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  1. Default NY to Grand Canyon via Denver w/kids + dog

    Looking for advice on best routes, hotels, tips, etc...we are planning first family vacation in 6 years (!) & are driving from NYC area to Denver/Boulder for a short family visit, then Grand Canyon, then home. We have 2 weeks mid-June, so can probably stay 3 days in Boulder, 3 days in AZ. Two adults, two 6-yr olds and a small well-behaved dog. We originally planned this as an RV trip, but realized we couldn't leave our dog alone in an RV anywhere in AZ (even though he's quiet, he could overheat). Hoping for suggestions, thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    I see a time problem. It's a long 3 day drive from NYC to Denver with no sightseeing on Interstates. It's a day and a half from Denver to the GC, same thing. Then it's a long 4 days from the GC to NYC. With 3 days in Denver and 3 days in AZ, that adds up to over 14 days right there.

    What I'd recommend you do is make it a fly/drive trip. Board your dog, fly to Denver, rent a car and do a "loop" trip through the West. That opens up at least 6 days for sightseeing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Yeah, Something's Got to Give

    As glc points out, even at a break-neck, slog from hell pace this is going to be a tight fit. I agree that making it a fly /drive trip would be the best solution if you can board the dog. If not, there are still options. The first would be to forego the 'side trip' into Arizona and concentrate instead on spending more time en route enjoying what the middle of the country has to offer. Rather than just locking the kids and dog in the back seat and trying to cover over 600 miles a day (brutal), take at least four or five days for the drive each way to/from Boulder, taking different routes each way, stopping often for short stops where the kids and dog get to run and play, and make the entire trip a series of adventures each day. Besides the 'little' stops, you could plan a larger stop of a couple of hours each day if you take a more relaxed attitude to the drive.

    So what would be some possible routes (one out and one back) that you could do over four or five days leaving time for such adventures and what would be some possible major attractions to spend a couple of hours at? There are several, so I'll just give them in broad outline and if you decide on a couple we can help fill in some more details.

    The most direct is simply I-80 to all the way to western Nebraska and then I-76 into the Denver /Boulder area. Major sites might include Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and the landmarks and towns of the old Oregon Trail. But I-80 is toll road from roughly Youngstown OH to Chicago IL.

    If your passports are in order, you can consider going through the Finger Lakes region using I-80/I-380/I-81/I-86/I-390/I-90 to Niagara Falls, crossing into Canada and using ON-403/ON-402, re-entering the US at Sarnia north of Detroit and using I-69/I-94 to rejoin I-80 in the Chicago area. This obviously adds the Falls to your potential major stops.

    Another possibility is to start on I-80 but pick up I-76 at Youngstown and then I-71 down to I-70 at Columbus OHt o stay on freeway throughout the trip. I-70 then goes all the way to Denver. Stops needing a bit more time on this route might be the US Air Force Museum in Dayton OH as well as the Arch and Museum of Westward Expansion in St. Louis.

    You could even take a fairly 'southerly' route and go through Washington DC and follow I-64 west, take a ferry across the Mississippi at Ste. Genvieve or another spot and take 'surface streets' such as US-54/US-400 across the Great Plains to Pueblo CO and then up I-25 to Boulder. Larger stops might be the National Mall in DC, Thomas Jefferson's home Monticello in Charlottesville VA, or Dodge City.

    So the main point is that you can make much better use of your time by savoring and enjoying a shorter drive to your real goal (family), rather than trying to push the trip to its farthest limits.


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