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Best itinerary with Grandson

East Meadow, New...
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Best itinerary with Grandson

We are taking our grandson who will be 13 in April on a trip in late June, 2011 and we are thinking of the following itiineraries-

which do you think would be best for a young teen?

can you suggest alternative stops so as to cut down on long drives? which hotels would be most appealing for a 13 year old?

Option One:

Fly to Bozeman, drive to Yellowstone, 3 nights Yellowstone

Drive to Grand Teton, visit NP and wildlife refuge, 2 nights Jackson

Tour Olympic center Park City, Heritage Park, 2 nights SLC

Drive Powell Mus Green River Utah, Canyonlands cowboy barbecue and float trip, 1 night Moab

Tour Arches NP, travel to Monument Valley, 1 night Monument Valley

Native Amer tour Monument Valley AM, drive drive to Grand Canyon, 2 nights Grand Canyon

Drive tp Vegas to fly out, we may spend 1 night in Vegas

Option Two:

Fly to SLC, Olympic park tour, heritage park, SLC 2 nights

Drive to Powell Mus in Green River, Cayonlands cowboy barbecue and float trip on Colorado, Moab 1 night

AM Arches NP, drive to Monument Valley, MV 1 night

AM Native Amer guide Monument Valley, drive to Grand Canyon, GC 2 nights

Drive to Glen Canyon, view dam, boat or jeep trip Antelope Canyon, lake Powell 1 night

Drive to Coral Pink Sand Dunes St Pk hike, drive Bryce, 2 nights Bryce

Drive Zion, 2 nights Zion

Drive Vegas to fly home

Option Three:

Fly to Phoenix, drive to Sedona, 2 nights Sedona

Drive Grand Canyon 2 nights GC

Drive Lake Powell, visit Glen Canyon, possible jeep or boat trip Antelope Canyon, half da trip to Monument Vall by jeep with Navajo guide 2 nights LP

Drive to Coral Pink Sand Dunes St Pk hike, travel to Bryce, 2 nights Bryce

Drive to Zion, 2 night ion

Travel to Vegas, family show in PM, 1 night Vegas

Fly home

Thanks

Sedona, AZ
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1. Re: Best itinerary with Grandson

Option three will minimize the driving. 2-3 hours each day is plenty. And no one night stands means at least one full day at each destination. I like it for those reasons.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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2. Re: Best itinerary with Grandson

Well Option one would be the "I have to see it all" trip. Not enough time in Moab imo, and pretty much long drives to get everywhere. It is okay, but probably not great for a 13 yr old.

Option two,, does not fix the not enough time in Moab problem. Helps with the long drive south from Yellowstone, but not sure it isn't still an "I have to see it all" trip.

Option three: Trades Moab for Sedona (and probably the same problem, not enough time there)...hum, otherwise pretty much the same as option two. Day trip to Monument Valley from Page is not ideal.

I guess what I am thinking is that for a 13 yr old none of them appear particularly great.

What is this grandson like? Does he enjoy car drives? Is he interested in the outdoors? hiking? Would you be able to do the hikes? Because you have included a couple of activities, and I would assume you would add more, but it is still mostly driving to yet another park that may or may not look the same to him.

I am all for taking kids out into nature. They need it. But none of these plans really do that. I've spent three days in Page and not had enough time. We just got back from a week in the Zion's area. Even with a week we still could not do all I would have liked, Granted we had three days of hard hiking, but I was still left wanting more time.

If you want to do the classic all american road trip then any of these will work and that is okay by me. Chose the plan that allows you the best options for airfare and car drop off fees. Check if it might be better to fly in and out of the same city. And go from there.

It is hard to know what to leave in and what to leave out, but the fact is that each park will give you something unique and wonderful. So even if you don't see them all you will still see something worth the trip.

Uden, The...
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3. Re: Best itinerary with Grandson

Wise words by RedRox and Kbec.

Not much to add but your time for Moab really is far too short and to visit Arches NP in the morning and drive to Monument Valley is not a great thing. Too short for Arches and many things to see on your way to MV like Moki Dugway.

If you want to follow option one I reverse my route and start Vegas and drive to Bozeman with the sun behind you and driving from the hot to the cooler weather.

