Road Trip from Ohio to Grand Canyon

Old Jun 6th, 2019, 11:39 AM
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Road Trip from Ohio to Grand Canyon

My husband and I are looking to travel in April 2020 to the Grand Canyon from Ohio. We haven't decided if we will be driving and using hotels or camping. We are looking for a list of must sees for the entire drive. We will be spending 2 weeks on the road.
Thank you for any information you can provide.
missie1205 is offline  
Old Jun 6th, 2019, 12:35 PM
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So it is a 2000 mile trip--about 30 hours driving time X 2 to get back to Ohio. I make that about 4 days out and maybe 3 days back. So you have about one week for sightseeing.
Personally I don't think you have time to camp--setting up and taking down takes a lot of time. You should be able to make hotel reservations as you go using something like

I would drive straight through to GC, stay 2 days and then do some sight seeing around New Mexico (Taos, Santa Fe) and drive home.
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Old Jun 6th, 2019, 01:57 PM
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Hi Missie, I'm currently planning a similar road trip but from San Diego to St Louis and in December, with a detour to the Grand Canyon. ( I'll start another thread about my trip later) We'll use the same route most likely part of the way. Once you get to Arizona, there are so many things to see and I'm sure other posters will give you more information about them. We will be staying in warm hotels! So far, I know I want to stay in La Posada Hotel in Winslow, AZ!

Home - La Posada Hotel

You might find this helpful if you drive I-40 and I-44.
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Old Jun 6th, 2019, 02:28 PM
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>>We are looking for a list of must sees for the entire drive. We will be spending 2 weeks on the road. <<

Are you JUST going to the Grand Canyon? Or are you visiting other parks and places in Arizona/Utah (Lake Powell, Monument Valley, Zion, Bryce etc etc ) and/or New Mexico? Two weeks is very short for a round trip drive if you are hoping to also do any sightseeing along the way. You won't have time for many/any 'must sees' along the route. And April will be early for camping in many of the parks.

If you DO want to see any SW sites other than just the Grand Canyon - with two weeks, flying out and renting a car would be a lot easier.
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Old Jun 6th, 2019, 06:51 PM
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Depending on what part of Ohio you are coming from, I suggest taking a train (Lake Shore Limited or Capitol Limited ) to Chicago arriving in the morning. Spend a few hours in Chicago and then take the Southwest Chief in a Roomette all the way to Albuquerque NM. The train arrives in ABQ mid to late afternoon. See some of the sights in Albuquerque and rent a car the next day to see eastern Arizona. Stay in Flagstaff or Sedona. April may be early enough that you may still see some snow at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Save the territory east of New Mexico for a future trip. I don't care if I never drive across Texas again.
See as much of the west as you can and then return the car in Albuquerque and fly home from there.
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Old Jun 7th, 2019, 09:23 AM
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I don't care if I never drive across Texas again.

At least they'd be driving across the narrowest part of Texas. The worst is going from San Antonio to El Paso.
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Old Jun 7th, 2019, 11:14 AM
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If you are buts in the seat, willing to drive long distances kind of folks, I would head for Springfield, MO on the first day. That is about one third of the way to GC, or a bit more than 9 hours drive. The second day I would head for somewhere in eastern New Mexico, about two thirds of the way. Then decide if you want to spend a day or two in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area.

Then get on towards GC. Between Albuquerque and GC, you might want to stop at Acoma Pueblo, Petrified Forest/Painted Desert NPs and/or Canyon de Chelley.

Depending on how much time you allot to the above and what time you get to GC, you will want one or two nights there. I would want to at least see sunset and sunrise there, hike a little down into the canyon and along the rim trail, and visit the VCs.

That will be week one.

On the way back, I would head north through Monument Valley and then on to Moab for a look at Arches and Canyonlands NPs. Then head up to I - 70 and head east through Colorado, stopping when/if the mood strikes you.

On long trips we've always played it by ear while on the highway and looked for lodging on the fly. There are "magazines" at the rest centers that have discount coupons for hotels/motels along the way and even if you can't use the coupon, the maps that show where there is likely a place to stay and the phone numbers if you want to call ahead are helpful.

For Grand Canyon, you will probably want to have a reservation ahead of your visit. Check the two in park vendors on their web page and take the phone numbers with you, or look in Tusayan or at the Cameron Trading post for near the park lodging.

That said, for such a short trip, lodging on the road there and back, tolls, gas, etc. will probably be close to what it would cost to fly to Phoenix, Las Vegas or Albuquerque (check cost on Southwest Low Fare Calendar before you pick a day to fly out) and rent a car.
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Old Jun 7th, 2019, 11:43 AM
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Emalloy has given you GREAT advice, start to finish. Maybe particularly the last paragraph. ;o)
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Old Jun 8th, 2019, 12:57 PM
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I think they are perceiving the drive itself to be part of their sightseeing trip. That's the only way I could see justifying driving instead of flying and renting a car, unless you just refuse to fly. I've driven that route, or close to it, driving from mid-OHio to Los Angeles. I had to, we were moving, but the days on the road (and I only did it one were) were not any vacation, and not taht interesting for the most part, which means from Ohio up to New Mexico or so, where the scenery gets interesting.

If you do plan sightseeing on the way (can't think of any place that interesting myself), I don't see why 2 weeks is too short a time, seems fine to me. Sightseeing just consists of maybe getting to a place and spending half a day sightseeing there and staying overnight, by my terms.

Missouri and Oklahoma and Texas panhandle were not that interesting to me, not near the main highway. Especially OK< ugh (and I used to live there as a kid, we drove through OK city on my trip). YOu could obviously stop and sightsee in St Louis as the first stop if you wanted. But that's close to a full day's drive. So then what, waste another day in St Louis? IF it's interesting to you, sure, it's not that interesting to me. Then, you could drive through Kansas City if you wanted (not the quickest route, but not bad) and go to Santa Fe NM and Albuquerque. I did enjoy both of them. Or, just go quicker to Albuquerque. Then you could go to Flagstaff/Sedona, AZ, before the Grand Canyon. This might be a good plan iof one major national park is enough for you and you want to see some cities also. I think you could do that in 2 weeks especially because for the return, you could just drive straight through. If it were me, I'd drop St Louis and go all the way through to maybe NM and see Santa Fee and Albuquerque, then do Grand Canyon, and then see if I had enough time and interest to do Kansas City or St Louis or whatever appeals to you on the way back (Branson MO actually isn't that far off that route in MO. Who knows, you may be dying to see Tulsa or OK City, since i lived in Weatherford as a kid, I sure wasn't.
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