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Travel to Western US
Old 03-28-2014, 06:05 AM   #1
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Travel to Western US

I want to take the family out West this summer for two weeks. As a family we have been to Summit county, Colorado; Jackson Hole, Wy; and Northern Arizona;. Our best vacations are when rent a house as a basecamp and then travel to sightseeing areas. We like day hikes, river rafting, horseback riding and I enjoy fly fishing. I have personally traveled to all the Western States at one time or another but wanted to get some ideas from others especially those that did these trips with kids. Look forward to everyone thoughts and ideas.
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:20 AM   #2
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Only places we've been out west so far are:
1) California (Ventura County) to visit relatives; took the kids to Disney Land
2) California (Sonoma County) for our anniversary; left the kids at home
3) Las Vegas for business; left everyone at home
4) Arizona for a real family vacation, including a visit with family; drove from Tombstone all the way up to Grand Canyon with several stops in between

This summer the family is headed to RMNP and Mesa Verde NP in CO with other fun stops, hiking, rafting, etc.

Probably not much help to you based on your post, but I thought I'd share anyway. Have fun wherever you go!
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:22 AM   #3
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I like the Moab, Utah area. Much to do and see - the nearby National and State Parks are spectacular.
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:18 AM   #4
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Checkout Saint George, Utah...close proximity to Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, North Rim of Grand Canyon NP, Valley of Fire SP, Nevada...Snow Canyon State Park, Utah, Cedar Breaks, , Brian Head, and several other Utah state parks.

It's a large nice friendly town, with a large amount of fairly priced rental options, on VRBO. In fact we have a rented a brand new 3 bedroom home in a quiet location for a great price. The nice thing is, St George is such a great reasonable rental area that you can use St George as a base and not feel guilty about spending money on a hotel overnite, which really adds to enjoyment of the trip.

We love Moab too, but it is one large tourist town without a lot of rental options..in prime season a decent motel room alone can set you back a couple hundred dollars a night, that is, if you can find one...Moab is only place I've ever seen where hotels post a note on the front door saying ...We have No rooms available, don't even come inside.
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:01 AM   #5
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The Glacier National Park area in northern Montana ticks all your boxes. One of my favorite places.
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:04 AM   #6
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I like the Moab, Utah area. Much to do and see - the nearby National and State Parks are spectacular.
Another vote for Utah. We spent 2 weeks there in 2012, 1 week each in 2 different locations to take in the NP's of Bryce, Zion, Moab and Canyonlands. This was our first ever stay in Utah and we plan to go back again in 2015.
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:16 AM   #7
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A third for the national parks in southern Utah. They are breathtaking.
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:35 AM   #8
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Mesa Verde is definitely worth putting near the top of your list. It's within a day's drive of St. George, and there's lodging in the park. Some of the cliff dwelling complexes are open to the public only seasonally, I believe.
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:34 AM   #9
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Another vote for Utah. We spent 2 weeks there in 2012, 1 week each in 2 different locations to take in the NP's of Bryce, Zion, Moab and Canyonlands. This was our first ever stay in Utah and we plan to go back again in 2015.
I love the redrock country as much as anyone but...

It is hotter than the surface of Mercury out there in the summer.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:27 AM   #10
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I love the redrock country as much as anyone but...

It is hotter than the surface of Mercury out there in the summer.
Absolutely, we visited Bryce and Zion on our way out from Texas end of April, and then Moab and Canyonlands on our way back in July, so we got to experience the contrast

When we got to the top of Angels Landing in Zion in April we had sandwiches and a flask of hot coffee. When we hiked in Canyonlands in July it was in the 90's and we very nearly ran out of water - the collared lizards seemed to like the heat
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:48 AM   #11
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Yes, it is warm in summer that's true, however , Bryce, the North Rim, Cedar Breaks, and Brian Head can be much cooler. Wonderful ski lodge rentals can be had dirt cheap in the Brian Head area in off season, it is also stunning to look at. Zion, just go in the AM, crowds are much smaller then anyway.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:31 PM   #12
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Glacier is nice during the summer. Bring your passport and go to the Canadian side. Also, the nights are short and days long.

Most of the other parks are great but packed. Grand Canyon is not as hot on the rim but if you hike into it during the summer, you will find it is as hot as Phoenix.

We do VRBO and have been happy.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:34 PM   #13
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Another vote for southern Utah. Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches National Park. All are worth seeing.
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:11 PM   #14
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I appreciate the responses and to be honest, I did not think of southern Utah. My reservation for going there this summer is the trip would be in late July and/or early August, so as some of you pointed out, it will be hot. That said, you all have inspired me to consider that location the following summer and go early June or maybe a spring break trip.

I look forward to other thoughts and ideas. Again, Thanks
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:17 PM   #15
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June would be a great month for Southern Utah. For this year have you considered the Oregon coast..great views and cooler temps..have to say for all these places July and August are very high season and the sooner you decide the better, it's not unusual to see entire towns and areas sold out for that time frame.

Another option would be Northern Utah/Southern Idaho can't go wrong there either.

Can you tell I love the entire state of Utah..
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:47 PM   #16
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Okay, I guess I'll represent Colorado...

I know you've already been, but consider: Rent a house in Golden; you're out of Denver far enough but still close enough to get to downtown in 20min. You're on I-70 for access to all the goodness that is west of there, and Highway 93 to Boulder and beyond: Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Fly fishing on both of those routes, as well as southwest to the South Platte.

When I was a young and broke, one of our summer vacations was a set of long weekends spent riding every steam train in Colorado, 5 at the time. Scenery, history, and trains (for me... )

Yeah, Colorado...
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:11 PM   #17
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I appreciate the responses and to be honest, I did not think of southern Utah. My reservation for going there this summer is the trip would be in late July and/or early August, so as some of you pointed out, it will be hot. That said, you all have inspired me to consider that location the following summer and go early June or maybe a spring break trip.

I look forward to other thoughts and ideas. Again, Thanks
Let me add Capitol Reef as well as Utah highway 12 from Bryce thru Esclante Grand Staircase to Torry (near Capitol Reef on Hy 24). Highway 12 goes more white rock country than red rock country. It starts near Bryce goes down the escarpment that makes Bryce. Then up to Boulder and the high plateaus with views over the Waterpocket fold (capitol Reef).
If you go to zion in the summer forget the valley it will be overflowing, however you can go to the Kolob Canyons section of I-15 and few will be there. In addition you can go to Kolob Road from Virgin UT up to Lava Point and overlook the canyon from the north. The road is paved except for the last 2 or 3 miles which are good gravel. Its quite quiet on this road also.

Note that in the valley you have to take a bus from the visitor center or the town as the road in the valley is closed to private cars in the summer.
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:24 PM   #18
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Utah Highway 12 amazing...voted one of the most scenic in the US, Capitol Reef is very impressive and I don't think it gets overly crowded even in Summer. Virgin and Hurricane Utah have some very nice rentals available, some very high end homes can be rented for a great price.
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:06 PM   #19
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Utah: It's a dry heat!
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:27 PM   #20
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Ditto on Glacier. Southern Utah should be visited in spring and fall...
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