My husband and I are planning a trip out west (driving from Ohio) with our 9 and 11 yr old children in June this year. He was just finally able to confirm the dates he could get away from work, so now I'm in a huge time crunch to make reservations. I'm having a hard time deciding how long to spend at each location, as well as how much we will actually be able to do during our trip. We will have about 10-11 days there. This doesn't include our driving time there and back.
We plan to drive 2 different routes. I originally looked at starting out along the southern route through OK, TX, and NM to the Grand Canyon before heading north to Zion, Bryce and then into CO before heading home from there. However, there doesn't seem to be any rooms available for those dates at the Grand Canyon. There are rooms available if we reverse our route and do the Grand Canyon part last before returning home. This might be a better route anyways since it won't take us as long to hit CO as it would were we driving straight to the Grand Canyon. They won't be as tired of being in the car if we have some things to see/do earlier in our trip. We'll just torture them with the longer trip on our way home! I know that we can try to get rooms later due to cancellations, but I need to at least have something lined up. Looks like the only rooms available at the end of our trip are at Yavapai. I can try to get one of the other locations later if needed.
So, if I list some of the things we'd like to see, can you give me suggestions of how long we'll need in each place? These are just ideas. Seeing the Grand Canyon was our original goal, but we are open to suggestions. I was at Bryce and Zion 25 years ago, but didn't have much time at either, so would like to go there again. We will be looking for family-friendly hikes and other things geared towards our kids.
1. Grand Canyon - north vs. south rim. I've been there, but nobody else has. The north sounds nice due to where else we want to go and lower crowds. But, it seems like there might be more for the kids to do at the south rim. Two nights here? Or is one enough?
2. Zion - 2 days here? Will try for Zion Lodge
3. Bryce - 1 day? Will try to book Ruby's
4. Page, AZ - from what I've read here, it sounds like there are several things in Page that the kids would enjoy.
5. Mesa Verde - son (11) just studied this at school and wants to see if possible. Stay in Durango? He also wants to do some whitewater rafting. I read about float trips in Page, but he's determined to see whitewater! Sounds like they have some family trips there.
6. Four Corners - yes, a tourist trap. I've been there. But kids have it high on their list of things to see! And it doesn't seem too far out of the way if we're going to Mesa Verde.
Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me! I've bought the books, and have read tons of trip reports here, as well as questions that others have asked. So many are flying into Vegas and planning circle trips from there. It's hard for me to figure in the fact that we're arriving from the east, and hoping to see some sights in Colorado along the way.
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