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  1. Default Pacific Northwest to South West, late May - early June

    Hi All,

    My friend and I are planning our first road trip in late spring this year before he deploys for duty. We living in NJ, and are planning to fly out to Washington to begin, then make our way down from there. This is a rough itinerary:

    Day 1: Fly out to Hoquiam; Visit Aberdeen
    Day 2: Drive to Seattle (or get there late night, day 1); Sightseeing
    Day 3: Sightseeing half the day, drive to Glacier National Park the other half.
    Day 4: Glacier National Park
    Day 5: Drive to Yellow stone
    Day 6: Yellowstone
    Day 7: Drive to Grand Canyon
    Day 8: Grand Canyon
    Day 9: Drive to Vegas
    Day 10: Vegas
    Day 11: Vegas
    Day 12: Leave from Vegas

    Now, we can stretch the trip by another 2-3 days, I was just wondering if there were any other suggestions people had for stops along the way or any tips for a first time road tripper. FYI, we'd be renting a car obviously, and possibly camping over night at Glacier, rather than finding a hotel or Airbnb in the area, as we only have about $2,000 each to spend.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

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

    Default You're going to need to those 2-3 days

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you're going to need those 2-3 extra days, and even there, you might look at cutting down your trip a bit.

    A few things you're underestimating.

    Seattle to Glacier is a full day drive, and a long one at that. It's going to take you a solid 10+ hours, and that's just to the west side of the park. It looks like if you want to spend any time in Seattle at all, you'll need at least 1 day there.

    Yellowstone is a huge park, and it really requires a bare minimum of 2 full days just to see the highlights, so that's a spot I would add at least 1 more day, if not 2.

    Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon is a 900 mile drive. That's much farther than you can safely do in one day. Especially making note that much of the drive would not be on the Interstate, it's practically a 2 full day drive, requiring about 17-18 hours on the road.

    Between Yellowstone and Grand Canyon, there are several other great National Parks that you'd be otherwise driving past - like Bryce Canyon and Zion. As of right now, you really wouldn't have time to stop at either, but you might look at going there instead of Glacier, which would also save you some miles.

    I will also note, if you plan to camp, that's something that takes more time that you need to factor into your plan as well.

    One other note, considering your concern about cost, have you looked into car rental costs yet? One way fees can add hundreds of dollars to the cost to rent a car. If you're actually flying into Aberdeen, I'd expect those fees to be even higher than if you were starting in a hub city like Seattle.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    The other thing I'd caution you about, would be to call Glacier National Park before you head there. Though they usually expect to have Going to the Sun Road open by Memorial Day, there have been years where it did not open until mid-June.

    I would agree with Michael on everything else: Seattle to Glacier is at least a 10 hour drive. Glacier will take the full day to cross Going to the Sun Road. If you're camping, you'll either have to get a reservation or get in early to one of the campsites. (Early=9 am).

    Glacier to Yellowstone = about 8 hour drive, since much of it is on 2-lane highway. Yellowstone to Grand Canyon = at least 1.5 day drive, if not a full day drive.

    If your budget is small, you might want to consider mostly camping. Lodging near the national parks that you mentioned are all around $150/night for the cheap places. You *might* find a place cheaper, but it may not be as close to the park as you want.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default I would choose one or the other.

    I honestly think you would be better off either doing a loop trip from Vegas [if that's a must see] and forget about the PNW, [it's not like you have time to explore it properly anyway], or do a loop trip from Seattle and forget about the Grand canyon and Vegas. That alone would pay for an extra 3 days on the road and make a much more relaxed trip. From Vegas you could go all the way to Glacier NP with those extra days, a bit like this trip or you could head for Yellowstone and see more of the amazing parks in between LV and Yellowstone like Zion and Bryce canyon, perhaps even Arches and Canyonlands.

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