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June 2013...lots to see in 10 days

Shenandoah, Iowa...
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June 2013...lots to see in 10 days

I've been planning an awesome trip and am really excited, but I'm not sure about our itinerary. My husband and I, plus our two kids, ages 10 and almost 7, will be going. The kids are excited about Disneyland and Hollywood. Hubby has never seen any of the National Parks. I've been to the National Parks, but never to California. I got nervous today after reading a forum because I feel like I haven't allotted enough time to see Hollywood. We'd like to see the Walk of Fame and the Hollywood sign, at least. The times listed below are driving times as determined by Mapquest. I'm wondering if I've slotted too much time in the canyons of UT considering the age of my kids, and their excitement to get to Disneyland, but I'm not sure how to shorten it up. I am thinking of cutting out the tour of Hoover Dam. We won't be doing any sight-see in Las Vegas. Hubby and I went last year and figure the kids are too young for certain aspects of the strip! If I could figure out a way to visit Hollywood before going to Disneyland Monday evening, that would probably be the best bet. Maybe 2 full days in Disney is enough and we don't need to go Monday night. That would save me a little money on Disney passes. BUT, the highlight for the kids will definitely be Disneyland, so I don't want to short-change them. They are also excited about Hollywood. Of course, they have no idea how amazing the canyons are! Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thursday, drive from Iowa to Greeley, CO to stay with a friend (8 hours)

Friday, drive from Greeley to Moab, UT. Take in the Light & Sound Boat Show at dusk. (6.5 hours)

Saturday, Sight-see between Moab and Bryce. Reservations at Bryce Canyon Lodge. (4.5 hours)

Sunday, Sight-see between Bryce and Zion. Reservations at Zion Lodge. (2 hours)

Monday, Zion to Hoover Dam, then on to Disneyland. Reservations at Anaheim Plaza Hotel. Hit the park that evening until bed time. (8 hours)

Tuesday, Disneyland

Wednesday, Disneyland

Thursday, Hollywood, then drive to Grand Canyon. Reservations at Maswik Lodge. (7.5 hours)

Friday, Explore Grand Canyon. Drive to Flagstaff for motel. (1.5 hours)

Saturday, Flagstaff to Liberal, KS (10.5 hours)

Sunday, Visit Wizard of Oz museum. Drive from Liberal to home (8.5 hours)

Encinitas...
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for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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1. Re: June 2013...lots to see in 10 days

What a whirlwind trip! You not only shorted yourself on time in Hollywood, but you will just be doing drive bys of the national parks on the way to get there.

Trying to see the sights of LA in the morning and drive to the GC in one day is a bad idea. Unless you plan to be on the road to the GC, around noon, you will be stuck in afternoon traffic leaving LA headed east, which can easily add a couple hours to an already long drive. One option is to stay in LA until about 7 and wait for the traffic to die down.Then do the 8 hour drive to the canyon. The drive from Anaheim to Hollywood in morning rush hour traffic can take a couple hours easily so if you plan to leave Disneyland and see LA on the same day. leave about 5AM to get ahead of traffic.

Ann Arbor, MI
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2. Re: June 2013...lots to see in 10 days

Others are likely to disagree with me, but I thought the tour of Hoover Dam we did last summer was overpriced and not all that interesting. Granted, I am not a civil engineer, but even my engineer husband got bored with it. We were there last June and it was absolutely sweltering--hotter than Vegas on the day we went. If you're looking to cut something, that would be a place to start.

We've never been to the parks of Utah, but we have taken several big road trips to visit national parks (we'll be following you in July of next year through the SW parks).

If your kids are anything like mine, sight seeing through the national parks is not going to be high on their wish list. Getting out to experience a park--hiking, biking, rafting, horseback riding--anything that is hands on will leave a much more lasting impression on them than rushing through several parks. When my daughter was younger she loved the Junior Ranger programs. She still has her badges and stamps. She learned a lot and had a great time with many different rangers. All those things take time.

As hard as it is to choose, when we've been crunched for time we opt for fewer stops so we can spend more time at each location. In your shoes I'd find one or maybe two really great activities to do in one or maybe two of the parks and focus the logistics around those activities. You won't see everything, but you'll make some great memories that might hold their own against the Disney portion of the trip.

