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Old 12-08-2014, 05:11 PM   #1
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Ultimate summer x-country trip suggestions

Hello everyone and thank you so very much in advance for your recommendations!

This past summer we purchased a 27' Flying Cloud and have made several weekend trips around the southeast US. I have two teenage daughters, who, I am fearful, may not be interested in camping with mom and dad for much longer. Therefore, I am starting to plan a 2 week trip in the Airstream for the early summer of 2015.

I would love to make this an amazingly memorable trip for our family and would greatly appreciate your kind feedback on what you think would be the best itinerary. Since we are pretty new, we would prefer to stay in RV parks with full hook-ups.

Thank you so much in advance!
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Old 12-08-2014, 05:58 PM   #2
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If you have the time and the money, this trip should be on your bucket list. Not sure if your teens are at the point where they prefer the mall and their friends to a long roadtrip with their parents, but this would be a trip that they will remember for the rest of their lives (hopefully, for visiting many of the beautiful places in the West):

• National Park-to-Park Highway: National Park to Park Highway - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

• PBS Video "Paving the Way": PAVING THE WAY: The National Park-to-Park Highway

With only two weeks, you may have to pick only a couple of National Parks for this trip, and then continue with the others on your next vacation. For example, you might want to start with Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion, and perhaps Rocky Mountain National Parks (Pike's Peak is in the area, too). OR, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone, Glacier, and Grand Teton.

Lots of people on this forum have been to all of these; and they can suggest campgrounds and attractions, after you specify which areas you are interested in.

See link below for park details. Also, if you decide to visit the National Parks, make sure to buy the Annual Pass, which will cover entrance fees to all parks and will pay for itself at your first few stops.

National Park Service Website: http://www.nps.gov/index.htm

National Park Service Passes: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm

Note: If you can't sell them on this trip, you definitely want to do this after retirement. Also, the Pacific Coast Highway is another roadtrip that is well worth your time.
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:14 PM   #3
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Can you stretch that to 3 weeks? 2 weeks will pretty much keep you on the East coast. Not bad, but too close to home.

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Old 12-08-2014, 06:29 PM   #4
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Great advise from Phoenix....we did this with our 3 boys and daughter one year; grades 8, 10, & 11. We had a full month in June. We drove from TX, to Colorado, stayed at Estes State Park, couple nights and hiked; then off to the Teton's National Park which was great camping on the lake; Yellowstone was a 5 mile drive from there, so nice camping, fishing, boating, hiking, biking, and drive through Yellowstone a couple times was easy day trip. We then went to Glacier Park for few nights then on to Banff Canada which was very great place to camp- 2 Jacks Lake, just outside of Banff...elk in camp each night, loons on the lake, easy drive to Lake Louise, and other sites, white water rafting, and Banff--a truly International city with folks from all over the world visitin! We drove across Canada and caught the ferry to Golden State Park on Vancouver Island, while enjoying great fresh seafood. On way back we stopped in Moab Utah in mid July...hot, but nice at night. Great for mountain biking, picture taking, rafting, and hiking...(lots of water needed). Hard to pick a site with just 2 weeks, but if I were doing it again, I would recommend taking along bicycles as that helps the kids unwind and gives them a chance to explore while your setting up your camp sites with the AS...good luck and enjoy! It was very memorable when we did it.
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Old 12-08-2014, 07:19 PM   #5
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Got so wound up in memories, forgot to mention our driving logic; we picked the destinations that would allow an easy drive, 8 hours max average drive time. If I was doing 2 weeks, I would look at furthest destination you want to visit, and pick another destination or 2 to visit on the way. Important to think how much time you plan to spend at each destination. No fun if you can't enjoy your destination stops. Also no fun if your getting in late, and leaving early on the way with kids...they need some time to explore on their own. bikes help.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:47 AM   #6
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Thank you so very much both Phoenix and Gypsydad for these great recommendations! I will take a look at the video that you recommended and also check out the distance between all of these destinations to see what we can realistically fit into a couple of weeks. To answer Sandlapper, 3 weeks may be difficult to do, but 2.5 weeks may be possible.

I think our main disadvantage is being on the East Coast which makes it tough to get to all of the national parks out west, but I think it would definitely be worth the extra driving.

