Author Topic: Trip to Southwest US in mid-April with kids - seeking ideas  (Read 1433 times)

moonpalace

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Trip to Southwest US in mid-April with kids - seeking ideas
« on: January 22, 2020, 11:13:26 AM »
Folks, we're taking our kids on a week-long trip to the desert Southwest in mid-April. We'll have camping and hiking equipment.

General plan is to fly in to Vegas and then pick a few spots to camp out and do day hikes. Kids are 11 and 15 and pretty adventurous.

I've only been to the area during rock-climbing trips almost 20 years ago, and would love to hear ideas for good places that time of year to take the kids.

norajean

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Re: Trip to Southwest US in mid-April with kids - seeking ideas
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2020, 11:32:58 AM »
Kids love Vegas and it is super family friendly. Be sure and plan for a few days there at one end of the trip or the other.

obstinate

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Re: Trip to Southwest US in mid-April with kids - seeking ideas
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2020, 11:40:15 AM »
I suggest Vegas at the end.

Whitewater rafting is available in the area, and depending on your choice may not be too strenuous. We went on an overnight whitewater trip when I was in high school and my brother, who was then 15, still talks about it as one of his favorite trips of our youth. (Personally, I got a bad sunburn on my hand during the first day and was not really having a good time on the second day. Reapply often or better yet wear clothing that blocks the sun -- Amazon sells lightweight solar gloves.)

Mr. Green

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Re: Trip to Southwest US in mid-April with kids - seeking ideas
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2020, 02:09:45 PM »
How far outside of Vegas are you willing to travel? Sedona is about 4.5 hours from the Vegas airport and it is breathtakingly beautiful. There are several Forest Service campgrounds near the town. Some of them have vault toilets and no showers, though you can drive up the road a few miles to the campground that has running water for showers. There are tons of trails in and around Sedona and the red rocks are just stellar. We spent a week there last Spring and we'll be there for another week this April. It will not disappoint.

mm1970

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Re: Trip to Southwest US in mid-April with kids - seeking ideas
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2020, 02:45:07 PM »
Depends on how far you are willing to go.  I'd recommend areas of Arizona and Utah.  We visited Bryce and Zion near that time (end of March, our spring break), and it was lovely.  Zion was packed (and so was every shuttle in the park), but I think Zion is always packed.  Bryce was not busy at all and was by far my favorite of the two.  I've also hear good things about Canyonlands and Capitol Reef.  You'd have to consider weather and how cold your camping gear goes.  Same with Grand Canyon.  We've camped there more than once, but both times in the summer. 

It's about 2.5 hr to Zion, 4 to Bryce (by car), and 3 hr to Joshua Tree NP, also a good time to go.  We've been camping in Joshua tree many many times, in Feb, March, April, May, and April (Right around easter) was the best, but again, weather varies.  Could be really hot, could be really cold.

Boofinator

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Re: Trip to Southwest US in mid-April with kids - seeking ideas
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2020, 03:24:13 PM »
Depends on how far you are willing to go.  I'd recommend areas of Arizona and Utah.  We visited Bryce and Zion near that time (end of March, our spring break), and it was lovely.  Zion was packed (and so was every shuttle in the park), but I think Zion is always packed.  Bryce was not busy at all and was by far my favorite of the two.  I've also hear good things about Canyonlands and Capitol Reef.  You'd have to consider weather and how cold your camping gear goes.  Same with Grand Canyon.  We've camped there more than once, but both times in the summer. 

It's about 2.5 hr to Zion, 4 to Bryce (by car), and 3 hr to Joshua Tree NP, also a good time to go.  We've been camping in Joshua tree many many times, in Feb, March, April, May, and April (Right around easter) was the best, but again, weather varies.  Could be really hot, could be really cold.

I'll second all of mm1970's suggestions. I'll add that Utah is fantastic, and you could make a whole week out of it by hitting up Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, and maybe a smaller slot canyon and some goblin hoodoos (if you're ambitious).

GreenToTheCore

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Re: Trip to Southwest US in mid-April with kids - seeking ideas
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2020, 08:12:00 AM »
Great suggestions.
I'll add:
- Buckskin Gulch: great slot canyon hike, there&back
- Lake Powell: Lone Rock beach
- Grand Canyon: North Rim has great camping and views along Rainbow Rim trail

Dispersed camping info:
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/coconino/landmanagement/projects/?cid=stelprdb5356224
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/coconino/home/?cid=stelprdb5313448

And always remember, Don't Bust the Crust!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjiPC05j1sE
https://www.fs.usda.gov/rmrs/dont-bust-biological-soil-crust-preserving-and-restoring-important-desert-resource


Happy travels

honeybbq

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Re: Trip to Southwest US in mid-April with kids - seeking ideas
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2020, 09:41:21 AM »
Valley of Fire state park is a must.

Car Jack

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Re: Trip to Southwest US in mid-April with kids - seeking ideas
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2020, 10:47:19 AM »
Sedona: Pink Jeep Tours

MayDay

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Re: Trip to Southwest US in mid-April with kids - seeking ideas
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2020, 08:50:27 PM »
We are staying in what feels like every Hampton inn in IT rather than camping, but are doing a similar trip with a 10 and 12 year old in June.

We are going for 10 days and generally staying 2 nights in each:
Fly into Vegas and rent car
Zion
Bryce
Moab
Page
Vegas (swinging by grand canyon which I find underwhelming)

tooqk4u22

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Re: Trip to Southwest US in mid-April with kids - seeking ideas
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2020, 08:03:30 AM »
We are doing a similar trip (sans camping).  Definitely finishing in Vegas for a bit of chill and pools with the kids.

mm1970

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Re: Trip to Southwest US in mid-April with kids - seeking ideas
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2020, 01:24:09 PM »
We are staying in what feels like every Hampton inn in IT rather than camping, but are doing a similar trip with a 10 and 12 year old in June.

We are going for 10 days and generally staying 2 nights in each:
Fly into Vegas and rent car
Zion
Bryce
Moab
Page
Vegas (swinging by grand canyon which I find underwhelming)
Page is pretty cool - we cut our Grand Canyon stay a day short about 8-9 years ago and went to Page to take a day or half-day boat trip down the river in the canyon (not whitewater).  It was really cool.