Shenandoah, Iowa...
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3. Re: June 2013...lots to see in 10 days

Thank you for your comments! I appreciate it! I have decided to cut out Hoover Dam and head to Hollywood from Zion, leaving by 7 a.m. We should arrive there early afternoon and can spend the rest of the day doing a little site-seeing. We can drive down to our Disneyland hotel that night and hold off on going to Disneyland until the morning. That will leave us with 2 full days at DL. On day 8 we can go from Disneyland to the Grand Canyon, hopefully avoiding a lot of traffic.

We are planning on doing a boat tour in Moab and will have time for short hikes in the parks.

I wish we had more time, but we don't, and since we've decided to drive, we may as well see some of the parks on the way. I thought it would break up the trip, but maybe I'm certifiably insane?!

Park City, Utah
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4. Re: June 2013...lots to see in 10 days

Definitely too much stuff packed into this time. Yes, you can probably do all the drives you've noted in about that amount of time if you don't stop. But you've really left yourself no time for vacation in there. Here's a few thoughts.

It's a real stretch to think you'll do Greeley to Moab in 6.5 hours. Figure a little more. Do take the Danish Flat exit off I-70 and go through ghost town of Cisco and then along the Colorado River. If you do just one thing in Moab, don't make it the evening boat trip. Go into Arches and take in a sunset with a hike up to Delicate Arch or even a walk through Park Avenue. You'll take far more away from a walk through nature than someone shining lights on the rocks at night.

The drive from Moab to Bryce is beautiful. If you do it in one day, you'll only be driving. But still a nice drive. At Bryce you actually have enough time to absorb something as it's very consolidated. Do make sure to catch sunrise.

I would think twice about including Zion. You don't have any realistic time to absorb anything there if you're arriving in an afternoon and leaving in the morning. I would take that extra day and add it to Moab or do a stop in Torrey, which would then allow you to do the cool Little Wild Horse Canyon hike.

You can't possibly do Anaheim to Hollywood to Grand Canyon in a day, Even going Zion to Hollywood to Anaheim is not very realistic, although you do have the time change in your favor. Do not underestimate the traffic you'll hit. That includes traffic in the I-15 corridor from Vegas to Barstow and then much worse once you hit LA.

Your best bet would be to determine if you want an outdoor recreation vacation in the parks or if you want a Disneyland vacation. You'll have a much better time if you make a choice.

Have fun.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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5. Re: June 2013...lots to see in 10 days

Some good thoughts already. I agree you are packing in a lot.

Some of my thoughts:

Thurs- ok

Friday. Definitely take the Danish Flat exit (#214) and head south on that extraordinary road. And I agree with Tumbleweed, don't do the Light and show boat ride. You'll have been driving two solid days, the kids won't enjoy sitting some more to look at lights on the cliff walls. If you want to spend money try a sunset hummer ride: moabadventurecenter.com/trips/…sunset.php Even though they would still be sitting it will be lots of fun.

If you would rather just enjoy Arches then head into the park and enjoy Park Avenue or Sand Dune arch where the kids can run and play in the sand.

Saturday. There are two ways to get from Moab to Bryce. With the time you've listed I'm assuming you've chosen the one that goes on I-70 to I-15. Change your plans and head down hwy 24 to hwy 12. This will be a long day, but there are several places where you can get out and take a walk. First would be Little WIld Horse slot canyon. A great family hike that is free. Next would be Goblin Valley. Kids seems to love the goblins, no trails, just enjoy the place (state park, small fee per car). Then there is Capitol Reef NP. Stop at the Fruita historic area, look at the petroglyphs and check out the orchards and one room school house. Then though there is plenty to see and stop for along hwy 12 at this point you'll probably need to just drive it. Hopefully you'll arrive in time to see the main amphitheater before dark.

Sunday. Take a hike down the canyon, Navajo or Queen's Garden loops are good. Or you could combine them, but that depends on how keen to hike your kids are. Then take the 2 hr drive to Zion. There I would recommend just finding a spot by the river and letting the kids play. Big Bend might work. Chase the turkeys,,, well maybe not, but hopefully you'll see them and the resident deer. Weeping Rock maybe as well.

Monday to the end you'll have to rely on those who know CA better. But I have been in that traffic and know you can take twice as long as you think. I also am not sure what the attraction at Hollywood is, especially for the kids. Considering the drive through city traffic to get there in order to see a sign on a hill and some stars in the sidewalk I would seriously consider dropping that as well. Maybe go to the beach instead, Huntington was nice.

