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  1. Default 2-3 week road trip from Dallas West with family

    I would like to spend 2-3 weeks taking my family (hubby and 3 kids 10-13) to some of the more wonderful, scenic, fun to see and do sites out West - but not including cities - just sites of wonder, amazement and fun. We will start in Dallas and go by SUV - love to stay at cool, unique places if possible (if possible not Hilton & Marriott) but Dude ranch, boutique places. No more than a few days of 10 hour driving - staying 2-3 days at each major place - unless it is just a stop. I welcome any and all suggestions. Thank you

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    With 2-3 weeks, you really could go pretty much anywhere in the lower 48 (and even parts of Canada) that are west of Dallas. The good news is that's a great opportunity, the bad news, that means the options for what you could do are nearly endless, and it's very difficult for anyone else to narrow things down when you've got a scope that big.

    Do you have some more specific ideas of where you'd like to focus your time? California? The many National Parks of the 4-corners regions? The Pacific Northwest? The Northern Rockies, like Glacier and Yellowstone?

    The more you can tell us what you've come up with in your plan to this point, the more people will be able to offer more specific ideas.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Get the children involved.

    Do you have some good maps, or a Road Atlas? If not that might be the best way to start. You will see just where and how many great national parks and monuments there are, as well as State Parks and the numerous scenic routes and biways you have to choose from.

    You might find this paragraph helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    Start with maps. Not GPS, not software, not Google, but real honest-to-god paper maps that show you your entire route, that you can mark up (and erase), that you can stick pins in, and that show something about the land you'll be driving through. Those are your essential tool in any RoadTrip planning process. Start by marking all the places you know you want to visit. Then connect the dots. Then look for more places of interest and scenic routes along the lines connecting the dots. Repeat until you've got as many sites and roads as you think you want.
    Each of the national parks has the junior ranger program which your children are bound to find very interesting. They will learn a lot about the park in a fun way and earn some nice souvenirs. The things they learn they are bound to take into every place of spectacular nature at which you stop - even if it is not a national park.

    Why not get the children to choose some of the places you go, and get them to do the research on them. The more they have invested in the trip, the more they are likely to get out of it.


  4. Default

    Thank you for the suggestions - So I hear you saying that 3 weeks we could pretty much go and see all. and maybe I should be more realistic - how about 10-14 nights? I am thinking I want to do this 2x in the next few years. Thinking we could make 2 geographic areas and cover the "Not to be missed" parks/sites over these 2 trips. Not interested in cities at all or the coast line - just sites, natural wonders. Thanks again

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default No, no no.

    I think you have misunderstood. With 3 weeks you could choose from many destinations you could reach, but it would take a lifetime to see it all. What Michael was saying is that with 3 weeks you will have to do some research and pick out what you would most like to see from those thousands of possibilities, then we can help make some meaningful suggestions when we know your main focal points. Although it's a nice amount of time, 3 weeks would barely scratch the surface of what you could see in the west. From Dallas a nice loop trip through the Four corner region could work nicely. Through New Mexico, into Colorado, across to Southern Utah and down through Arizona. Lot's of National parks, scenic drives and mountain towns etc.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Yes, as Dave indicated, you're badly misinterpreted my remarks.

    3 weeks would mean you would be able to get to any part of the US and explore that area, but that doesn't mean you could see it "all."

    It means, for example, if you wanted to explore the Pacific Northwest, you could spend 5-6 days driving there, making a couple stops along the way, spend a week or so exploring Washington and Oregon, and then take another 5-6 days driving back. However, even if you had 3 months, you wouldn't be able to see "everything" you could see in the Pacific Northwest, much less everything in between.

    If you now want to limit yourself to 10-14 days, then your options are a little more limited. I wouldn't try to go much more than 1500 miles away from home in that case (about 3 days of driving each way), however that still leaves the possibility of everything from the 4 corners region that Dave mentioned, to potentially places as far away as Southern California, Yellowstone, or Black Hills and Badlands. Of course, that's still a lot of things you could potentially do, and it will be up to you to narrow them down into a focus that meets your interests.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I've been traveling during summers almost my entire 50+ years of life, and have yet to "see it all". Would love to, but know that there just isn't enough time (or money) in a lifetime to do that.

    What we like to do: take a big map out of the USA, and start tagging out things that we might like to see. Once we get a list of things we really want to see, I start sketching out a day-to-day outline. I know we've chosen too much if I run out of days before I run out of things. Rarely is it the other way round, where I've run out of things before I've run out of days.

    Some rules of thumb we use: travel no more than 600 miles per day if on interstate and try not to do those day after day after day. Travel no more than 400 miles per day if on US highways, and less than that if on "scenic by-ways" (2 lane roads with dots or dashes by them, on most maps). Do at least a full day at every national park unless we've been there before (rare). On driving days, try to find a motel with a pool and/or hot tub, as those are very relaxing after a day on the road. YMMV, of course, but that's what we use.

    Start searching the maps....


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