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  1. Default Taking an a trip out west with my family. 11 yr old, 9 year old, and 1 1/2 year old.

    Taking an a trip out west with my family. 11 yr old, 9 year old, and 1 1/2 year old. I will have my husband for two weeks and we will be own our own for two weeks (he does not have the ability to take more vacation time) . Planning to travel from Georgia to petrified forest, meteor crater, Grand canyon and camp. Stay there for a few days. Then up to Bryce, Zion and Yellowstone and then back to GA through St Louis. I am nervous about the two weeks by myself, but really want the kids to have this experience.

    We love to camp and will do this when he is with me, but I might not attempt tent set up, etc...with baby by myself :-)

    We have not figured out what part he should do with me. He can drive out with us in the beginning, or drive back at the end, or fly and meet us.

    I would love to have input on the drives out and back as well as safe tips for traveling with kids as a single parent (with baby and two very helpful older kids. )

    Any and all suggestions welcome!!!! Thanks, Naomi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    What part does your husband not want to miss? That would be my first consideration, if this was me. The other thing that jumps to mind: have the 11 year old help you set up the tent while the 9 year old watches the baby. As for traveling with kids, this is about the best out-of-classroom education they can have. At Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce and Yellowstone, be sure to sign the older 2 up for the Junior Ranger program. Each park has their own, with activities to complete and then a souvenir pin or badge that they can collect. Have the older two keep a journal throughout the entire trip. It will help them keep memories alive, and maybe help them write the inevitable first-week-of-school assignment, "what I did on my summer vacation".

    Now, the nitty-gritty. Atlanta to Petrified Forest is about 1600 miles. With small children, that's about a 3.5-4 day trip (400-475 miles per day). It's a half day to see the Petrified Forest. Unfortunately, there's currently no campground inside PFNP, though there are plans for one.

    Holbrook to GCNP is 170 miles, so about 3-1/2 hours. Allot at least the rest of that day and probably at least one after that, to see the park. You should get camping reservations ASAP. If not, there are some national forest campgrounds outside of the park.

    GCNP to Springdale, UT, is 250 miles. Zion is another park to get reservations for Watchman Campground. If not, Zion Canyon Campground, a private campground, has tent sites and it's located right on the border of Zion. Allot at least one full day for Zion. Bryce is another hour-and-a-half drive north from Zion. Bryce can also easily be seen in a half day, though a full day would allow the kids to have time to do the Jr Ranger program.

    It's 550 miles from Bryce to Yellowstone. With kids, that is one very long day on the highway, particularly for the youngest one. You could break it up with a stop in Salt Lake City, which has a major airport that your husband could fly in or out of. The Great Salt Lake, Promontory Point, and the Mormon influence are interesting to many people.

    Yellowstone -- well, as soon as you can get your trip firmed up, get your camping reservations. You may have to take 2-3 different campgrounds for the typical 3-day, 4-night stay.

    Going home: Yellowstone to St Louis is another 1500 miles -- 3-4 days. At St Louis, the Gateway Arch is really nice, as is Grant's Farm, and the St Louis Zoo. (Free admission to the latter, but they charge for a lot of other things including the petting zoo, once you're inside.)

    St Louis to Atlanta (which I used since you weren't specific about where in Georgia) is another 550 miles -- as I've said, a very long day for kids in the car.

    Hope this helps.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    It's a big loop so I would be looking at travelling together when there are larger distances to cover, but where that not be so much fun for hubby it would help with the kids while travelling. So however you work it, you really need much shorter days behind the wheel when travelling with just you and the Kids. Those days I would limit to around 300 miles so that they can get out of the car and play at regular intervals and you can attend to the toddlers needs. That might favour Yellowstone with hubby and then you will have shorter drives between Bryce and Zion and GC etc.

  4. Default

    Thanks so much for this info!!!! It's so helpful to get your takes on this. Another thought was to send toddler on the plane with Husband (he could stay with grandparets), then our toddler would be with us for part of trip and home for part. Less time on the road. We could do the longer driving days either there or back without him.

    If there was a choice to go from Utah through Colorado and back to ATL or to go from Yellowstone to SD and back, which would you pick. Should we save Yellowstone ( and possibly Glacier) for another trip?
    Last edited by ladyslipper; 06-28-2015 at 08:43 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Sounds like a great plan.

    You'll probably find that the toddler will prefer that. After all, he is not going to remember anything much about the trip. His grandparents will likely spoil him.

    If this were me, I would choose UT and CO, leaving the northern parks for another trip.... when the toddler is older. There is so much in UT and CO that you could spend a month there and only scratch the surface. Do you have some good maps of those States. That will show you just how many NPs and other attractions there are. There are also many public lands camping spots scattered throughout those States.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Me too.

    So would I. There are a lot of great options in quite close proximity in the Four corners region.

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