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Thread: Anyone done a National Parks Vacation?

  1. #1
    Shoe Diva
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    Anyone done a National Parks Vacation?

    Since the PBS / Ken Burns special on the National Parks, I've been obsessed with the idea of going to one of the major parks: Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, etc. The issue is that I'm not exactly an outdoors kinda girl and I am scared of bears. My hubby refuses to participate in this trip because of the reasons listed above.

    Has anyone done a non-camping version and if so, any advise on selling this to the hubby or should I stick to vicarious adventures?
    Last edited by Kwanford Wife; 01-14-2010 at 07:29 PM.

  2. #2
    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    *tumbleweed*



    If it isn't somewhere hot, by a beach can it still be called a holiday

    Ant <apparently i've yet to grow out of being silly on a Friday!>

  3. #3
    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwanford Wife View Post
    The issue is that I'm not exactly an outdoors kinda girl and I am scared of bears. My hubby refuses to participate in this trip because of the reasons listed above.
    I would be more afraid of snakes and spiders. I think you have a smart husband. Can you just get the dvd of the special and watch it.....let's say sitting on the floor, or take the color out and watch it in black & white.

  4. #4
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    you silly city folk really roll my eyes (seriously, ya do)

    rent an RV, you'll be fine and it's not camping. (trust me, it's NOT)

  5. #5
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    We did, more or less

    Definitely!! Go to the Grand Canyon. There are hotels close to the gate, although they are quite expensive. A nicer and cheaper place is nearer to the less frequented gate is the Cameron Trading Post. The view absolutely does not disappoint. It cannot be overhyped at all! It left both of us speechless.

    Some suggestions for the less rough and ready:

    There is a train up to Grand Canyon. You might take it.
    Go while the glass platform is still open. I believe that it closes for the year something like Oct. 1. (not for those fearful of heights
    Take binoculars!! Everyone takes cameras, but what you'll really want is binoculars.
    There is a Flat Water Raft trip as well as the more highly publicized White Water Raft trip. Reserve in advance. Well in advance.
    There is a helicopter trip that you can take through the canyon. Reserve well in advance.
    For the somewhat more adventurous, there are hiking trips down that are guided, not to mention the mule trips.
    Be careful about the edge of the canyon and I would not take small children-several people fall into the canyon and die each year. The edge is pretty much wide open.

    Some adjacent parks are Painted Desert and Petrified Forest and the great meteor crater. All worth it.
    http://www.nps.gov/pefo/historyculture/pdi.htm
    Take the tour. The remains of the Anasazi village are definitely worth seeing.

    I wish we had been able to do Mesa Verde or visit one of the other cliff dwellings, but we couldn't schedule it.



    Don't forget to purchase one of the Passports if you are going to visit more than one park

    Golden Eagle Passport - For an additional $15 over the cost of a National Parks Pass, a Golden Eagle hologram may be purchased and affixed to a National Parks Pass to cover entrance fees at not only national parks, but also at sites managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U. S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. This may be purchased at the Entrance Station. This passport is valid until the expiration of the National Parks Pass to which it is affixed.

    Golden Age Passports - May be purchased at the Entrance Station for a one time fee of $10 to visitors that meet age and residency requirements.

    Golden Access Passports - May be obtained for no fee at the Entrance Station for visitors who meet requirements for this pass.
    Ski has difficulty walking (stroke and crippled leg), but this was still a great trip for us.

  6. #6
    Rinkside
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    We have been to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone three times. They have been the most fabulous vacations. We rent a house in Teton Village near the entrance to Grand Tetons National Park--gorgeous, multi-mllion dollar homes, with all the luxury amenities. (There are also nice hotels and condos in Teton Vilage.) The drive to the entrance to Grand Tetons National Park from there is short, and we then select manageable hikes for our famliy (usually about three miles) that involve beautiful overlooks, lakes, streams, and things like that. There are many, many to choose from. You can also drive through the Grand Tetons park into Yellowstone for a day trip, and that is well worth it. Yellowstone is completely different--fabulous thermal features like you will not see anywhere else in the world. You can also stay in hotels in either park, but those are much more rustic. I understand that they are clean and comfortable, and you will save a lot of driving if you stay there. But, we prefer to stay outside the parks in nicer accomodations.

    There is no need to fear the animals--they are the best part of the trip. We have seen moose, elk, bison, foxes, and yes, bears. But, none have been scarey. It is wonderful to see them in their natural habitat, which is just so beautiful.

    But, if you go, please don't just drive through. Get off the road and do some hiking. Bring a backpack, pack a lunch and water, and you'll see the most gorgeous, peaceful scenery. The sites along the road are pretty, but they are usually packed with people who never leave the roadside.

    Also, the town of Jackson is about 15 minutes from Teton Village--filled with fun shops and restaurants. There are also lots of restaurants in Teton Village, with very lively nightlife.

    Let me know if you have questions.
    Last edited by anothermom; 01-15-2010 at 11:41 AM.

