Family Road trip chicago to NM help please
Hello, my name is Diana, this is my first post.
My husband and I are planning on taking our first major road trip with our two children ages 2 and 4. We are planning on taking our own mini van packed with coolers and snacks and games. We also have a TV/DVD Player on board as well. Anyone take a route from Chicago to New Mexico? Are there things that my kids will enjoy on the way? We only have about 10 days. We are planning on leaving at 9pm at night and drive all through while the kiddos sleep. We would also like to hit Texas maybe on the way back as well. Any ideas there as well?
Well thanks in advance.
Drive all through?
Diana, welcome to the board!
Originally Posted by diana
Family road trips are the best -- providing hours of memories that your children will have for the rest of their lives. Personally, I am not an advocate of TV/DVDs for use on road trips -- the experience of being on the road is different than being at home and such electronic marvels detract rather than enhance in my view. An accomplished roadtripper who have always traveled with his young children shares some of thoughts about Are We There Yet?
I am not sure what you meant by drive all the way through drive only at night or drive non-stop from Chicago to New Mexico or?
There is a wealth of ideas on this forum about traveling to New Mexico, the search utility is a good tool for finding some of these routes. One such thread about places to see in in New Mexico is here
We have also put together a resource list with other tips that can be helpful for planning family road trips.
Best advice -- I just reviewed a new book about finding New Mexico Chow (inexpensive but still superb road food).
Driving down straight through
Thanks Mark. I meant I'm not sure how long it would take, if say we left at night, drove through all night long and just stopped a few hours throughout the day for breaks and food. I would prefer not to spend a night in a motel on the way down, however, on the way up, since we want to hit texas that would be fine. Also yes, with a 2 and 4 year old, I'm not sure I could make it without the DVD, it definitely would not be on all the time, maybe one or two short movies a day.
Does anyone think that its douable (non stop from chicago to NM, leaving at night?) I hope so. Thanks for the links, I read some of them already but will look into the others now. Thanks again!
Sure, it's "do-able". If you share the driving and have room yourselves to snooze in another seat when it's the other one's turn to drive.
Do you need ideas for particular places to go / types of things to do in New Mexico & Texas? For example: History / Scenic / Kids play / Zoos / Shopping / Historic buildings / Big cities / Hiking ? If so, let us know your interests and I'm sure folks will help you plan.
Originally Posted by Syv
Thanks, yes I guess I should have been more clear. Has anyone done this drive, straight through only stopping for bathroom breaks and food, and gas, and if so how long did it take you (of course i mean from the Chicagoland area to New Mexico. I have plenty of ideas for New Mexico, we are going for the crash festival, we are HUGE, alien buffs. Actually I'm doing quite a bit of research and going to see a particular speaker there. So i have much to do around Roswell, and we are going to the carlsbad caverns (kid friendly??) but yes I do need some ideas for Texas, i'd say mostly western or south west Texas if possible. I'd love to do some hiking in some scenic areas. And I also need some ideas for kids, zoos would be great. Texas or New Mexico.
Big Bend and OKC
I'll bet there's some hiking trails in Big Bend National Park -- and I vaguely recall that Oklahoma City has a pretty good zoo. It could be on your way home!
Remember that summer hiking in the west is an early morning or evening endeavor, and you may encounter snakes, scorpions and other critters -- when it is cool for you, it is cool for them! Take flashlights and water, and don't wear flip-flops -- ankle-high hiking boots are a necessity.
In New Mexico, try the high country around Ruidoso and Cloudcroft for a cooler break from the lowlands. It's a 7,000 ft+ msl "sky island" and it'll be beautiful.
I think you can drive straight through Chicago to New Mexico in 25 hours or less including quick rest stop breaks.
Main route appears to be I-44, I-40, US-60, US-70
If you have time for a stop in Oklahoma City (zoo?), the adults will want to take a look at the bombing memorial too.
Carlsbad Caverns - kid friendly? Hmmm... There were children on the two tours I took - but not as young as 2 yrs. Some got a bit scared of the closed & darker spaces. But other kids thought it was all pretty neat! I'd call the tour reservations line to ask if any tours are kid friendly. There often are narrow trails, dimly lit, with nobody allowed to touch the rock on either side (for preservation purposes). Some trails also have a lot of stairs or ladders to climb. Also, you need to walk in a straight single file line down the paths & keep up to the guide. This can make it pretty hard on a toddler. I don't know if any of the trails would fit or allow strollers. Call to check.
Thanks Bob and Syv for your recommendations. I will definitely call the Carlsbad Caverns first, we were thinking about putting the 2 year old in a backpack type thingy. Thank you both for suggested stops on the way. :) If anyone else has anything else to add, please do. Thanks again!
Personally, I would not try to do over 1200 miles with out spending the night on the road with little children in the vehicle. I think the chance for an accident because of parent fatigue is just to great going 18 hours of driving time. IMHO, the chance of the driver falling a sleep at the wheel while the other parent is napping is just to great a risk to take with those precious little cargos. Not to mention both of you will be wiped out and they will have plenty of energy. I would leave very early one morning and spend one night on the road.
Carlsbad Caverns does not allow strollers and they recommend baby backpacks. When our son was 7 months old we took him into the caverns in a baby backpack. You can also take the elevator down into the cave and avoid the natural entrance if you think that would be easier. Everyone rides the elevator out.
Your kids might enjoy White Sands National Monument. My children at any age loved playing in the dunes.
Capitan, New Mexico is the home of Smokey the Bear. Not worth going out of your way for, but neat if you are in the area.
chicago to NM
Thanks Utahtea for your response. My husband would sleep the entire day with taking the day off of work the day before we leave, so he would have a full 8 hours of sleep right before leaving. We would never drive all night without getting a good night sleep before, that would be indeed very dumb. Thanks for your concern. We are still going to drive at night, my husband takes a LOT of cross country trips and drives all night all the time, again after a full 8 hours of sleep during the day of which we leave. Does anyone know how many miles it is from chicago to new mexico? I think the baby backpack is a good idea for our 2 year old. Thank you for the other suggestions I'll be sure to take advantage of them.
Originally Posted by Utahtea