This summer, our family is embarking on our biggest adventure yet- a 3 month epic summer road trip camping across the United States and Canada. I can’t tell you how excited I am! Sophie’s leaving for college this fall and this is the best way we know how to send her off. We have been on a mission since she was just a little thing to take our kids to all of the U.S. National Parks in the lower 48 states and this trip will just about complete that goal since we will only have Dry Tortugas left to visit on a future trip we are planning for 2017. It’s hard to believe we will be finishing up this goal that we have been working towards for so long.
This trip is going to be epic and I’ve been busy applying for wilderness permits, booking campsites, and ironing out our itinerary. Not to mention working overtime to help fund it. We are definitely budget travelers, so we have the further challenge of planning an itinerary that doesn’t break the bank.
Our Epic Summer Road Trip
Throughout the next few months, I will be posting more details of our epic summer road trip. But for now, I will share with you the big picture itinerary and the major locations where we will be stopping. We will be traveling about 11,000 miles, through 16 states and 5 Canadian provinces, 18 U.S. National Parks, 6 Canadian National Parks, several National Monuments and numerous state and provincial parks throughout North America.
And while planning has been super fun, it is also a challenge. I will be sharing how we plan our budget for such a long trip and how we put together our itinerary. A helpful tool that I have found to be exceedingly useful for planning our epic summer road trip is the Road Trip Budget Planner I put together which has helped keep me organized. So check that out to use for your upcoming travels.
Since we will be camping and backpacking throughout our trip, that’s right- NO hotels, packing well is crazy important and I am a list-making kind of girl since it helps me stay organized. You may find the packing list that I use for backpacking and camping to be helpful as well when planning a camping adventure.
We’ve road tripped a lot, but this trip itinerary still gives me the chills and I am giddy with excitement to go.
And one of the best parts? We will be camping each night along the way in a used 15 passenger van that Dave is transforming into our very own Adventure Van. Stay tuned for upcoming posts which will detail this awesome project!
Throughout the trip, I will be regularly updating the blog and you can also follow along on Instagram and Twitter. We may even start posting some videos on Youtube. And from the plains of South Dakota to the beaches of southern California all the way to the Canadian Rockies, we will be seeing vastly diverse landscapes that I can’t wait to share with you.
Have you been busy making summer travel plans? I’d love to hear where you are headed! Happy Travels!
Awesome trip! I am trying to figure out where to find pics of your camping setup. We have 3 kids under 10 and are looking into a van. I am amazed that you don’t even have a roof rack. How did you do it?
Jen- Thanks! While we don’t use a roof rack, we do have a small back hitch. We are planning a series of posts that will show our set up both while on the road and at camp so be on the lookout. We LOVE having our van and find it is the best mix of easy to drive, convenient set up and comfort! 🙂
Great trip reports and I love the new look of your site, very appealing. Really enjoyed reading about this summer’s road trip, especially the Colorado 14ers. I love Colorado, Isle Royale and the west. We took a break from outdoor adventures this year and visited England – London and Liverpool! I have not stopped listening to The Beatles since we have been back! There is too much there to even begin posting about.
We are planning another (third) Big Bend trip next spring. I am transplanted Michi-gander living in Texas so really love your Ultimate Michigan trip section too. I have posted before, I am the guy who has backpacked Isle Royale six times. Thanks so much for sharing your adventures, you have a wonderful family!
Fort Worth, Texas
Thank you Jim Lee! Have a great trip to Big Bend. I would love to visit in the spring.
We’re so excited to have found your site, will be following your adventures for sure! Our family is similar in our passions. We love camping, backpacking, hiking, road trips, the National parks and traveling as a family.
Last year we spent 7 weeks roadtripping the Westeren United States following a similar route as you are and hiting 18 national parks and monuments. (Don’t miss Craters of the Moon in Idaho, I can’t tell if it’s one of your stops already but it’s a great location for something really different)
We just spent a week road tripping from Wyoming to West Virginia and are currently on our way up to New York. Monday we set out for some time backpacking the Appalachian Trail! We plan to end up in Harper’s Ferry, WV and then road trip back to Wyoming.
Our 4 year old says this is going to be a long long, long hike! But he’s as excited as we are.
Safe travels to you all and we can’t wait to follow your adventures! 🙂
Angela- Thanks so much! It means a lot to me to read this. Your trips sound amazing! We did a shorter family backpacking trip through West Virginia to Harper’s Ferry years ago and it is something we will always remember. It sparked something in my middle kiddo and she is currently planning a thru hike starting next summer. How exciting to do a large chunk with a 4 year old!
And we are planning on stopping at Craters on the Moon. From the pictures, it looks like no where I have ever seen.
Have a wonderful hike and enjoy the rest of your road trip.
This sounds like a great trip -it overlaps with part of the route I took when moving from Seattle to New York many years ago (although I had much less time). There are some truly amazing things on your itinerary. On your map though it looks like you will be missing the Olympic rainforest and coast – if you can manage it I would try to fit that in as they are by far the best parts of Olympic national park. In the North Cascades the hike to Cascade pass is also awesome.
We are big fans of your website and your blogs have been an inspiration to get us out more with our four kids. We did Acadia last year (wonderful albeit a little nerve-wracking with a 4.5 year old on the Beehive and Precipice hikes) and have been trying to get permits for the Grand Canyon Rim-to-rim hike (for the older kids and I) but have not had any luck so far.
Mike- Your 4 year old is a rock star for hiking beehive and precipice! And I hope you are able to get a rim to rim permit. I know they changed the process of getting permits this year. I hope it doesn’t make it harder to get one.
As for Olympic, we will definitely be spending time in the rainforest and on the coast. I just was lazy with the mapping. 😉 I will check out Cascade Pass in North Cascades too. Thanks so much for the suggestion!