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  1. Default 2 weeks in August

    Hello,

    I have 2 weeks with my 2 children at the beginning of August. They're aged 13 and 11.
    We like nature and landscapes.
    My main concern is the temperatures.
    I usually travel to cool countries like Norway, Scotland and such. This year I thought I might take them to the US.
    More than the heat I dread heat combined with moisture.
    So there is my preamble.

    I thought about landing at San Francisco and doing Yosemite, Death Valley maybe...
    But I have no idea how it is like in August... I mean the heat, and maybe also the amount of visitors?

    Also is that easy to do a road trip in those areas with a mobile home? Or is it preferable to have a 4x4 and sleep at Airbnb's?

    I am really looking for enchanting panoramic views....
    You know, lakes, mountains, green pastures, beautiful deserts....

    Please your advice is needed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,989

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If you dread the heat, then going to Death Valley in August is probably not a good idea. Death Valley is the hottest place in North America, and August is the hottest month of the year! There wouldn't be much/any moisture, but when the average air temperature is 115F/45C, it's just hot!

    August is basically peak season for travel everywhere in the US, but the nice thing about most National Parks is that if you are willing to walk even a little off the beaten path, things quiet down considerably.

    If you are looking to fly into San Francisco, you might be better served by visiting Northern California. You could look at a loop that might be something like Sequoia, Yosemite, Lassen, up into Oregon for Crater Lake and then back via Redwoods NP and the coast. With the exception of California's Central Valley that you'll drive through, you should find comfortable and even cool temperatures at all of those places due to the elevation and coast.

    Otherwise, there are other high elevation places you might want to explore elsewhere in the west. Yellowstone and Glacier are places that stay nice and cool in August, that might be worth considering.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    It's most economical to rent a car (you do not need a 4x4) and stay in hotels/motels.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If you dread the heat, then going to Death Valley in August is probably not a good idea. Death Valley is the hottest place in North America, and August is the hottest month of the year! There wouldn't be much/any moisture, but when the average air temperature is 115F/45C, it's just hot!

    August is basically peak season for travel everywhere in the US, but the nice thing about most National Parks is that if you are willing to walk even a little off the beaten path, things quiet down considerably.

    If you are looking to fly into San Francisco, you might be better served by visiting Northern California. You could look at a loop that might be something like Sequoia, Yosemite, Lassen, up into Oregon for Crater Lake and then back via Redwoods NP and the coast. With the exception of California's Central Valley that you'll drive through, you should find comfortable and even cool temperatures at all of those places due to the elevation and coast.

    Otherwise, there are other high elevation places you might want to explore elsewhere in the west. Yellowstone and Glacier are places that stay nice and cool in August, that might be worth considering.
    Thank you, this is some very good info.
    I really don't mind shifting to the Middle West if you say the temperatures are cooler.
    Do you think I can also find some attractions for the children (13 and 11) around the same areas as Yellowstone and Glacier?
    I have 2 weeks to tour there, do you have any other recommendations around the same area?
    Where would it be best to land and start the road trip around that area?
    I do not have to imperatively leave the US from the same airport, so I can consider doing a road trip that will take me further up ... north maybe where it's cooler?
    I guess, unlike my previous trips in Europe, and because of the greater distances, it would be better for me to rely on motels and such, and not Airbnb where I usually stay for a few days at each stops. Are motels suitable with children?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,324

    Default Two Weeks in the 'Western' US

    There are quite a few options for two weeks in the west with children if you're not tied to any particular destination. With most such itineraries you should be able to include a bit of shoreline, mountains, forest and (usually) some desert as well. Michael gave a quick outline of one, northern California, that could be done from San Francisco. Another could be built around Seattle and might include Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, Glacier National Park, Hells Canyon National Recreating Area, the Columbia River Gorge, and several state parks along the Pacific Coast Highway (US-101).

    Yet another might use Denver as a hub and include Rocky Mountain National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, the Great Salt Lake, the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks, Little Bighorn Battlefield (Custer's Last Stand, Devils Tower, Mount Rushmore and others.

    If trying to stay north and cool are more important than mountains, you might also want to take a look at flying in/out of Chicago or Minneapolis and do a loop among the Great Lakes hitting some of the wildlife refuges along the Mississippi River; Apostle Islands, Picture Rocks, Sleeping Bear Dunes and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshores; the museums of Chicago and perhaps Circus World Museum in Baraboo WI or the water parks of Wisconsin Dells.

    Since you can, apparently, build a very nice two week RoadTrip around any major air port of entry, you might as well see if any of them offer significant savings on the price of a round-trip ticket from your home. Car rental costs might also be a factor, but probably not as much as the airfare. Motels are generally fine for nights when you've been out all day and are just looking to relax a bit (check to see if they have a pool) and than get a good night's sleep. Many come with free, if somewhat limited) breakfasts. But if you're going to be spending a fair amount of time 'indoors' then I'd think you'd be happier with a B&B or AirBnB, or even vacation rental, type accommodation.

