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  1. #1

    Default single mom and 5 yr.old need W. roadtrip advice

    Hi -

    New to the forum and thrilled to have found it! Thanks for any guidance you might offer....seeking guidance for the a 4-week trip somewhere West.

    I was originally contemplating a more wide-ranging trip, but I'd rather spend more time exploring a few places in depth than driving all over for days. We prefer to spend 2-5 nights in one place, mostly camping, with some hotels here and there for a few special days (i.e, my 40th bday in June). We'll rent a car in area and bring camping stuff.

    It's just the two of us, so that's a factor, too, but he's a good traveler and holds up well, even under long days and grueling drives, though I try to minimize those whenever possible, of course.

    We're looking at two options for the 4 week trip:

    A) Yellowstone/Tetons/Glacier/perhaps Banff/area or

    B) Zion/Bryce/Grand Canyon/environs


    1 - We'll take one trip this year and save the other for a future time, so are there any particular factors we should consider in deciding which to take this year? I'm not rich, so I'm looking at costs for airline flights and car rental (ie, we'd probably have to fly into Salt Lake City or Spokane?..), but I don't mind paying more to have cool experiences (I'm not on a shoestring, but not loaded, either.) Also: my son's age and fact that it's just the two of us.

    I'm sort of leaning toward flying into Las Vegas (just as a launching point) or Phoenix and either doing a loop (in one, out the other), I think primarily because the trip seems easier to plan with gateway cities, but if we do that, what route should we take?
    If we fly in and out of Las Vegas (cheaper car rental but more driving), what route is recommended?
    Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, Zion, and Bryce are must-sees if we take this trip, but what else should we try to incorporate?

    3- If we do the other trip, fly into Spokane? Or Salt Lake? Or try Jackson Hole? Round trip or pay the extra for one-way flights and car rentals? I think flying into MT is prob. out of the budget.

    I'd very much appreciate any general or specific feedback on either/both of the contemplated trips. I'm driving myself nuts with indecision because I want to do it all!

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

    Default choices

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Since you've got 4 weeks for this trip, I think you have a little more latitude than you are giving yourself credit for. If you wanted to, you could hit all of the places you've mentioned into about a month, although you probably wouldn't be able to go quite as in-depth as you seem to want.

    Even with a nice in-depth trip, you would really be able to shop around to find the best flight/car deals. If you were to stick with your northern idea, you could look at Spokane, Salt Lake, and Boise, but you could also look a little farther afield to places like Denver, Seattle, or Portland. With 4 weeks, you'd still have plenty of time to do everything you've listed and comfortably deal with the longer drives. But look around everywhere, airline and car rental prices can be fairly goofy, and its entirely possible that you could get a flight to Billings or another Montana or Wyoming city for nearly the same price as a flight to Salt Lake or Spokane, it just depends on the specific timetable you are looking at and who is offering what deals.

    The one things that usually remains constant is that round trips are almost always cheaper than one ways, for both car and airlines, so I probably wouldn't be looking at an option to fly into one place and out of another. For example with your Las Vegas-Phoenix idea, I would be it will cost you several hundred dollars more to fly into one and out of another, and its a pretty easy day drive to get between those two cities - very easy to do without sacrificing the other plans of a 4 week trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default You Have One Lucky Son!

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Sounds like a great trip, no matter which one you choose to do (first). I especially like the idea of spending time exploring one area rather than just rushing from one 'must see' to another, and doing not much more than seeing them.

    If I faced the same choice for a trip with my 5 year old grandson, I think I'd lean heavily toward the Grand Canyon and northern Arizona. Much as your son sounds like a trooper, there are just more things to do in that area, many of them on a smaller scale that wouldn't overwhelm him. Save the more wide open spaces of the northern Rockies for when he's a bit older.

    Flights into Las Vegas, and/or Phoenix may be a little cheaper as they are both Southwest hubs. Las Vegas would allow you to hit your main objectives in two loop trips, one northeast through the parks of southwestern Utah (basically along I-15) and one south and east through northern Arizona (basically on I-40), returning each time (but NOT each night!) to your base in Las Vegas


  4. #4

    Default thanks - decided on Nev., Utah, Arizona...

    Thanks so much for the input!

    Decided to take the S. route and will fly into Las Vegas and probably do a big loop, taking in Zion, Bryce, Moab/Arches/Canyonlands, and Grand Canyon and area. THinking of also trying to take in Mesa Verde natl. park.

    I'll probably post a new thread when I've done a bit more research, but would be pleased to get any other input on what else should I be considering in the area if I have 4 weeks?

    Thanks again!


  5. #5


    Thinking of your son.

    Most 5 year old boys love trains, especially steam ones. So if you make it to Mesa Verde NP (very interesting place) you could go the few extra miles to Durango. The Durango to Silverton train is as good as it gets for this experience.

    See what he thinks maybe?
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-02-2008 at 03:02 PM. Reason: added a link to an article we published about this


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