Ohio to Arizona in July w/3 kids. Any advise?
This is will be my family's first 'real' road trip. We've decided to drive from Columbus, Ohio to Sedona, Arizona for vacation this year. In a mini van with a 10 year old and 2 year old twins in July ...I'm a little nervous. But we think getting there will be half the fun!
Our plan is to leave Columbus approx. 7 p.m. on Thursday - to get a few hours under our belt. And want to get to Sedona by Sunday afternoon. Any advise?
Through numerous websites we've planned a route that will take us through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. There is sooo much to see! On the return trip we will less in a hurry and have from Sunday to Friday to enjoy the roadtrip.
Neither my husband or I have ever been to any of these places and we're having a hard time picking and choosing what to see and do. Keep in mind that we still have a destination to get to.
Traveling with kids
Traveling with kids will limit your flexibility a little (if you're smart), so plan for that. This route is three days of driving, plus. In order to keep the kids interested you need to have a little structure, and plan for their schedule -- meals, rest stops, etc. No marathon long-distances between stops.
I'd select a couple SHORT diversions for them along the way, but more than that & you won't make it to Sedona on Sunday afternoon. Beyond that, make sure they get to stretch on the rest/food/gas stops and plenty of sleep at night -- don't drive past suppertime.
For kids, staying at a motel is an adventure in itself. One sure winner is staying at a place with a pool and giving them a few minutes or so to unwind in it before bedtime. If you want your kids to learn to love traveling, use games that keep their minds focused on the trip and the driving -- NOT electronic hand-held pocket games, etc. (I understand that two-year olds won't be much involved in the adventure of traveling, but the ten year old maybe will be, if you're lucky).
You want to finish the drive into Sedona during daylight, whether from the north or from the south. If you are close, and it is getting dark, stop in Flagstaff for the night. You could go south from Flagstaff on I-17, and double back to Sedona on SR179 (this is the red rock route). Or, the short way is south from Flagstaff on US89A -- this route drops into Oak Creek Canyon from the north and winds through the canyon along the creek to get to Sedona. Either way -- you want to SEE it in daylight. In the canyon, watch for world-famous Slide Rock State Park! Take some old jean cut-offs and wreck them sliding down the natural rock water slide! You could also let the older child do a little trout fishing at the Rainbow Trailer Park (a little stocked pond). I'm not sure what the cost is these days; when I was a kid it was .10 an inch! It is located just south of Indian Gardens along 89A (in the canyon).
Finally, if you want to see a spectacular view, and you're not afraid of driving on the side of a mountain -- take Schnebley Hill Road from Sedona to I-17. The road cuts off from SR179 where it turns across the creek in Sedona (right at the end of the bridge), south of its junction with 89A. Ask a local for directions, it's easy to find and worth the adventure and white knuckles.
Since there's not much time on the way west, what attractions are you interested in seeing on the return trip -- what's on your list of possibles? Bob
summer heat here in the southwest
be sure to have plenty of water on hand as the temperature is in the 90* range and july is usually our hottest month here in new mexico. albuquerque to flagstaff is a breeze but make sure your air conditioning and cooling system are in good shape.my wife, daughter and i are heading east to the cleveland area for the fourth of july/vacation. have made the trip several times.never had any problems good luck have asafe trip
suggestion - St. Louis
You can stop in St. Louis and visit the Gateway Arch which is about 600 feet high, very impressive especially for kids. There's a nice little museum in the basement and you could have a walk by the Mississippi river and maybe take a steamboat ride. There's free parking at the old church at the entrance of the park (don't tell:o), just pretend you go to the church and head to the park. It's also a great place for pic-nics.