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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    New York, New York, United States
    Posts
    1

    Default Summer road trip from Cleveland OH to Yellowstone

    I am planning a road trip from Cleveland Ohio to Yellowstone park with my family ( wife and three boys- 3,5 and 7). I'm planning to go there this summer in the beginning or mid June. I'm trying to go through either north or south Dakota and return the other way around . I just needed some suggestions for where to camp with a pop up trailer with power. I'm taking about two weeks for the Yellowstone road trip. I'm thinking five days to get there with four days in the Yellowstone park area and five days back. Any suggestions of what to visit and where to camp will be greatly appreciated.

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

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    First off, I commend you for planning 5 days travel in each direction and 4 days in Yellowstone. If you went through North Dakota, using I-94, it's 1800 miles -- 4 days travel with an extra day for a stop here and there. We just went along that way - Lewis and Clark history near Bismarck, ND, Teddy Roosevelt National Park, and entering Yellowstone park via the Beartooth Highway (US 212) with its gorgeous scenery and usually snow to play in near the top (for those boys to enjoy).

    Along the way, you will find RV parks along the major routes. Some are 4 or 5 miles away from the highways, which is better for the quiet, not so much on the travel to/from.

    When you are in Yellowstone and you want power, Fishing Bridge RV and Campground is about your only choice. The rest of the campgrounds will require generator power! Get YOUR RESERVATIONS AS SOON AS YOU CAN! (Look on the website for the reservation window.)

    Returning through South Dakota, there is the Black Hills of South Dakota with Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park (the first national park to protect a cave) and Jewel Cave National Monument. On the way there, you could stop at Little Big Horn National Battlefield, and/or Devil's Tower National Monument (the first national monument). There is also Badlands National Park just east of Rapid City, and Wall Drug.

    When you are in national parks and monuments, have your boys do the Junior Ranger Program. They'll have a lot of fun, learn something, and will enjoy the parks a lot more! They can earn a badge, too.


    Donna
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 12-27-2014 at 06:48 PM. Reason: fixed highway number

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Yellowstone booking a priority.

    As Donna mentioned, book your Yellowstone sites as soon as you possibly can. It's a popular place and quite a journey in and out every day if you have to locate outside of the park. If it's an option, I would choose mid June over the beginning of the month as 'summer' comes late to Yellowstone. Check out the NPS site for all the details.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Yellowstone in late May/early June is wonderful.

    I'm going to disagree with Dave here, having been in Yellowstone at the end of May and the first few days of June. It is a most wonderful time to visit Yellowstone, even though the snow may not be all gone. It is the time you see the most young - bear cubs, bison calves and new born Moose among others. True there is no guarantee that you will see the very special sights, but for me there was nothing like stumbling upon a crowd which was watching a moose suckle her hour old calf. You can't plan for these things. But there is more chance earlier than later

    Along the southern route, be it on the way there, or the way back, some things your boys might enjoy are Mitchel Corn Palace and Wall Drug - especially if you take them to the back yard where they feed the dinosaur. When I was there, a couple of years ago, there were lots of little ones panning for gold in the back yard. That place is a lot more than just the glitzy touristy store one sees up the front, so allow a little time.

    If you were to leave or enter via the east entrance of Yellowstone you could take Alt14 from Cody over the Big Horn mountains. If it is early in the day, or late, there is a lot of wildlife up there as well. Also the Medicine Wheel and the Big Horn Canyon. It is a very scenic route. You could drive the Beartooth one way and over the Big Horn Mtns the other. It meets up with I-90 at Ranchester.

    Sounds like a great trip. Be sure to get your children, even the youngest, to keep a journal each night of the most memorable thing that day. This can include text, pictures from brochures, entrance tickets or maybe even something small picked up along the way as well as drawings. They may need a little help from the parents, but it is a great thing for them to look back on and relive the trip. (My grandson, then 2 1/2 years, still reads his journal from a trip to Britain a couple of years ago. This includes a circle drawn with a stick figure inside it, which to him depicted the London Eye.)

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Based on camping.

