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  1. Default summer road trip

    We are planning a road trip from Dallas to Escalon, California to visit family this summer with two teenagers. We have never taken a road trip of this magnitude with no clear cut plan for where to stop for entertainment/attractions along the way. We know we would like to stop in the Grand Canyon area and see Hoover Dam. My daughter considers vacation as going to a beach, so someone suggested for us to stop at a "beach" like area on one the lakes in Nevada. My husband and I are overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to break this trip up into sections that will be entertaining memorable for the kids and us. Also, and I am not sure if I am correct, I read somewhere that from Escalon, we go through San Francisco and San Diego to take a different scenic route back to Dallas. I would love to do that if would not add a lot of miles to an already massively lengthy trip. Any help in planning this trip would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Getting started.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip forum.

    Do you have some good detailed maps? If not, pick some up at AAA (free to members) or get hold of a good road atlas. Then you might like to start by following the advice in this paragraph:-

    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.
    You are going to need maps when on the road, so may as well get them to help you plan. They have so much more detail than you will see on a small screen.

    Enjoy the planning.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default How much time available ?

    Taking a different route each way is certainly the way to go. The main thing we would need to know is how much time you have for the trip out and how much time for the trip home, it's no good us recommending things that you might not have time for, the possibilities are endless ! The maximum you should travel as a family is 500 to 550 miles per day but that is work like and you won't have time for sightseeing so once you have attractions to mind you can see how that might work into the time you have.

    You should get the teenagers to do some research and have an input, if they feel they are part of the trip and have a vested interest rather than feeling as though they are being dragged along for the ride, it will be more fun for everyone.

  4. Default

    Hi Katie!

    I'm not sure how helpful this information is as I'm only planning my road trip now, and am from England! But I'll share some things I have found and added to my trip as they may interest you and your family.

    We are staying in Flagstaff, which is a good distance from the Grand Canyon. Just outside of Flagstaff is Slide Rock State Park which looks beautiful for hikes and has a natural water slide which your daughter may enjoy.

    If you are visiting the Hoover Dam and don't mind the detour to Las Vegas (not the strip don't worry), I found an awesome water park that she may love too with a huge wave pool and cool attractions at cowabunga Bay Vegas if you can't find a suitable beach.

    Beach-wise, I have fallen in love with Santa Cruz and we have added that to our trip. The beach goes on for miles and has a great boardwalk and funfair on the beachfront.

    As I say, I'm not from the US but part of my trip covers the same route so perhaps something here may interest you or your family.

    I hope you have a wonderful time!

    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 04-28-2016 at 03:38 AM. Reason: Removed commercial links.

  5. Default

    We are planning two weeks for the trip. Any suggestions would be helpful.

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


    You have a minimum of 6 days driving to get out and back with no sight seeing so the other thing to consider is how much of the two weeks will you be spending with the family ? Heading out to SF and all the way to San Diego will add considerable miles and time to the drive, especially if you took the scenic coast road which is spectacular by the way. If it were me I would consider heading up to Cortez from Albuquerque [Mesa Verde NP] and then head through Monument valley and Page to Zion NP and then across Death valley and Yosemite on Tioga Pass [CA120] to your destination. On the way home you could head south on US99 and take a possible detour to Sequoia NP and then to the Grand canyon and Petrified forest. That would add about 300 miles to going out and back via the most direct route which isn't much over a week, but then you need time to stop and enjoy yourselves.

    The fact is there are thousands of options, it's just a case of first working out what pace you want to travel at, how far you want to wander and how you want to split your time. Once you have the basics worked out and a couple of ideas we can help piece it altogether.

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