Yellowstone NP with a 13 y/o is fantastic with all the wildlife and for your grandson this will be the highligt of your trip imo.

If my count is correct you'll only have 12 night (13 days). I would not do option one in that short amount of time.

If you want to visit Yellowstone/GTNP and the Moab area I suggest you fly Salt Lake City and back from there. It saves drop off charges and you can do it in 13 days (one week for SLC-Yell-GTNP and back and 4-5 days for the Moab area (plenty of things to do with a 13 y/o.) http://www.visitmoab.com/ A day like: SLC-Green River-Canyonlands and a float trip is not feasible.

Your option 2 also can be done from and to SLC instead Las Vegas.

What does your grandson thinks of this all. What are his interest. Keep in mind juni/july will be very hot except fro Yellowstone/GTNP.

And this: (from GC): Drive to Page, view Glen Canyon (Antelope Canyon?), boat trip and Monument Valley is totally impossible. Page to MV is 2.5 hours. If you want to do option 3:

Phoenix-Sedona (2 nights), drive to GCNP for 1/2 nights, drive to Monument Valley for one night. Drive to Page (2 nights), drive to Bryce (1 night) drive to Zion (2 nights) and to Las Vegas (1 night).

If I were to do a trip like this with my grandkids that time of year, Yellowstone would be high on my list.

Tet

East Meadow, New...
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4. Re: Best itinerary with Grandson

Thank you all for the input....just what I needed. My grandson is not particularly an outdoors kid, is somewhat fearful of animals up close, has little experience with hiking, and has only traveled to limited polished places with 5 star hotels or condos. Our goal is not only to bond with him in a shared adventure, but also to introduce him to alternative travel ideas and continue our photography lessons (which he loved on a prior trip with us.) Daily long car trips are not a good idea and we definitely plan to do some easy hiking in all the parks, but days of long hiking, too much time in one place, and serious roughing it would not appeal to him now...hopefully later on if he has a good experience now.

I like the ideas of reversing the trip to start in Vegas and end up in Montana, spend more time in Yellowstone, and have less driving time but I am not quite sure how to organize this. I would gladly eliminate SLC, Lake Powell, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon for this trip, Yellowstone is my first choice but we cannot spend the entire trip there, and the distances are vast.

So how do these alternatives sound i- only the major stops are mentioned with smaller stops along the way included as the trips are fleshed out

Option A

Fly into and out of Jackson or Bozeman and visit Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Chico Hot Springs Resort...maybe 2 nights Chico, 5 nights Yellowstone, 2 nights Grand Tetons, and 2 nights Jackson?

Option B

Fly into Vegas and out of Moab visiting Zion, Bryce, Arches and Canyonlands - maybe 1 night Vegas, 3 nights Zion, 3 nights Bryce, 4 nights Moab area with Arches and Canyonlands,

Option C

Fly into Vegas, visit Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion and fly out of Vegas...maybe 3 nights Grand Canyon, 4 nights Zion, 3 nights Bryce, and 1 night Vegas

Comments and thoughts please???????

Salt Lake City, Utah
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5. Re: Best itinerary with Grandson

Thanks for the explanation. That helps alot. And good for you for trying to help give him more exposure to the world around us. He will be a better person for it.

All of those option are much more reasonable.

If Yellowstone is your first choice then stick with that. It is a great park with a lot of variety. And there is enough in the area surrounding it to keep you busy.

You must include Cody in your plans, the Buffalo Bill museum there is truly fantastic, and sounds like something you would both enjoy. You could spend a whole day there.

So I'm voting for option one, with 2 nights in Cody and a drive over the Beartooth mts.

East Meadow, New...
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6. Re: Best itinerary with Grandson

Thanks - appreciate input. Although I have read several guide books, message boards, and websites, nothing substitutes for direct experience. We have 10-12 days for this trip so it is not necessary to squeeze it into a week. We also want to go in late June rather than July or August so hopefully it will be a drop less crowded and not as hot.

Option One stated:

Fly into and out of Jackson or Bozeman and visit Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Chico Hot Springs Resort...maybe 2 nights Chico, 5 nights Yellowstone, 2 nights Grand Tetons, and 2 nights Jackson

Do you think we should plan on eliminating Chico and spending 2 nights in Cody instead (or eliminate Jackson)? Then we would drive directly from Bozeman to Yellowstone or out of Bozeman from Yellowstone if we do that last. How many nights in each place and in what sequence? Sounds like Yellowstone, Cody and over the pass, Grand Tetons, then Jackson??????

