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Where to go on our summer 2021 US road trip?

Hello! Heading out this summer on road trip going cross country with family( 3 kids 19,15,13). Any suggestions on places to stop I would love to hear them. We will be in RV so any cool camping areas too would be great! Thanks!

49 Replies

Go see Grand Prismatic Spring early in the AM...the lot fills up fast and stays that way.


If it’s in your budget/time constraints you might want to rent a car and take that into the park so you can get around a bit easier. The area you are staying in is pretty remote. Stay on east coast time and get up early so you can get to places without too many crowds. Yellowstone can become a ‘car park’ which is very tiring. With your group of 4-5 you should be able to hike some good trails. 


While in Yellowstone area, take a day and drive out the NE entrance, through Cooke City, and go up and over the Beartooth Pass. It's one of the most spectacular roads in the country. Cooke City is a nice little town. Check out the general store which is like a million years old. The Bear Claw Cafe has the best bacon I ever tasted. The road through the Lamar Valley gets bogged down with people stopping along the shoulders to watch the buffalo or look for wolves, so expect delays--even at dawn. I'm from South Jersey and head out West most years. 


My family did this very thing in 2017. We only had three weeks, so it was a whirlwind, but the best three weeks of my life!  We didn’t get to see Montana or Colorado due to time constraints (huge disappointment). To give you an idea of our route, we saw Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Gateway Arch, Kansas City (BBQ at Joe’s BBQ), the Worlds Only Corn Palace, Badlands, Wall Drug, Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Sturgis, Belle Fourche SD, Devils Tower, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Great Salt Lake, Bonneville Salt Flats, Yosemite, San Francisco, Pebble Beach, Pismo Beach, LA, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, The Grand Canyon, Slide Rock State Park AZ, Winslow AZ (if you like The Eagles), Meteor Crater, Holbrook AZ, Albuquerque (do a Breaking Bad tour, if you’re into that), Cadillac Ranch (take your spray paint), Memphis, Nashville, Louisville (toured Churchill Downs) and home again. 

I was just talking last night to a friend going rafting in Glacier National Park this summer and they said you have to make reservations to enter the park and it is already booked for the summer. You maybe have to look into this before you head out.


We headed West last September and tried to hit National parks mostly. While some were booked well in advance, we were lucky to find same day space at some of them due to cancellations. It is worth a try:-).



Stop for a few days in the Black Hills in southwestern South Dakota. Camp for a few days at Custer State Park. It is a beautiful area in itself but nearby are Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks. Buffalo roam free in nearby areas. You and the kids will love it.

Jonnie is right. South Dakota is BEAUTIFUL!  We had no idea going in, but it was the best surprise of our trip!


A few less crowded National Parks I like:


Florrisant Fossil Beds

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Colorado National Monument

Dinosaur National Park


Timpanogos Cave National Monument

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Red Canyon National Monument

Natural Bridges National Monument

Canyonlands National Park, Needles Unit

Capitol Reef National Park

San Rafael Swell is right on I-70.


Great Basin National Park - you will be able to get a campsite here at the last minute no problem. The cave system is incredible, one of the best in the US.


Sawtooth Mtns National Recreation Area

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Snake Canyon National Monument


Bridgeport Area

Bishop Area

Point Reyes National Seashore

King Range National Conservation Area

Lassen National Park

Burney Falls State Park

Redwood National and State Parks


The Oregon Coast

Crater Lake National Park

Newberry Crater National Monument

Gotta drive back along the Columbia River

Oh, so many more, and I haven't even told you my secret spots.

Whatever happens, embrace it.

We stopped at Great Basin NP last year in September. We got the very last campsite and had to drive 3 miles of dirt road to get to it. I expected it to be fairly empty, but the place was crowded. The cave was closed due to Covid. I still recommend it though. Take one of the hikes from the end of the road up in the high mountains.