Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky, United States
    Posts
    2

    Default Planning a family trip from Louisville Kentucky out west.

    I am in the beginning stages of planning our family trip from Louisville Kentucky to The West. We will be starting our trip in late July after all the summer baseball has ended. We will be taking our 11 and 13 year old sons, and our 18 year old daughter. I have flown to Colorado and Arizona on 4 day weekend trips in the past, and my husband hiked Colorado and lived in New Mexico for a year. That is all of our " out west" experience. For example, if we went to see the Grand Canyon, I'm not even sure what part we should go to. I don't know where to start on this trip. I keep looking up places online but have no real context to plan.

    1. I am open to flying into a city that has really good plane fares and renting a car.
    2. We could take up to 10 days.
    3. We usually go to the east coast for vacation and would like to experience the amazing beauty we keep seeing in pictures.

    Thank you in advance for your advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Options and First Decisions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    This is a case where I don't think anyone is going to be able to tell you exactly what to do, simply because you have so many options available to you and the choices you make will be driven by your own tastes and desires. But we can certainly lay out what some of those options are.

    First let's look at flights. You have a number of possible 'destination' airports, and while there may not be a lot of competition at any given one, there is certainly competition over the whole lot of them. Gateway cities that could work for you include Phoenix, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Denver. Even Los Angeles wouldn't be totally out of the question. Departure cities could include Louisville, Cincinnati or Indianapolis. The later two are only a couple of hours by car from Louisville, but of course you'd have to pay to park your car for the ten days you're out west. What you should be looking at in pricing out your flight plans is total cost: Getting to the airport, parking, airfare, car rental at your destination. Clearly, with five people, airfare is going to be the major cost, but not the only one. Also keep in mind that there are a few airlines, most notably Southwest and Allegiant, that do not share their prices with search engines, so you'll have to check what they have to offer separately on their own websites.

    Next, a basic itinerary. Keep in mind that the 'west' is huge and whatever you decide on is likely to entail a fair amount of driving. But you could conceivably drive an entire loop including all of the possible gateway cities I mentioned above in around four days leaving, at worst, five to six days of sight-seeing/adventure at some of America's iconic national parks, scenic wonders, historic sites, and unique cultures. And once you have a specific gateway city chosen and a specific set of goals for this trip, you can cut down a bit on the size of the loop and spend a bit more time at the sites you have chosen to visit. What to choose is entirely up to you, and certainly get the kids involved, but some of the major places that most people want to get to on a first smorgasbord trip 'out west' include the big national parks: Rocky Mountain, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Mesa Verde, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, etc., etc., etc. If you all just sat down and picked the top three or four of those that interest you, that and a gateway city would go a long way towards giving you the 'big picture' of this trip. BTW - for initial planning purposes, just use Flagstaff AZ as your way point for the Grand Canyon.

    So, those are the basic choices you'll have to make first and as I say, they'll pretty much define your trip. So take a deep breath, do one thing at a time, and trust that it will all come together in the end. And also know that we'll be happy to offer further advice as your planning progresses.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    As for the Grand Canyon -- there are two options. One is the North Rim, which has fewer visitors. While there is a good road to get to it, it's a longer trip from Flagstaff so many people just bypass it. It's absolutely beautiful, and less people make it more enjoyable at the height of summer. The other option is the South Rim, easily reached from Flagstaff or Williams. Because it attracts more people, it has more services available, and there are motels and hotels in Cameron, Tusayan and Williams outside of the park.

    If you are seeing the "west rim" on the maps, bear in mind that this is Native-American owned and not a part of the National Park. Others have said that it isn't nearly as beautiful, but I can't say that from experience as I have never been. Also, air trips over the GC do not fly over the Canyon due to strict air space laws.

    When planning your trip, a fly/drive loop trip makes good sense with just 10 days for the vacation. Also, each of the parks mentioned by AZBuck above is gorgeous in its own right. Just seeing each of them would be at least one day, plus the time to travel between each. (Zion and Bryce are close enough, but the rest are at least 1/2 day's drive from each other.) I would take AZB's advice and choose a few, then plan your trip around them.


    Donna

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

    Default Paper maps will be a great help.

    Quote Originally Posted by wildviolets17 View Post
    I keep looking up places online but have no real context to plan.
    To supplement the excellent advice above, may I suggest you would be tons better off by using a good detailed map(s) or a road atlas such as the Rand McNally. You will get a better idea of the big picture than what you can within the confines of a little screen. Then use the web to research the details.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky, United States
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thank you! Everyone for the excellent advice. I have been and will continue to research the places suggested by AZBuck. I'm going to order my big map and begin planning.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    If you are a member of AAA, you can get some good state maps from them for planning purposes. Just present your card at the nearest office and ask. An atlas can also be purchased there, at Wal-Mart, through Amazon, or even on this website.


    Donna

  7. Default

    Allow a FULL day for the spectacular NARROWS WALK in Zion National Park.

    Watch the weather for flash floods and rent water shoes from local outfitters or get your shoes wet but do not attempt barefoot

    If you have to skip the Grand Canyon for the Narrows Walk, I would do it.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-lfAoFgi7VU

    If possible, watch on a large screen tv. Even so, video cannot do the place justice. This IS a destination.


    This is a VERY popular hike and the first couple miles of the river are often full of families.

Similar Threads

  1. Planning trip out west from Michigan, June 2014
    By msufans in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-05-2013, 07:12 AM
  2. family planning a vacation out west. please help
    By abshirefamily in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 02-05-2010, 05:48 AM
  3. Out West from Kentucky/Afghanistan
    By parker1895 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 08-13-2007, 10:55 AM
  4. 2 Week Family Trip Out West
    By JVALLEE in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-21-2006, 07:30 PM
  5. 18 day RV family trip out West in May
    By smithy in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 03-13-2006, 07:29 AM

Bookmarks

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

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES