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  1. Default Driving Vegas to Yellowstone, Seattle then down the coast

    Hi there
    I am new to this forum and have found a wealth of information. We are from Australia and in the early stages of planning a trip for SEp/Oct next year.
    Ideally what we would like to do is start in Vegas, do GC, Lake Powell, Arches NP ??, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, across to Seattle and then back down the coast to LA. Possible sidetrips into Lake Tahoe and Yosemite??
    We have 4, possibly 5wks to do this in and I feel perhaps I am trying to cram too much in. We dont want too many long driving days - 4-5hrs max would be great,but prepared to do a couple of longer days if necessary. As we are travelling so far, we really want to see as much as poss, would like to have 2-3nt stops in the important places. you think it can be done; if not what places would you cut out. Also how many days do you think we would need to drive back down the coast (allowing for 3nts in SFO). Dont need to worry about Disney in LA as we will cover that in Florida. We will have 2 kids with us, aged 7
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Plenty of Time

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Well, you're looking at around 3,500 miles point to point, maybe something more like 4,000 or so by the time you throw in some side trips. That's still only 1,000 miles a week, or 330 miles a day for 3 days and 4 days of relaxing at some places you like, So a quick back of the envelope calculation like that says that your trip should fit well within the constraints you've laid out. But there are so many more venues along the way that you and the kids would really enjoy that you might think about making this a series of much shorter drives. For example, between Arches and Yellowstone, there are lots of interesting and scenic places that will help break up the trip. The same is true everywhere along your entire route. With over a year to plan for this, you should nonetheless start planning now, and get the kids involved. Get them a good map of the U.S. and mark the route you've proposed on it. Put them to work finding interesting places along that route that you'd all like to see. You'll find, I think, that it will be easy to fill your time with much more than just driving.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Pretty leisurely, actually!

    Like AZBuck said, you could easily just travel 2-3 days per week and explore the rest of the days and cover this distance. Or drive just a short distance every other day. It's very do-able.

    There are so many things to see that you'll never see it all, even if you had several years, but it's fun to plan, pick out the highlights, pick out some other options that you might do if you have time, and then also allow for serendipitous discoveries while you're on the road.

    Since you have so much time before your trip, I would visit the tourism websites of the various states you're planning on traveling through (google "___name of state___ tourism" and you'll find them). You'll get a lot of good information off their websites and can also order free trip planning information that is easier for you to pour over as a family. Your kids are old enough to get involved and add their ideas.

    Also, just search through these forums (using "search" in green bar above). There is a wealth of information here.

    Also, check out the national parks website for some terrific information. And you will also have time to drive some of America's scenic byways.

    Planning is part of the fun. We'll be glad to give you further advice, make suggestions, and help you tweak things as you plan.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Nice trip !

    Hi Lisa,

    What a great adventure with a nice amount of time to spend exploring. The National parks website is a great tool for planning and you will notice some great parks between GC and Arches as well, including Zion and Bryce canyon which are 2 popular ones. On a trip like this be sure to purchase the annual pass at the first park you visit. This is currently $80 and costs about the same as entering 4 parks, so any after that become "freebies".
    As you are considering Yosemite but not to bothered about LA you could always head part way down the coast and then to Yosemite which would enable you to cross the Sierra's by way of the Tioga pass [120] and drive through Death valley to Vegas. That could save you one way drop off charges on your car rental as well.
    Sept/Oct are my favorite times to travel as the crowds are leaving, the daytime temps are nice and the Fall colours are around, brilliant.

  5. Default thanks

    Thanks for that. I will get back to you for some advice when we have nutted out a bit more of an itinerary. I'm starting early because we would like to stay inside some of the national parks, and I believe you need to book these early.

  6. Default Arches or Bryce??

    So we are looking at the 1st part of our trip, being LV through to Salt Lake City. We are looking at spending around a week there. Musts are LV 2nts, GC 2nt. I really like the sound of Lake Powell for 2nts. I would love to visit all of the parks in Utah but we are on a limited time frame and I want to be able to have time in each place, not be on the go each day. So I have worked out to get to SLC the best places to start from are either Bryce or Arches (we are going through to Yellowstone). My question, is it worth the extra miles to travel across to Arches? Bryce, being a canyon is it similar scenery to the Grand Canyon or completely different? We will have 2 kids with us so am trying to pick areas that will be quite different so they dont get bored! Also is Highway 12 worth the drive, bearing in mind I think we will be seeing some pretty spectacular scenery up through Yellowstone and Tetons. Travelling with kids we are not so worried about doing long hikes, but more a few short walks and gobsmacking scenery. Also SLC doesnt really interest me. Is there somewhere between southern Utah and Tetons that is a really nice stop, perhaps again with some awe inspiring scenery.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 06-02-2009 at 05:55 PM. Reason: Merged with previous posts. Please do not start new threads for the same trip.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Only 7 Nights in a Week

    Let's see, you're planning 2 nights in Las Vegas, 2 nights at the Grand Canyon, 2 nights at Lake Powell and presumably a final night in Salt lake City. That seems like a week to me. So I don't see where you have time "to visit all the parks in Utah". The only place where you really have any time to fit in any of them is on the drive from lake Powell (I'm assuming Page, AZ) to Salt Lake City. I agree with you that Bryce is a canyon and you'll have just see the world's finest, but it is on a bit more intimate scale and all other things being considered, makes a fine destination. Actually, Bryce is just off the direct route (US-89) from Page to Salt Lake City and you could afford a couple of hours there on the drive and still cover the 400 miles or so. Unfortunately, while the alternate route, US/163/US-191/US-6. would take you by both Monument Valley and Arches National Park, you wouldn't have time to enjoy them, because you'll have to cover 500 miles going that way.


  8. Default Could be a little longer than the week

    Salt Lake City wasnt included in my week, so I have 1 extra night in theory which I was thinking of spending at Bryce. Or, if Arches was really worth the trip we could have 2 nights there and skip Bryce altogether. It is just so hard to decide which parks to visit. We are flexible with timeframes. I have broken the trip up to 1wk Vegas, canyon area, 1wk Yellowstone, Tetons including travelling there and onto Seattle, 1 wk down the coast to California and then about 10days or so in California. These are approximate and we can steal days from other areas and we even probably add a few extra days if necessary.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Only You

    Well, It's certainly a pleasant dilemma to have: How to allocate 30 days or so of a RoadTrip. In the end of course, it's your trip and they're your choices, but if it were me and I could spare two days to get from Page to SLC, I'd go by way of Monument Valley and Arches. They are both geologic and scenic places unlike any other and are worth even going out of your way to see. See if you can arrange for a native guide at Monument Valley and learn the lore as well as the geology. Seeing the best of Arches does lentil some moderate hiking, but I'm a grandfather and had no difficulties covering the few miles and moderate slopes required.


  10. Default Its decided then..

    Thanks AZBuck for your input. Whilst I know it is ultimately our decision, we have never been to that area and I was after some personal opinions to steer us in the right direction.
    We are going to LV 2nts, GC 2nts, Lake Powell 2nts, Monument Valley 1nt and Moab 2nts. I think we are going to forego Lake Tahoe for the extra time in Utah, figure we will see plenty of mountain scenery in Wyoming/Montana.
    Now onto planning the next part of the trip. Was thinking of continuing through SLC onto Logan and staying there overnight - this will give us a shorter drive into the Tetons so we can spend more time admiring the scenery.
    Just one question - Yosemite?? If we are going to spend 5 or so days in Yellowstone/Grand Tetons do you think it is also necessary to visit Yosemite? Will we be seeing the same type of thing in Yosemite or is it completely different?
    Thanks again

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