We actually want to spend 15-20 days this summer driving around America, buying gas and seeing stuff. The questions are, how to get to the stuff from the east coast, and what stuff?
My spouse and children (5ish and 12ish) have not seen the vast majority of America, and we would like to expand our horizons. We look to have a little more than 2 weeks on our hands, and a station wagon, and a starting and ending point in the mid-Atlantic. It is probably indispensable to the trip's success to take in California. So here are the questions:
1. How do we get there and back? My original idea had been to drive from the east to the west coast and choose a different route back (e.g., go out along the south, and return through the Dakotas). But this probably chews up more time than we have. Our other thought is to fly out to Vegas or some such place, rent a car, do a loop, and return the car to Vegas (avoiding a one-way dropoff fee). Does anyone have any other clever ideas about how to manage this feat? I am conscious that the mini-loop winds up sacrificing lots that I would like to show them in mid-America, but the best may be the enemy of the halfway feasible.
2. What are some of the indispensables? My kids would like to see LA, SF, Vegas; I would like them to see some national parks and monuments and vistas, like the Grand Canyon, the redwoods, Rushmore, Yosemite, the Rockies, etc. I would love to have your input on a top ten of reasonably compatible highlights. FWIW, one of my concepts is to take in things that they are unlikely to otherwise stumble across, so bonus points for great sites that would be less likely for later destination travel.
3. Any smart travel tips? Such as, join the Holiday Inn Frequent Sleeper Club, get the combo portable DVD player/taser, etc.?
P.S. I have seen some other posts, like the best of Route 1
and Alabama to Seattle
, but none have been on point, particularly as to travel with kids. Thanks!