Will you help us plan our spring and summer plans? We are trying to pencil out our plans for the rest of the year. There are SO MANY places, we can’t possibly hit them all. We have tentatively picked this route for our travels based on family and friends we have living in the area and places we want to personally see.
Here is what we have so far . . .
MARCH 23 – APRIL 11 – Mesa, Arizona
Visiting Heather’s Grandma and extended family in the Phoenix area
APRIL 11 – JUNE 15 – Arizona, Utah, Southern Idaho
Sedona, Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Salt Lake City, Idaho Falls, Yellowstone
JUNE 15 – JULY 15 – Western Montana, Northern Idaho
Bozeman, Missoula, Wallace, Post Falls, Priest Lake
JULY 15 – AUGUST 5 – Western Washington
Spending time near family, friends in Seattle/Tacoma area.
AUGUST 5 – SEPTEMBER 15 – Oregon
Portland, beaches, Cottage Grove, Crater Lake
SEPTEMBER 15 – OCTOBER – Northern California
Would love to spend as much time near the coast as possible.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER – Southern California
Would love to spend as much time near the coast as possible.
This is a HUGE area to cover in one post, but we’d love to know which places you recommend along this basic route that we should make a point to see. National Parks, historical sites, state parks, boondocking spots, favorite campgrounds. . . . we’d love your ideas and we can fill in our map and refine our timing based on your suggestions.
Leave a comment here and let us know what we shouldn’t miss. . .
Instead of going down I-5 in WA, you should take the coast. We love going up through Port Angeles, and following 101 down the coast. Last year we camped at Lake Crescent and took day trips to the Olympic Game Farm, Salt Creek Recreation Area, Ruby Beach, and Kalaloch park and campgrounds, all of which were very fun places. Following 101 is also beautiful.
Definitely stop in Monterey, CA! The aquarium is awesome. Fisherman’s Wharf is fun, and the saltwater taffy is delicious! Take a drive down 17 mile drive, whale watch and see the sunset at the asilomar in Pacific Grove. Visit some of the local museums. Visit cannery row. It’s all amazing!
Yellowstone is really close to Grand Teton, which is another beautiful place.
If you go through Bozeman, the Museum of the Rockies is worth a stop. You’re also awfully close to Glacier National Park from Missoula. Did you already go there?
There is a fire jumpers (probably getting that name wrong) museum in Missoula, and a really neat merry-go-round.
I love the Oregon Coast, but one area I’ve never been and always wanted to is the part they call the, “Painted Desert.” It’s inland, and sort of unexplored. I’ve also always heard really good things about Bend.
My grandparents lived in McKinleyville, CA when I was growing up, so that is an area I know well. The Redwoods are spectacular and so is the coast. Roads along the coast are very windy-Might be a bit of a, “Thrill,” in your airstream!
Some of our favorite parks and places there: Trinidad State Park, Patrick’s Point State Park, Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (there is an elk herd there) and a hike called Fern Canyon that is beautiful. There are also some lovely coastal beaches that are popular with RVrs (or were when I was a child-lol).
I don’t know a lot about the middle of California, but I drove the Big Sur as a teenager with my dad, and it was beautiful. The Hearst Castle is something to see.
My husband and I drove from San Francisco to Eureka once, and there were lots of beautiful small towns along the way. Napa was fun, too, but not kid friendly as I remember it!
Robin Smith says
We’d recommend Greer’s Pine Shadows RV Park and Campground when visiting Flagstaff
If you like astronomy, don’t miss Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff
We enjoyed a stop at Slide Rock State Park on the way to Sedona from Flagstaff (http://www.faithfilledfamilytravelsusa.com/slide-rock-state-park-az/)
Wouldn’t miss Zion National Park and would recommend Zion Canyon Campground
Wouldn’t miss Bryce Canyon and would recommend Ruby’s Inn RV Park and Campground
Here’s what we did and enjoyed during our brief stay in Seattle – We didn’t plan enough time here
Wouldn’t miss Crater Lake National Park but wouldn’t recommend the campground we stayed
As for the Northern coast of California, we enjoyed our time in Crescent City. We’d recommend the campground at Villager’s Camper Inn. And in Crescent City, we went to several beaches, an aquarium and toured a lighthouse. (http://www.faithfilledfamilytravelsusa.com/top-sites-in-seattle/)
Can’t wait to see where you go and stay.
