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Ohio to out West Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Gateway Arch

Chesterland, Ohio
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Ohio to out West Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Gateway Arch

My husband, I and our three children 8,12,15 are planning a 2 week trip out west in the beginning of July 2008 beginning from North East Ohio. Right now, our plan is to rent an RV and follow I-90 to Chicago (American Girl Place - just looking can't afford to buy). Then we will head to the Badlands, S.D., Mt. Rushmore and stay at a campground in the Black Hills. The we will visit with friends that live in Jackson Hole, Wy. Then we plan on traveling to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and return to Ohio with a stop in Dillon, Co and the gateway Arch in St. Louis.

Okay grand plans I know, but I'm looking for some advice on what to see along the way and any other travel advice. This is our first trip out west (and possibly the last) so we want to make a memorable one. We will be staying at a few campgrounds and hope to stay at Walmarts for those quick - not much to see here sections of the trip. We like to hike, sight see and take family adventures.

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Ohio
Ohio
United States
Chicago
Chicago
Illinois
American Girl Place
American Girl Place
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Chicago, IL
The Gateway Arch
The Gateway Arch
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OHIO
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1. Re: Ohio to out West Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Gateway Arch

My husband, myself, and girls 10 and 14 went on a similar trip on July of "06. We also camped along the way. Our first stop was the Badlands..it was very hot. We recommend going to Custer State Park in South Dakota (not to far from Mt. Rushmore).

In Custer you can see buffalo, elk, wild donkeys, mountain goats and prairie dogs. We hiked the Sunday Gulch trail in Custer and it was a very strenous3 mile hike but the views were OUTSTANDING. take lots and i mean lots of water. We stopped at Deadwood and saw a reanactment of the shooting of Wild Bill at the #10 Saloon. While in Deadwood I played blackjack while the kids had a soda ( and i won)..lol. We left from there and went to Yellowstone. I highly recommend taking the time to go there. It was my favorite of all the National parks we saw that summer. If you go to Yellowstone you need to make your reservations very early. You will see everything from the geysers to bears. We wished we had more time in Yellowstone. From Yellowstone we went to Bryce Canyon in Utah....oh what scenery and OUTSTANDING hiking trails. The photography was fantastic. WE left Bryce and headed to the Grand Canyon. You have to wake up early (before sunrise) to experience the true beauty of the Grand Canyon. I highly recommend hiking below the rim. These hikes are guided and are about 3 miles into the canyon. Only 5% of everyone who sees the Grand Canyon go below the rim. We extended out trip to Las Vegas, San Diego, Sequioa National Park and San Francisco. Our trip lasted five weeks. If you need more info e-mail me at BEKISU816@aol.com.

We are from northeast Ohio and truly enjoyed our trip out west and would like to do it again someday. Our biggest recommendation to you is that you take food and beverages into the National Parks because it is very expensive to buy there. We also went to AAA and bought a National Park Pass for $20 and it was good at all the National Parks. This will save you a bundle because they charge you $10-$20 to get into each of these places and it is good for one full year. Our other recommendation is to make your camping reservations very early ...at least 6 months in advance. This will give you something to do during the winter months.

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Cleveland, Ohio
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2. Re: Ohio to out West Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Gateway Arch

Just remember with food in these parks, you attract alot of wildlife and they will rip your car apart. Make sure you use the metal food bins that are located throughout the park.

Sounds like a great trip!!! Have a wonderful time!!!

Ohio
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3. Re: Ohio to out West Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Gateway Arch

We lived in Rapid City, SD for several years, and there is an awful lot to see in the Black Hills in addition to the Badlands and Rushmore. If you like caves, there is wind cave and jewel Cave national parks. My favorite place in the Black Hills is Custer State Park. Take the Wildlife loop within the park, and you're likely to see herds of buffalo, big horn sheep, wild burros, deer, elk, and prairie dogs. You can easily combine this in a day with your visit to Rushmore. Other things to do include needles highway, devils tower, and somebody already mentioned Deadwood. You could easily occupy a week just in the Black Hills area.

