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Old 10-30-2015, 11:17 AM   #1
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Family-friendly, month long, winter intinerary

Hello to all,
We are a family of 7 on a RTW trip. We are landing in LA in mid-December eager to explore the US (we know that is terrible timing weather-wise). An RV will be waiting for us in LA and four weeks and 2000 miles later we need to return it to LA. So where do we go? I have spent hours online and can't find a suitable winter itinerary.
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Old 10-30-2015, 12:42 PM   #2
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Highway 1 north until you hit snow.
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Old 10-30-2015, 12:52 PM   #3
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The best place for mid-December will be in Arizona. However, not all of Arizona will be good for driving a RV. Zero in on the Phoenix/Tucson area. Check weather carefully and if you have a good opening, drive up to the Grand Canyon but it's going to be cold up there. Stay at Trailer Village in the park itself and you'll have electric to run your heater. You can also explore Sedona on your way. Dead Horse Ranch State Park in nearby Cottonwood is a good place to stay and there are some old Indian ruins in the area to explore.

In the Phoenix area, you'd love Lost Dutchman State Park but make reservation now. It's a busy one. You'll be able to explore some nice areas from there and the hiking in the park is awesome with gorgeous views.

For Tucson, try to get into Catalina State Park - another beauty but requires reservations now. Again, there's lots to do in the Tucson area.

Have a great trip!
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Old 10-30-2015, 01:42 PM   #4
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If you do get in the Tucson area try and visit Tombstone. Don't know if you will be towing a car so there is a campground, Wells Fargo CG, that is downtown so you can walk to most everything.
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Old 10-30-2015, 02:34 PM   #5
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Coast highway north is nice and mostly snow free along the coast. You can take side trips when weather permits. I also like Death Valley and Joshua tree in the winter. From either of those you will be just a few hours away from Las Vegas, from there you could hit the Grand Canyon. Some of the mountain passes may get snow but the road crews usually clear them pretty quick. Just watch the weather reports. You didn't say where you are from? Zion could also be a good stop not far from Vegas but you'll need to watch for road restrictions. You can find more about them here in irv2. Good luck and safe travels.
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Old 10-30-2015, 07:47 PM   #6
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Snow and costs

Thanks for all the great info!

We are from Israel.

We had looked into going up the California coast but the costs of the camp grounds are more than $75 a night which puts us way over budget. Plus there doesn't seem like enough to do for a month. Am I wrong?

Also, we aren't towing a car so visiting cities like San Fransisco will be akward.

As for following the weather, the rental company has warned us about causing damage to the water system if it is too cold. Isn't it too much of a gamble to go to places that might freeze?

Are there any websites with ready-made itineraries?

Has anyone bought itineraries? How was that?

Won't it be uncomfortable to sleep at night if the temperature is near zero and we don't have electric hook-up?
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Old 10-30-2015, 08:55 PM   #7
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Jodi-Lynn,

I don't know of any prepared itineraries. But if you care to mention your interests, and maybe the age range of the group the forum could help you.

If it were me, I would ask my self: "do I want a drive every day and see as much as I can, or do want to be more destination driven and stay in fewer locations but for and extended time".

I live about 120 miles south of Los Angeles, just outside of San Diego. This time of year, we like to travel to Tucson, Arizona. We do this trip every year. It is about 8 hours away from us (in an RV, by car it is a little over 6 hours. We like to take our time and enjoy the area. Someone mentioned Catalina State Park. The is an excellent suggestion. There are enough things for you to do and see that a week here may or may not be enough.

So, for starters, are you interested in learning a little bit about a lot of places, or learning a lot about fewer targeted places?

How ever you do it, welcome to the United States. I hope that you and your family have a wonderful time.




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Old 10-30-2015, 09:28 PM   #8
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What about DisneyLand, SanDiego Zoo. After those go to Tucson. Tucson studios, Desert Museum, Tombstone to name a few. Then make your way to Phoenix. Just Google each city to get your destinations. After Phoenix, a quick trip to Las Vegas. Believe it or not, a good destination for sightseeing for family palm Springs, and the back to L.A. How's that for an Itinerary? Everyone of those places I mentioned have Campgrounds near.
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Old 10-31-2015, 12:36 AM   #9
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Thanks David! Your itinerary looks pretty much like the best option weather-wise.

Being a big family, major tourist sites in the US are way too expensive for us. For example, for us to visit the San Diego Zoo will cost $248!!!! That is a crazy amount of money for a couple of hours of entertainment.

