Death Valley to Grand Canyon stopover (but not Vegas!)
Replies: 23 - Last Post: Feb 13, 2012 10:41 AM Last Post By: Bertieppants
Feb 9, 2012 3:59 PM
Death Valley to Grand Canyon stopover (but not Vegas!)G'day from Down Under. I'll be doing the ol' RV holiday through the southwest with the kids in tow through June-July. I know it's going to be hot but I'm from Outback Queensland so heat doesn't faze us.
The only concern I have is a 6-7 hour drive from Death Valley to the Grand Canyon southern rim, which could contain 10,000 'are we there yet?'s from the kids. Is there anywhere other than Vegas which might make a nice stop for the night to break up the journey. (We will be returning to do Vegas properly after the Canyon, Monument Valley, Zion etc)
Even a quirky small town with a cliched old wild west diner or saloon bar would probably do, or alternatively somewhere by a river or lake.
Cheers for any suggestions.
Feb 9, 2012 4:45 PM
1You can take a tour inside Hoover Dam. It's pretty neat.
There's a funky old semi-ghost town called Oatman about 30 minutes west (in the wrong direction) of Kingman. It's pretty touristy, but it will get you out of the car. The road is twisty and might not be the greatest place for a giant RV. http://g.co/maps/92s34
Or take 66 east from Kingman to Hackberry, where there's a neat Rte. 66 themed museum/gas station. Further down the road is 'Grand Canyon Caverns.' The cave is mediocre, and the tour somewhat spendy, but it will be nice and cool underground.
That's about all I can come up with. The route to the S. Rim is pretty barren.
Feb 9, 2012 5:29 PM
2Ok thanks for the pointers. Looking at the map it does seem pretty barren in terms of places to see. I was thinking we would do Hoover Dam on the way back to Vegas, coming from the Zion/Monument Valley side, but is it more convenient on the southern loop?
Otherwise I guess we are just looking at 6 hours in the saddle......
Feb 9, 2012 5:35 PM
3Kingman itself has a minor attraction or two, and since it's the only town of size between Vegas and the Grand Canyon, you could consider it for your overnight stopover.
Keep your eye out for the creepy remains of an abandoned Christmas village about 3/4 of the way from Hoover Dam to Kingman. (It's labeled "Santa Claus" on Google Maps.)
Feb 9, 2012 6:09 PM
4Hoover Dam would be much more convenient on the way to the Grand Canyon than from Zion.
Feb 9, 2012 7:09 PM
Any trip from Death Valley to Grand Canyon will contain 10,000 "are-we-there-yets" from kids. It makes no difference how many legs you make of it. Been there done that.
Not really. What's wrong with one night in Las Vegas? It will be a good tease for the kids and there is certainly enough free stuff there to keep them amused for an evening.
If not Las Vegas, drive through Las Vegas and stay in Boulder City. It is on the way to Grand Canyon and it is just before you reach Hoover Dam.
The closest you will come to "a cliched old wild west diner" is Denny's. There are plenty of "saloons" in Las Vegas. If you are looking for the Long Branch and Miss Kitty, you've been watching too many old westerns.
The above mentioned Boulder City is on Lake Mead. By the way, there are probably more "lakes" in the Outback. Virtually all of the "lakes" where you're going are man-made reservoirs.
Have a great trip.
Feb 9, 2012 11:10 PM
6Even a quirky small town with a cliched old wild west diner or saloon bar would probably do
Oatman, mentioned above, is a detour but reasonably fun. Much less of a detour is Chloride, outside of Kingman. That would probably fit the bill.
I have a couple of kids myself, and I'm not sure I'd break up a journey of that length with an overnight stop. Unless you have something specific you'd like to do or see, I'd rather put up with some whining than burn most of a precious vacation day trying to entertain the family (and myself) in some dusty little nowhere. So these little "old west" towns, or Hoover Dam, would be fun for a mid-day stop, but I wouldn't bother making a night of it.
What we usually do on drives of this length is plan to arrive somewhere just before lunch and make a very long stop out of it - picnic lunch, let the kids run around, etc. Then we load back up with the idea of being at our destination by late afternoon, or at worst, around dinner time.
Feb 10, 2012 3:10 AM
7Flagstuff I think you have convinced me. I'll probably stick with the full day drive with a stop for Hoover dam and maybe Kingman or somewhere else just to break it up a bit more.
Thanks everyone for their replies.
Feb 10, 2012 5:07 AM
Feb 10, 2012 8:33 AM
9I didn't even notice that you were stopping for the entire night. As Flag says, sitting around some dusty touron trap is a criminal waste of a vacation day. Press on! Slip the rugrats some diphenhydramine (cheap, generic anti-histamine, and a fine sedative) if they get too vocal! :) (Just kidding... sort of.)
There is one neat place the kids might like. It's a giant lava tube, just not far outside Flagstaff. It's somewhat off-course, and a visit will probably cost 2 hours or so, depending on how far you enter. Bring several quality flashlights!
How long is your trip? What other places are you looking to see in Utah and Az?
Feb 10, 2012 2:15 PM
10Geo_Nerd, the trip is a month total, but that's taking in several regions of the US. For this particular leg I have four days to get from Death Valley back to Vegas in the big loop. Followed by 3 days in Vegas proper.
So just the usual suspects, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley (please don't say negatives about the joint, that is not open for discussion!) then Zion and hopefully a night at a City Slickers style ranch where the kids can ride horses through the canyons and watch cowboys in stockyards. (We have that in Australian outback too obviously but if I am torturing the kids with long drives to satisfy my lust for nature and photography I gotta give them something back!
Though with Sea World and San Diego Zoo I think they'll be coming out well in front!
Feb 10, 2012 2:29 PM
Feb 10, 2012 3:39 PM
Feb 11, 2012 5:17 AM
13Yes, worked very well after the first two times ; )), guess the trip to Greece with motorcycle and kid
in sidecar helped too, after that she was a real good little traveller.
Feb 11, 2012 8:29 AM
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