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Old 02-05-2010, 01:46 PM   #1
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Help,1 month (July) to do a National Park round trip from Florida

Love traveling but wife still working for couple of years. This will be our first chance for a month of travel and would love to see at least one western National park. We did a couple weeks last summer to Vicksburg, Hot Springs, Branson, Memphis, Nashville. Then another couple weeks enroute to Houston last fall with stops in Mississippi and Lousiana. We like the mountains, but are unsure how far we can go and get back within our 30 day time frame. Colorado and Wyoming maybe?? Sure would appreciate any advise and help.
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Old 02-05-2010, 02:04 PM   #2
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Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Escalante Staircase, Grand Canyon. You can't get much better than these in a fairly short distance from each other. There's more, these are just the ones we did. We are from Oregon so also added Craters of the Moon, Flaming Gorge, Yosemite, and Crater Lake. No really long driving days. A trip of a lifetime...can't wait to do it again.
First trip was in 35' Bounder w/o toad. Size was sometimes a challenge but not restrictive. Next time will be 40' Pacifica w/ toad. Restrictions will cause us to modify our route or use the toad for more day trips.
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Old 02-05-2010, 02:11 PM   #3
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Colorado has both Estes Park and Grand Lake. They are both part of the Rocky Mountain NP. Been to both places and I love them both. Didn't take the RV, stayed with friends and or stayed at old lodges especially the Grand Lake Lodge overlooking Grand Lake.

Wyoming has Yellowstone NP and that goes without saying has always been a very popular NP to visit. Or the Grand Tetons just below Yellowstone or what the heck, do both!

My most favorite is Yosemite, but you're looking at a few more states to the West.

Hope this helps.

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Old 02-05-2010, 02:52 PM   #4
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Hi gpopa,

Last year, we left Tampa FL and drove to Cody Wyoming, to join a "Good Sam Caravan" that did a Western National Parks Tour. On the way, we stopped at some of the same places you mentioned in your OP (Branson, etc.). Also, before Cody, we stopped in Rapid City, SD, to see Crasy Horse Monument and Mt. Rushmore. We saw Yellowstone, the Tetons, Grand Canyon, etc. Out total trip, took 9 weeks, but we didn't have any time restrictions. What I'm saying, is that I think it is totally possible to see many of the parks, within your 30 day period. Just do a lot of planning, as to how long you can stay in one camp. Also, if you plan to see Yellowstone, you need to make your reservations NOW!!!! As in July, it will be very crowded, since school is out! If you would like some recommendations for cities/camps we stayed in, I would be happy to help.

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Old 02-05-2010, 04:15 PM   #5
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Hi Ron,
If you move on down the road to get out west, you should be able to do quite a bit of National Park visiting. It depends on how deep you want to get into each National Park. Consider making your first trip more like a "Whitman Sampler". After the wife retires, then you can do what you want and when you want. Consider:
1. Canyonlands National Park
2. Mesa Verde National Park
3. Monument Valley
4. Natural Bridges National Monument
5. Capitol Reef National Park
6. Bryce Canyon National Park
7. Zion National Park
8. Antelope Canyon
9. Rainbow Bridge National Monument

There are "Grand Circle" caravans that make tours of the Western National Parks. The above mentioned parks is the itinerary of one of these caravans. The caravans are around 16 to 18 days. This means you should have plenty of time. If you will be traveling over any holiday weekends, consider making reservations at a local CG.

Good luck and safe travels,
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Old 02-05-2010, 09:28 PM   #6
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Thanks all...since everyone agrees that this is doable, we'll start some serious planning.
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Old 02-23-2010, 08:35 PM   #7
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I have to agree with GaryKD's itinerary. I have never seen country as beautiful as there is in Utah. The only park I would also add is Arches National Park. It is just across and down the highway a bit from Canyonlands NP in Moab. Zion and Bryce are spectacular and offer hikes ranging from a simple walk to a 3 hour trip. Just a tad warm in July but if you start early in the AM you'll be fine. Besides, the sunrises are spectacular.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:16 AM   #8
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An option since it sounds like you are not working is to drive most of the way to the parks and then have the DW fly in and fly out. This would give you the full 30 days in the parks area. Plus if you boondock most of the way you could makeup the airfare cost.

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Old 03-05-2010, 09:18 PM   #9
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We made the trip from Ft Myers FL to Arches NP in Utah in 2009 in 7 days and that was with a 2 day stay in New Orleans. I would definately recommend Utah, with Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Bryce and Zion NP's. Having been to Colorado and Utah, I think for the time you have, Utah would be the better trip. We eventually ended up in Alaska after Utah. In 2006 we made our 1st Alaska trip, and on the way up made the stops in Rocky Mtn NP, Yellowstone, Glacier, etc. Something to think about, when you have more time to travel.

Chuck
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