Well, we’re on the road now, 27 weeks to go and we’ve been through all the places you listed. So, here I’ll try to recapture some highlights: Hailey and Sun Valley ID. The 3 sisters mountains…my fave! Atherton Creek camping on Little Slide lake 11 miles north of Jackson Hole. Divine!! So is Gros Ventre.
Oh, and even though I alteady mentioned it, Idaho is far more amazing than I ever imagined!)
California was a disappointment: congested beyond belief…yes, there’s beauty but it’s CROWDED and $$$. Ventura Keys is super lovely. Don’t miss the Channel Islands. Of course Monterey never disappoints. Still, it’s crowded. We prefer the off the beaten track. In AZ please enhance your life by going to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West home. The tour is nothing short of awesome. There’s a farm nearby too that’s lovely…and another farmer’s market called Singh Farms. Blissful honey and great affordable organic food!!! Back to CA, Joshua tree is quite spectacular as is the Petrified Forest. Wow.
I love your map. Which program did you use? I’d really like a visual of our journey.
Best adventure, safe travels!
Jesse Honeyman camping in Florence Oregon is beautiful and so fun! The 4t trail in Portland is fun. Taking street car rides In Portland and eating at the food carts is fun.
Williams Arizona is a great small town to camp at for visiting the Grand Canyon. They also have Bearazona where you get drive through a bear sanctuary. Very cool. Several nice campgrounds. My in-laws live there. They have a Wild West Gun shoot out in town and a vintage train to the Grand Canyon.
For any socal questions feel free to contact me via email. I’m in Mission Viejo which is a central jumping off point for a bunch of nice attractions within 1-2 hours.
Laguna Beach, San Diego Zoo, Disney, Newport Beach, Downtown LA, Balboa Island, Catalina Island
For beach camping, I’d go with Doheny-you must reserve on the first day 8 months in advance -I think-very popular. Otherwise look at O’neil Park-it’s a county campground that is tucked away but close to all kinds of things.
ps -When in Phoenix-try Lil Miss BBQ-you have to get there early and wait in line but their fatty brisket rivals the best that we’ve ever had (in Austin TX).
I know you haven’t mentioned California’s Central Valley, but should you have a chance to go through perhaps on a return trip north, there’s Sequoia National Park (including Kings Canyon) with awe-inspiring sequioa trees and also Yosemite National Park (with nearby sequoia tree hikes as well.)
On the Central Coast, we love the Monterey & Pacific Grove Area.
Beginning in October, you can enjoy the amazing monarch butterflys visiting a natural sanctuary:
Dennis the Menace Park:
Fisherman’s Wharf: http://www.montereywharf.com/
Monterey Bay Aquarium: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/
Cannery Row: http://www.seemonterey.com/regions/monterey/cannery-row/
Big Sur: http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/camping.html
We live in Fresno, CA and are loving living vicariously through your travels!! I’m originally from Oregon (Willamette Valley) so share your love of the Pacific NW. Someday we will go back! 🙂
Hi we will be in Yellowstone June 12th. We are staying at Henry’s lake state park in Idaho about 15 miles from Yellowstone. We will have water and electric and a lake to fish in. Should be fun. We stayed at grizzly rv park once it is nice but has gotten expensive.
Here’s another attraction to see as you travel through the Redwoods in northern Calfornia:
Trees of Mystery: https://www.treesofmystery.net/
And near Santa Cruz, CA:
The Mystery Spot: https://www.mysteryspot.com/
Tasha George says
If you’re going to make a stop in Bozeman, you should definitely go to Yellowstone. And also check out the Lewis & Clark Caverns – they are amazing, huge caves with a guided tour.
Also, if you’re already near Yellowstone, the drive from there to Jackson, through the Grand Tetons is absolutely spectacular!
And I know eastern Oregon isn’t on your list, but if you find your way through there, you definitely need to see the Wallowa Mountains.
As for the Oregon coast, Cannon Beach is super cute. Pretty touristy, but a great stop. And Manzanita just south of there is a perfect little beach town with an expansive, quiet beach. And also make a stop at Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of Florence. And also camp at Honeyman State Park and run on the sand dunes!
While in Northern California, go through the Redwoods and then head east to Lake Tahoe. One of my favorite places in all of California!
I have loved seeing you all the places you and your family have traveled!
Hi, If you could have a family member in the military retired or active, have them reserve you some time on Camp Pendleton (Oceanside) in Northern San Diego.
from there you can take trips to LEGOLAND, just 20 minutes south or the SD zoo, Old Town, Spreckles Organ gives free concerts on Sundays.
