Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

9 day Western US (father/16yr old son) - What to see Summer 2013?

9 day Western US (father/16yr old son) - What to see Summer 2013?

Old Feb 14th, 2013, 10:06 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
9 day Western US (father/16yr old son) - What to see Summer 2013?

My son and I want to take a 9 day trip out west. Can fly into Denver or Vegas or ?? (must be on Southwest).

We will fly in and then drive around and fly out. doesn't have to be the same airport as long as they serve Southwest.

He has never been west and I have only been to Vegas (only within city limits) Denver, Phoenix, Prescott and San Diego.

We should visit the grand canyon, Hoover dam, yes or no and what else??

This may be our only trip out west and we would like to see the "Must See" places that will amaze us. Places that video just don't do justice.

Willing to drive anywhere within range.

Thanks for any guidance you can offer!!

J
JEH3172013 is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2013, 12:01 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,690
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How long do you have? Do you like the outdoors? Like to hike? kayak? tell us about what you two like to do.
maria_so is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2013, 12:24 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,690
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ooops. you did say 9 days. Tell us what you like to do. the southwest is fantastic and what a great way to spend time with your son!
maria_so is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2013, 12:28 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,506
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What time of year?

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2013, 12:30 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 26,232
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Summer 2013
sf7307 is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2013, 12:51 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,506
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
8-) I looked and looked for a travel date...

If you're flying into Vegas, I would normally recommend the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon. However, those places (except for Bryce) will be miserably hot. We went to Hoover Dam in May and it was 114 degrees. IMO this is a better trip in spring or fall.

I would fly into Denver and either head northwest to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks or visit Rocky Mountain National Park, then head southwest to Mesa Verde.

Go to www.nps.gov and look at the park sites to help you decide.

Another thought - you could fly into the Bay Area on Southwest and visit Yosemite and the California coast.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2013, 01:14 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,240
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon are pretty amazing, even in the summer. Yes, it is hot, but you can plan accordingly. Pick up your rental car with AC in Las Vegas and immediately head either to Zion or Grand Canyon. In the summer, it is easy to do all 3, especially if you go to the North Rim Grand Canyon. North Rim Grand Canyon is at a higher elevation and will be cooler than the other two parks. Bryce is higher than Zion, so Zion will be the hottest. If the forest service tells you it is safe enough, you can hike the Narrows in Zion - and that will feel great in the cool water in contrast to the heat.

Plan your hikes or walks for early morning and then early evening when it is cooler. Even if you are not hikers, these parks are pleasant and easy for a stroll to observe the wonders of these fantastic geological areas.

I'd recommend three nights in Zion, two in Bryce, two at the North Rim, and the last night in Vegas before flying home.
elnap29 is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2013, 01:47 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 332
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I loved Hoover Dam for it's massiveness and the environmental impact (good and bad). Yes it was hot but I thought it manageable and everywhere there is aircon. I'm happy we did it.

I would say you cant go wrong with any of the "big name" parks. Seems like you have two main routes though:

GC + Bryce + Zion (+HooverDam if you wish) - I think everyone, if given the opportunity, should see the Grand Canyon once in their life so to me, this is a MUST for life. If I had to pick between Zion and Bryce, I'd pick Zion b/c of the hikes to Angels' Landing and up the virgin river. I think you're son would love the river hike. Also Zion is in a small, hip town which would probably seem cool to your son. GC and Bryce are more remote. That said, Bryce is the kind of place that video doesn't do justice to so don't drop it too quickly. Getting to GC is a long drive but we did it (leaving first thing in the morning, going to the North Rim) on the same trip as Hoover and I felt it was worth every extra hour. For this, I would fly into Vegas, see Hoover then stop overnight in St George to get an early start to GC the next day. You could overnight in GC then head to Zion then to Bryce.

or

Tetons + Yellowstone - I think mountains, sparkling lake and steam, steam, steam when I think of these two. Yellowstone will still be warm in the summer but it will be better than the GC/Z/B route. The "boardwalks" provide more to see in Y, if you are not very active. The steam pots and the thermal ponds are a wonder. We chartered a fishing boat, white water rafted and hiked in the Tetons.

As always, does depend on what you like to do and what you think will be interesting to you both.
HunyBadger is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2013, 09:50 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi everyone and thank you so much for the input so far.

