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Old 08-10-2016, 11:42 PM   #1
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Give me some Ideas (Western US)

Having a hard time planning a trip for next year. I'd like to do about 10 days as we have another trip (flying) to Michigan planned. I'd like to stay in the western US with Utah being about as far East as I'd like to go.

Was thinking doing the National Parks tour in Utah but it'll be super hot in the summer months when the kids are out of school.

Start would be Southern California.

Whatcha got?

Andrew

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Old 08-11-2016, 01:28 AM   #2
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If you have to do this in the summer, make sure that you make reservations as soon as they are available.

Especially for California.
SoCal coastal campsites are gone in less than one hour.
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:32 AM   #3
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From experience we know California CG's are expensive. But here's a trick. Don't know if you are a member of the American Automobile Association. They have 2 maps of California. South & North. Unlike regular maps they are white with green lettering showing the contours, the roads etc. Plus numbers 1 to 600 (I believe - I'm doing this from memory). The numbers correspond to smaller CG's all over the State. Then when you turn over the map there's the details for each with phone #'s, water, sewer, etc. We looked for CG's smaller than 20 sites running on the honor system (Put
$15 in an envelope & post in the mail slot etc). Larger sites required a
central reservation system with extra costs).
For the rest of the Western States we use Passport America. Approximately $40 per year. Can get membership at any Camping World.
Half price on almost 2000 CG's all over US with a detailed book.
Have a good trip!
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Old 08-14-2016, 11:21 AM   #4
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Been there, done that all my life

Lived in California since 1955, been all over this state. It has about EVERYTHING, to some extent, that you can find in any other state. Outstanding are the Deserts and the Coast. To see those I would recommend Joshua Tree National Park, which contains both high desert and low desert and Pacific Coast Highway 1, the whole length.
In my mind the two top manmade attractions to see are both fantastic, "E Ticket", not to be seen elsewhere, must sees. The San Diego Zoo is the best zoo in the world with plants costing them even more than their fantastic collection of animals. Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary (make reservations)in San Francisco Bay is a tour that will leave you with strong feelings about life and mankind for weeks .
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Old 08-14-2016, 04:47 PM   #5
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As far west as we have been is UT and AZ. For Utah I would suggest seeing Bryce Canyon, Zion , Arches and CanyonLands national parks. Then you can visit the Grand Canyon In AZ. We did these parks in the late summer and early fall last year. There are tour buses and jeep tours for some of the national parks which will keep you cool in the summer. A lot of private and government parks abound in the area; use RV Park Review to find one that suits your needs.
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Old 08-14-2016, 10:20 PM   #6
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If is has to be summer because of the school year, you might go to those areas where elevation keeps things a little cooler. Higher elevations and shade trees can be found on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. From there, it is an easy day's drive to Bryce Canyon NP. Then you can head for high elevation Cedar Breaks NM (a ski area is located just outside the monument boundary).

The conifer-shaded campgrounds at Great Basin NP in Nevada are fairly high on the side of Wheeler Peak (the peak tops out at 13,000 ft). If you drive to the end of the Wheeler Peak road, you can do some really nice, cool, shaded hikes with the kids. And, if you really want to cool down, there are the Lehman Caves underground tours.

From there, you could head across Nevada on US 50 ("the Loneliest Highway in America") to high-altitude Lake Tahoe and the central Sierras. Although we thought Yosemite Valley was a zoo last summer (although a beautiful zoo when viewed from Glacier Point at sunrise), we loved the northern part of the park along the Tioga Pass Road. Of course, I'm a geologist, so gigantic glaciated granite boulders and little meltwater lakes can be exciting to me!

Finally, the Forest Service's sequoia-shaded Princess Campground between Grant Grove and King's Canyon was practically empty in June. We had an entire loop of the campground to ourselves for two of the three nights we stayed there. The campground hosts had so little to do that one night we invited them to our campsite to share a bottle of wine to celebrate their anniversary. Princess was hands-down our favorite campground in California.

And that makes a pretty nice, high-elevation, national park- and monument-filled loop from and to Southern California.
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Old 08-22-2016, 05:38 PM   #7
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If you want to beat the heat go to the north coast of California and Oregon. Benbow lake is nice, Russian gulch state park, Richardson grove state park, anywhere along Avenue of the Giants, redwood national park, or as far north as Gold Beach in Oregon are good places to go. Gold beach has jet boat tours up the rogue river that are fun and educational. These are boats are or maybe used to be the major way mail was taken upriver.

Other alternatives, probably more crowded are Lake Tahoe, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National park - camping is easier in Kings Canyon because it's less popular but no less beautiful. A personal favorite of ours in the area is Hume Lake in the national forest tucked in between Sequoia and Kings Canyon. It's a small lake about a mile long and half a mile wide. It is a man made lake with an unique multiple arch dam. It's water was used to supply logging flames. At one end of the lake you will find Hume Lake Christian camps. They run a concession with a small cafe, camp store, and boat rentals. I still have memories of lying on my back watching meteor showers in the summer. Yosemite is also good, but you'd better get your reservations in.


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Old 08-25-2016, 05:45 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Looks like our plans are on hold as my wife and I are due to have a "oooopps" baby in May of 2017.

Andrew

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Old 08-25-2016, 08:06 AM   #9
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A baby (oops or otherwise) is way better than a camping trip anyway.

I see you're in riverside. Maybe a long weekend in yosemite this fall is in order. It's a beautiful time of year there.

Congratulations!
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Old 08-26-2016, 01:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by tjwoody View Post
A baby (oops or otherwise) is way better than a camping trip anyway.

I see you're in riverside. Maybe a long weekend in yosemite this fall is in order. It's a beautiful time of year there.

Congratulations!
Thank you! When our last child was born, both my wife and I took several weeks off work and were able to get some camping in after my wife felt up to it. Probably try to do that again this time.

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Old 08-27-2016, 10:52 PM   #11
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If you've only got ten days, head up 395 to the Sierras. Tons of campgrounds, and you'll be there in a day, and spend the rest of the time camping and touristing around. If you're dead set on Utah, you can make the Zion area in one hard day of driving, but it is a long day.
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Old 10-08-2016, 06:52 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Fushux View Post
Thank you! When our last child was born, both my wife and I took several weeks off work and were able to get some camping in after my wife felt up to it. Probably try to do that again this time.

Andrew

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Congratulations To you both. Hello from Orange County! Have you camped at Doheny StTe Beach campground in Dana Point? It's great for families with flat campground, beautiful grassy park nearby, and you stay right at the beach. Close by is the Ocean Institute, the historic tall ship the Pilgrim, boat marina, and you can even take a boat cruise to Catalina Isle, although probably not with babies!


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Old 01-11-2017, 11:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Fushux View Post
Having a hard time planning a trip for next year. I'd like to do about 10 days as we have another trip (flying) to Michigan planned. I'd like to stay in the western US with Utah being about as far East as I'd like to go.

Was thinking doing the National Parks tour in Utah but it'll be super hot in the summer months when the kids are out of school.

Start would be Southern California.

Whatcha got?

Andrew

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Hi, Andrew!

We just did a 51 daytrip around the western half of the USA and much of it was spent on the West Coast. Here is our blog if you want to check it out:

https://habsontheroad.com

Safe travels!

Vernon


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