My wife and I (boomers to give you helpful context ) are planning a 4 week western us trip mid-sept through mid-oct. We’ll be starting and ending in San Diego, traveling in a Hymer. Primarily focused on national parks, but also want to enjoy the sites and scenery along the way - rather than racing from one park to the next. Currently on our list - Joshua Tree, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Idaho Falls to visit friends, Redwood, Sequoia, Yosemite. We’ve been to the Grand Canyon already, so we’ll pass on that. Even so, feels like this itinerary is overly ambitious. Would it be better for us to focus on CA and possibly OR and WA? Or head up into UT and ID? Thanks for any recommendations.
Doesn’t sound crazy. You’d basically be hitting two places a week (including seeing your friends).
Will you see and do everything there is in each place? No way! Will you have time to see and do a lot in each place? Yes! Could you knock out half and still have plenty to see? Again, yes.
Your timing is good but you will probably be pretty hot at least in Zion and maybe Bryce Canyon as well.
We’ve hit half of those in the past year and a half (Sequoia, Yosemite, Zion & Bryce Canyon) and will return to two more this year that we visited years ago (Joshua Tree & Redwoods). We enjoyed them (and want to go back for more - and we’re boomers as well). Sounds like a great trip!
Thanks for helpful advice. This is our first experience RV camping - a lot to learn, but very excited about the trip. Good point about hotter weather in UT. I’m thinking we start in CA, head north, then loop back down through UT in the 2nd half of the trip. Do you recommend reserving campsites ahead of time or figuring it out as we go? Maybe book ahead for a few places (e.g. Yosemite, Zion) and wing it in between? Appreciate your help!
We book ahead as much as possible. We’ve gone to places that “never fill up” a couple of times and they were full. Once it forced us into a very expensive RV park and once caused us to drive for hours before we found a place with sites available.
Your list is mostly high use parks so you’ll not only need reservations but should be booking them as soon as they become available (probably in the next month or two depending on the dates you’ll be there - for state parks the time might be right now - we’ve already booked through mid-October). Check the booking windows now so you know when you need to act.
For our trip last fall, though we tried booking on the day they became available, Zion and Bryce Canyon filled up before we were able to get reservations and we ended up in RV parks outside the parks. And the first planned stop for our NorCal trip next fall was already full so we had to revise our itinerary.
Welcome to this awesome group, WilkVT!
I hope you enjoy your stay here and tour of the Western states!!!
I have lived in AZ for 30 years, Idaho for 18 months and now, back in California (Livermore) in the East Bay Area. We moved here in California back in March, 2017 so we are still getting to know the area. So far, we have camped near Half Moon Bay, Bodega Bay and at some lakes along the base of the Sierra Mountains. I think our favorite area so far is Bodega Bay. So many great scenery in that area. If you can, book a camp site right on the Beach at Wright’s Beach in Sonoma State Park or in that area. Another nice place is Pismo Beach, further south. We stayed at Oceano State Beach Park, which was totally awesome. As far as Idaho, there are so many great campsites up there and were within a 2 hour drive from where we lived in Caldwell, ID. Our favorites were Sagehen, Warm Lake, McCall and Cascade Area. There is a place in Riggins, ID along the Little Salmon that we fell in love with too called Riverside RV Park. It’s a nice little RV Park right along the river
Ok very good to know. We’ll get going on booking some spots right away. Thanks again for your help!
Thanks ElefantDude - appreciate all the great recommendations. Would love to book a few nights on the beach. Will let you know how it works out!
Sounds like a great trip!! Problem is, there’s sooooo much to see & do! Arches is only about 250 miles from Mesa Verde in SW Colorado, and I’d strongly suggest you visit there; one of my favorite places. I don’t see Yellowstone or Grand Teton on your itinerary, and those are great places in the fall (when we usually visit - as fellow boomers). We’re from eastern Washington (the dry part of the state), and there’s a surprising amount of things to see and do here. You’re from San Diego, so the WA or OR coast may not offer you much you haven’t experienced, to us inlanders, the coast is impressive. BTW, we travel in a Roadtrek 210.