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  1. Default Road Trip Route Planned - advice greatly appreciated!!

    Hi everyone :)

    So happy to find this forum and thank you so much before hand .. this is our first road trip lasting more then a week so all advice is love! My husband and I are bringing our two youngest with us (6 & 9) .. and our rolling motel aka done up mini van! So no hotels needed, and we will be skipping restaurants unless it is something we really are interested in .. waste of time in our eyes and we are more of the outdoor family! we are leaving the second week of August and will see how long it takes us .. have the map on the wall, a binder full of info I put together, and a map of every state!!

    Okay so route planned .. obviously we won't be doing every last thing, but here is what is on our route .. with lot's of extra stops listed in case the kids need a break, or we just wanna stop .. looking for an amazing stops near route we missed, or things I should miss .. ways to cut roads (although we are doing byways, especially wildlife loop, needles, beartooth) .. basically anything from the experienced.

    Litchfield, CT
    Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio
    West Side Market, Cleveland
    Volo Auto Museum
    Chicago River Walk, Navy Pier, The Giant Bean, Millennium Park
    Devil's Lake State Park .. Baraboo, WI
    Blue Mounds State Park .. Blue Mounds, MN
    Wall Drug
    Rapid City
    Badlands National Park, SD
    Custer State Park, SD
    Mount Rushmore
    Devil's Tower
    Bighorn National Canyon
    Cody, Wy
    Grand Teton .. Jenny Lake
    Bear Lake .. Idaho into Utah
    Antelope Island, Utah
    Salt Lake Ciy .. Big Cottonwood Canyon or Liberty Square
    Bryce Canyon, Utah
    Toquerville Falls, UT
    Zion National Park
    Page, AZ .. Navajo Bridge, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell
    Cedar Break National
    Grand Canyon .. East entrance then to the South exit (?) .. mather or yuvapi point for the sunset
    Sedona, Az .. Slide Rock
    Phoenix, AZ
    Petrified Forest, AZ
    Blue Hole
    Cibola National
    El Malpais National Monument
    Palo Duro Canyon, TX
    Oklahoma City
    The Blue Whale
    Totum Pole Park
    Pop's Store
    Hot Springs National Park, AR
    Memphis, TN
    Antique Archaeology, Nashville (American pickers store)
    Lane Motor Museum, Nashville
    Smokey Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg
    Jefferson and George Washington National Park
    Shenandoah National Park
    Chesapeake Bay .. .. toward CT home

    Thanks so much!!

    Last edited by Alvaradofamily; 07-07-2016 at 04:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    New Mexico -- near Albuquerque is the Petroglyphs National Monument, and the Rio Grande Nature State Park. Between Petrified Forest and Albuquerque is the El Mapais National Monument and the Zuni-Bandera Field -- both of them are volcanic in nature.

    Be aware, camping near Phoenix is going to be hot-hot-hot, and the state will be in monsoon season. You may want to take a motel there. Be also aware that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally goes through the 2nd week of August this year. Anything in the Black Hills area of South Dakota will be packed then, and places to the west and east of it may be very, very busy for the week following the Rally.


  3. Default

    Haha .. great .. actually a bit of a bonus with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally .. I was looking for events around the areas at the time! Thanks for the heads up though, we would have been a bit shocked trying to deal with the amount of people, not knowing .. gonna search for some dead areas .. not that I know where to look .. I haven't been far off the east coast!

    Love the ideas for New Mexico .. where I am the most lost .. Tip taken on the Phoenix area, wanted to fit in a couple of trendy hotel/cabin type deals we all would enjoy.. I have heard about earth ships and different cool lil lodgings .. any suggestions?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A few more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alvaradofamily;17901 [QUOTE
    .. not that I know where to look ..

    Love the ideas for New Mexico .. where I am the most lost ..
    The best place to look is on your maps. Search each place you see on the web. (Have you checked what members here have suggested in the map centre above.?) You may like to include Wall Drug in Wall - get your 5c coffee and free iced water, go right to the back yard where there is a lot of history. Corn Palace in Mitchell is not on your list either. Both those places could be of interest to the young ones.

    In NM in Albuquerque there is the old city and the cable car to Sandia Peak. Sante Fe and its historic area, as well as Taos and surrounds.

    For the GC there is an IMAX theatre in Tusayan, which is worth going to see. The same at Zion.


  5. Default

    Love the cable car to Sandia Peak .. just looked that up, looks amazing!! Thanks ..

    Wall drug I do have down (in the brain hhehee) .. In other states I saw a Pop's Soda .. the Blue Whale ... a few other lil cute things .. I need to map the Corn Palace! We do love the Imax theater's so we may check those out if we have time! Thanks so much :)

  6. Default

    Do your kids or does your family have the US National Parks Passport book? If not, you can buy one at any National Park. You can get the book stamped with date stamps and also purchase pretty park pictures for each park at the visitor centers in the parks. I'm not a kid, but I bought a book last year and love getting the stamps in it!

    Not sure how you are routing by or through New Mexico, but the White Sands National Monument is amazing and worth a stopover of an hour or so. It's about 3 1/2 hours south of Albuquerque heading towards El Paso, TX and close to Las Cruces, assuming you will be in that area or driving near it. We did a long day's scenic drive from Grand Canyon Village to Las Cruces, then overnighted there, and it took about an hour and a half up to White Sands the next morning.

  7. Default

    I had never heard of that! Super cool, we will definitely get one .. We just picked up a book of stamps so we could send a post card home from each park :)

    It is about 3.5 hours off route .. but gosh .. I am thinking about it :)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Best Free and Cheap Activities

    I see a lot of national parks and monuments on your itinerary, so I'm surprised that no one has yet informed you of two of their most cost effective programs. The first is the America the Beautiful Annual Pass that is good for admission to all units of the system for the card holder and everyone in the vehicle with him or her, i.e. the entire family. The pass costs $80 and usually pays for itself once you visit four parks or monuments. There are a few things to note about it, however. It only covers admissions, not 'extras' like parking, campsites and other concessions, and it lasts for one year, starting at the moment of purchase. It makes sense then to buy it when you first roll up to a park/monument that charges admission. They will have plenty of such passes on hand, and that way your year doesn't start until you need it.

    The second is a program for your children, and they are pretty much the perfect ages for it, the Junior Ranger Program. To take advantage of this, you simply check in at a convenient Ranger Station and ask for that park's pamphlet. This will give them a set of activities to perform that will help them learn about the park and greatly enhance their experience. When they turn their completed booklet in, they will be sworn in as Junior Rangers and be given a number of free souvenirs usually including a certificate and badge.

    Actually now that I think about it, your nine-year-old may be able to get all of you into the national park system for free. There is a special program this year that lets ten-year-olds and/or fourth graders become 'special ambassadors' and get their entire family into the parks for free. It's certainly worth checking out.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-08-2016 at 11:38 AM.

  9. Default

    Oh my gosh! I have my annual state park pass .. never even thought! This is wonderful .. lil break in the cost ..

    The kids are pretty excited we are checking it out now .. My daughter is missing the deadline in the information by 2 weeks! I am going to inquire when I call about the pass.

    You are just wonderful .. Thank you soooo much!!

  10. Default

    You say you are the outdoorsy type family? Then you must be into geocaching. It can greatly enhance your vacation experiences by taking you places and showing you sites most other people miss. Even the National Parks participate.

    If there is no chance of flash floods while at Zion, do the NARROWS HIKE UP THE VIRGIN RIVER. It is spectacular and a great family activity when the river is low.

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