I have just two extra questions if that is ok? It looks like a lot of the state parks do not accept reservations for their sites. Being a planner, I just foresee a nightmare scenario unfolding of trying to get into one of these parks only to be turned away due to no availability. Then trying to find another suitable site late in the day with hungry and tired girls. In your experience, is this correct and is it just better to make reservations at private rv parks? And secondly, from NC to the western US, are there any places noteworthy across the midsection worth stopping for in your opinion?

Thank you very much again!
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:07 AM   #7
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We found most States have reservation systems for their parks and KOA's have come along way. Google the States you think you'll be going through and their Park systems web sites will tell the attractions nearby.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:14 AM   #8
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If I personally had 2 weeks and had mostly traveled in the East, I'd high tail it to Glacier National Park or do a combo trip of the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. You can't do all 3 in just one week.

These parks are stunning - plan ahead though as they fill up fast. Reservations are highly recommended. Gros Ventre CG north of a Jackson usually has spots open and is in a great location to see the Tetons.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:14 AM   #9
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Here's another thought. A trip up the east coast to NYC and Boston area. There's a campground ( a marina really) in NJ with a boat shuttle right into Manhattan drooping you off at the old World Trade Center area. You will also have a view of the Statue of Liberty from the marina and I believe you can bike to the park entrance to take a boat to the statue. Or there's a trolley nearby too that takes you into the city. Then up to Boston which is a great walkable city with lots of history. There's a camground in Salem, Ma on the ocean with a nearby fast boat shuttle to Boston dropping you off right where you want to be. There's a lot of history in Salem too ( witch hunts) If you wanted you could head to Acadia NP in Maine next which is beautiful with lots of hiking, and biking on the carriage paths.

Might be less driving with opportunities for sightseeing, historical sites and some outdoor activities mixed in.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:32 AM   #10
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These all sound amazing. I have 2 young boys, 1 little girl on the way and just thinking about taking these trips with them makes my heart swell up.

Best of luck with whatever you decide on!


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Old 12-09-2014, 10:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by karenjude View Post
Here's another thought. A trip up the east coast to NYC and Boston area. There's a campground ( a marina really) in NJ with a boat shuttle right into Manhattan drooping you off at the old World Trade Center area. You will also have a view of the Statue of Liberty from the marina and I believe you can bike to the park entrance to take a boat to the statue. Or there's a trolley nearby too that takes you into the city. Then up to Boston which is a great walkable city with lots of history. There's a camground in Salem, Ma on the ocean with a nearby fast boat shuttle to Boston dropping you off right where you want to be. There's a lot of history in Salem too ( witch hunts) If you wanted you could head to Acadia NP in Maine next which is beautiful with lots of hiking, and biking on the carriage paths.

Might be less driving with opportunities for sightseeing, historical sites and some outdoor activities mixed in.
This is exactly what I was thinking. Two weeks is not enough time to get out west and really enjoy it. You'll be driving too much.

Being in the East actually has advantages in that regard. There is so much packed densely. You could literally enjoy off-beat places like Assateague Island on one day and be in NYC the next.

I say do more drive less. That will make the trip enjoyable.
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:05 PM   #12
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Agreed....stay east! Otherwise all you'll do is drive, drive, drive. So many choices....Outer Banks, Assateague/Chincoteague, Skyline Drive/Shenandoah Valley, Cape Cod, 1000 Islands area in upstate NY, Rhode Island, Maine...LOVE Maine!!! So many beautiful places!!
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:31 PM   #13
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Nothing is more boring and tiring than driving to the next stop every other day for two weeks. Pick a really incredible destination with their help, maybe a two day trip, then set up camp in a beautiful spot with plenty of activities at hand and enjoy some time together. Cook out or go out, and gather at a campfire in the evening to settle the day and plan the next.
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:45 PM   #14
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You have been given great input here, and these fine folks are all correct (I make at least one cross-country trip from ID to FL annually). Add consideration for a trip up through coastal New England into the maritime provinces to Nova Scotia...its a great trip, with great camp sites all the way to Cape North (end of the road). But my main contribution to your query is this....you and your spouse pull your AS out west, happy with each other and not worrying about whether the kids are happy, and when you get to your western destination/jumpoff point have your teenage girls fly out to meet you at a nearby western airport. I have done that with my older kids, and it works great all around since they don't have to sit in the back for days of driving. Think about it. jon
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