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Could someone look at my trip please

Maidstone, United...
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Could someone look at my trip please

Hi

I am from the UK and planning a 21 night tour of Western USA next summer with my Wife and two children (aged 12 and 16). I haven't been there before and want to get a balance between seeing it all and not spending three weeks in the car.

Its been quite difficult to plan but I've finally come up with the tour below. It would be really helpful if someone with more experience that me could cast their eye over it to make sure it looks sensible.

1, Arrive Las Vegas, Overnight - Las Vegas

2, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon West/Skywalk, Overnight - Kingman

3, Oatman then to Ash Fork via Route 66, Overnight - Flagstaff

4, To Petrified Forest and back, Overnight - Flagstaff

5, To Grand Canyon Village, Overnight - GC Village

6, Remain in GC National Park, Overnight - GC Village

7, Via Watchtower Overlook & dinosaur footprints to Monument Valley, Overnight - Monument Valley

8, To Page, Overnight - Page

9, Remain in Page, Overnight - Page

10, To Bryce Canyon, Overnight - Bryce Canyon

11, Remain in Bryce Canyon, Overnight - Bryce Canyon

12, To Springdale/Zion National Park, Overnight - Springdale

13, To Las Vegas via Valley of Fire, Overnight - Las Vegas

14, To Furnace Creek/Death Valley, Overnight - Furnace Creek

15, To Lee Vining via Big Pine and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Overnight - Lee Vining

16, Via Bodie State Park to Yosemite Village, Overnight - Yosemite Village

17, Remain in Yosemite, Overnight - Yosemite Village

18, Remain in Yosemite, Overnight - Yosemite Village

19, To San Francisco, Overnight - San Francisco

20, Remain in San Francisco, Overnight - San Francisco

21, Remain in San Francisco, Overnight - San Francisco

22, Fly home from San Fransisco,

Any help, suggestions or criticisms will be greatfully recieved.

Lewes, United...
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for Road Trips
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1. Re: Could someone look at my trip please

Hi Col

Welcome to the Road Trips forum.

Have you booked any of the accommodation yet? Is any of it cancellable, if so, or are you waiting for us to effectively give you the OK on your plans before going ahead? That will help us comment. Also, actual dates during next summer, assuming you've at least booked your flights would help. We can then see if there are any clashes with US public holidays, for example.

As you say this is your first ever trip to the USA, please may I strongly recommend you have a good read of several of the topics contained in the Top Qs section of this forum, full screen version. There's relevant topics on driving in the USA, car rental and other stuff which may help contribute to a successful trip.

Overall, your trip looks fine and perfectly possible, but you have several stays in National Parks which, except for DVNP which doesn't tend to get too booked up in summer, you will need to move fast to get the best choice of accommodation as the books open a year ahead of the dates and much may already be gone. For detailed advice of where to stay in the parks, ask some questions on the specific park destination forums. As you seem to be new to TA, here's a link to Grand Canyon as that's the first, you should be able to find them yourself after that!

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g143028-i157-Grand…

My only real comment in terms of where I strongly disagree with your plans, is your intention to visit GCW and the Skywalk. As you will be going to the real thing, forget it. It's a tourist trap rip off to be blunt as prices are eye watering and then you get clobbered with an extra fee to cross some private landowner's property.

The other advice as you have a great and long list of wonderful national parks to visit would be to ensure you buy the $80 annual park pass at the first one, it gets you into all the rest, good for the car full of the whole family.

You are unlikely to need the rental car while in SF, so you can save money by handing it back as car parking is pricey, and not all accommodation has any.

Have a great trip,

SWT

Maidstone, United...
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2. Re: Could someone look at my trip please

Hi

Thanks for your reply. Nothing is booked yet, not even the flights. We are thinking of flying in on 23 July. There is plenty of availability on the flights we would need. I am aware of the need to get accommodation tied up soon.

We have been to Florida a couple of times so driving in the USA is not entirely new to us although I realise this trip is a bit different to driving between Orlando's theme parks!

Your advice on the Skywalk is useful. If we leave that out we can have a much more leisurely first day which might be useful after an 11 hour flight.

Thanks again

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: Could someone look at my trip please

Agree with SWT. Have been to both the GCWest and the real Grand Canyon NP. Do not waste your time or money on GCWest.

Also agree to get your lodging in place for the national parks- it books up fast.

Late July and early August will be very hot in parts of Nevada, Arizona and southern Utah so be prepared and drink plenty of water.

Las Vegas imo is not very kid friendly so best not to stay more than a day or two.

