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Thread: HElP

  1. Default HElP

    I am trying to plan a summer road trip. We are a family of 5, 2 adults, 3 kids 10,12,14.
    We are experienced tent camper on the east coast, but no arid or desert camping experience.
    We would like to visit the Alamo, Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, and are going to visit family in Portland.
    We are starting our trip from our home in Charleston, SC and have aproximately 5 weeks to spend on the road with a budget of about 3500.00. We mostly prepare meals ourselves and have the ability to do this on the road as well. We would ike to stick to national parks or state parks. My questions are
    1) Can this be done time wise
    2) Have we budgeted enough Money
    3)Does anyone have any suggestions about family friendly/ budget friendly activities
    4)Does anyone think we could return trip across the northern part of the US and stay within budget?

    Any help or advice that you could offer would be great


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Budget problems.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    1] Yes it can be done. With detours you could be looking at a 7500 mile round trip so expect 4 hours a day on the road. For every day spent visiting and not on the move you will have to add to that.

    2] $100 a day for a family of 5 doesn't sound enough to me. Gas could be $30 to $40 a day depending on your vehicle, [there is a fuel cost calculator on the left of every page to help you figure it out] campgrounds can vary but I would allow $15-$20 a night on average. That doesn't leave much for food or anything else such as entry fees to parks and places of interest, although the National parks pass for $80 is good value if you plan on visiting a few.

    3] The State and National parks are about as good as it gets in my opinion. Open space and wildlife for all the family and the NPS often have "Junior ranger programs". Check it all out at

    4] Not sure why you think the Northern route back would be any dearer ? It might add a few miles but not enough to warrant not going back that way, especially starting out from Portland towards home and considering the lenght and duration of the trip.

  3. Default I have procrastinated and now I need major help!

    We were unsure of our summer plans and budget, but now we have it all nailed down and would really appreciate any and all suggestions anyone would have.

    We have 5 weeks to travel
    We are leaving Charleston SC on Memorial day weekend and want to return around the 4th of July
    We will be tent camping
    We would like to set up various central location campsites that would allow us to hit multiple points of interest
    The have to places for us are:
    The Alamo
    Grand Canyon Area
    San Diego
    Mt Rushmore
    Oklahoma City

    Any helpful hints or suggestions about travel, camping sites, things to do ect would be greatly appreciated
    We do have some family along the way that we will be stopping at to break up the trip. we would like to go the southern route out west and then backkind of through the middle of the country
    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-14-2010 at 08:06 PM. Reason: Merged with previous request. Please do not start multiple threads for the same trip.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default an odd detour

    One thing with your route really stands out. Oklahoma City is a long way from any of the other stops on your route, and while it could be included, its a significant detour.

    While 5 weeks is a lot of time, with the size of your trip you are not going to have to keep moving on a pretty regular basis, and it will be tough to stay in anyone place for more than a couple days. Because of that, you might look at skipping that particular stop.

  5. Default

    I thought about that, it is not really a necessity, just a stop I wanted to make to see an old friend on the way back home, but could be left out. A Couple of the stops I really only considered staying overnight one night (San Antonio) in order to lengthen some time at other places, we also could extend it another week possibly, depending on how well we stay on budget. The area I seem to be having the hardest time with is the canyon area of AZ/UT, can't really wrap my head around it. Seems to me like we could base camp centrally and then day trip it out. But being unfamiliar with the area, I dont know how realistic that is. We are planning no stops between Chas SC and San Antonio other than a hotel over night or maybe 2. Then just a one day stay in San Antonio to let the kids see the Alamo. After that is when the real "camping" trip will start. Looking at maps it is hard to tell what is where and even when I mapquest it is a little confusing for me. Do you have any experience with the upper AZ/ lower UT areas, how realistic is it for me to think that we could move fairly quickly and easily from one park area to another in this region? Should I just start paring it down? I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew with all the places I want to go. Thanks for your quick response

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default National park camping.

    For camping you can't beat the campgrounds in the National parks using the interactive map to get details on each park or at their booking site. The problem is if you are going in the peak season there is a good chance they will be booked up already. Some National parks do have "walk in", non reservable sites, but they can book out early morning, State parks also offer good value camping.

    The AZ and UT area are well documented with many threads detailing them, so I would use the search function with a good map at hand to get a good picture of the area. Moving quickly between parks isn't so much of an issue has how much time you will be able to spend at each one, when you have researched a little more and know roughly how much time you will have in the area let us know and we can help piece it together.

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