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solitaire11 Nov 29th, 2019 03:59 AM

2 weeks in Utah national parks in April
Hi - I am just getting started on planning a national park vacation in April for 2 weeks. We are a family of four (including our daughters - ages 6 and 9). I am seeking advice on the rough outline for the 2 weeks. Should we stay in one place the entire time (eg Moab) and do day trips? How many parks should we attempt to cover? Should we consider renting an RV or camping outside at that of the year?

We don't want to be constantly moving to a different place every night...and would like to take it easy and explore a park fully and not just the highlights.

Any advice?

Bobmrg Nov 29th, 2019 07:20 AM

First, do not rent an RV. As a one-time RVer, I can tell you that driving one limits your flexibility. Make every effort to visit Arches and Bryce Canyon at a minimum.

J62 Nov 29th, 2019 07:46 AM

No, do not stay in one place and attempt to do day trips. Be aware that through late April or even into May higher elevations such as Bryce may get snow & below freezing overnight temperatures. Pack accordingly.

StantonHyde Nov 29th, 2019 11:02 AM

You are going to have to move around. First--do a query of other posts on this board. There are so many people who have done this trip--you will find a number of suggested itineraries. If you click on my user name, you will find trip reports for every national park in Utah--traveling with young children through teenage years. You could spend more time in one place if you explored the areas outside the National Parks. For example--you could do 2 days in Arches, a day in Canyonlands, then a couple of days doing hikes on BLM lands. (I cover all of those hikes in various trip reports). That wouldn't allow you to see all of the NPs, but it would let you stay in one place longer. I would not camp out in April in the Southwest. I backpack in the Southwest every year in March or April and I love it. But it can be cold at night--especially in Bryce. And I just couldn't handle the whining from my kids!! If your kids are experienced campers, then go for it. An RV will really limit where you can drive, so I wouldn't do that. Also--don't go near Moab the week of Easter--its the Jeep Safari and it is beyond crowded. You will need to reserve campsites well in advance for everywhere you go. April is a great time to go to the NPs--so it is crowded with international visitors.

solitaire11 Nov 29th, 2019 03:38 PM

Thank you so much! This is very helpful. And your trip reports sound like a good jumping off point for my research!

emalloy Dec 2nd, 2019 07:19 AM

This site provided by another fodorite ages ago might help you with the overview of the area:

Southern Utah Map - OhioHick's Travel Tips

StantonHyde gives good advice. Do start to look for lodging now and if you want to be in the parks, and they say they are full, take their phone number and keep calling back as people do make reservations a year in advance and then cancel as time gets close. Meanwhile make a reservation outside the park that can be cancelled.

It might be fun with kids to find a place that has an indoor or heated pool for some after hiking activity.

Do fill your gas tank when it gets to a half as some stations close on Sunday and if you are off the beaten path they can be far apart.

If money matters, plan a loop to avoid drop charges on the rental car. We have done loops from Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Denver, and Phoenix. Check both air fare and car rental rates, as well as what you most want to see and availability of lodging.

Some loops we've done:
Vegas>Hoover Dam>South Rim of Grand Canyon>Antelope Canyon>Bryce Canyon>Zion>Vegas
Albuquerque>Mesa Verde>Moab (Arches and Canyonlands)>Monument Valley>Bandelier>Santa Fe>Albuquerque
Denver>Dinosaur NP>Moab>Mesa Verde>Denver

Some tips for getting in/out of lodging quickly:
Try to pack so that things you will use everywhere, like night clothes and toiletries are on the top when you open your suitcase.
Don't unpack everything - Just take out the clothes you will use the next day before you go to bed, put the dirty clothes in a plastic bag and tuck it in the suitcase, refold and repack anything that could be worn again. If the dirty clothes bag gets too full, look for a laundromat and spend a couple of hours after supper washing.
in the morning, put the nightclothes and toiletries in the suitcase, put on the clothes you took out before bed, If the lodging has a free breakfast, eat, then recheck the room for lost items and check out.

I also have TRs, so if you are interested, click my name and scroll down to them. If you just want to see some pictures go to: and click on the albums.

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