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  1. Default Camping roadtrip from Northwest Ohio to Yellowstone National Park

    Hello! I apologize in advance for my lack of knowledge regarding travel. This is the very first trip I've planned. I wanted to reach out because I was hoping you could help give me some insight. We are planning a trip to Yellowstone.. The plan is to leave on 6/25 from the Toledo area, and return 7/9. I'm wondering if you can give me an idea of where we should stop and what we should see along the way? We have a pull behind camper we are planning to stay in. I had figured 2 days at yellowstone, (this is probably our furthest destination) ? Kids are 15 and 11. I am wondering if someone can give me an itinerary to use as a draft? Including what we should do each day and how long to spend? I'm afraid of not using our time wisely.. We don't care if we have electric camping or not as we will have a generator. Where to stop to camp on the way? Where should we stay once to Yellowstone? When should I reserve spots in Yellowstone based on travel time to get there? I would love to enjoy stops along the way and hear of anything recommended. I understand if its too much to ask, I just haven't set up a trip before and I'm feeling in over my head here. Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Yes and No

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As you note in your post, "it's too much to ask" for us to plan your whole itinerary. Not because of the effort on our part, but because this is your trip, not ours. So while we can give you suggestions, we can't tell you what you should do. With that said, let's start with some basics, and then we can work in an iterative fashion as you let us know which suggestions work and which don't.

    First off, I strongly recommend that you take two completely different routes west- and east-bound so as to maximize the number of sights you can visit and to keep it always interesting and going down new roads. I'd also strongly recommend that you avoid major metropolitan areas such as Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul, especially since you'll be pulling a trailer. To that end I'd probably look at a roughly I-80 route one way and an approximately I-94 route the other way. You can avoid Chicago by using US-24/I-74 on the I-80 (southern) leg to avoid Chicago and US-23/I-75/US-2 on the I-94 (northern) route to avoid Detroit/MSP. Note that I will describe both routes west-bound but you are free to take either route either way.

    Major attractions on the northern route would include Colonial Michilimackinac
    and Mackinac Island State Park, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Sheyenne National Grassland, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and a stretch along the Yellowstone River - the last free-flowing river in the lower 48 states. Remember, those are just the highlights!

    Similarly, on the southern leg, attractions you should look at first include the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, the Oregon Trail route along the Platte River in Nebraska, and Grand Teton National Park.

    Besides those major highlights there are, of course, many smaller venues all along the way. The other things I'd tell you to do is to get a National Parks Pass and to make extensive use of the Junior Ranger Program. I think I've rambled on enough for one post. I'll let you start to work with the above recommendations along with others I'm sure you'll be getting shortly, and then start the iterative process I mentioned earlier


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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There's no one-sized fits all answer to your questions, but we can offer some basic guidelines for you.

    The first question, will this be the first time using the camper or just the first time taking it out on a long trip? The less experience you have, the more time you should plan on EVERYTHING taking with the camper.

    While towing, I wouldn't plan to ever travel more than 500 miles in a day. That's a lot of ground to cover while towing, and for a lot of people even 400-450 miles is more than enough when towing. Certainly don't expect the travel times you get from online mapping programs to be accurate for this trip - while they are optimistic even in the best of circumstance, when you factor the slower speeds and extra time it takes to do everything while towing a big trailer, your actual travel time will probably be at least 30-40% higher than those estimates.

    So all of that is to say, you should plan on spending at least 4 days each way traveling to and from yellowstone. Once you are there, I would recommend spending at least 3 days at Yellowstone and at least one more day for Grand Teton. The park is huge so and traffic and animals make travel slow, so 3 days is my general recommendation for a minimum. The longer you stay in one place also means more time exploring vs. hooking/unhooking and all of the other headaches that come with getting a trailer ready for the road.

    For that reason, I would strongly recommend making reservations for a campground within Yellowstone, and do so as early as you can. Spots fill up quickly and options outside the park generally require pretty significant drives.

    As far as your other stops on the road, making reservations there shouldn't be as essential, especially if you are open to boondocking (no-hookup camping either in a parking lot or in allowed rustic areas like portions of national forest lands.

    Having said that, a couple other things to keep in mind in that regard. If you are boondocking in places like a walmart or truckstop parking lot, the basic ettiquitte rules say you should make sure it does not look like you are camping. That means not using slide outs, limiting generator use, and certainly not pulling out camp chairs and the like. depending the layour of your trailer, I'd imagine it would be fairly difficult to have 4 people moving around your trailer without the slideouts, so keep that in mind. Also keep in mind, most campgrounds also have rules regarding generator use, particularly during overnight hours, and even if you have enough power, you likely will have to also consider the liquid aspect - filling the fresh water and draining the black and grey tanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    Given the campground crowding during the pandemic last summer my view is that the single most important thing to do right away is make reservations to camp. It may already be too late.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Cart Before the Horse?

    While I thoroughly understand Michael's and noFan's advice on booking campsites early, that is not the thing I would do first. Doing so would mean you're locking yourself into a schedule before you even know what you want to see, how long you'd like to spend at various points along your drive, even where that 'drive' is, etc. But the heavy expected bookings means that you will have to decide on your basic route and timing in, unfortunately, relatively short order. As vaccines become more available, people will be more comfortable going back to motel/hotel accommodations, but the healthiest, most vigorous people (such as those who like to RoadTrip) may have to wait until summer to get immunized. Don't count on that, though, and get as much planning done as soon as you can. We're here to help you do just that.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    I agree with the advice given above, especially the part about planning. From what I can see, this is a 15 day trip, and it's going to be at least 8 days going and returning. Depending on your experience with towing, allowing the extra time by doing 450-475 mile days is a good thing. Don't forget, every morning you have to batten down the hatches, per se, and each evening, you'll have to get into a site and set up camp. Even if you don't unhitch, it takes time.

    I see you have found your way into our camping forum. Once your trip is planned for sightseeing destinations and general overnight stops, you can click on the type of highway you'll be traveling on, to find a campground along that highway.


  7. Default

    Your vacation includes July 4.

    July 4 is the height of vacation season. YOUR vacation includes it as will millions of others. July 4 is on a Sunday, so many people will be taking three day mini vacations, FSS or SSM.

    If you donít book campsites now, you might be driving for hours trying to find a spot. Donít be that guy. You can always cancel a reservation.

    ASAP, check on availability! If they have available openings, ask just HOW booked up they are so far. Youíd be surprised how far in advance people book desirable campgrounds. Indeed, some hot destinations fill up a year in advance. Yes, a year!

  8. Default

    If you take I-90, here are some fun or quirky attractions.

    Mitchell SD: The Corn Palace. Itís fun to look at the outside and inside of the building, although I havenít seen it in years.

    Wall Drug SD. This place is weird and fun. You can spend hours looking around.

    Badlands SD. There is a spur off I-90 that takes you through this barren moonscape. Itís surreal and there are several great observation areas with plenty of parking.

    Rapid City and the Black Hills are up ahead. You could stop and spend your vacation there. There is so much to see and do in the area. If youíre a railroad enthusiast, you have to ride the 1880 train!

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