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  1. #1

    Default Boston to Phoenix - Summer 2010

    Hi all,

    I'm from England and with my family (wife + 3 children, ages 10,9,9) we are going to travel from Boston, MA to Phoenix, AZ in the summer of next year. I would really appreciate any advice on anything really, but would love your thoughts on 'absolute must see' places. We will only do this once and I'm keen for it to be a memorable trip for the children. I appreciate that it's a very big country so I will try to narrow it down a bit; We would like to see some of New England, Niagara Falls, lake michigan, some National Parks, real western type country (wyoming? montana?) and the grand canyon. We would also like to Stage coach ride, western style (is that possible?) , go river canoeing, take out a motor boat on Michigan, visit theme parks and a whole load more. We would like to avoid big cities where possible and get to see the real America.

    We will have just over 3 weeks and are hoping that this will be enough time. We have hired a car and will stay in fairly low cost hotels mainly, the one's with small kitchens so we can cook for ourselves occasionaly, to keep the cost down - but again are open to any suggestions.

    Thanks for taking the time to look and appreciate any advice.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Jam Packed

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Three weeks is enough time to cross the continent and give your children a 'once over lightly' view of the United States. You should know, however, that we don't believe in 'Must See' attractions on these forums. Rather the best RoadTrips are built around your interests, your timeframe, and your budget. With that in mind, I can recommend some places that will make this a memorable trip for your children, and surreptitiously teach them a bit about America. You can start in Boston by walking the Freedom Trail, and then visit Old Sturbridge Village (with a stage coach ride). Continuing southwest across New England, you can go even further back in time with a visit to Dinosaur State Park outside Hartford where, if you bring your own plaster of paris, you can make casts of actual dino footprints.

    Whether or not you visit New York or Philadelphia is up to you, but you should certainly try to include a visit to our nation's capital. Next up would be the drive through the Midwest with a possible tour of the Amish area in Ohio, a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Arch and Museum of Westward Expansion in St. Louis.

    You then have several options for crossing the plains, but the way I'd recommend is to go through Kansas City, Wichita and Dodge City, taking US-160 across Wolf Creek Pass and into Durango. Visits to Mesa Verde National Park and Monument Valley would then bring you to the Grand Canyon. From there it's just a short drive down through Oak Creek Canyon to Phoenix.

    As you can see, there's lots to see and do, and I didn't even include Niagara Falls or the Great Lakes. But you'll have some time (not a lot, unfortunately) to explore things that are more in tune with your own interests.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Too many.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Whereas 3 weeks is a nice amount of time, it will soon disappear when you take into consideration theme parks, boating National parks and somewhere in the region of a minimum 3500 miles to cover.
    As you say "It's a big place" and at the moment I would search the forums, look at the map and see what appeals to you and how you can work it into your trip. Think about how you want to spend your time, some people like to be on the move everyday, others to settle in a spot for a few days and then make a big move. We don't really do "must See's" here at RTA as each trip is individual, but if we did their would be enough to fill a lifetime, and in return not much use.
    Using the National parks map to locate parks and find all the detail on them is a good way to find what appeals.
    You could take many routes with plenty of options on each one but for some diverse scenery and large concentration of National parks through Colorado, Utah and Arizona takes some beating.

    When you have done a bit more research and started setting your trip out a little more then we can help you "fine tune" it and make sure it fits into your schedule.

    Enjoy the planning !

  4. #4


    Thanks very much for this - I know I have a fair amount of research to do but this does allow me to narrow it down a bit.

  5. #5


    Hi again,

    Decided to go through Amish Country (thanks for the link) and then head down to Louisville, stopping on the way at Kings Island theme park (had good reviews). I will then head north to central Illinois to visit a Wildlife Park. This is where I need some additional help please - I want to continue to head north/north west towards south dakota and stop somewhere around Iowa City or Des Moines (or anywhere in between, or around) - it will just be an overnight stay but would really like to stop in a small town, at a local B&B and be able to walk around in the evening with my family and to get some local food, sit outside and have a beer or 2. Any thoughts?

    Cheers again.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default b&bs

    You should know that American B&Bs tend not to be very kid friendly. They are more geared towards couples and romantic getaways. You may find that some of them don't allow kids at all.

    B&B's also tend to be very independent and require a little more work to find. Where you can easily find a motel in most every town of at least a couple thousand people (especially on main highways), you'd probably have to do a fair amount of research beforehand to find a possible B&B, especially with a family. If it were me, I would just drive until I felt like stopping and found a town that looks interesting. If you go the motel route, you really shouldn't need reservations under most circumstances.

    If you are interested in Amish Country, you may find the Amana Colonies in eastern Iowa to be quite interesting as well.

    Considering your timeframe of 3 weeks for this trip, I would probably look at skipping the detour all the way north to South Dakota. I think you could quickly start running out of time and have to start rushing. Instead, I would focus that time on Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.

  7. #7


    Midwest Michael - thanks for the advice. Have decided to go via Badlands and stop in Rapid City, SD for the night. I then want to go through Wyoming to Yellowstone and possibly Montana (old wild west towns?) if I have the time. Will then go south through Utah, Monument Valley and down to Phoenix. Again, any views much appreciated.
    Cheers - Del.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Quote Originally Posted by Del66 View Post
    Midwest Michael - thanks for the advice. Have decided to go via Badlands and stop in Rapid City, SD for the night. I then want to go through Wyoming to Yellowstone and possibly Montana (old wild west towns?)
    You'll love Badlands. Take the 240 route through it. Lots of places to stop and explore along short walks and boardwalks. When you get back to I-90 at Wall, see if you can make a stop at Wall Drug. Very touristy, but if you walk through the store (having got your 5c coffee and free iced water) to the mall at the back, you will find a wonderland of history and things for the children. The dinosaur is fed every 10 or 15 minutes, and the children are able to pan for gold, and lots more.

    For wild-west towns try West Yellowstone. It has that great 'old' feeling to it.... as does Cody.

    May I also recommend that if you have the time, you take alt 14 from Daytona to Lovell (and Cody) over the Big Horn Mountains and Canyon. Great for wildlife, if you travel slow enough. It is the place I saw my first moose, when it stood in front of my car, and was not going to budge. I moved on when he was ready to let me. The short hike to the Medicine Wheel up there, is also worthwhile.


  9. #9


    Lifemagician - thank you for that - was going to visit Wall Drug, so am pleased you think it's worth it. Like the sound of the Big Horn Mountains so will do a bit of research.

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