Crossing the country can be an adventure, but it can also be a long, boring haul. While you might have something great waiting for you on the West Coast, you have hundreds to thousands of miles to cover before you get there. No matter what kind of road warriors your family might be, break up the monotony by pulling into some family-friendly pitstops on your way to your destination. The Grand Canyon isn’t the only thing waiting for you out West.
Show Your Kids a Crater
If you’re taking a southern route through Arizona, then consider driving close to Flagstaff to see Meteor Crater. This impact point from a rock from the skies happened 50,000 years ago and is nearly a mile in diameter. Conversely, if you’re going through Oregon during warm weather, you might be able to also show your kids Crater Lake National Park. The top of a former volcano has filled with water to form one of the continent’s deepest lakes.
St. Louis was one of the historical gateways to the West in the pioneering days, along with Chicago and New Orleans. The Gateway Arch in this city is the tallest monument in the entire country, and you can book a ride for your family to the top. The tram ride is an interesting experience in itself, but the views from the top are just as noteworthy an experience.
Not many interstates cross the Rockies east-to-west, and I70 is the only one that does so in Colorado. If this is your route, then consider a stop in Glenwood Springs. Approximately three hours west of Denver, this resort town is well-known for healing hot springs and their turquoise waters. Make it an overnight stop in one of the wellness lodges, or enjoy an afternoon exploring the nearby caverns. Let the little ones have some fun and burn some energy in a water playground or amusement park.
Utah Might Surprise You
As a state, Utah is generally known for being home to lots of Mormons and the Great Salt Lake. Still, you might be surprised at finding great scenic stops along the highway up Provo Canyon and stopping for some Japanese food at a sushi restaurant in Pleasant Grove. Instead of just hitting up yet another fast food joint at the next exit, your family can enjoy the handcrafted creations of a husband-and-wife team who actually met in a sushi bar in another state. Keep your eyes open for other restaurants, too. Utah’s food scene is just as gorgeous as its scenery.
Joshua Tree National Park
If your West Coast route has you headed in the direction of Southern California, then Joshua Tree National Park could be a great pitstop towards the end of your journey. Trips to Discover points out how this famous park is a bucket-list item for many people, and your kids might marvel at seeing something that has been filmed and photographed in a lot of media over the years. They may recognize it immediately.
Heading towards the Bay Area? Yosemite might be worth a visit. It can get crowded in the summer, but it also has distinct beauty to it in the spring, winter, and fall. Other notable high points in the area include redwood forests and Napa Valley. If you want a family photo without handing your phone to a stranger, then you might just find out how handy your kid’s selfie stick really is.
Columbia River Scenic Byway
Only 70 miles in length, this road can cap off a trip ending around Portland or Seattle. Many beautiful waterfalls await you at various overlooks, but the main point of attraction is the Multnomah Falls. At over 600-feet tall, they are a sight to be seen if you’re in the area. Once everyone is done gawking at the natural magnificence, make sure you get a family photo in front of it.
Whether you’re headed to the West Coast to visit family, relocate, or take a family vacation, there’s no reason why your family can’t enjoy the ride along the way. Explore any of these family-friendly pitstops on the way to your destination to recharge en route and make a few precious memories along the way.