If you do Santa Cruz, Mondays and Tuesdays are generally Retro night on the price of tickets. You need X amount of tickets to ride the rides on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Love that place! Yummy ice cream in Santa Cruz is THE Penny Ice Creamery…. get marshmallow topping on your cone and they can torch it for you–like a roasted marshmallow. A great place for salads and Sandwiches is Gayles Bakery in Capitola, right next to Santa Cruz…. go see Elephant Seals in Ano Nuevo–google it.
Come to Butte, MT July 8 – 10. That is when the Montana Folk Estival happens. It is so fun and all the music events are free. Butte is between Bozeman and Missoula. If you can’t come on those dates you should stop anyways. Very interesting, historic town. You should check out Our Lady of the Rockies too! 🙂
Just went through all the comments and, surprisingly, do not see Moab, Utah mentioned. I highly recommend getting over that way to do the National Parks in the area. Further north into Utah is Dinosaurs NP which your kids will LOVE. I recommend Capitol Reef NP and there is a fantastic dinosaur museum in central Utah that is a don’t miss in my opinion. Price is the town name and it is on the way from Moab to SLC so should be easy to find. AMAZING!!!
Also check out Escalante NM. So much in the area and that doesn’t even include the goodies in Western Colorado! Don’t miss all that wonderful stuff!!
Be sure to go to Arches National Park in Utah! Your kids will love it! http://www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm
And be sure to go a ways on the Pacific Coast Highway (without your trailer!)
If you are near Santa Cruz, this is a fun trip: http://www.roaringcamp.com/
Michelle Trujillo says
Just wanted to say hello from just south of Mesa, AZ in Gilbert. We are a family of 6 in research and planning mode for our family RV adventure, hopefully starting summer 2017. If you have a couple free hours and want to meet up when you’re in the area, let me know. IG – ourtrufamily or email firstname.lastname@example.org Our kids are 10, 8, 5, and 2. Looks like you have a wonderful summer planned.
If you are going to San Diego, the USS Midway is a fantastic tour and the Star of India. San Elijo state beach in Cardiff is beautiful and right on the beach as well as South Carlsbad state beach. Old town San Diego has a fantastic FREE interactive museum for the Mormon Battalion Historic site, and the old Catholic missions that are still in use. There is Sea World (look into the fantastic value of the Fun Card), mission bay with its kite flying, and Mission beach with its old roller-coaster, all the little towns up the coast have their own personalities. And of course the original Price-Club (the birth-place of all warehouse stores ;))……. Someone else mentioned Legoland which my kids loved also, and Camp Pendleton has the Best paint ball facility of anyplace. And dont forget to try a Boba shake at BubbleTea in Oceanside while walking around the Sunset market.
Kathy E says
Yosemite is full of amazing sights. I definitely recommend visiting it at least once in your life. Prepare for crowds, though.
Joshua Tree has a stark beauty that I love.
If you’re traveling the coast in Northern California, I enjoyed the glass beach areas at Fort Bragg, especially on a sunny day. http://www.fortbragg.com/explore/glass-beach/
Prepare for high camping costs in California. There are so many beautiful state parks along the coast, but they are spendy. I believe it’s around $45/night for dry camping and $60 for water/electric. It can sometimes be a challenge to find a site on the fly if you didn’t plan ahead (I tend to enjoy seeing where the day takes me too often). Try to take advantage of your Passport America and Harvest Hosts memberships as much as possible to offset the “destination” site costs. Happy travels!
Helen in Meridian says
When you do Yellowstone, please go to Cody, WY. It is all western with rodeos 364 days of the year. They have the Gugenheim West Museum with Charles Russell paintings and bronzes, a huge gun museum, Wild Bill Hickock Museum all in the same building. Found it very interesting and worth an extra day to see a 2nd time. Of course I live in Idaho in the Boise area, and love it so much.
Shannon Kephart says
Whistler bend campground be between Roseburg Oregon and Glide Oregon on the North Umpqua River. A great place to fish a pretty Campground along the river. A great place to float
Holly R says
In regards to NoCal, plan some time for San Francisco. I wish we had spent more than a day there. See the Sea Lions on Fisherman’s Wharf, The crookedest street in the world(you can see it on the cable car ride, and plan to spend at least half the day at the Exploratorium. Also, if you are going through the redwoods, check out Confusion Hill.