Guest post and photos by: Shannon Entin, Travel Writer at The TV Traveler
Our family spent two months skiing in Lake Tahoe, Calif., so we decided to make our drive from New Jersey into an epic, 10-day road trip adventure! We chose a southern route across America that somewhat paralleled the old Route 66 – a trip I’ve always dreamed of taking.
We drove pretty quickly through the eastern and midwestern states of PA, OH, IN, IL, MO, and OK since we wanted to use the majority of our time to explore the southwest. Our first destination was Amarillo, TX, where we had dinner at The Big Texan Steakhouse – home of the 72oz steak challenge. Guests who take the challenge must eat a 72 oz steak, salad, roll, shrimp appetizer, and baked potato in under 60 minutes to get their meal free. While we didn’t attempt it, we did witness a guy succeed! We also toured Jack Sisemore’s RV Museum, sampled gelato made with four kinds of hot peppers, and painted cars at Cadillac Ranch.
We went on to explore Taos, NM, and their pueblos, learning about the Native American way of life. In Arizona, we visited the Petrified Forest, the Meteor Crater, the Lowell Observatory, and the Grand Canyon. Our trip wrapped up with a tour of the Hoover Dam, two nights in Las Vegas, and a long drive through Nevada to Lake Tahoe.
Being in a car with a family of four for 10 days can be stressful, but with regular stops, games and snacks, and lots of planning, our trip went really well.
Road trips are an incredible way to expose children to a lot of little “slices of life.” My kids learned about RVs, pueblos, geology, astronomy, and hydroelectricity. They were amazed by the gorgeous, painted rock landscape, and thrilled at viewing Jupiter through a telescope.
The Best Part
You might get a different answer from each family member, but we all loved hiking at the Grand Canyon. It’s such an awe-inspiring place. The kids complained at first about our somewhat strenuous hike, but (as usual) they felt accomplished and excited at the end!
Three Things You Should Definitely Do
There are so many places to stop across the United States and it’s a challenge to decide where to visit and where to pass by. On our trip, we recommend the following, all in Arizona:
1. The Petrified Forest because the landscape is fascinating.
2. The Lowell Observatory because they bring out several telescopes at night and give visitors a peek into the heavens.
3. The Grand Canyon because, well, it’s the Grand Canyon!