HavingABlast, our children are 12, 10, 8, 5 and 1 year old. We would love to do the regular tourist circuit but as I wrote above, the attractions are way to expensive when you times everything by 7. We are looking to do some nice hiking, to meet interesting people and to get to know the local culture. State fairs, farms, local markets, small niche museums, historical sites, street food - no shopping, no art galleries, no places where you have to be well-behaved and quiet.

My husband and 4 out of the 5 kids get carsick so long days of driving are not really fun. We would like to drive a couple of hours, stay a couple of days and then move on.
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Old 10-31-2015, 01:02 AM   #10
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Let me welcome you in advance. State and National parks will be the least cost camp grounds. Also, Walmart shopping centers will usually allow you to use their parking lots for an overnight stay. Can't set up camp but you can sleep and rest up. Also, most Interstate (major) highways have rest stops where you can pull in and spend the night but again, you can't set up camp with things like chairs, extended awnings or levelers but they work great to save camp ground fees when in route from one place to another. I live in Southern California about 10 minutes from Disneyland and if you want to PM me I can give you my email in case you need information while you are here. I think you can find much to do in California and anywhere along the coast will be snow free. Here are some links that may help.

https://www.recreation.gov National Parks

https://www.reserveamerica.com Reservation System

Joshua Tree National Park California Travel & Vacation Guide

Furnace Creek Resort RV Park & Campground | Furnace Creek Resort - Death Valley National Park

Bruce and Merlita
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Old 10-31-2015, 01:07 AM   #11
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In every city there is a website sort like what's going on in ______ city. There are many free places or activities that will only cost your family of 7 about $50. Buy food, prepare it in the RV to save money. I still think the cities I indicated will be a doable trip with enjoyable weather. State parks in California are about $40 per night, you should be able to get in during the week in December. Arizona parks just need reservations.
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Old 10-31-2015, 03:06 AM   #12
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Reservations needed?

Thank you Bruce, Merlita and David. Your comments are very helpful.

We will need reservations for parks in Arizona? How far in advance? We were hoping to be flexible. How much of a problem is that going to be in Arizona?
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Old 10-31-2015, 04:11 AM   #13
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There is a lot going on in Tucson that time of year and the weather is not going to be a problem. We also love Catalina State Park. It's not in town but in Oro VAlley, an outlying community. Beautiful place with lots of opportunity for hiking, biking, etc. You can make reservations online. It is a popular place so do so as early as possible. https://azstateparks.itinio.com/catalina/ Sites are around $ 25 a nite with water and electric. Stays are limited to 14 days but there are many other parks in town as well. Being a college town there is lots to do (sports, music, museums, etc) at minimal cost. You might also like to see Winterhaven, http://winterhavenfestival.org/an entire section of town decorated for the holiday season. It's free, very family oriented and pretty impressive
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Old 10-31-2015, 11:30 AM   #14
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Family-friendly, month long, winter intinerary

Sounds like you and your family are not that much different than our (except our "kids" are now 40 and 38 years old). We loved to hike and immerse ourselves in local culture.

Catalina State Park has already been referenced. Great place to hike and enjoy nature.



Nearby is Biosphere, this was and is a lab that conducts environmental studies.

Saguaro National Park is a favorite of ours for hiking and just solitude. Sabino Canyon has great hiking. We enjoyed an afternoon visiting an old Titan Missile Silo and a very old church (San Xavier....it is 200 years old....just a baby in terms of your homeland but special just the same).

If you could swing it financially, I whole heatedly suggest the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. It is a zoo of sorts, but the animals and plants are from the local area. This is a place that my wife and I go every time we head to Tucson.

There are several botanical gardens in the area. I would also suggest that you look into renting bikes for the day. There is a rather extensive bike path around Tucson.

If you run out of thins to do and see in Tucson, there is a place a half a day's drive away. It is so very unique in terms of topography. Below is a link to that site. It is at 7,200 feet, so watch the weather, but on average it should be doable for you.

Chiricahua http://www.nps.gov/chir/index.htm

On other very unique location is Sedona, AZ. Plenty of interesting rocks and hikes there. If you go, head up to the airport at sundown and enjoy the light show as the sunlight changes the colors of the surrounding hills. This one is free. Sedona is farther north of Tucson, and at higher elevation, so be sure and watch the weather here.

Where ever you chose to go, be aware of the local reptiles. They are part of the ecosystem and can be enjoyed (from a distance) just as well. Just part of life in the Southwest.

By the way, if you overnight in the San Diego Area, I suggest that you spend a day in Balboa Park. It is historic, relaxing, and roaming around is free.

Hope that you have a wonderful time.












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