By the way, we also exposed his older brother to different travel by taking him to Costa Rica two years ago and although he complained about food during the trip, he still talks about some of the nature experiences. This younger grandson who we are planning for now chose to stay in the USA from the initial list of choices we offered while his older brother wanted to go outside the country. The younger one is also willing to get up earlier in the morning, is interested in people and events while his older brother is a more a science and nature person.

Uden, The...
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7. Re: Best itinerary with Grandson

We have not stayed at Chico Hot Springs so can't judge. Definitely add Cody and Beartooth hw, one of the most scenic mountain drives in the country and besides that great Buffalo BIll museums, Cody also has it's Nite rodeo. With that long in the Yellowstone area there are more things to do and see, like Thermopolis and its Hot Springs, Lander with its Sink Canyon and Dubois (DUH-boys) with its horses, ranches and the wonderful drive between Dubois and Moran Junction.

If you decide to make the Las Vegas loop, I would not want to stay that long in GC with a 13 years old who is not that keen on hiking. 1-2 nights will be enough. I certainly would add Sedona then because places like Slide Rock and the Jeep Tours are a great way to spend your time among other things. and you could drive old parts of R66 between Las Vegas and GC and I didn't mentioned Page between GC and Bryce.I also think 3 nights Bryce will be too long. You easily could spend a full day in Las Vegas. Enough to do and see outside the casinos (and inside for that matter.)

Tet

East Meadow, New...
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8. Re: Best itinerary with Grandson

I have thought about all the comments on these boards- most people think I am going to too many stops, too long drives, not enough hiking, swimming, activity for a 13 year old so we have reduced the number of stops and are now considering the following options:

Option A Montana and Wyoming-Fly into Bozeman out of Jackson, 11 days - Chico Hot Springs 1, Yellowstone 3, Cody 2, Grand Tetons 2, Jackson 2:

Day 1: Fly to Bozeman and drive to Chico Hot Springs Resort 1 hour from Bozeman airport 1 nite Chico

Day 2: Drive to Yellowstone NP 1 hour, visit Roosevelt Arch, Walk Mammoth Hot Springs, Falls of Yellowstone, Brink of the Falls, Dragon Mouth Springs, O/N Yellowstone

Day 3: Yellowstone drive to Thermopolis Hot Springs, Lander with Sink Canyon,Moran Jcn, O/N Yellowstone

Day 4: Yellowstone Morning tour Firehole Lake Drive, Firehole Canyon, Fountain Paint Pots, Middle Geyser Basin, Old Faithful, ranger talk, O/N Yellowstone

Day 5: Drive to the Beartooth Scenic Hwy 1.5 hrs- amazing views and lookouts. Stop for lunch and walking, Drive to Cody 1.5 hrs- Go to the codystampederodeo.com O/N Cody

Day 6: Buffalo Bill Museum, other stops around Cody, O/N Cody

Day 7: Drive to Grand Tetons NP 3 hrs Lewis Canyon, Mount Moran Lookout, Jenny Lake loop, Church of Transfiguration, Jenny Lake Visitors center, boat ride, O/N Grand Teton

Day 8: Visit wildlife refuge to learn about Sacajawea and Lewis and Clark expedition, O/N Grand Teton NP

Day 9: Drive to Jackson Hole 45 min shopping, Visit Million Dollar cowboy bar, Wild west shootout 6:15 PM, O/N Jackson

Day 10: In and around Jackson Hole, O/N Jackson

Day 11: Fly to Chicago from Jackson Hole

Option B-Fly into Phoenix and out of Las Vegas: Chico Hot Springs 1, Sedona 2, Grand Canyon 2, Bryce 2, Zion 3, Vegas 1 11 days

Day 1: Fly into Phoenix drive to Sedona 2 hrs, view red rock formations, sunset point photography O/N Sedona

Day 2: Oak Creek Canyon, Schnebley Hill Road, hiking, see petroglyphs, O/N Sedona

