Westward Ho--- Need lots of help

Old Mar 8th, 2006, 01:00 PM
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Westward Ho--- Need lots of help

Hello All.

I need a lot of help here please. We have two daughters, age 11 and 16. I want to get a good family trip in and was first thinking about a driving trip from Kansas City, MO. I am thinking about a trip lasting about two weeks and departing, perhaps on Memorial Day Weekend.

I asked my kids to pick a place they wanted to visit. After a five minute internet search, my eleven year old concluded that she wanted to see California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico; however, she offered no particular reason.

I am thinking that the Grand Canyon may be a good destination for us, but I am also thinking about some beach time in California. Now you see why I need help and guidance in narrowing things down, lol?

I really do not know if there is that much I want to see between Kansas City and the Grand Canyon, but am looking for suggestions. The long drive across Kansas is not something I look forward to again, and we were in Colorado last year. So now, I am considering two options.

One option is the round trip driving trip from KC, to some destinations out West and back home. However, to skip pointless driving time thru Kansas both ways, I am now thinking about the four of us flying to Vegas and beginning our trip from there.

I am open to all suggestions. The other night I was trying to vision a visit to the Grand Canyon, and then driving to California for time there. In California, would not mind seeing such things as the sequoia trees, and then to down to Hollywood, San Diego, up the coast line (view seeker)and perhaps even the Disney park in Anaheim (spelling).

As you see, I am really looking for guidance as I have not been to most of those destinations myself, with the exception of Vegas and a brief weekend in San Diego, 20 years ago.

Please tender your thoughts.

I appreciate your time and attention.

Bugler is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2006, 01:31 PM
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Purely my own experience at visiting the Grand Canyon with young people.

"Look honey - isn't that something?"

"Oh wow. Great. Now what?"

(Note I have held this same dialogue at several National Parks, major orange bridges across famous straits, a certain famous clock in London, and a big green statue close to Brooklyn.)

Which is not to say you shouldn't do it, but I'd certainly think about flying and adding plenty of sensory distractions to two weeks.

You can fly to Vegas or Phoenix, get a car, see the Grand Canyon, then either add some additional destinations in the red-rock southwest (Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Zion/Bryce, etc.) or you can head west to California and up the coast. Depending on your travel style (I am happiest driving 8+ hours in a day; my family is not) you can cover a lot of ground in 2 weeks. (Kids out of school that early?)

Driving times: GC to LA - a day; LA to SF, 2 days. SF to major redwood groves, 5 hours. SF to Yosemite, 3 hours more or less. Vegas to LA - 4-6 hours depending on traffic. SF to Seattle via the coast - 2 or 3 days depending on stops. GC to Yellowstone NP - 2 days.

Some miscellaneous notes - LA/So. Calif. beaches rather foggy in June ("June gloom"); it can be getting quite hot in the desert by the first of June. Accommodation near GC is expensive and scarce.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 01:34 PM
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Two weeks is a nice amount of time to see quite a bit of the West-- good thing, since the distances between your sites of interest can be considerable (Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon is roughly 300 miles, for example). My first recommendation: If you're a AAA member, get one of their maps of the US along with all the guidebooks, driving tour descriptions and state brochures you can carry. If you're NOT a AAA member, join. Well worth the expense.

There are some roadtrip specialists on this Forum that will offer itineraries, hints and what-not. I'm not a roadtrip fan (I'm Southern too, and I bear the scars of too many roadtrips as a child), but this one sounds like it could be truly wonderful. Especially since this part of the US is so completely and utterly different from the Midwest.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 02:44 PM
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I have to agree with Gardyloo. We have taken our daughters to several national parks. The least successful was Gunnison; also a huge deep canyon. It was just less approachable and interactive than other parks. We camped on the rim and hiked a bit. It was beautiful, don't get me wrong, but IMHO I think Yosemite or Yellowstone are better options for a family.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 03:11 PM
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I agree with the others that more interactive parks might capture the kids' interest more than the grand canyon.

Yosemite is terrific, but lodging can be a challenge since it is so popular. If you can get a place to stay though, I would DEFINITELY put it on the list. You can walk around, do some hiking, rent bikes, swim at Mirror Lake. Not to mention the incredible scenery.

Another, less crowded national park is Sequoia and Kings Canyon. It is a good second choice if you can't get lodging at Yosemite.

If you are going to be going as far north along the CA coast as Santa Cruz, I would definitely put it on the itinerary. Your kids will have a blast there. The beach, the Boardwalk, downtown, Capitola Village, surfers. I grew up there and let me tell you - in junior high and high school, all my out of town cousins wanted to come visit me



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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 04:38 PM
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Utah would be on the way back from Ca...or southern Utah on the way...all the great parks, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches National Monument. Gorgeous country!
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 04:47 PM
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Here is what I do to find unknown gems. Determine the route and do a web search for each town on a map. You will be off an a very rewarding adventure. Many points of interest are revealed in this way. A number of which will end up on the itinerary.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 05:00 PM
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I live near Santa Cruz, kids would love it as well as Capitola. Also, Monterey which is within a 1/2 hour, with the aquarium would be fun. San Francisco has alot of things for kids/ teens: Exploritorium, Zoo, the Metreon, shopping, Fisherman's Wharf, ferries, etc.. I live in San Jose, which has some things to do also: Tech museum, Egyptian museum, Winchester Mystery house, Parmount's Great America, shopping and more.
 
Old Mar 9th, 2006, 07:20 PM
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Thank you for all of the responses. Based upon your responses, I am now thinking about simply flying into California and spending the entire time there, working our way up from San Diego, the coast and then to Yosemite.

Thank you again.

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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 08:11 PM
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If you decide to drive and, considering you have already visited Colorado, I would suggest making one direction on the trip via the southern route and the other via the Utah parks.

On the southern route, Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico are interesting and your girls might even pick up a little history. On the way to Santa Fe, you might come through Dodge City for a little of the frontier west tourist kitsch.

After Santa Fe and Taos, you could head straight for the Grand Canyon.

If it were me, I'd probably try to take about 5 days to get to the coast making those stops, spend 4 days somewhere along the coast (San Diego, Newport Beach, etc), then another 5 days to get home via the Utah parks.

You know your girls better than any of us do but my kids used to love trips like this and they now take my grandkids on road trips.
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Old Mar 10th, 2006, 09:18 AM
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Depending on how much time you want to spend on the coast versus in the mountains, Lake Tahoe is a good place to spend a couple days - beautiful scenery, boat rides, swimming/hanging out on the beach, biking and hiking, etc.

Either way, since it looks like your itinerary is going to be basically south to north, I would see about open jaw tickets - flying into San Diego and then out of whatever airport is closest to your ending point.

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