family trip to Zion, bryce, GC, las vegas etc

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by susannah365, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. susannah365

    susannah365 Mouseketeer

    May 20, 2009
    I'm a regular on the disneyland paris section of disboards but am now moving to live in America so i'm hoping you can help me with my plans for next summer! my husband and i have been to the grand canyon before we had the kids and want to go back, and explore the area properly. we have a 4year old and 7year old and have 2 weeks to spend. what do you think of this itinerary:

    fly washington dc to denver - stay one night
    drive to arches national park (6hours) - stay one night
    drive to page (6hours) - stay 2 nights, do mid-day tour of antelope canyon
    drive to bryce canyon (3hours) - stay night
    drive to zion canyon (2hours) - stay 1 night
    drive to las vegas (3hours) - stay 1 night
    drive to death valley(3.5hours) - stay 1 night
    drive to lancaster (5hours) - stay 1 night with friends
    drive to burbank, LA (1hour) - stay 3 nights with family

    that is 12 nights so 2 nights spare.

    another option is to fly into flagstaff and do grandcanyon before going on to page, missing arches national park. and my original plan had been to fly into las vegas but that does involve a round trip back to vegas and passed it so that doesn't make as much sense. so any comments?

    we will want to do as much nature orientated kids stuff as possible. i know the kids can do junior ranger stuff which i am interested in - anyone got anything else more specific for us to do? when the kids are happy we're happy!

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  3. GrazingGoat1966

    GrazingGoat1966 Mouseketeer

    Dec 20, 2009
    Hey Susannah. For what it's worth your itinerary looks pretty reasonable to me. I've done the usual parks of the Southwest quite a few times and last US fall did 14 parks in 14 days starting at the Grand Canyon and stretching right up towards the Canadian border across to Seattle and down the coast into California before we cut back across the centre to Vegas.
    A couple of suggestions to look at. If you go to Arches, then you MUST do Canyonlands (which is only half a dozen miles from the Arches entrance). IMO it is a far superior park to Arches, so it should be added to your itinerary. I'd only do one night in Page, and if you haven't done it before, take in the North side of the Grand Canyon on your way across the top towards Bryce and Zion (which are both must do's). Also look at adding Cedar Breaks National Monument (within half a day of Bryce) if you have the time, and if you want the kids to gain a bit of education, then try to do the tour at Hoover Dam the day you head to Vegas. It's pretty interesting and fascinating. The kids have been known to thoroughly enjoy it.
    Enjoy your trip!!
  4. randbmom

    randbmom Science Teacher and Cast Member wannabe

    Jul 24, 2000
    We did this in summer 2010, and we stayed two nights in Page AZ at the Marriott Courtyard, and drove to the north rim of the GC. It's creepy scary dark coming back after sunset, so you may want to leave earlier in the day than we did (left Page at about 2PM). I agree that Canyonlands is not to be missed. Don't waste your time with Delicate Arch at Arches, you can't get close enough without a blistering hike in unprotected sun. Some gorgeous sights within Arches, though.
    Zion and Bryce were my favorites. I also loved our drive through Death Valley. It's a wonderful place to tour. Enjoy!
  5. randbmom

    randbmom Science Teacher and Cast Member wannabe

    Jul 24, 2000
    The ranger program at Arches after sunset (astronomy) was great.
    We hiked on our own in Bryce and got rained on a bit, forcing us to seek shelter in some hollowed out caves for about 15 minutes. The kids thought that was great, and one of their favorite memories.
    One hike not to be missed is the Narrows in Zion. It gets so "narrow" that you actually hike in the water. It got waist deep on my 52" tall son.

    There is a series of childrens' fiction books by Gloria Skurzinski that take place in the National Parks. They are on the idea of the Magic Tree House books. There are books about Zion, Death Valley and Grand Canyon for sure. My son loved them (I read them, too) and it gave him things to look forward to on the trip. I highly recommend them.
  6. momofeva

    momofeva Earning My Ears

    Mar 3, 2006
    Before you add Cedar Breaks you need to know that Highway 14, the easiest and fastest way to get there is closed for at least the next 6-12 months. There was a very very very large landslide that took out the road. They have not been able to start any repair work because the ground has been unstable and then it started snowing. UDOT doesn't think they will be able to get up there to really see about the unstable ground until May or June.
  7. eduk8r26

    eduk8r26 DIS Veteran

    Sep 23, 2005
    We've been to Arches and Canyonlands both and I was much more impressed with Arches. I thought the scenery was much more spectacular. Also, the town of Moab has many things to do, especially in the summer.
  8. fortwildernessishome

    fortwildernessishome DIS Veteran

    Dec 11, 2010
    That set of childrens book sound awesome. My boys have outgrown the Magic treehouse books, but boy did they love them when they were younger....they would have LOVED the set you mention about the National parks!!

    OP, I think your schedule sounds great. We've done three extensive trips out west. On the first one people thought we were crazy for not spending 3-4-5 days at each park. While that would have been fun I am sure, we only had so much time and wanted to see as many places as we could. Many of the parks we would spend one day and it was great for us.

    Have a GREAT trip!!!!

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