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Julie in CA

Any great websites for planning a cross-country driving/camping trip?

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I live in California (hence the "Julie in CA" moniker :D).

We don't travel a lot, but we have seen a fair amount of the western U.S. already.

I'd like to plan about a two week driving/camping trip across the country. I have 3 drivers, so we can go round-the-clock until we get past the stuff we've already seen, or things we might be able to see on another shorter trip. Then we will have to slow down and see what we can see of the midwest/eastern U.S. in the time we have.


I'm not sure how to plan this trip. Any helpful websites? Suggested resources? Suggested itineraries? Things we absolutely must see? Campgrounds you've loved along the way?


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On our first family western trip we had each member of the family (5 of us) pick a spot they wanted to see, then connected the dots looking at other stuff nearby as a bonus. It was superb! We were gone for one month, so you might have to shorten it a little bit by picking places closer together, but still...


As for the camping bit, what kind of camper are you? Tent? Camper? Lots of noise and people? Peace and quiet lovers? It makes a huge difference with recommendations.


For what it's worth, there aren't a lot of decent campgrounds near big cities in the east IMO. State parks are one of the best places to find decent campgrounds in general...


One other thing... what time of year are we talking about? Recommendations for Feb are going to be far different than those for July.

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We did this at the end of the summer for about 3 weeks. We had!!! More than I ever thought we would. We have four children and youngest was only 7 monthes. The best part is we did the trip for so, so, so cheap. Most of our food was out of a cooler. I think we only ate out 3 times on the whole trip. We came to love our picnic stops, it became part of the fun, picking out a nice place to rest for several hours.


We are from Montana and went to Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and then home.


When I asked on these boards about suggestions for grand canyons etc someone talked about being State Park junky. This is the first time I knew of such a thing. During our trip we stayed mostly at state parks and I will never, ever do it any different. The campgrounds were the cheapest by far. They were also all well maintained, easy to locate, quirky (in a good way), and always had nice shower facilities. Sometimes they even had swimming pools, etc.


So my best recommendation is state parks all the way!!

Our favorite stop of our road trip was Mesa Verde national park. This was phenomenal (sp?) and very, very educational for the children and they loved it. I am not sure about weather if you are going this fall/winter though. We were so inspired that we then went to Chaco national monument. We also saw the grand canyon but wish we would have went to Bryce canyon instead. Driving through Arizona, navijo country was pretty spectacular as well as visiting a pueblo and the oldest church in the history of US in New Mexico.


I admire your adventuresome spirit!


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I'm thinking we will go during spring break or in the summer, whichever we can manage with dc's college schedules.

We have a trailer that's a bit older but should be able to make the trip. It's on the small side, but I can have some of my big boys sleep in a tent, or even in the back of my suburban if they would rather. The trailer has a microwave, fridge, sink, stove, etc, so it's not exactly roughing it. We should be able to spend about the same amount of money on food as when we're at home, so I'm trying to budget for gas, campgrounds, and fees for museums, state parks, etc.

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