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  1. Default Moving from Florida to California in December Road Trip

    We are a military family who will be moving from Florida to California this December. I have been reading through some of the threads, and thought perhaps if I gave the specifics for my situation I might get some great advice. My husband, myself, our three children and our golden retriever are planning to leave Jacksonville, FL around the 21st of December. I know that I would like to stick to the I10 route in hopes of avoiding any hazardous driving, as well as because we are only allowing 10 days for this trip. I am thinking about skipping over NO in order to hopefully fit in some sights that will be things my children have never seen before. I am definitely open to diverting a bit to see the south rim of the Grand Canyon, however I am not exactly sure the best way to go about doing this. Hubby is deployed currently, and he is the official road trip planner, map guru in the family. Any suggestions to help our particular situation would be so very appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Ten Days on I-10

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Jacksonville to San Diego (I'm guessing Navy/Marines) could be driven in as little as four hard days, so having ten days is a real luxury. And I-10, while providing the fastest way across the southern part of the country, also provides access to a number of great venues where you could take some time to introduce your kids to different aspects of America. Now it's not unheard of for I-10 to see ice and/or snow in winter, but such events are the exception rather than the rule and any untoward weather or road conditions usually are over in less than a day, so if you encounter any you can simply find a motel with a heated indoor pool and wait them out.

    How to go about your end of the planning? I'd start by getting the kids (depending on their ages) involved. Adults understand delayed gratification (waiting 'til after New Orleans to see anything), kids don't. Plan on two or three short stops each day just to let them get out of the car, blow off some steam in the fresh air, and feel like they're seeing something. Show the kids your basic route on a map and encourage them to do a little research on what is more or less along the way that they might like to see. To help you out, here's a rough starter list: Gulf Islands National Seashore, Creole Nature Trail, Space Center Houston, the Alamo, Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands (a bit off I-10 but certainly doable), Saguaro National Park, Pima Air and Space Museum, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon (on the way to the Grand Canyon), London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Yuma Territorial Prison, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. There are lots more, but that should give you some idea of the breadth and variety of sites available to you on this trip.

    Especially with several children and a dog, I would encourage you to work out where you'd like to end up each night and make reservations ahead. This lets you do your room finding from the comfort of your own home rather than at the end of a long day on the road and facing No Vacancy or No Pets signs. You can make sure that the dog will be welcome and that a roll-away bed/cot/crib will be available if needed. You only need to cover about 250-300 miles a day which will leave a lot of time for out-of-car activities, although you might want to do more miles on some days so that you can send more time at sites like the Grand Canyon.

    And finally: Relax. You're doing great so far. Most people don't even know that they have to plan! You're ahead of the game already and if you take a relaxed attitude to the planning and the drive itself you, hubby, the children and the dog will all have a great time.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Oh! ...and One Other Thing

    I re-read your original post and realized that you'll be on the road for Christmas. Now, there's no substitute for having the kids wake up in their own beds in their own homes, but you can do a few things to lessen the impact of being on the road. First and foremost, depending on their ages, assure your children that Santa WILL find them. Then think about splurging a bit and renting a home for two nights: December 24th and 25th. This will also cost you a day of travel, but that you can readily afford. Most people will be at home and off the roads at that time, so rental homes should be readily available, and they aren't as expensive as you might think. A few websites that my wife and I have used over the years with good results include VRBO (vacation rental by owner), HomeAway, VacationRentals, and airbnb. Airbnb in particular has been our go-to source for short term (less than a week) rentals. Having a house rather than just a motel room, and staying put for just that one day, can go a long way towards making Christmas seem normal even in the midst of a cross-country RoadTrip.


  4. Default

    Thank you so much for your lengthy and great reply, those are some awesome suggestions! I absolutely plan to stay put wherever we are at Christmas Eve/Christmas, and the idea for renting a house is great, a bit more special than a regular hotel.
    Thank you again! And you guessed right, we are a Navy family, my husband is currently stationed in Cape Canaveral FL, and we are headed to the Seal Beach CA area, which I have not researched at all yet because I have been so concerned about the road trip there!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Did you get a welcome package from the base at Seal Beach? If not, you'll probably find one online.

    Welcome to RTA, btw, and to California.

    Donna (San Diego area)

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