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Rapid City
Rapid City
South Dakota
Custer State Park
Custer State Park
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4. Re: Ohio to out West Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Gateway Arch

And our family did spend a week in the Black Hills area (about 15 years ago). Wish we had more time. I want to go back.

Stacyeb...wow, what a trip. And you think you can travel from Ohio to Jacson Hole to the Grand Canyon and back in two weeks? That sounds like an awful lot.

I won't give you too much advice, except, when we went out to the Black Hills, we did spend a few hours at the Circus Museum in Baraboo, WI (a slight road trip off I-90, but not too bad). We also spent time at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. That is covered with murals decorated in corn and other vegetation. And spend some time at Wall Drug Store near the foothills of the Black Hills. Kitsch to the nth degree; however the buffalo burgers are great.

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Ohio
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Baraboo
Baraboo
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Highland Village...
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5. Re: Ohio to out West Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Gateway Arch

The National Parks pass program has recently changed and is now $80. It may still be work it, but you'd have to crunch the numbers based on your trip.

Especially for your 8 year old, and maybe the others, too, I'd suggest getting a National Parks Passport book. I got them for my kids before we went to the Grand Canyon and with the intent to visit other National Parks and historic sites in the future. They look much like a actual passport book and list every national park or national historic site in the country. At each location, you can stamp the book (for free!) with the date and name of the location. It gives the kids a fun thing to locate on each trip, and there is a record of the date visited.

The books can be purchased through this site -- eparks.com/store/product/22515/Passport-Book/ -- or at any National Parks gift shop once you arrive.

It sounds like a great trip! Enjoy!

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Chesterland, Ohio
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6. Re: Ohio to out West Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Gateway Arch

HELP!!!!

My husband has decided to cancel the RV because of gas prices. Now he wants to stay in cabins. I told him we needed to make reservations months ago, he thought I was exaggerating. I wasn't. Everything is booked and now he is stessed.

The trip has changed.

14 days

Wisconsin Dells, De Smet, Mount Rushmore area, east entrance of Yellowstone, South exit of Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, (staying with friend in Bedford, Wy, Cheyenne, Iowa and back to Ohio.

We really want to stay in cabins in the Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone areas. Anyone know of non- park cabins. The state and natioanl cabins are booked up. HELP!

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Bedford
Bedford
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7. Re: Ohio to out West Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Gateway Arch

Stacy:

I'm sure you'll find lots of available accomodations at http://www.vrbo.com. They are vacation rentals by owner - the largest such web site. There's everything there from houses to cabins to condos.

Chesterland, Ohio
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8. Re: Ohio to out West Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Gateway Arch

Thank you so much I will check them out right now!!

Michigan
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9. Re: Ohio to out West Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Gateway Arch

Stacey, you may want to check the price difference between staying at cabin and renting an rv. Yes gas is high (and expected to get higher) but if you are driving out there anyway. The price of a cabin vs. the price of renting an rv and campground sites may be even. We are from Michigan and our family of 5 are also doing a 2 week trip to Yellowstone with our travel trailer the 2nd week in July. There are different campsites available at different prices which will help with the cost and some accept AAA cards. You may still have options. Right now, you need to make your decision quickly. We were told about a month ago to have reservations within the next month (now) Campsite at fishing bridge rv park, inside Yellowstone with full-hook up is 39.00 (4 adults/2kids)

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Michigan
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Indianapolis...
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10. Re: Ohio to out West Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Gateway Arch

Before I read your post about your husband changing his mind about the RV, I was going to tell you that a relative had a nasty surprise when they rented one and got 9 miles/gallon. You can stay in some pretty nice places for the amount you'd spend on an RV rental + gas at that rate!

Good luck finding places to stay! If I think of anything, I will post it. Sounds like a great trip!

Lily