I have been lucky enough in my life to have traveled to many great destinations around the world including Canada, Europe, Argentina, Brazil, China, Singapore, Australia, and the Canary Islands. And I’ve even visited most of the great American cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, San Diego, Salt Lake, New Orleans, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Nashville, and Savannah (to name some of the biggest ones). However, I’ve only been to a single national park, Crater Lake, and that was back in the dark ages when I was a teenager.
I’ve always wanted to visit places like Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Canyonlands, but my parents didn’t take me as a child (although we went on many other great adventures), and then, as an adult, it’s hard to find time to travel to places both remote and not work-related in the slightest. So when my husband and I figured out that he was due for a lengthy, much deserved, sabbatical from work, we decided to plan a trip around the country (or at least the western part of it) in which we would visit as many national parks as we could with these conditions in mind:
- Staying 3 nights as most places
- Traveling no more than 4 hours a day
- Visiting family San Diego in mid-July (plus Comic Con!)
- Leave after school gets out. Get back before school starts again.
And so I created the following journey: starting from our Portland home, we’d go up and over to Glacier National Park, down to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, down further to Utah and the Grand Canyon, over to San Diego, up through California with a slight detour to visit family in Lake Tahoe, and then to Crater Lake before heading home.
There are a few places where we’re only staying 2 nights, and I lengthened our stay in Yosemite to 5 nights. I also had to extend my daily travel limit from 4 to 5 hours and eliminate hoped-for stops at North Cascades and Mesa. That said, it’s a pretty impressive trip:
And so, the plan is for my husband and I to visit 15 national campgrounds plus San Diego Comic Con, Disneyland, and Lake Tahoe in 68 days with our three kids: