Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Truck Campers: Family National Parks Road Trip
Open Roads Forum Already a member? Login here.   If not, Register Today!  |  Help

Newest  |  Active  |  Popular  |  RVing FAQ Forum Rules  |  Forum Posting Help and Support  |  Contact  

Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Truck Campers

Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Family National Parks Road Trip

Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 6  
Prev  |  Next


Senior Member

Joined: 03/31/2011

View Profile

Posted: 05/16/20 03:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think you can do it---I took my youngest when she was 10. Left Baltimore and zig-zagged out to Mt Hood and skied on the glacier end of August. Headed South and got as far as Nogales Mexico then headed east. We were in a class B and planned as we went and were gone over a month, coast to coast and border to border. She is 44 now and I am 79 and we know that so many of the places we visited and stayed in are gone or off limits now. To many never get to see this country. DW and I are planning another trip out West this fall to see how much it has changed. Been all over the world, want to look at the US once more.


California > Nevada

Senior Member

Joined: 06/18/2015

View Profile

Posted: 05/16/20 03:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I recall you used to live in Nevada, so I am surprised Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire is not on your list.
But then you can hit 120F in some of those areas, while you plan to sleep girls in cargo trailer???
I agree that you are pushing the schedule. I prefer the "Gypsy method".
Go to designated direction and if you like the area, stay there for few days. If not, spend the night and take off following day.

* This post was edited 05/16/20 04:05pm by Kayteg1 *


Northern California

Senior Member

Joined: 06/09/2016

View Profile

Posted: 05/16/20 04:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for all of the great thoughts so far. A couple of responses...

1. We live in the Bay Area now so Yosemite and Death Valley aren't destinations to stay for us, just places to pass through and we can catch those some other summer.

2. Likely just do a drive through of Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows and camp for the evening near June lake just South of Mono Lake. Even though I could make Vegas in a day from the Bay Area, it's a sucky drive going through Barstow and I think a quick way to kill enthusiasm right out the gate. Taking the scenic route through Yosemite and Death Valley add a day but give us something to enjoy right at the start.

3. I've driven through Death Valley several times before and from my experience, it's not a destination either but something more interesting than I95 through Nevada to get to Las Vegas. On the other hand, my truck is a 99 7.3 Diesel and I will be hauling camper plus cargo trailer. Most likely would not have a problem but I'm not sure if it's worth the risk of passing through in the middle of July with new borns.

4. Las Vegas is where my oldest daughter was born and she hasn't been there since she was 3 years old. We've talked about taking her back to see where she grew up (still own the house). If it wasn't for that I agree it wouldn't be worth stopping at but it is on the way if I want to go to Grand Canyon so it's more of a "why not" stop.

5. Grand Canyon I'm not sure if I want to go for North Rim or South Rim. I've read that North Rim is less busy and cooler so that seems like a plus for summer time. South Rim seems to be more touristy and we get the bonus of going over the Hoover Dam. I'm not a huge desert fan so taking the southern route looks to be boring and would just add miles in my opinion unless there is just something we "have to see" on the South Rim I think I'm leaning on North Rim.

6. The drive from Grand Canyon to Grand Tetons looks to be ~675 miles. This we will need to break up into a least 2 days. Split in half we would need to stop on the southern end of Salt Lake City. Is there anywhere of note to stop for a night in this area?

7. Looking at staying in Yellowstone a full 3 nights (two full days). We won't get to see everything of course but hopefully the highlights.

8. The drive from Yellowstone to Glacier National Park is 550+ miles so we will need to either suck it up or breakt it up.

9. Glacier National Park to Seattle is another long haul. Is there anything worth seeing around Spokane that is worth adding a night to break up the drive?

10. Olympics / Oregon Coast I've done before and have a pretty good feel for it.

1999 F350 Dually with 7.3 Diesel
2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Camper


Northern, Ca. , USA

Senior Member

Joined: 07/26/2002

View Profile

Posted: 05/16/20 04:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great trip! It is not realistic just based on the miles alone that you would have to drive each day! there is not enough hours in a day for you visit all the parks based on the total days you have available to make the trip, even if you just wanted to just drive through each park and then on to the next one. Your family could not physically tolerate that much traveling especially with small children. It would be a marthron not a pleasurable RV adventure. You need to take in account the weather you will experience each leg of your trip. 115 degree heat in Death Valley alone would make a miserable trip for your kids with few areas to walk, ride bikes etc.
All the national parks you have listed are wonderful RV adventures to make if your plans include sufficient time to visit and enjoy.
Given the limited number of days you have, I would suggest you would head over to 101 and start traveling north along the whole Oregon coast to Astoria and then turn around and travel south along 101 all the way down the Oregon coast then head home to northern Calif. Strongly recommend you make reservations for your whole trip on the Oregon coast. You can always cancel or change your reservations any time, just make sure you check the cancellation policies for each park. I have made this same trip at least a dozen times and enjoy it every time. RV reservations along the Oregon coast especially the State parks during the summer months are diffcult to get, even prior to the Pandemic virus outbreak.
Or, to put it bluntly, trying to visit all the National Parks in one RV trip is unrealistic and would be a nightmare. IMHO.


Spokane, WA

Senior Member

Joined: 09/08/2003

View Profile

Posted: 05/16/20 05:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don't even consider Death Valley in the summer. The park is open, but hardly any amenities are open because no one comes, because is so dang hot.

2009 Silverado 3500HD Dually, D/A, CCLB 4x4 (bought new 8/30/09)
2009 Arctic Fox 811 (bought new 11/9/09)
2018 Timber Ridge 24RLS (bought pre-owned 3/12/20)
2008 Haulmark 8.5x20 toy box trailer


Rescue, Ca

Senior Member

Joined: 05/30/2011

View Profile

Posted: 05/16/20 07:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Why don't you ask the kids what they want to see? I took the eldest two grand children on a short week long trip up 395. I lived in SoCal at the time. They were 17(F) and 16(M) years old, respectively. I was amazed at how much time they spent reading EVERYTHING at Manzanar. The Lava Tubes were the same. The Mammoth fault was awesome, in their eyes. Then, of course, the Tofa towers at mono lake was another all day thing. I didn't expect any of these things to be of such great interest to teenagers, especially the grandson (Varsity football kid). Everything we did was new to them. I basically told my wife before this trip that we would make the trip a learning experience for them to remember for eternity. The other grand children (12 total) heard about the trip and are awaiting their turns. We did the same thing with a couple of our children 25 years prior. I let the eldest tell me where she wanted to go, day by day. I drove, she navigated ( internet yet). She recounts that time as her favorite vacation ever....and she's been all across the nation, and to Hawaii a few times.



Senior Member

Joined: 10/04/2010

View Profile

Posted: 05/16/20 09:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The caves at Great Basin National Park are worth the stop

2011 F350 6.7L Diesel 4x4 CrewCab longbed Dually, 08 Lance 1055, Torqlift Talons, Fast Guns, upper and lower Stable Loads, Super Hitch, 48" Super Truss, Airlift loadlifter 5000 extreme airbags


Broken Arrow OK

Senior Member

Joined: 04/01/2005

View Profile

Posted: 05/16/20 09:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Asking the kids for input is a good idea. And another factor might be what areas you can or can't get reservations, unless you plan on winging it.

If you go to Grand Canyon in July, my vote is for north rim. You will see good views (Point Imperial and Cape Royal as well as the North Rim proper) and it will be cooler; besides, south rim would be a whole lotta extra miles.

You might think about taking the boat ride across Jenny Lake and walking back along the south shore (or vice versa). It's pretty and pleasant (unless the weather is bad, of course).

If going to Glacier, you can't tow your trailer across the Sun Road and you're heading west afterward, so maybe you'll want to stay on the west side. Then drive into the park, spend some time around Apgar (stroll the paths, rent a motorboat or canoes for an hour, eat an ice cream cone, or have a picnic) and unwind.


Personally, I like to take my bike just about everyplace. Sometimes there are some nice flat paths to ride and it's a good break from walking (not to mention driving). If the cargo trailer would be too cramped with the bikes, no big deal; otherwise it costs nothing to take them.

If you can have a day of driving followed by a day of mostly walking, exploring, relaxing it can break things up. Driving constantly every day can make the vacation feel like a nonstop vehicular vibrator treatment.

Mike G.
--for now, using a cargo trailer for camping--
Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. --Benjamin Franklin
photo: Yosemite Valley view from Taft Point

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

Senior Member

Joined: 05/06/2013

View Profile

Posted: 05/17/20 02:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's great you have the time! Finally I know, right?
Never been on more than a week's trip unless you include 8 days to AK, but we were moving there and camped our way up there. And like 4 years ago, out of work for 6 weeks and spent 3 of it on vacation!
We drive, ALOT. Weekend trips to Canada somewhere half the year for hockey, X country run to WI, just drove 10+ hours today with a tag trailer to pick up a new truck.
But you have a sht ton of miles packed into that itinerary. Suggest picking a few destinations only. Cannonball run to each of them so you can actually spend time at them.

Most importantly, make whatever reservations you can and then plan your trip around that. Unlikely you'll get the day you want or even a campsite at many NPs, unless there's something I'm unaware of with the Rona cancelling all the reservations form the last year and leaving them open for folks that didn't reserve well ahead of time.

To that point, plan Bs like dispersed camping and reservations at private campgrounds may get you a spot close to where you want to be when you want to be there.

On the upside, we've saved enough money with no kids sports and wife/son not driving around everywhere and the ancillary expenses, I've paid cash for a new deck and an old truck and still ahead of the game the last couple months!

"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.


Castle Rock, Colorado

Senior Member

Joined: 07/14/2015

View Profile

Good Sam RV Club Member

Posted: 05/17/20 06:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow, lots of naysayers and comments without apparently reading your post or at least comprehending it. It sounds to me like you have thought this out pretty well and know what you are getting into. Not everyone can take a month long vacation once a year much less multiple times a year to truly take the time needed to fully enjoy/explore some locations. You do have some long drive days for sure but just stop as you can at interesting spots where possible for leg stretches.

2016 Jayco 28.5 RLTS

Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 6  
Prev  |  Next

Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Family National Parks Road Trip
Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Truck Campers

New posts No new posts
Closed, new posts Closed, no new posts
Moved, new posts Moved, no new posts

Adjust text size:

© 2020 CWI, Inc. © 2020 Good Sam Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.