    I was basing my visitation time purely on the fact that you are camping in a pop up and just a couple of degrees warmer at night can make a difference, but of course there are no guarantees it will be warmer ! :-)

  6. Default

    My opinion is the later in June the better, if you want to view the hot springs.

    Years ago, we visited Yellowstone around June 19 and were very disappointed that the springs were obscured by heavy fog that formed over them, especially if the air was calm. Visibility improved when the wind picked up but much of the spring was still obscured.

    We were also surprised to find some water puddles frozen over the next morning. And later that day we ran into a brief blizzard that led to a couple cars going off the road.
    Last edited by travelingman; 12-28-2014 at 11:48 AM. Reason: Fat fingers

  7. Default The Traveler

    Hello Enoc, I agree with Donna and Dave in regards to booking your Yellowstone campground site ASAP. Also, if you have a AAA membership you can have them plot a route for you with the kids in mind and pick up tourbooks and campground books. Have AAA help with booking the campground in Yellowstone. If you dont have a AAA membership please purchase one. Their are many places that the kids will enjoy. Chicago has Brookfield Zoo, Willis Tower( formerly Sears Tower ), Navy Pier,
    Adler Planaterium, maybe a Cubs game, or a boat ride on the Chicago River through the canyon of skyscrapers and beautiful designed bridges. Wisconsin Dells has many waterparks, The Corn Palace, Badlands NP, Black Hills attractions such as Mt Rushmore. One place not to be missed is the Grizzly Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, MT. Your kids are going to love this trip!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Does AAA even put out CampBooks any more? I'm told they don't. Woodall's and Good Sam/Trailer Life RV and Campground guides combined a few years back. The newer ones, according to the reviews, don't have nearly as much information as they used to have (and still need to). There are a few apps for iPhones and iPads out there, with campground guides, between 99c and $3.99, but I have no idea how good they are.

    Good thoughts on the Chicago portion, but with 5 days to travel (and need 4), it doesn't leave a lot of time for stopping.


    Donna

  9. Default The Traveler

    Hi Donna, AAA has the ability to help plan this trip with their Triptik Travel Planner. Not only can they prepare a triptik but campgrounds are also included in the Triptik Travel Planner and can be included in a triptik. AAA counselors can really help with making those reservations. Also, I know that if he were driving to Yellowstone without making any stops at attractions along the way, he can reach Yellowstone in 4 days or less.This would allow him a chance to take in at least 1 attraction. I am from RI and have traveled this route as part of a cross country round trip road to Seattle. On the way back we one of our destinations was Yellowstone, in which we stayed for 3 nights in West Yellowstone. On the way back we drove to Cody, WY( Buffalo Bill Dam ), Devils Tower, WY, and then on to our overnight stay in Rapid City, SD( day # 1 ). We then went to Keystone,SD for souviner shopping, Mt Rushmore, Jewel Cave, and through Badlands NP, and east on I-90 across the state to our next overnight stay in Sioux Falls, SD( day# 2 ). We then drove to a relatives house in the Chicago area in time for dinner and our next overnight( day# 3 ).
    The next day we drove to Clearfield, PA for our next overnight( day# 4 ). The next day we drove back home to RI( day # 5 ). So as you can see, it me 5 days to get back to RI from Yellowstone, which means that Cleveland to Yellowstone can be done in 4 days, which leaves him the option of taking in at least 1 attraction on the way, or adding 1 additional day for Yellowstone.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    I've got to say, while AAA has their advantages especially for roadside assistance, I've never been at all impressed with their trip planning services. I actually hate their triptiks, and their "assistance" tends to really heavily drive people towards the properties that have essentially paid for advertising with AAA. While if you push them, they might help you with reservations within National/State Parks, they are going to default to private properties, which are outside of the parks, and usually much more expensive. Not to mention, making reservations for camping within Yellowstone is very easy, and you really don't need anyone to do that for you.

    Donna did say that the trip could be made in 4 days - but her point is that with only 5 days, it doesn't leave a lot of extra time for stops - like an in-depth exploration of Chicago, or going to a ballgame - especially with the slower travel needed while towing a camper.

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