I love all the help and ideas! you all are great!

We do like the outdoors but won't have any gear with us so will need to stick to lodging and we would prefer to see more places that are wonderful to see than to spend a great deal of time hiking or such. Although we can certainly hike mornings or evenings as suggested,

The other concern would be crowds. We don't want to go straight to the "tourist traps" and spend time in crowded spaces or in lines.

Not asking for much are we.

I look forward to more input and thank you all so much.

J
JEH3172013 is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2013, 10:00 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Travel dates would be June or July 2013
JEH3172013 is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2013, 10:01 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you could only ever do one in your lifetime would you pick the Tetons route or the Grand Canyon route?
JEH3172013 is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2013, 10:14 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,304
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, the must-see places are going to have crowds. I wouldn't call any of the national parks "tourist traps" though, they aren't that tacky.

I agree that you have 2 distinct trips - Grand Canyon, Zion/Bryce and whatever else you want to see in that area, or Yellowstone/GT and probably Rocky Mountain National Park.

If you can go in early June you would see less crowds.

The easiest way to get away from the crowds is to take a hike, most people don't go very far from the parking lot and stick with very easy trails. You could also take a horseback or mule trip and go whitewater rafting. Either would give you a little bit of a break from the crowds.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2013, 03:45 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,506
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Mid-June would be wonderful for Yellowstone/Grand Teton/Rocky Mountain. All of Yellowstone should be open, and it should be nice during the day, cool at night, and not too crowded yet. As others have said, a short walk down most trails gets you away from the crowds.

I'm one of those who wasn't all that impressed by the Grand Canyon, and I really don't like heat, so in June I would go north. I also wouldn't assume you will never head out this way again! We have managed a few road trips with our kids on a pretty low income.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2013, 04:24 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,304
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I didn't see you question about which trip I would do if I had to pick one...everyone should see the Grand Canyon at least once on their life.

But that doesn't mean it has to be on this trip. Personally I think the Yellowstone/Tetons/RMNP trip would be more epic, so I'd choose that.

Check on flights and car rentals from Salt Lake City and Denver. Also check the cost of a one-way rental from both airports. If you can find a decent rate on that, I'd fly into one airport and out the other.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2013, 05:36 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,204
Likes: 0
Received 8 Likes on 1 Post
I would never tell anybody to skip the Grand Canyon but after you see all of the other sights in the area you may decide GC isn't as spectacular as the others.

With 9 days I think you can do a lot.

You could start and end in Salt Lake City and keep the car rental down.

Zion, Grand Canyon North Rim, Bryce Canyon, Rte 12 (possibly Willis Creek Slot Canyon and/or Little Wildhorse Canyon (I haven't been to Little Wildhorse Canyon but I believe spirobulldog has), Lower Calf Creek Falls , quick stop in Capitol Reef NP along the way, Devil's Garden Escalante, Goblin Valley, Arches NP, Fisher Towers, Dead Horse Point State Park.

You can select from above. Depending upon your interests and travelling style you could do some or almost all.

About going back again. Maybe there's a good reason why you feel this is your only chance.

Six or seven years ago I took "my trip" to the Southwest. I have since been to the area several times. I've taken my daughter on 3 trips and a granddaughter once.

That first trip has resulted in about 8 trips to 12 or 13 national parks in 3 countries.

I have been to some parks multiple times. Also, as you can see by my list not all worthy sights are in national parks. Some are along the way.

I wish I had discovered the parks earlier in life before the aches and pains.

You can see photos of my trips at:
www.travelwalks.com
Myer is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 05:59 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you all so much.

I will look into rates, flights and all the information that you have been kind enough to share and begin to put a plan in place.

I came to the right place for help!

I very much appreciate your advice and opinions!

I wish you all the very best!

J
JEH3172013 is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 09:59 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Myer - Wonderful pictures!! Thank you for sharing them!!
JEH3172013 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Lookin_Glass
United States
12
Apr 29th, 2013 05:30 AM
anneht
United States
7
Mar 12th, 2013 03:27 PM
RedStater
United States
4
Nov 3rd, 2012 03:43 PM
wasleys
Europe
5
Oct 14th, 2011 03:05 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:17 AM.