Here’s a quick summary of the direction we are taking with our trip. We chose to not set things in stone and only have a guide as to where we want to go, so we have flexibility to add places, remove places, extend or shrink our stays. Take a look at the map below, then read on about how we are thinking about our trip itinerary. Remember we’ll have our 30ft RV and will be “away schooling” the kids while we are on the trip.
Our trip starts going West, we’ll leave Wisconsin and go towards South Dakota as our first “big” destination. We’ll drive through Wisconsin and Minnesota, and stay almost 2 weeks in Rapid City so we can see Mt Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Black Hills and all the attractions from that area.
From South Dakota we will drive towards Montana and Wyoming, and will stay in Billings, MT a few days, then head to West Yellowstone and stay in that area about 10 days. We’ll try to see as much of Yellowstone National Park as we can, and also the surrounding area, including Grand Teton National Park. From here, we’ll have to decide if we go North a bit and see Glacier National Park, or continue going west. The decision will depend on weather and temperatures as our RV (trailer) is not rated for winter, so we’ll be avoiding freezing temperatures. Updated: We decided we’ll go to Glacier, so we’ll stop in Helena for a couple of days, then head to West Glacier for a few days as well. That area closes up by 10/4 so that’s the last day we’ll be there, then we’ll resume course.
We’ll then drive through Idaho and make a few stops on the way, and make our way to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. We’ll stay in that area for some time, and check out a bit of Oregon as well.
From there we’ll start heading down towards California, so we’ll drive towards the coast and stop in Coos Bay, still in Oregon. Then we’ll drive to Redwood National Park in California.
Once in California, we’ll visit the major National Parks like Redwood, Yosemite, Death Valley, etc. We will also be riding down the coast through the Pacific Coast Highway, US 101, visiting Big Sur, etc. and making our last stop at Joshua Tree National Park.
We’ll then start heading East from California towards Arizona. In Arizona, we hope to visit Grand Canyon National Park. Then continue moving East to and through New Mexico.
Once we hit Texas, we plan on spending some time there to visit places and get to know more of the state as we’ve been there before a few times, but want to see new places and from a different perspective.
After Texas, we’ll go towards Arkansas and hit HotSprings National Park. That’s where we’ll have the decision to come home from there, or continue going East towards Florida.
If we decide to continue, we’ll hit Florida for a few weeks, then start heading back and going through Tennessee to visit the Great Smokey Mountains National Park before getting home.
If we decide to go home from Arkansas, we’ll likely spend some time in Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas before coming home.
And that’s it, it’s a packed itinerary overview, and if we make it all the way will take a few months to complete. If you have any recommendations for us as to places we must go to, let us know.