  7. #7
    The Zamboni Rocks!!! sillylionlove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    Definitely!! Go to the Grand Canyon. There are hotels close to the gate, although they are quite expensive. A nicer and cheaper place is nearer to the less frequented gate is the Cameron Trading Post. The view absolutely does not disappoint. It cannot be overhyped at all! It left both of us speechless.

    .
    Cameron Trading Post....best Navajo tacos EVER!!! Have to get one everytime I go there. They have rooms there and they are relatively inexpensive.

    I have been to Yosemite...they have some decent priced rooms in the Fresno area and the ride to Yosemite is not that far.

    As for the bears.....you really don't see them unless you are looking for them.....and if you go before spring.....they are still hybernating...but if you are really afriad of the wildlife....why not try Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park...and if you are on the East Coast...there are lots of National Parks there too...I have been to so many I can hardly keep track....never run into a bear at either...and I have been to the parks in the winter, spring, summer and fall!!

  8. #8
    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    I'm not a super outdoorsy person either, but the beauty alone makes it worth the trip IMO.

    Our family rented a house in Yosemite for an extended weekend. It had enough beds for 10 people, fully equipped kitchen, washer/dryer, satellite TV (not very good, but that was back in 2000;so, might be better now.), board games, large deck, bbq. During the day we went on a couple of guided tours, horseback riding or just relaxed. We took turns preparing meals. Renting house for a # of people was so economical, too. They also have smaller homes/cottages for rent. As long as everyone followed the rules about putting trash in the locked containers, the animals tend to stay away.

    If you decide to stay inside the park, keep in mind that there is distance between the park entrance and the actual park. It's not like you enter the park and everything's right in front of you. So, make sure you buy/bring stuff with you before entering the park. i.e. when we rented the house, we bought all our groceries before we entered since there was no such thing as running out real quick to get something, unless you were willing to etiher pay an extra high markup at the convenience store or know how to substitute with a different item.

    I've also been on a crazy vacation where we changed hotels every night, but we visited Sedona, Grand Canyon, Bryce National Park, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde (Anastazi cliff dwelling), Glenn Canyon, Hoover Dam and 2 nights in Vegas - also drove through Zion National Park. We did our driving mostly at night since it's not as though there's much to do in the evenings and the view is very flat. During the day, we took guided tours, raft rides (smooth - you just ride.), etc. One of my friends was not physically fit to handle anything that required excessive exertion. 2 of us did the tour of the cliff dwellings while she stayed behind- it required some climbing up/down ladders, but was fun.

    I would caution against planning to do anything too strenuous at some locations because they are high up and the air is thinner. Although I mentioned that 2 of us did the cliff dwelling tour, it was tough at the end because of the elevation - and both of us were more fit back then.

    Another option is to base yourself in Vegas and then make day trips. I've done that twice with different parties. Stayed in Vegas and you can make a day trip to Hoover Dam, Death Valley, ride an ATV out in the desert, visit Zion - you could even do Grand Canyon, but it's an all day trip that starts in the early AM.

    Go for it and enjoy.

    Before I forget, avoid summer time. A - it's crowded. B - it's VERY Hot. My friend's brother went to Grand Canyon for his honeymoon in July. It was so hot that perspiration evaporated within seconds.

  9. #9
    Shoe Diva
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    Thanks for all the good advice! I did some research and found an 11-day train trip that covers Tetons, Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore. You also break up the train ride by having a night in Salt Lake City (something that is highly amusing to the monster child since he's not convinced that SLC allows black people to enter. We must be more careful about the documentaries we allow him to see...)

    Its a late spring / early summer trip and falls within my definition of "Trip of a Lifetime" and when we realized it was about the same price as our seven day trip to Disney, we were sold. I am so excited! I shall see the purple mountains' majesty!

    And Toni - don't make fun of city folk. I can venture out into the wilderness. Can you navigate a subway system? So there.

  10. #10
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    I can navigate public transportation, yes I wrestle bears I can do anything

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    Custom Title merrywidow's Avatar
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    Toni, I believe you! I've grown too old to continue to wrestle the bears in Glacier, myself. Now I content myself searching for snow to shovel in western Montana.

  12. #12
    Rinkside
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    That trip sounds so wonderful! I wish I was going. You are going to have a great time.

  13. #13
    Shoe Diva
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    I can navigate public transportation, yes I wrestle bears I can do anything
    You... always with the sass...

    Quote Originally Posted by anothermom View Post
    That trip sounds so wonderful! I wish I was going. You are going to have a great time.
    You should go!!! No airports, no passports, no crying babies. And I've come the conclusion that you haven't lived until you've taken a train ride through the countryside... sooo much better than flying.

    Just google it!
    Last edited by Tonichelle; 01-26-2010 at 10:25 PM.

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    Former figure skater and HUGE figure skating fan. n_halifax's Avatar
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    I have taken long (as in 48 hour) train rides here in Canada three times in the past two years and I just love it... so beautiful, comfortable and relaxing. Definitely a great way to travel if you have the time.

  15. #15
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwanford Wife View Post
    You... always with the sass...
    you're one to talk

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