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  1. #1

    Default Family roadtrip with 8year old

    Trying to plan a 3-4 stop trip. From San Francisco to Washington DC via the Canyon and Hoover Dam and South Dakota.
    The latter part of our trip will be a flight from South Dakota to Washington DC where we will spend a few nights before returning to the UK.

    The start of and middle of our trip is where we are struggling to find routes etc.

    The plan is stay in San Francisco for a few days or more taking in the usual tourist sights. Then we are planning to go to Death Valley, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon possibly seeing the Hoover Dam as well (my son would especially like this as it is in his Transformers movie). However we are unsure of the best way of traveling this route and how many nights will be needed; where to stay etc.

    From the Canyon area we are unsure of the best way to get to South Dakota or Wyoming. We can't find any train info or bus routes that go. Due to vast amount of miles and there only being one driver, going by car is not really an option for this part of the trip. Also my 8yr old would struggle with so long in a car and I would struggle with his "Are we almost there?".

    Whilst in South Dakota and Wyoming we will renting a car and camping before flying to Washington DC.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    There are several options here. So far, we know that you want to see:

    San Francisco
    Death Valley
    Hoover Dam
    Grand Canyon
    Monument Valley

    Now, could you please tell us what you want to see in South Dakota and Wyoming? Also, what city will you be leaving from to fly to DC?

    Also, how much time do you have for the portion of your trip from leaving San Francisco and getting on a plane to DC?

    Exactly what month or months will this trip be in?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a complete rethinking

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you're really going to need to completely rethink how you are going about this trip. The US is a huge country and public transportation options are fairly limited - especially across the wide open spaces in the middle of the country.

    I guess I would also wonder how much time and money you've got available, but you seem to be setting yourself up for a very long and very expensive trip.

    From San Francisco to Grand Canyon you've got lots of options - and there are thousands of discussions about those possibilities with some of our favorites here. A common option would be SF to Vegas via Yosemite and Death Valley over 3 days, and then you'd probably want 3 more days for Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.

    From there things get more complicated. The first question is where in south dakota and wyoming are you thinking of going? (Remember, each of these states are roughly the size of Great Britain!) I'd assume the Black Hills, but are you also thinking about Yellowstone too?

    In either case, its not going to be easy to take public transportation. If you choose to fly, you're either looking at expensive flights out of small regional airports (say Flagstaff to Rapid City) or you're looking at long drives to/from major airports in Vegas/Phoenix and probably Denver - and at that point you're not really saving much in terms of time. Bus and/train service isn't really available, and even if it was I can't imagine that would make for a better time than driving yourself. If you drive yourself you can make frequent stops to allow so your son can see things along the way - and give you a break from the road.

    If those ideas aren't appealing to you, I'd really think about skipping Wyoming and South Dakota for this trip, and instead focus your time and energy only on the Southwest.

  4. Default

    If your 8 year old won't handle the car trip very well, I wouldn't recommend taking a bus. Its likely to be worse and not better.

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