Ohio, USA
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6. Re: June 2013...lots to see in 10 days

Yep, way too much on your plate. Listen to the advice given thus far and rethink the number of stops. I think Tumbleweed is exactly correct and you need to make a choice between parks and Disney.

I you do end up in Bryce, look into the mule ride into the main amphitheatre. That is something the kids and parents will remember for a long time.

Personally, I found Hollywood to be a major disappointment.

Ann Arbor, MI
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7. Re: June 2013...lots to see in 10 days

Good point about Hollywood. My daughter wanted to go to Hollywood so badly when she was about 9-10 and she was sorely disappointed after our day there. It is crowded, dirty, and there aren't famous people hanging out on every corner or walking up and down Rodeo Drive.

Most of the stars on the walk of fame are ones that kids don't know (there are some that they do know however).

We eventually saw Lindsey Lohan walking into Prada and she looked so bad that even SHE disappointed my daughter. Wasted day, but at least she got the "Hollywood crazies" out of her system.

Kipling. SK
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8. Re: June 2013...lots to see in 10 days

Weighing in on this one:

It is pretty obvious by now that most of the contributors to the Utah forum are here because they believe the parks are a world class attraction. I am no exception, but I see that you are trying to create a trip for your kids, and also making an attempt to keep them entertained and happy on the long route you have planned. Bravo!

One regret I have is that I did not take my kid to Disneyland when she was the appropriate age, so therefore I commend you for the effort. Looks like your kids are the right age, so it is now or never.

On the opposite side of the coin. Agree with statements by luvtosnorkel. The parks can be magical for the kids, to a point. I can say my daughter was never able to keep up with me at seven years of age, and therefore the amount of activities we could do in a day in our home park was limited. A few short hours spent was the max.

I would stay with Disneyland, but slotting an adequate amount of time for Hollywood looks kind of tough on your schedule. Seems like you would either have to eliminate a night at the parks for an extra day to see Hollywood,or skip Hollywood so that you can make it to the Grand Canyon in adequate time, or opt for a couple long, long days to/from LA

Hopefully you can return to the parks in the future when the kids are older, so you all can enjoy them better. That being said I would like to recommend a couple of options in your limited time, just in case you do not make it back.

In Moab visiting Arches is a must:See the Windows section, the scenic drives, possibly Park Avenue.

From Moab to Bryce try to take the more scenic SR24/SR12 if you have time. If you need a leg stretcher Goblin Valley or Capitol Reef (petroglyphs)would work fine.

At Bryce visit the rim from the lodge, walk to sunset point, sunrise point, hike below the rim for a ways on Queens Garden trail.

At Zion the Emerald pools trail system (lower, upper) starts at the lodge. Also jump the shuttle bus and make it to the North end of the canyon and enjoy the paved Riverside trail there as well.

Hoover dam, tough to work in. Probably should be eliminated.

It has been too long since I have been in L.A. so I do not have anything to share for here. One thing I do remember is the traffic, being basically parked on the freeway. Agree with all the rest, expect delays.

Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, excellent!

Any specific questions, feel free to ask the forum contributors.We are here to be helpful.

Good luck with your trip.

Good luck

Shenandoah, Iowa...
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9. Re: June 2013...lots to see in 10 days

Thank you, WidmarshSK, for your very understanding response. I appreciate ALL the feedback, but you seemed to understand where I'm coming from. I realize we are trying to do a lot in a short amount of time, but since we made the decision to drive, rather than fly, to Disneyland, I figured we may as well try to see some of the sites we will be driving right by. My hope is that it will foster, in the kids, a desire to travel and explore the country and the world. That is something that would be lost by flying straight to Disneyland and back. By stopping at the parks, it breaks up the very long road trip and introduces them to the beauty of the region.

Perhaps it is a waste of time to try to see Hollywood. Like your daughter, Luvtosnorkel, my 9 year old is interested in celebrities and that's something she wants to see. I don't want to disappoint her, but I'm sure we'd all rather have more time doing other stuff than sitting in traffic!

Kbecjeans, thank you for your input, but you've presented me with a new dillema...I forgot to make time for the BEACH! The kids and I have never been to the west coast!!

Thanks, everyone!!

Salt Lake City, Utah
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10. Re: June 2013...lots to see in 10 days

Oh, the dilemmas of a family vacation.... So much to chose from. I choose beach! :-)