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Old 03-21-2018, 11:37 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Raleigh
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Once in a lifetime trip suggestions

My family is looking to plan about a 10-14 day cross country trip for sometime in 2019. It's probably the only chance we will get to do this with our kids (12 and 15), so we want it to be special. We live in North Carolina and trying to decide the best route and destination we should choose.

One choice is going to Mt. Rushmore with a stop at the Ark Experience in KY and visit friends in Omaha along the way.

Another choice would be a trip to the Grand Canyon with some various stops along the way.

I Might also consider a trip to Yellowstone or other National Parks.

What other destinations might you suggest outside of these I've already mentioned? We are not set in stone on any specific destination or route at this point. We want to make sure we pick something memorable.


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Old 03-21-2018, 12:06 PM   #2
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If this is a once in a lifetime trip I'd shoot for as much time as possible. Even 14 days would be a tough time table for a trip out west and back. Considering that it will be 6-8 long days of driving to just get out and back to most of those locations you mentioned there's not a lot of time left for sightseeing or relaxing.

At that age they would probably find Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, Grand Tetons, Devil's Tower, Custer area very interesting and lot's to see and do.

We did a trip like that long ago with our two boys who were a few years younger. But it took almost five weeks and did a grand loop from Connecticut down South then out to California and then back along the northern route. Almost 10,000 miles and a lot of driving!

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Old 03-21-2018, 12:10 PM   #3
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If you go to Yellowstone, head over to I-15 and go south. There are several really scenic national parks in Utah.
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Old 03-21-2018, 12:13 PM   #4
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We can definitely agree that your first three choices are good ones. Here is a link to a couple of albums from Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park http://www.keystoneforums.com/forums...hp?albumid=775
and Grand Canyon http://www.keystoneforums.com/forums...hp?albumid=851
If time permits, I'd recommend Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef all in one trip. Don't forget Arches NP as an option as well.
If you decide on Yellowstone be sure to include a few days at Teton NP.
Feel free to PM me if you'd like more details.
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Old 03-21-2018, 12:18 PM   #5
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Depending on your route to Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota is chock full of wonderful things to see. The Corn Palace in Mitchell; the Minuteman Missile National Monument and the Badlands National Park just outside of Wall (and of course the drug store in Wall); several caves and the state park in the Black Hills themselves; and what has been previously mentioned.

We camped just outside of Custer at the Heritage Village Campground with a view (in good weather, which we didn't have!) of the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Have a wonderful time.

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Old 03-21-2018, 02:02 PM   #6
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Mt Rushmore, Badlands, Custer State park, Deadwood. Did it last year in our Explorer from Asheville area, 4000 miles. All I wished for was to have pulled our 5er.
Was unreal. A must in a bucket list.
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Old 03-21-2018, 02:18 PM   #7
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I think I would concentrate on 1 area. Kids may not enjoy 6-10 hours in the car then get out to look at some rocks and then get back in the car. Do some whitewater rafting, horseback riding, zip line, hiking, steam train, etc. Go somewhere and stay 3-4 days and maybe go somewhere else a few days.
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Old 03-21-2018, 03:08 PM   #8
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Badlands, Wall Drugs, Missle Silo, Rapid City, Needles Highway, tons to do.

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Old 03-21-2018, 03:56 PM   #9
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Okay, I'll be the bad guy here. Steveo scratched the surface, but backed out at the last minute. You, my friend, are 2,300 miles from Yellowstone. You have 5,000 miles to drive including a little running around. It simply cannot be done in 14 days and make it a "once in a lifetime" trip.
First, ignore the Utah visit advice. It should be reserved for the next "once in a lifetime" trip. It is worth the time!
Second, ditch the visiting friends in wherever. Friends should not be visited on your kind of trip. Your kids are going to frown on "you and good ol' Frank talking over old war stories."
Third, get in that RV in Raleigh and don't slow down until you get on the other side of Minnesota. Not that there isn't something to see along the way; there certainly is. But all of those places are within driving distance most any other time. You are going on a once in a lifetime trip, in only 14 days, and you want it to be "once in a lifetime" for all the right reasons, not because your angry wife left you in Nebraska with no cash and an empty gas tank.
I vote along the lines of South Dakota, Wyoming, maybe a quick clip into Montana and Idaho while that close, and then make a mad dash home.
I also think you need a minimum of seven more days for this trip. Have a GREAT time!
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Old 03-21-2018, 04:12 PM   #10
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I understand the sentiment, but I agree with Jim.

I'm afraid the only memorable experience your teens will have are the "endless hours" of towing a trailer. The places you want to visit are exquisite and need LOTS of time to do justice; for the site and for the kids. I would hate for you to go to the effort and it all just turn into crap......I've had a couple of those "once in a lifetime" trips do just that.

If there is any way to stretch the time past 14 days, you need to do that. I took my family on a "once in a lifetime" vacation in 84. Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and a couple of other places I don't recall. Had 14 days and I was heading out from NM and not pulling a trailer. What do the kids (now 50 and 45) remember?......lots of driving. We tried to cram so much into so little time that most of the fun stuff (grizzly destroying a campsite next to us at Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons) they have forgotten. Take the time; find the right places and let them enjoy where they're at. Wonderful, lifetime memories can be made in many places.

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