Road Trip from Kentucky.

Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 09:42 AM
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Road Trip from Kentucky.

Looking to plan a road trip from Kentucky. I have 9 1/2 days total. Family of four traveling with a 5 year old and a 9 year old. I was thinking about heading towards Montana and maybe doing the Grand Tetons. Not sure if that is too much for the time we have. Whatever we do we prefer to drive and we want to hit some national parks along the way. Anyone have any good ideas. We are open to anything drivable! Hoping to stop some places along the way with the kiddos.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 01:33 PM
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Well, just to get to Rocky Mt. National Park from Louisville will take two full eight-hour days (so down to 5.5 days of actual vacationing). Yellowstone NP would take three days (so you would be down to only 3.5 days of actual vacationing). Even the Upper Peninsula of Michigan would take one long 10-hour day. Great Smoky Mts. National Park is doable but would be hot and very humid.
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Old Jul 4th, 2022, 02:48 AM
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Well, as pointed out, not the west. It is too far and deserves the time it will take to see those wonders. And I think it is important to do things the youngsters will really enjoy as a treat--like a water park or amusement park. You might think of historic sites that have been restored to their historic era also.
You could go to the Smokies and spend a few days. Then head west toward Asheville and Charlotte. In Charlotte spend a day at Carowinds (if you want to incorporate my idea). Go to Winston Salem and visit Old Salem. Nearby is also the NC Zoo in Asheboro also doable as a day trip from Charlotte.
Head back toward home. You could stay in charlotte and do Old Salem as a day trip if you wanted to limit the number of hotel changes you do. charlotte also has a raptor center AND a National Whitewater Center. Thee are also several historic sites--Latta Plantation and the Hezekiah Alexander House. Also an excellent Sciene museum Discovery Place.with great Children's activities.
If you wanted to stay in the Smokies you can visit Cherokee and see the Native American exhibit there. The reservation also offers trout fishing opportunities. You can fish with regular spinning rods.

Last edited by Gretchen; Jul 4th, 2022 at 02:52 AM.
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Old Jul 4th, 2022, 06:43 AM
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My style of long distance travel (solo or with my wife), is to take an Amtrak train or two and then rent a car nearer to the place I want to go. The only way that I would consider a trip to Wyoming/Montana from Kentucky would be to get on the westbound Cardinal in Cincinnati about 1:30AM on a Saturday morning and spend an hour or two in Chicago and then get on the westbound California Zephyr to Salt Lake City. This trip takes about 48 hours but at least you're not driving. The Zephyr gets into SLC between 11PM and midnight so you would have to get a hotel room for the night before renting a car in the morning to drive north to Jackson WY. Your return trip from SLC would start 10 days after you left CIN for a total of 12.5 days away from home.
The other possible trip by train would be to take the Empire Builder from Chicago to Whitefish Montana to see Glacier NP. The problem with leaving from Kentucky is that the Cardinal is only running 2 or 3 days a week.
For a driving trip using your own car, I would consider 700 road miles from home to be the limit for a trip of 10 days or less. Four of the most boring states that I have driven the length of are Kansas, Nebraska, Montana and Texas.
The variation of my style that I used for a 9 day trip last month was an Amtrak train overnight to Sacramento and then flew from Sacramento to Chicago and then took two trains to get to Harrisburg PA where I rented a car for 4 days. The return trip was the same (2 trains to get to Chicago, flying ORD to SMF and overnight to Chemult OR).
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Old Jul 4th, 2022, 11:41 AM
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The resort town of Traverse City, Michigan has a wide array of outdoor recreational opportunities and great restaurants. Everything from biking to boating to hiking is available. Nearby is the amazing Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Lake Michigan) with its sky-high dunes, cool forests with hiking trails, and inland lakes,. The town is in northwest Michigan and should have cool weather. Plus, it is only 8 hours from Louisville.
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Old Jul 5th, 2022, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by kmaginnis1985 View Post
Looking to plan a road trip from Kentucky. I have 9 1/2 days total. Family of four traveling with a 5 year old and a 9 year old. I was thinking about heading towards Montana and maybe doing the Grand Tetons. Not sure if that is too much for the time we have. Whatever we do we prefer to drive and we want to hit some national parks along the way. Anyone have any good ideas. We are open to anything drivable! Hoping to stop some places along the way with the kiddos.
You need to provide more information if you want to receive relevant suggestions...
What time of year will you be traveling, what part of KY are you leaving from, what does your family enjoy doing, what types of activities are you interested in, ect.

You'd be insane to drive to Montana & back, with 2 young kids, for a 9 day vacation.
You should be considering places like the Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, New River Gorge, ect. which are much closer.

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Old Jul 10th, 2022, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by kmaginnis1985 View Post
Looking to plan a road trip from Kentucky. I have 9 1/2 days total. Family of four traveling with a 5 year old and a 9 year old. I was thinking about heading towards Montana and maybe doing the Grand Tetons. Not sure if that is too much for the time we have. Whatever we do we prefer to drive and we want to hit some national parks along the way. Anyone have any good ideas. We are open to anything drivable! Hoping to stop some places along the way with the kiddos.

It's awkward trying to figure out a vacation direction from Kentucky:

Most of anything appealing in the west is too far "West". Anything south is too hot and too humid. Anything east is more crowded along with hot and humid.


So that leaves north...

What about The Great Lakes in some form or another??

Maybe also target Minneapolis and see if you can entertain the kids at the Mall of America for a day or two.


Louisville - Indianapolis - Chicago - Madison - Minneapolis...


then perhaps Duluth/Superior... then east toward the Upper Peninsula of Michigan... (possibly detouring to Green Bay if anyone is into Football lore)... and back home straight down through the center of Michigan.


You just can't plan to travel at breakneck speed when you have kids along... so clearly it makes sense to cut-back on your envisioned miles.
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