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  1. Default Atlanta to LA (via Kentucky) with kids - what route?

    Hi all!!
    We are traveling from Atlanta to LA (via Kentucky, have an appointment there) starting in a week (trip length 4 weeks) and are still not sure what route to take.
    We have 4 kids 1-8 years old, travelling in an RV.
    Any ideas or suggestions on the route to take? Interested also in Colorado and possibly the historical village in Wichita (but not necessary). We're interested in history, awesome but affordable waterparks/playgrounds, possibly small age appropriate theme parks. Anything that little kids of that age would find mildly amusing. Very keen on seeing a rodeo and cowboys, working farm, ghost towns etc. Low-midrange budget. Age appropriate factory tours, short hikes would be ok, beautiful views, how people used to live and so on. Not really big on art, tourist traps, big cities, tacky cheese etc.
    Keen to meet real Heartland americans.
    Any ideas on routes would be much appreciated. :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default National [and State] parks ?

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    Colorado and Southern Utah are home to some wonderful National parks, scenic drives, small towns and much, much more and is an area I would certainly recommend studying some more, Beautiful scenery, steam train rides in the Rockies and free petting zoo's [the one in Springdale UT next to Zion NP comes to mind] and I am sure the children will love the wildlife and walks in the NP's. At that age, often a run around and play in a City park to let of steam is as enjoyable as 'paid' entertainment. You could look at Monument valley tribal park, the Grand canyon, boating on Lake Powell etc in the area as well but until you have some idea of where you want to go it's tough to give meaningful advice. Of course the other option is to just 'wing it' and see what you come across. The one thing that I will say is that while travelling in peak season you may have trouble finding available RV sites near big attractions and in the US you can't just pull up by the side of the road and camp.

    I would study the maps and do a bit of searching here on the RTA site and if you have any other questions just ask. Enjoy.

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

    Default

    Once you've passed Sept 7th, things should start to slow down. Public schools in the USA on the traditional schedule, start up again any time between August 4th and right after Labor Day (which is on 9/7 this year).



    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default An Historic/Scenic Route West

    In traveling west to California, much of the history will be associated with the migration of the pioneers who were the first to make that trek. They used several routes such as the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, the Pony Express Route and others, and you can easily follow in their footsteps. A basic route from Kentucky whould have you first going to St. Louis. Before crossing the Mississippi, you might want to check out the Lewis and Clark State Memorial Park on the Illinois side, and in St. Louis a visit to the Arch is in order as well as the St. Louis Zoo which is free although they do charge for some attractions. After crossing Missouri to Kansas City, head up I-29 through St. Joseph to Nebraska City and use NE-2 to cut across to I-80 at Lincoln. I-80 through Nebraska (along with the parallel US-30) follows the route of the old Oregon Trail.

    In western Nebraska your itinerary will start leaning more toward the scenic. You'd leave I-80 to take I-76 towards Denver, but leave that as well at Wiggins CO and take US-34 west to Rocky Mountain Natonal Park. After visiting that park, continue on US-34 to CO-9 south to get on I-70 west past Colorado National Monument, Arches National Park, a possible detour to the Great Salt Lake, and then down US-89 past Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. From the Zion area you can take another 'detour' onto the North Rim of the Grand Canyon by taking Alt-US-89 from Kanab UT to Jacob Lake AZ and AZ-67 south from there, returning by the same route and getting on I-15 south into Las Vegas. Then you'd just continue on I-15 through Mojave National Preserve into Los Angeles.

    The above is just a generalized route that will let you see a great deal of what the western US as to offer in the way of both history and scenery. A few other general comments are in order. Probably the most important is that if you are looking for low cost entertainment for the children, you really can't do better than the US national park system. You will note that I have listed a number of the largest and best (but not the only) parks and monuments along the route above. When you come to the first one that asks for an entry fee, you should instead buy an annual pass for $80. That will let yoiu and everyone in your car into almost every facility in the system for one full year from the date of purchase. There may be additional costs for services or concessions (camping, food, some guided tours) but you can do an awful lot that is free including many ranger-led talks and walks. Also, at every park you come to, ask if they have a Junior Ranger Program. Ths is aimed at children between the ages of 5 and 13, but they will often accomodate even younger children, that includes age-appropriate activities for them to comlete that help them learn more about the parks. And once they complete those tasks they get a number of great (and free!) souvenirs.

    Another great resource are the welcome centers along the Interstates as you enter each new state. These will have an information desk staffed by people who are familiar with what their particular state has to offer and can direct you to the best low-cost attractions that meet your needs. These centers also often have coupons that will get you discounts at those attractions as well as at motels. And don't forget to take advantage of the many small free attractions all along the Interstates (and elsewhere).

  5. Default

    Thanks, that gives me some info to mull over and ponder. Which state would be best to catch a rodeo or similar? The kids are pretty keen to see some real cowboys, are there working ranches that are recommendable to visit? Thanks again.

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

    Default

    Texas ranches and rodeos, try this site:

    Travel Texas


    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default And Elsewhere

    There is a basic problem in looking for a 'working' ranch to 'visit'. True working ranches can be fairly dangerous places and so don't want the added liability of unaware people, especially children, wandering about the place. Neither do they have the time it takes to cater to visitors' needs and escort them around. By the time they have paid for the insurance and hired the personnel to handle visitors, those visitors must be a source of income - at least enough to offset the expense. What you are then talking about are Dude Ranches or Guest Ranches.

    Now such places generally require that you stay a few days to a week, and come in a range of flavors from kid-friendly to hard core cattle drive experiences. So you'll have to do some shopping through what's available to find one that suits your needs. A fairly good listing of ranches through the west that accept visitors can be found here.

    AZBuck

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