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  1. Default Need help staying cool on trip from dfw, tx to redwoods in ca

    I am trying to map out a route for our first epic road trip from DFW area with stops at Carlsbad caverns, Petrified forest, Grand Canyon, Sequoia park, and ultimately the Redwood Forest. I will have my 7 year old son, his 12-13 yr old cousin, our dog, and myself. I would love to camp out as much as we can just as long as it is night time temps no higher than 65. I am skeptical and I find the idea of cooler climates in summer months far-fetched though intriguing. Is this pipe dream even possible? Also, any suggestions for stops to make this tree hugging trip more exciting for the kids?
    Hot Mama

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Things to interest the children.

    Hui, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    What the weather will do, the weather will do, something we cannot change. You can look at historical data for the information you seek, but there is no way of knowing if any year is going to be above or below historical averages. Maybe keep an eye on the long range forecasts.

    When is this trip taking place and how long do you have for the complete trip? Is this a round trip or a one way trip? Are you talking about the redwoods in Sequoia NP or further noth, the coastal redwoods?

    One thing I do know is that there is no shortage of places for the young ones to entertain themselves. Starting at Carlsbad, and then at each following NP you visit, be sure to enrol them in the Junior Ranger Program. This will give them some age appropriate activities to perform, at the end of which they will receive some cool souvenirs to take home.

    Looking for stops along the way, here is a thread with some excellent ideas.

    Of course both are old enough to help you do some research, and decide where they may want to stop, etc. The more they have invested in the trip, the more they will get out of it.

    You might also consider getting them to keep a journal. Simply write before bed a couple of paragraphs on what was most memorable to each one that day. This record can also be kept with drawing or even items collected along the way, e.g. ticket stubs. These journals are a wonderful souvenir, and great to read back over in years to come. This works best if you do too. You'll be suprised how different each one sees the day in retrospect.

    Last edited by Lifemagician; 06-26-2015 at 12:35 AM. Reason: typo

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Southwest Summer Temps

    While it is true that daytime temperatures in portions of the American Southwest can be brutal - we are currently experiencing 110+║F here in southern Arizona - that is not necessarily true of night time temperatures nor is it true everywhere in the area. There are two major facts to keep in mind. First, the Southwest is largely desert. To most people that means hot, hot, hot. But it also means dry. And dry air has far less thermal inertia than moist air. So while many in the eastern half of the US are used to night time temperatures dropping roughly 20║F from their daytime highs, in the desert Southwest that drop can be as much as 40║F so a 110║F day could be followed by a 70║F night.

    The second thing that easterners are not used to is the average elevation in the west. The Grand Canyon is a good example. Remember the Canyon itself is a mile deep. That means that the Rim is at least a mile high. In fact it's between 7,000 and 8,000 feet high. That's higher than every mountaintop east of the Mississippi. And that means cooler temperatures, again especially at night.

    Finally, the northern coast of California where the majority of the redwoods are, has a Mediterranean climate meaning relatively temperate throughout the year.

    So, while daytime temperatures in the Petrified Forest area, which also includes the Painted Desert, might be uncomfortable, the rest of your stops in caverns and forests, and on mountains and plateaus should be within or close to your comfort zone. As Lifey correctly points out, you need to be worried about weather, the actual temperatures on actual days and nights that you'll be there, rather than climate but there's nothing about the climate that precludes you having the same kind of wonderful summer vacation as thousands of other visitors to the area at that time.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    AZBuck so delightfully said what I was going to say, but in much more eloquent language. That said...

    We've camped out at Grand Canyon during two different seasons. Nighttime temps in the summer make sleeping in a tent, very comfortable. We've camped in a tent in the coastal Redwoods area. Wonderful nighttime sleeping!

    Petrified Forest National Park does not currently have a campground. You may find yourself staying in Holbrook in a motel. The kids might enjoying sleeping in a Wigwam at the Wigwam Motel there.

    BTW, ditto what Lifey suggested about the Jr Ranger program *and* about keeping a journal. The journal will help them write the inevitable essay at the beginning of next school year, "What I Did On My Summer Vacation."


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