Day 3: Drive to Grand Canyon (2 hrs)- tour, trading posts, Imax presentation Grand Canyon: Hidden Secrets, park ranger programs, O/N Grand Canyon

Day 4: Hiking Grand Canyon- consider over canyon walkway or flight or other adventures, O/N Grand Canyon

Day 5: Drive to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Slide hike and picnic, then drive to Bryce NP Rainbow point, natural bridge, visitors center, Night Sky rangers program O/N Bryce

Day 6: Bryce short hikes, go to see a rodeo in PM, O/N Bryce Canyon

Day 7: Drive to Zion via Zion tunnel, stop at Red Rock Canyon, Imax Presentation Zion Canyon: Treasures of the Gods, O/N Zion NP

Day 8: Relax Zion, hikes, sunset views and photography, O/N Zion NP

Day 9: Tram ride tour, hike Zion Narrows Trail in water shoes, tubing on river, O/N Zion NP

Day 10:Drive to Las Vegas see the strip, family show PM, O/N Las Vegas

Day 11: Fly home

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Salt Lake City, Utah
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9. Re: Best itinerary with Grandson

Ah, I like people who actually listen. Yeah, yes, these are much better and definitely getting there.

So you have either Yellowstone/Grand Tetons and surroundings

Or Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion with Page and Sedona mixed in.

These are both reasonable trips in the time you have and either could offer up great experiences and photographic opportunities. You haven't said,, have you been to these areas yourself? Just wondering if you have seen either or if one or both would be new to you as well.

Okay, there are no "better thans" here. Just differences. So in case you haven't seen them I will try to explain the differences.

Yellowstone/Grand Tetons are about beautiful mountains, thermal features (geysers, hotpots, mudpots,) lakes (Yellowstone and Jackson are the largest, but there are many others), animals (you will definitely see buffalo, antelope, most probably elk, coyotes and if you are lucky a bear or wolf among many. ), forests, etc.

Grand Canyon and the parks and areas of southern Utah are about geology, rocks of various shapes hues and forms, desert- cactus, lizards, hot and dry, deep canyons, slot canyons, and the rivers that carve them, erosion, wide open vistas. There are some mountains also but they are not the main event.

Either Grand Canyon or Yellowstone are classic parks and should be seen at least once in a lifetime. Do you have any idea if you would rather have mountains and forests, or desert and hot?

For what its worth I like either,,,but again I'd vote for Yellowstone if that is what you were originally thinking (plus it is a better summer time visit- not so hot). There are some things I'd change in your plans, but no need to do that until you've decided which direction to go.

You could easily fly in and out of the same city if you go to Yellowstone, it would lend itself easily to a round trip without much of a back track,,,either Bozeman or Jackson.

If you go to Grand Canyon you could easily go in and out of Las Vegas and still see all on your list. Not really needed to go in and out of different towns. Car drop off fees can dramatically up the rate.

East Meadow, New...
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10. Re: Best itinerary with Grandson

I have personally been to Yellowstone, Jackson, Chico Hot Springs, Grand Canyon (both North and South rims), Bryce, Zion, and Sedona and love them all- in fact, I have been to Bryce and Zion twice. My husband (2nd husband) has never been to Bryce or Zion and both of us only spent 2 days in Yellowstone as an extra add on to a huge Montana to Alaska drive on the Alaska Highway. I would be happy to go in either direction but am not sure I want beastly hot weather when I am retired and can go in milder times of year. We are strongly leaning toward the first option. We think the thermal components will add interest and there is definitely some interesting geology at play in Yellowstone as well, such as the black glass obsidian hill and the wonderful twisted shapes in some rocky areas. I want to give my grandson the sense of ownership so I will discuss both options with him when I visit in September and let him choose....probably slanting in one direction but trying not to.

Not sure how we could fly in and out of the same city without backtrack but would love to hear the route you are thinking of since extra fees are to be avoided when possible. I checked into airfare but not car rental return rates so far.

I noted that to fly into and out of Las Vegas involves much longer drives than to fly into Phoenix and out of Vegas and my grandson does not love long car trips so I am trying to minimize them.

Please offer more input since you are so helpful!!!! I definitely listen, do my own research before asking questions, and learn from experts....and I serve as a resource on many of the trip advisor message boards helping too. I love these boards and I thank you for participating.

Thanks