I'm new to the forum. We're considering an epic road trip with a two kids (7.5 and 3.5). Our current plan has us leaving San Diego (SAN) to San Luis Obispo (SLO) by train, then onward to San Francisco (SFO) for a day or two, then Redwoods for at least a night, then Portland area, then Seattle, then Coeur d'Alene, Boise, then finally ending up in either Idaho Falls or SLC at which point we'll stay a few days and then fly back home to DC. Ideally there would be some camping and kid-friendly hiking involved as well.
I'm starting to think we're crazy.
Alternative scenarios have us cutting out the SAN and SLO portions of the trip (which would mean we wouldn't see some family members) and just start in SFO. Another alternative would be to start in Idaho Falls/SLC area and do a loop (crossing over northern Nevada then up from SFO per the original itin (this loop logs just a bit more travel time than the original itin). A third itin has us going from SAN up the coast to Portland and then going straight over to ID/SLC and then back down to SAN.
Some considerations are the cost of a one-way car rental, the carseats which make the trip more miserable for the kids, and the fact that the longest roadtrip our kids have taken in recent memory was a 6.5 hour drive to a destination with a return three days later.
We ultimately have up to 3 weeks to do this trip; as I mentioned the original plan had us in SAN and SLC/ID for about 4-5 days each (visiting family) with the road trip in between. We'll likely be back out in SAN for Christmas so the pressure isn't as much to go there this summer.
Thoughts? Have any of you done something similar? What are the must-sees for kids? Hubs could honestly care less about the cities and is more interested in nature (he's never been north of Sacramento nor NW of Idaho Falls) and I've been to SFO, Portland, and Seattle but I would love to show the kids Pike's Market, Pier 39. I've never been north of SFO in California.
Lastly, a tangentially related question about carseats for a 7.5 year old--legally required? What if the child is the height of the average 10 year old?
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