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Old 01-12-2020, 07:54 PM   #1
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September 2020 Suggestions/Advice

I am trying to plan our 2020 family vacation. We have two weeks including weekends and would like to go middle/end of September. It is me, my husband, 2 kids ages DD17 and DS8 and our dog and our kids are homeschooled. We drive a 24 foot class c which my husband and I both drive. I need help figuring out where to go. We are between Houston and Austin Texas.

Some locations I am thinking of are Grand Canyon with stops at Wupatki NM and Sunset Crater, maybe Tucson and Tombstone; Yellowstone; Badlands/Blackhills; Great Sand dunes, Buena Vista area, Mesa Verde Colorado. I'm not sure which one to chose. I am OK with having a couple of long days getting to and from but once we get there mostly want to have a leisurely pace and enjoy our time without rushing from place to place. We do not need full hookups or luxuries.

We are a very active family and love outdoor activities - hiking, rafting, kayaking. We also enjoy museums and quirky places. Not so much big cities. My son is interested in seeing native american ruins and he has never been to the mountains. My daughter says she doesn't care what we do and my husband says whatever you want honey just tell me when to take off work lol. Not a bad position to be in but they are no help in planning.

I want to add that we are used to super long car trips as we go visit our friends in Minnesota every other Christmas and will be in the car up to 12 hours at a time. I have done solo road trips to Colorado driving home in a long day. Activity wise I am an adventure traveler. My friends and I do week long canoe/backpack trips thru the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer and in May I'm hiking Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas. I've done a bike ride down pike peaks which was epic. My husband and I just got back from a jungle trip in Costa Rica. When I go someplace I intent to truly experience it.

With all that being said what can we realistically do in 2 weeks without being too terribly rushed? Input is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-12-2020, 11:40 PM   #2
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I think your family would really enjoy Grand Canyon with stops at Wupatki NM and Sunset Crater, Walnut Canyon and Meteor Crater which are all in the same area. Sedona is also nearby for hiking. I don't think you'd have much time left for Tucson. But you could make the Benson, AZ area good for a couple nights on your return home and do Tombstone and Kartchner Caverns State Park. It is a nice place to stay to tour the awesome caverns. They have a beautiful tour. We know because we gave them. It would be very educational and fun at the same time. Also near Tombstone is the Bisbee Mine Tour which is great. You don a yellow slicker and hard hat with a miner's light and get on a mining car for the tour. It's given by ex-miners and very informative.

Grand Canyon NP even allows dogs on the Rim Trail... most national parks don't allow dogs on trails. Also, I recommend you walk down the Bright Angel Trail if only for 1/8 mi. or so just to get the feel of being in the canyon. It's really a great experience.

Yellowstone/Colorado is too far for the time you have.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:06 AM   #3
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With the schedule you outlined, I suggest Carlsbad for the caverns. Then up to the Pecos river (Cowels area or Holy Ghost) for two nights. Nice hike out of Holy Ghost. Then Santa Fe, for two nights. Then Los Alamos for Bandelier and the atomic museum. Then Durango (only 4 hour drive) for train ride to Silverton and good hiking. Come back through Taos, then Raton, Capulin, Palo Duro Canyon, then home.

Might be a little more driving than you want. you could just spend most of the time in the NM and kick back a bit more. Just in the Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Taos area you get your mountains, hiking, quirky places, history, native American history and rafting. Black Canyon is a great campground outside of Santa Fe.
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Old 01-13-2020, 12:32 PM   #4
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Thank you both very much for your responses. I think we have ruled out Blackhills and Yellowstone and will focus on the Grand Canyon or Southern Colorado. We have done the Durango train and rafting there as well as spent a week in Ouray. Beautiful area! As for the rest....I've got lots of research to do and I thank you for your suggestions.
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:51 PM   #5
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Have you thought of the Smokies? Beautiful National Park, several places to go nearby such as Chimney Rock, were "The Last of the Mohicans" was filmed, Ashville with the Biltmore house. Cherokee N.C. used to have the outdoor play "Unto theses Hills" story of the Cherokee Indians. Hiking in the Smokies Mountains. Then if you want shopping go into Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area.

So many more areas there I can't name of all of them without forgetting something.
Another huge draw is the Tail of the Dragon.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:20 PM   #6
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Have you thought of the Smokies? Beautiful National Park, several places to go nearby such as Chimney Rock, were "The Last of the Mohicans" was filmed, Ashville with the Biltmore house. Cherokee N.C. used to have the outdoor play "Unto theses Hills" story of the Cherokee Indians. Hiking in the Smokies Mountains. Then if you want shopping go into Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area.

So many more areas there I can't name of all of them without forgetting something.
Another huge draw is the Tail of the Dragon.
We were actually supposed to go to the smokies this Christmas but our trip got canceled. The Smokies are my husband's absolute favorite place. He would like to move there some day. That of course is a possibility with a stop in Nashville to Ryman Auditorium. Oh great......more choices! lol.....We have such a beautiful country it certainly is hard to decide. If my family would give me an opinion other than "i don't know anywhere sounds fun" this wouldn't be so hard.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:22 AM   #7
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Hi CajunQueen,
The places mentioned so far remain HOT in September. How about thinking outside the box? Glacier National Park (east side) is my recommendation. It was mentioned hubby and you do long distance driving. That being said Glacier is a 2 day drive. The east side is perfect for the activities you mention.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:29 PM   #8
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From Houston to Glacier is 2,000 miles. With an RV and stops.... more like 3-4 days of driving and that's a direct route without fun stops. I would guess that's too far for the amount of days.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:01 PM   #9
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great sand dunes, Navajo reservoir, Buena vista area. o'haver lake outside of salida is a great campground. 9700 feet elevation. small lake with a lot of trout fishing from shore
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:54 PM   #10
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Hi CajunQueen,
The places mentioned so far remain HOT in September.


Nope. Not all Hot. Only one place i mentioned will probably be warm in September but cool at night, Palo Duro. All the other places will be cool and probably need a jacket when the sun goes down.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:39 PM   #11
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I would love to visit Glacier but don't think I have enough time for it. Oh I certainly with we had more time. For now we are set with the amount of vacation my husband has. Hopefully for only a couple more years.

I am not familiar with O'Haver lake near Salida. I will look that up.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:48 AM   #12
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Posters may also read these replies on the other forum for the same Question.

Think it may helps - https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/f...0.cfm#30026640

So many Options and just never enough TIME..........
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:05 AM   #13
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if you head west of the sand dunes towards mesa verde, check out the national forest campgrounds northeast of dolores, colo. right on the west dolores river in a mountain valley. don't remember if you have a toad. some nice back roads to meander on. downstream of the McFee reservoir below the dam outside of dolores they have dispersed camping again right on the river. near dolores is the anazazi heritage center. a really cool self guided tour inside the facility and a nice walking trail with a few ruins. mesa verde is very impressive. we spent almost 3 months in the southwest corner of Colorado and didn't have enough time to enjoy it all. the 4 corners is a waste of time and money, but the country surrounding it is a sight to see
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