Good luck with your trip planning!!!

Salt Lake City, Utah
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4. Re: Could someone look at my trip please

Greetings Kent, Welcome out West. Looks like a fun trip. Just a couple of thoughts.

When I was the age of your children, I really wanted to be engaged in activity rather than looking at scenic viewpoints and historical relics. More time rafting, climbing, boating, hiking, etc. I wonder if the first portion of the trip will begin to drag for them. The Petrified Forest is 3 hours from Flagstaff, so round trip will be at least six hours driving that day. The times via Google Maps usually denote the entrance of the park and not the time it takes to go through the sites, traveling at 40 MPH speed limits. Just an observation. The first week seems a little slow to me. Might want to post the first weeks itinerary on the Arizona forum for folks that really know it well.

The 2nd week seems quick. I think having two nights at Page and Bryce and only one at Zion is a bit skewed. If you are not going rafting or taking a boating tour on Lake Powell, you don't need two nights in Page, You could see Wahweap, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend in a day and hit Glen Canyon Dam on the way out, if that is important. I might also skip the Hoover Dam tour if you're going to do a Glen Canyon Dam tour. Hoover Dam will be more expensive and crowded.

Bryce is a relatively small park that can be seen in a full day with a couple of hikes or burro tours combined with observation points. Try and get in on a ranger lead astronomy tour at night and don't miss the sun rise, at it is the best time to view the amphitheater.

Zion will by far have the most and varied hiking options. Don't miss a trip down the Narrows and if you have the stomach for heights, Angel's Landing. Here is a great hiking guide. Click on a trail for descriptions and photos.

www.citrusmilo.com/zionguide/allhikes.cfm

Third week looks about right. Just a couple of minor adjustments here and there and look great.

Edited: 31 October 2013, 19:49
Aubrey, Texas
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5. Re: Could someone look at my trip please

I agree with the comments about GCW and Skywalk which is a gimmick to lure tourists from Las Vegas. Rather than Flagstaff, spend your nights in GCNP. The Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff is a small gem that doesn't take a lot of time to visit.

I suggest you visit Petrified Forest NP then go north through Ganado to Canyon de Chelly NM at Chinle. Overnight in Chinle then go to Monument Valley. The Hubbell Trading Post at Ganado is a step back in time.

Edited: 31 October 2013, 20:00
Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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6. Re: Could someone look at my trip please

More time at Zion. Less at Page. Agree skip GCW and Skywalk. Texhills advice is spot on.

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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7. Re: Could someone look at my trip please

Page is well worth spending two nights - the smooth water raft trip and Antelope Canyon should *not* be missed! Those two activites will take most of a day. Maybe add Horseshoe Bend and Glen Canyon Dam tour (if interested) if you have any time leftover during your two nights/one day there.

Maidstone, United...
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8. Re: Could someone look at my trip please

Thanks for all the advice. We have amended our plan as a result. We've taken out GCW and followed Texhills advice re the petrified forest and Chinle. This has enabled us to fit in an other day in Zion. So now it looks like this: [I'm repeating the whole thing here in case it is useful for anyone else planning a trip]

1, Arrive Las Vegas, Overnight - Las Vegas

2, Hoover Dam, Overnight - Oatman

3, Route 66 via Peach Springs to Ash Fork then GC Village. Overnight - GC Village

4, Remain in GC National Park, Overnight - GC Village

5, Desert View Watchtower, then Metor Crater, Overnight - Wilmslow

6, Petrified Forest, Overnight - Chinle

7, Via Monument Valley to Page, Overnight - Page

8, Remain in Page (raft trip, etc.), Overnight - Page

9, To Bryce Canyon, Overnight - Bryce Canyon

10, Remain in Bryce Canyon, Overnight - Bryce Canyon

11, To Springdale/Zion National Park, Overnight - Springdale

12, Remain in Zion, Overnight - Springdale

13, To Las Vegas via Valley of Fire, Overnight - Las Vegas

14, To Furnace Creek/Death Valley, Overnight - Furnace Creek

15, To Lee Vining via Big Pine and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Overnight - Lee Vining

16, Via Bodie State Park to Yosemite Village, Overnight - Yosemite Village

17, Remain in Yosemite, Overnight - Yosemite Village

18, Remain in Yosemite, Overnight - Yosemite Village

19, To San Francisco, Overnight - San Francisco

20, Remain in San Francisco, Overnight - San Francisco

21, Remain in San Francisco, Overnight - San Francisco

22, Fly home from San Fransisco,

9. Re: Could someone look at my trip please

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