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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

I hate that the City of Page now makes you pay to see Horseshoe Bend. 

Wire Pass is still free and well worth seeing/hiking. If in Kanab, you can try the daily morning lottery to get passes to hike to The Wave, which is adjacent to Wire Pass. 


Lots of National Parks out west have really cool state parks that are near them. They don’t usually book up as fast as the National Parks and frankly they usually have better amenities. One example is Dead Horse State Park, in Utah, which overlooks Canyon Lands and isn’t too far from Arches either. If you are going through North Dakota check out Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It is a great park that often gets overlooked, especially the north end.

If you make it to Northern California, please check out Fern Canyon. On your way there you will pass through a grove of giant redwoods and traverse an Elk Reserve. The parking area has the ocean on the left and forest on the right. It is the most enchanted place I've ever seen.

  • Don't know your route or kids interests/dislikes but suggest if u near Durango/Silverton, CO to try a stop on the narrow gauge rail at "Soaring" zip line tours. Also, Moab UT has national parks, state parks (Dead Horse) & rfting, jet boats, jeep & UTV tours, climbing, etc. Custer Park in SD is also pretty cool (take the dirt backroads and wildlife loop in evening or early morning). If kids interested in volcanoes, Sunset Crater in AZ or Craters of the Moon in ID natl parks are pretty cool too. And Valley of Fire State park outside Las Vegas is totally worth a visit (waaayyy) better than Red Rock Canyon)

Several years ago, I made a cross country drive where I went to baseball games at all thirty MLB parks, in addition to visiting 20+ National Parks.  While the planning to go to every stadium was a bit involved, it would lot simpler if you wanted to go to some of the stadiums, and if your kids like baseball, it would be a good family bonding experience.  

My husband & I have taken several long distance road trips.  One tip is to find the scenic byways.  There are national scenic byways and each state has their own.  I usually plan the trip with camping sites in mind.  I will map the trip on Google maps trying to stay off the freeways if possible.  Often a state highway or scenic byway doesn't add more than a half hour to the trip and it is so much more relaxing not having the trucks.  Seeing the countryside is so much more interesting than where freeways have been built.  Finding the RV sites can be a little challenging.  Google doesn't do a great job with the state camping sites.  Often maps will only list private RV sites.  So I go to each state that we are driving through.  This last trip we went through 10 states.  Many reserve sites on, but some used Reserve America and I think Missouri had their own system.  We found 5 hours to be a good amount of driving time to give us a relaxing morning and time for a hike in the afternoon.  We built that into the drive if there is something along the way.  All Trails app lists many hikes and I also look for walks in cities.  Some surprises can come up.  We were in Mississippi and thought we'd drive through Nantchez for the old houses.  There were 3 wonderful walks that the visitor center had mapped out.  Have fun.

Besides the usual (and crowded) National Parks that everyone wants to visit, check out State Parks, National Forest areas and BLM lands.  Most of those campgrounds are not full hookup, so be sure to plan where to fill water and dump waste tanks.  Also, a download a couple of camping/parking apps.

(Note: BLM lands and campgrounds are usually pretty rustic.)

A little late to the conversation but my friend and I are in Philly and we're road tripping down the Blue Ridge Parkway in June. Hitting up some cool spots on the way and ending in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park to camp for the first time. Very excited!

If you're heading out I-80--the turnpikes--a good destination for the first day is Pokagon State Park in Indiana, just over the Ohio border. Real nice CG with showers, and just off the hi-way. We stayed there last year, heading out from the Jersey side of Philly. 

A cool but obscure place to camp in western Nebraska is Fort Robinson State Park. It's an old Cavalry Fort with lots of history (Crazy Horse was murdered there) and it has some "mountain" scenery. On the way from I-80 to there, stop and see Carhenge--a Stonehenge made of old cars. It's outside of Alliance, NE. Yellowstone is a day's drive from Ft. Robinson. 


If you can't get a campsite in Yosemite, you can try the "Housekeeping Camp". It's quite expensive ($120±) for just a place to sleep, but you'll be in the Valley and within walking distance of the cafeteria and stores. Showers and parking are included. You can take the shuttle buses to the various trailheads.