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  1. Default Family road trip from ft Lauderdale to grand canyon

    Hey folks
    New to the forum. I am trying to plan a summer road trip for the family this summer. I have about a 2-3 week time frame to go from ft Lauderdale fl to the Grand Canyon and back. I will be towing a travel trailer with the wife and 2 kids. Never tackled anything like this. Any help and guidance would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'd start by trying to get as close to the 3 week edge of your timeline as you can. When traveling with a family, and towing on top of it, I wouldn't plan on covering any more than 500 miles in a day. At 2400 miles, that's basically 5 days of driving each way, so if you only take 2 weeks, you'll be spending more time driving there and back then you would be spending time actually out west.

    Otherwise, I'd just be spending time figuring out what you want to do beyond the Grand Canyon. There are several other great National Parks in Northern Arizona/Southern Utah to explore while you're out there. There's probably no single better resource to get an idea of all of your options both out west, and along the way, than starting by looking at a good map.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default First, Plan on Three Weeks

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    It's a minimum of four and a half days each way between Fort Lauderdale and the Grand Canyon, and that's if your only objective was to get there as quickly (and safely) as possible while making no stops other than gas/food/restroom breaks in a vehicle that can travel consistantly at the speed limit while pulling into pre-prpared motel rooms each night. A family (with kids!) towing a trailer and presumably setting up camp each night meets none of those criteria. So you'll need a good six or seven days for the transit. If you'd like to spend any meaningful time at the Canyon and in the surrounding area after all that effort, you're going to neen considerably more than two weeks total for the trip. If you raeally can't get more than two weeks away from work and other commitments, find a destination closer to home.

    Next, get your entire crew involved. The kids (and mom) are going to want to do more each day than just sit in the car and watch the world go by outside their windows. Get yourself a good-sized map of the US and mark your basic route (pretty much FL Tpk/I-75/I-10/US-98/US-49/I-20/US-287/I-40) on it and let them find places along that route that appeal to them. If the kids are old enough, have tham do a little research on the places they'd like to stop (hours, cost, history, etc.) so that their invested in the stop and not just being dragged along by mom and dad. Loo especially closely at all the other attractions in northern Arizona so that your time there is well spent, Among the many possiblities are Sunset Crater National Monument (NM), Wupatki NM, Walnut Canyon NM, Museum of Northern Arizona, Lowell Observatory, Oak Creek Canyon, Slide Rock Statte Park, Sedona, Tuzigoot NM, and others.

    Once you know where you'd like to stop en route and what kind of pace you can reasonably maintain, and how long you'll want to spend in Arizona, and possibly southern Utah (Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park) as well, start looking for camsites and make reservations. Campgrounds, especially those in national parks, fill up fast but if everything is booked where you'd like to stay keep trying, people do cancel.

    If you do decide to see more than four or so national parks and monuments, plan on getting an annual parks pass at the first one you come to. They're $80 and cover admissions for you and everyone in your vehicle to all national parks, but they don't cover additional fees such as camping and concessions. If your kids are old enough (roughly 5-12) plan on stopping at the ranger station at each park and signing them up for the Junior Ranger Program. It's free and they'll be given a set of activities that will help them learn more and better enjoy their visit. Plus they get some neet souvenirs such as badges.

    Best of luck, and don't hesitate to ask for more advice as needed as your planning progresses.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Maybe get a bit of exdperience first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon337 View Post
    Never tackled anything like this. Any help and guidance would be appreciated.
    That's a heck of a long trip to take on as a first trip. I'd suggest that you plan on doing some shorter, more local trips before tackling anything like the Grand Canyon. Give yourself an opportunity to discover what your most comfortable travel style is, how the family copes with it,, and the practicalities of setting up camp each day.

    These certainly are not things I'd want to find out for the first time on a 5.000 mile trip.

    Maybe a couple of years of shorter, trips - both distance and time - with the Grand Canyon and surrounds in a few years' time. There's nothing worse than having lifetime memories of a trip - for all the wrong reasons.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I'm going to agree with Michael -- this trip would be a lot more enjoyable with 3 weeks. You'll have more time to actually get out and see something. As a former owner of a travel trailer, we didn't like doing much more than 450 miles a day when towing. Generally, you go a bit slower. It takes time to get set up in the evening at a campsite -- hooking to electric, water, and maybe even sewer -- and tearing down in the morning, which may mean a stop at the dump station if we weren't using a sewer hookup.

    I'd also agree that you need some short trips at home, if you haven't already done so. My family used to call these "Shake-down cruises" - a long-weekend trip to someplace within 10 miles of a department store and/or Camping World-type store. It was on these cruises that we would refine our packing list for each vehicle. (We did one with our tent trailer, then one with our fifth wheel.) It was also the time to learn how long it would take us to set-up camp and break-down camp, for each vehicle. Now, you may already know this and have this under your belt -- wonderful! Then try a slightly longer trip if you can, to test out what you've learned.


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