    Yes, distances in the US tend to be a bit daunting compared to Europe, but especially in the west the countryside and roads are wide open and travel times are shorter than you might expect.

    AZBuck

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    There are quite a few options for two weeks in the west with children if you're not tied to any particular destination. With most such itineraries you should be able to include a bit of shoreline, mountains, forest and (usually) some desert as well. Michael gave a quick outline of one, northern California, that could be done from San Francisco. Another could be built around Seattle and might include Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, Glacier National Park, Hells Canyon National Recreating Area, the Columbia River Gorge, and several state parks along the Pacific Coast Highway (US-101).

    Yet another might use Denver as a hub and include Rocky Mountain National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, the Great Salt Lake, the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks, Little Bighorn Battlefield (Custer's Last Stand, Devils Tower, Mount Rushmore and others.

    If trying to stay north and cool are more important than mountains, you might also want to take a look at flying in/out of Chicago or Minneapolis and do a loop among the Great Lakes hitting some of the wildlife refuges along the Mississippi River; Apostle Islands, Picture Rocks, Sleeping Bear Dunes and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshores; the museums of Chicago and perhaps Circus World Museum in Baraboo WI or the water parks of Wisconsin Dells.

    Since you can, apparently, build a very nice two week RoadTrip around any major air port of entry, you might as well see if any of them offer significant savings on the price of a round-trip ticket from your home. Car rental costs might also be a factor, but probably not as much as the airfare. Motels are generally fine for nights when you've been out all day and are just looking to relax a bit (check to see if they have a pool) and than get a good night's sleep. Many come with free, if somewhat limited) breakfasts. But if you're going to be spending a fair amount of time 'indoors' then I'd think you'd be happier with a B&B or AirBnB, or even vacation rental, type accommodation.

    Yes, distances in the US tend to be a bit daunting compared to Europe, but especially in the west the countryside and roads are wide open and travel times are shorter than you might expect.

    AZBuck
    First I would like to thank you for the extensive and detailed help.
    After I looked up pictures, videos, temperatures, reviews, your Denver option is the one that suits me best. So Denver it is.

    I have some more questions though.
    I have to leave the US from Miami FL for reasons that have nothing to do with the trip, therefore I am not tied to any particular port of arrival to depart from.
    What I mean is that I will probably land in Denver to start my trip but then I will have to catch another plane for Miami.
    Since I will be driving from Denver to all these places, do you think I should do that in a certain order that will eventually take me to another place of interest, and airport from where I will eventually fly to Miami? This in order not to travel back on my own track.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    You should probably do a "loop" trip ending in Denver - otherwise, you will be paying a substantial dropoff charge for the car.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    You should probably do a "loop" trip ending in Denver - otherwise, you will be paying a substantial dropoff charge for the car.
    From my experience in the US, the car rental are very cheap, so I guess this is not really a parameter to take into account. More importantly the trip has to be interesting. So if the described tour above can be done as a loop, then fine, but if not I will not force it just for the sake of the car rental.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,697

    Default

    It really depends on what places you wish to visit, a Denver loop can work well, but you could look at a one way trip that ends up in Seattle if you want to go as far north as Glacier NP or explore some of the natural wonders of Oregon and Washington. Salt Lake City would be a possibility if you wanted to cover less miles and 'hang out' in the Rockies and Yellowstone for example..

  10. Default

    Hello,

    Thank you all for your help but I need it again more than ever.
    I had some serious family issues that prevented me from planning lately.
    And now, 3 weeks away from my trip, all I have is plane tickets and a car reservation.
    I am totally panicking.
    I arrive to and leave from Denver, Co between the 28th July and the 13th August.
    I know I will do Yellowstone, and I heard that for that I will need 5 days ± 1 day.
    BTW, which place/town/city around Yellowstone would be best to use as base?
    Apart from that, my head explodes every time I glance at the temperatures around Denver.
    I am really scared to be totally incapacitated by the heat.
    I guess that means I should plan my loop around Denver northbound, right? Thus abandoning Utah etc....
    Please help me focus on 2-4 other places of interest taking into account all of the above.
    Maybe one of them on my way from Denver to Yellowstone because I don't like the idea of driving 8 hours straight right after 20 hours of flying.
    Maybe places where we could cool down. Water? Rivers? Caves?
    We don't care for cities, towns, except if it is something related to history, culture ....
    A theme park would good for the kids too, for 1 day maybe.

    Thank you very much
    Last edited by xtrips; 07-10-2017 at 04:05 AM.

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