Our Epic West Coast Family Road Trip

We’ve done a cross-country family road trip or two (or three) in our time but this west coast road trip in 2013 is by far the most epic. We crossed several things off of our west coast bucket list.

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

A ridiculously awesome road trip

 

The full trip is mapped out below. More than two weeks on the road and only 1 night in a hotel! Read this post to find out how we did it. In this post I’m going to round up the highlights.

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

Camping in Northern California

 

Camping among these epic trees was … well, epic. If you ever get the chance to visit the redwoods, don’t miss it.

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

Visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium

 

And revisiting our old stomping grounds around the Monterey area. There are lots of free things to do in Monterey but we had the aquarium in our sights. We used to visit all the time when we lived in Monterey. In this post I share my insider tips.

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

Embracing our Inner Tourist at the Grand Canyon

 

YOLO and all that. :D Seriously, don’t come home with the same picture everyone else has. Make a memorable memory. The best road trips involve a balance of beautiful and silly pictures.

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

Discovering an Ancient Meteor Crater

 

Best accidental find ever. With all my research looking for road trip ideas you’d think I’d have come across this sooner. This whole section of Arizona is amazing. Painted deserts, giant canyons, petrified forests, ancient craters. Trust me, not all deserts are created equally and Arizona is where it’s at (we once lived in Tucson for a year).

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

 

Good Old Fashioned Graffiti

 

Turns out, it takes some actual skill to make Cadillac Ranch look good. This iconic road side attraction is neat but doesn’t quite live up to the hype. But, hey, great family road trips are made up of the good and the bad, amirite?

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

It takes a lot of planning to pull off an epic road trip on a budget but it’s worth every minute.

Have you visited any of these places? What’s your favorite road trip memory?

Looking for US road trip inspiration?

 



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Jessica

Meteor Crater in Arizona – Epic Roadside Attraction

Meteor Crater in Arizona is a road-side attraction worth your time.

 

Meteor Crater in Arizona

 

When researching things to do in Arizona, a certain canyon is all the hype. And don’t get me wrong, I love The Grand Canyon. When I was planning our giant cross-country road trip in 2013 I made sure we stayed in Flagstaff 2 nights just to make certain we got a good look at it.

 

Yet somehow in all my research, Meteor Crater didn’t pop up on my radar once.  Instead, we found it the old fashioned way, following signs off the highway.

 

Meteor Crater in Arizona - an epic road side attraction.

Meteor Crater

 

Nearly a mile wide, two miles around, and more than 500 feet deep, it’s a lot to take in all at once. It’s also hard to take a picture of all at once! A panoramic photograph is your best bet.

 

Meteor Crater in Arizona

 

There’s a nice museum inside for your scientific, nerdy side. There’s also a short video that talks about the crater. And a lovely giftshop where you’re sure to lose a few bucks.

 

Meteor Crater in Arizona

 

But, obviously, the best part is when they finally let you outside to explore the lookout points.

 

Meteor Crater in Arizona

 

Like the canyon, pictures really don’t do it justice. You can find some cool aerial shots online but they don’t give you the proper perspective on just how big this thing is.

 

Now, the bad news. The admission is steep. Especially for a large family. So if someone holds a gun to your wallet and forces you to choose between the crater and the canyon, well, choose the canyon.

 

But if you have the time and the resources, don’t miss the chance to see this natural wonder. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

 

Meteor Crater in Arizona

 

And your kids are likely to be much more impressed with it than with the famous canyon. And the small museum gives them a better chance to get hands on. It can be quite the educational pit stop.

 

Have you ever accidentally found a cool roadside attraction?

 



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Jessica

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