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  1. Default Planning one way trip PA to AZ or vice versa HELP...

    We are a family of 5 (3 kids 16,13,and 9)planning our first cross-country trip from PA to AZ, wanting to see Grand Canyon, Arches, Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, Badlands, Grand Tetons. We have approx. 16 days max next June-July. I know we would like to rent an RV, planning to fly there or back? not sure what's best? I am just wondering if this is our best option for a one-way trip? Most of our vacations are camping in our pop-up, so we are fine with the camping aspect. I have looked at so much information I'm on overload, I'm at the point where I would love someone to tell me to visit here and stay at this campground (basically give me the perfect itinerary). Help???

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    With the amount of time you've got available, and the list of things you want to see, have you considered flying out west - and just doing a loop from say Denver or Salt Lake City? If you are going to rent an RV anyway, I suspect the costs won't be all that much different - especially with the one way drop fee on the RV. That would give you quite a bit more time to get to all he places you want to see.

    Otherwise, the order of your trip would probably be Fly into Phx or Vegas, then Grand Canyon, (other Utah Parks?), Arches, Tetons, Yellowstone, Rushmore, Badlands, Home. You could just as easily do it in reverse, and I'd say the cost of the airfare and rv rental would probably be the most important factor there - as it could be quite a bit different depending upon the direction.

    As a one way trip, it would still be possible, but with 7 places to visit, and about 6 days worth of driving, you wouldn't have time to spend more than a day in more than one or two places - with the note that Yellowstone is so huge you really need a minimum of 2-3 days to see the highlights.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Hi and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mamacita View Post
    I have looked at so much information I'm on overload, I'm at the point where I would love someone to tell me to visit here and stay at this campground (basically give me the perfect itinerary). Help???
    Most of us have got to that point at one time or another. I take it you already have good maps, so you can see what there is, and the routes along the way. There simply is no such thing as a perfect itinerary. Each trip is unique to those planning and enjoying it. But there we can help you with your planning to make your trip a trip to remember.

    Have you thought of doing a loop trip, this time, and concentrate on the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and all the great national parks between those two, and may be leave the places closer to home, Badlands and Mt Rushmore, for another time. Fly into and out of LV or SLC, which ever gives you the best deal in both flights and rental It would be more economical. You would not be up for the potentially huge fee for a one way drop - which can be in the four figures.

    If you do not already have maps, I recommend you get some and look at all the national parks in UT, WY, CA and AZ. Even then there may be too many to fit into a 16 day vacation.

    The ideal plan for national parks, especially in an RV is to stay within the parks, but you may find that spots will be hard to get for June/July. National parks accommodation is limited and much sought after. People book their spots half a year, or more, ahead.


  4. #4


    Have you been out west before or is this your first time?

  5. Default

    This will be our first and possibly last until kids are older. That is why I would like to do as much as possible before the oldest is off to college.

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


    I think Michael's suggestion of lying out and back and doing a loop trip is an excellent idea, especially as you seem to want to focus on the west. You should also consider the fact that 'trying to do as much as possible' is a fine line between that and being so much that you are just rushing from place to place and not really enjoying any of them.

    I'm at the point where I would love someone to tell me to visit here and stay at this campground (basically give me the perfect itinerary). Help???
    I would start by working on a day to day itinerary, it's a good way to see how things can, or can't fit into your time schedule. First off, can you, and do you want to fly out and back ? We are here to help you with the finer detail, but the moment someone tells you what to do, where to go and when, it is no longer your trip. Planning can be a fun part of the adventure so try to embrace it. Once you have the basics down it will start to fall into place.

  7. Default PA to MT Rushmore, AZ and back in 20 days???

    Hi it's been a while since I've been on and in that time had made reservations to rent an RV cancelled them and bought a used 2000 coachman to take to the road here is what we have come up with so far, please tell me if this is doable... mid June 2017 start

    Day 1 NE PA to Cleveland OH

    Day 2 MI to Wisconsin Dells

    Day 3 Dells to Mitchell

    Day 4 Mitchell to Palmer Gulch SD (MT Rushmore)

    Day 5 Palmer Gulch stay

    Day 6 Palmer Gulch stay

    Day 7 Palmer to West Yellowstone

    Day 8,9,10, Yellowstone

    Day 11 Yellowstone to Grand Tetons

    Day 12 Grand Teton

    Day 13 Grand Teton to Arches Nat

    Day 14 Arches

    Day 15 Arches to Grand Canyon

    Day 16 Grand Canyon

    Day 17 Grand Canyon

    and that is as far as we have gotten because initially we had planned on flying back, now that we are driving I am hoping to get home within 3-4 days any suggestions??? are we crazy? We will be traveling with 2 teens & 1 9yr old..... and a good sense of humor.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Day 1 NE PA to Cleveland OH

    Day 2 MI to Wisconsin Dells

    Day 3 Dells to Mitchell
    Welcome back!

    The first thing I noticed is that you are somehow getting from Cleveland to Michigan, or you changed the plans but didn't type everything? So....assuming that's a typo....

    NE PA (I used Scranton) to Cleveland is reasonable, just under 400 miles. However, your next day is a doozy in a motorhome -- 550 miles. If there's no particular reason to stay in Cleveland, you might want to get a little further west. Exit 118 has an RV park, for instance.

    The other problem is getting home from the Grand Canyon in "3-4 days". It's almost 2400 miles (once again, that's to Scranton, so your mileage may vary -- literally). In a motorhome, that's about 5 days. Perhaps you can spend one day less somewhere else to make up for it, or get another day somehow. But trying to drive 600 miles a day in a motorhome is going to have you on the road for 14 hours -- not safe at all.

    Motorhomes, particularly older ones, don't have a lot of "get up and go". So you're going to be slower than you might be in the family SUV or mini-van. If you get into any wind situations, you'll find yourself going a lot slower. Also, and I say this with a lot of kindness and understanding, and lots of experience with older RVs, you could possibly need an extra day or two for repair work. I can't tell you how many RV trips I've been on where I've had to sit in repair shops! Hopefully that will not happen to you -- I sincerely hope it will not -- but it is a definite possibility.

    Other than that, everything looks pretty good!


  9. Default


    Yes you are right that was a typo, MI is out of the picture and I think we will go further west, no real reason to stop over in Cleveland. I will look into Exit 118. We are about 40 minutes south of Scranton so its the same general area. I did give us a day or two extra if needed; I just feel like it is so much to take in. My husband is pretty handy with large trucks, I hope to god his skills won't be put to the test, but there is always that chance. Any suggestions which way to go home or must sees?

    Thanks, Pam

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    The most direct return route would be I-40/I-44/I-70/I-71/I-76/I-80 via OK City, St. Louis, and Columbus (cities you'll be driving through, not stop recommendations.) From the sounds of it, that's probably the route you'll need to focus on, as you'd need at least 4 very hard days on the road, and even that's pushing it in an RV, to cover those miles. Really any other route is going to add even more miles and time, which it doesn't really appear you have right now.

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