We're in the early stages of planning this trip. We are going to be moving from Dallas to NC next summer (beginning of July), and have a little over a month off. While our house is in transit, we would like to take a long road trip to visit some of the parks out west. We have three kids, ages 2, 4, and 6. We are a very active family, and would be able to handle several mile hikes with a combination of carriers and bribes with good snacks. We'll be traveling in a minivan with a rooftop carrier, and would like the trip to be about three weeks.
In terms of general itinerary, we would travel northwest through Texas, and the first NP we'll come to would be Great Sand Dunes. We would then probably spend a day or so with family in Denver, drive through Rocky Mountain NP, and head to Yellowstone. This would likely be our longest stop. Does anyone have Yellowstone experience with kids of a similar age? Thoughts on lodging? We would be open to camping, but may be a challenge with kids as young as ours, and will likely be in hotels the majority of the nights.
From Yellowstone, we plan to drive to Badlands/Rushmore, then back east via Chicago, Indianapolis, and Columbus to visit some family and friends.
We're excited, but also a little apprehensive to make such a long trip with young kids. Looks like ~3,500 miles or so all told. Must-see sites,
tips for long road trips with little kids, and general wisdom would be much appreciated.