from the hot springs to Diamond Lake. At 250+ miles on what appears to be 2-lane roads, you'll want to allow at least 5-6 hours.

    To get more time in Yellowstone -- well, there are different attitudes for this. First, you could give yourself an overview of the place and then return on a different trip to spend more time. You could eliminate something else from your trip. Realize that visiting Yellowstone in 1.5 hours could be disappointing -- you may sit for half of that in an "animal jam". (I've been to Yellowstone twice, and both times, we spent quite a bit of time in a "bear jam". We are also going to Yellowstone this summer, and are prepared to spend a bit of time in those jams.)

    Anyway, those are the two solutions I see.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Why not try to stay closer to Yellowstone?

    Looks like a pretty well layed out trip, especially the last Sunday. :) With one exception.

    Why return to Big Sky after the first day in Yellowstone? Is it not possible to find a place closer? Strikes me as a lot of driving time which could be spent in Yellowstone, where, as mentioned, the driving time can be very slow indeed.


  4. #4


    Just a couple of comments. As others have suggested I'd try to figure out a way to spend more time in Yellowstone. True, Big Sky is not that far north, but it is a two lane highway with a lot a traffic that time of the year. My only other concern would be the time allotted between Yellowstone and Arco. While I've only come into Arco from the west, I just don't see you making it in 4 hours. Given the age of your kids, they are going to need some out of the car time also.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the comments. I reserved the room in Big Sky months ago for the wedding and hadn't really planned the trip yet, but I'm going to cancel Sunday night and try to find a place to stay closer to the park, maybe West Yellowstone. I got the driving times off google maps, and I know we always take a lot longer than they list. Mostly it shouldn't matter too much, but a few days we'll want to be sure we don't pull into our stops too late.

    I'm wide open to other suggestions between Arco and Diamond Lake. I picked Crystal Crane just because it was kind of in the middle and I wasn't able to find much else, but I'm not wedded to that particular stop.

    Thanks much!


  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by akuvikate View Post

    I'm wide open to other suggestions between Arco and Diamond Lake. I picked Crystal Crane just because it was kind of in the middle and I wasn't able to find much else, but I'm not wedded to that particular stop.
    For that matter, Craters of the Moon isn't entirely obligatory either. My husband is interested in seeing it and we're kind of a science-y family, but I mostly just picked it because it was on the way. Yellowstone and Diamond/Crater lake both seem like definite musts, but between the two please let me know of anywhere worth stopping that I might have missed.


  7. #7


    Well Craters of the Moon truly is very interesting landscape, but I can tell you there is a whole lot of nothing before and after it. There is a reason they built the first nuclear reactor in that country! Others may have better ideas on routes from Yellowstone to Diamond/Crater Lake area. I'm thinking I84 to Hwy 26(which is a scenic drive). You'd take 26 to Hwy 97 south to Diamond/ Crater lake area.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default EBR-1 is pretty darn cool

    There's plenty to see in the region -- I've got to leave for a meeting, but since you like science-related locations -- I think you'd get a kick out of visiting EBR-1!


Similar Threads

  1. Danish family round trip in an RV for the first time June/July 2013.
    By Cantel in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 50
    Last Post: 05-15-2013, 03:33 PM
  2. Family Trip; Looking for Parks and Family Fun Along the Way
    By je_hosh in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-17-2013, 11:30 AM
  3. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-08-2012, 04:36 PM
  4. Family Trip from FL to National Parks in SW June 2011
    By sunnymyway in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 01-19-2011, 06:38 PM
  5. summer family trip in June to Niagara falls
    By urbanek2 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-03-2007, 02:47 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name