I am planning an ambitious 6-7 week, cross-country road trip for the summer of 2012. The trip starts in Sioux Falls, SD - traveling west along a northern route to the Olympic Peninsula, south thru California, then east thru Death Valley, Grand Canyon, New Mexico, then north thru Colorado and back home to Chicago.
Here is our tentative itinerary:
- Sioux Falls, SD (1 night-KOA campground)
- Badlands National Park, SD (1 night-Badlands/White River KOA)
- Mt. Rushmore, SD (2 nights-Mt.Rushmore/Hill City KOA)
- Big Horn Canyon, WY (1 night-BigHorn Afterbay Campground)
- Yellowstone National park, WY (3 nights-Canyon Village Campground)
- Grand Tetons/Jackson Hole, WY (2 nights-Coulter Bay Village Campground)
- Glacier National Park, MT (2 nights-Many Glacier Campground)
- Coeur d'Alene, ID (1 night-Lake Coeur d'Alene Camping Resort)
- Mt. Rainier National Park (2 nights-Cougar Rock Campground)
- Seattle, WA (1 night-Hotel)
- Olympic National Park, WA (3 nights-Olympic Kalaloch Campground)
- Portland/Cascade Locks, OR (2 nights-Cascade Locks KOA)
- Crater Lake National Park, OR (2 nights-Mazama Village Campground)
- Redwood National Forest, CA (2 nights-Jedediah Smith Campground)
- San Francisco, CA (2 nights-Hotel)
- Yosemite National Park, CA (2 nights-Bridalveil Creek Campground)
- Sequoia National Forest/Kings Canyon, CA (1 night-Sunset Campground)
- Death Valley, CA (1 night-Stovepipe Wells Hotel)
- Zion National Park, UT (2 nights-Watchman Campground)
- Bryce Canyon, UT (2 nights-Campground TBD)
- Grand Canyon, AZ (2 nights-one night @ Grand Canyon KOA, one night @ Phantom Ranch)
- Albuquerque, NM (1 night-Albuquerque KOA)
- Carlsbad, NM (2 nights-Hotel)
- Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, NM (1 night-Orilla Verde Recreation Area)
- Colorado Springs, CO (2 nights-Mueller State Park Campground)
- Denver, CO (1 night-Hotel)
- Rocky Mountain National Park (2 nights-Moraine Park Campground)
- Omaha, NE (1 night - West Omaha KOA)
- Sweet Home Chicago
We are going to be camping at almost all locations except in a few cities (Seattle, San Francisco, Carlsbad & Denver) where we plan to treat ourselves to some real beds, hot showers and room service.
There are of course sightseeing stops & day-trip options in between many of these destinations (i.e. rafting adventures, mule rides, a major league baseball game, hikes & bikes, etc.).
I would love some feedback on the following:
1. Most scenic drives along these routes.
2. Best Camping (did we select good locations?)
3. Any "MUST DO" or "MUST SEE" stops along the way.
Many thanks in advance for your help. I'm a single mom planning an unforgettable trip to take with my teenage son after graduation - before he leaves on his own college adventure.