View Full Version : Vacation Help Needed

Jim Young
09-27-2006, 1:57 PM
I am in the early stages of planning a trip for next summer with my Dad. He is getting older and I would like to spend some one on one time with him. We decided to take two weeks and drive to the western states and visit some of the nations "must see" monuments and landmarks. I plan on driving about 4-5000 miles during that time. The states below are the ones I am interested in. Once I have a list of things to see I will make the route, will try so see as many things as possible. Question can you tell me what the "must see" things are in your state?

Michigan UP
N Dakota
New Mexico

Steve Ash
09-27-2006, 2:04 PM
Michigan...come and see me Jim....:D

In the U.P there is a lot to see, some suggestions. Fayette State Park old iron smelting village that has been restored. Fort Michilimackinac,Quinnesec Iron mines.

Lower Peninsula...me! Greenfield Village comes to mind.

Joe Pelonio
09-27-2006, 2:18 PM
Here in WA unless he's into people throwing fish you can skip downtown Seattle and the Pike's Place Market. It's overrated and most everyone has seen it on TV. Better to take the ferry across to Bainbridge Island and on to the Port Angeles area, and in the Olympic National Park go see Hurricane Ridge, and possibly drive through the rainforest. After that there's a place called Deception Pass on the northeast end of Whidbey Island where you can stand on a tall bridge and watch the current in the tide that's amazing. Mount Rainier is also a good one, since it's expected to blow again one day and possibly wipe out several cities.

Matt Warfield
09-27-2006, 2:19 PM
Hmm, I noticed you didn't list Iowa but did list six of our neighboring states which means you're in the neighborhood. :D

Hoover Presidential Library

Big baseball fan? Field of Dreams Not a big baseball fan? skip it. :rolleyes:

Frank Lloyd Wright
www.wrightiniowa.com (http://www.wrightiniowa.com)

Depending on the time of year, RAGBRAI may be going on. Nothing like seeing 15k+ people getting crazy.

Lewis and Clark State Park

And, we do have corn. :D

Jim Hinze
09-27-2006, 2:24 PM
Michigan UP

Copper Harbor and the old copper mines... very beautifull area.

larry merlau
09-27-2006, 2:37 PM
jim: gould city has a large spring in a state park. called kitchikippi spring. steve knows of it as well. also i need to see your father as well.. he needs to be congratulatyed on raisin such a fine B.S'r :)

Steve Ash
09-27-2006, 2:43 PM
jim: gould city has a large spring in a state park. called kitchikippi spring. steve knows of it as well. also i need to see your father as well.. he needs to be congratulatyed on raisin such a fine B.S'r :)

I'll agree with meeting up with your dad, he must be a wonderful man...but he's got some splaining to do :D

The spring Larry is talking about is 42' deep and crystal clear with some big resident trout in it. I used to have the opportunity to dive in it when I was on the Sherrif's search and rescue dive team. It feeds Indian Lake near Manistique, which is near the Fayette State Park.

Although I agree with visiting Iowa, I like Corn, it matches my John Deere tractors:eek: .

Matt Warfield
09-27-2006, 2:55 PM
Oh yeah, forgots about JD. If you want a tour of one of their plants, let me know. I know enough people that those strings can probably be pulled. You just have to pick a place - Waterloo, Dubuque, or Moline, IL. The one in Moline is probably the most tour friendly.

There's also Rockwell Collins but I'm not sure if they give tours or not. They deal with a great deal of classified information so I'm thinking not.

Insurance companies? We have insurance companies!! And hog lots too. Do they fall into the same paragraph? :rolleyes:

Art Mulder
09-27-2006, 3:35 PM
Jim, I think it is great that you are planning a trip with your dad. I'd love to do that with my kids someday, see all these big sights.

But I got to ask... 5000 miles in two weeks? That is 360 miles a day, or 6hrs a day driving (at a steady 60mph). I think that would be a VERY tiring two weeks.


Dave Richards
09-27-2006, 3:44 PM

Itasca--Head of the Mississippi
Mayo Clinic-Rochester
Lake City--birthplace of waterskiing
Spam museum--Austin
Fort Ridgely S.P. outpost to protect settlers during the mid 1800s. A number of other sites related to settlers days are found around Minnesota including Fort Snelling near the Mpls airport.
Jeffers Petroglyphs near Jeffers

John Miliunas-Near Spring Green :D
EAA Museum--Oshkosh
Door County on Lake Michigan

Some of the current cheeseheads will have more. I moved away too long ago to remember.

Doug Shepard
09-27-2006, 3:47 PM
For the U.P. I'd also have to add Taquomenon (sp?) Falls. For Oregon (ex-resident) there's Crater Lake N.P. which is pretty breathtaking, but sort of out in the middle of nowhere. The drive Oregon coast drive and the area around Astoria is worth seeing. Sounds like a fun road-trip.

Jim Young
09-27-2006, 4:09 PM
But I got to ask... 5000 miles in two weeks? That is 360 miles a day, or 6hrs a day driving (at a steady 60mph). I think that would be a VERY tiring two weeks.That's pretty much how I calculated the trip. That would put us in the vehicle in the morning and sight seeing in the afternoon and evening. Some places we will spend a little more time at and some a little less. As for being in the car that long it shouldn't be a problem since my Dad and I are both yappers and we get along great.

Jim Young
09-27-2006, 4:10 PM
Thanks for the suggestions so far, keep them coming. I am marking them all down. I plan on plotting out a big map with all the items and then I can plot out a trip path.

Rick Schubert
09-27-2006, 4:20 PM
In Minn I would add Duluth and its harbor. And come on up to the Boundary Water Canoe Area if you like that. The best canoeing in the entire world. Wildlife and incredibly beautiful and peaceful.

In North Dakota it would be the Teddy Roosevelt Nat'l Park and just the wide open range land. Not a long list there from what I've seen.


Frank Fusco
09-27-2006, 4:23 PM
Scratch Kansas. First mile and you've seen all it has to offer.
Visit Arkansas. Beautiful. Take dad on a river float fishing trip.

Nancy Laird
09-27-2006, 4:31 PM
There's so much to see in New Mexico that you need to plan for 3-4 days here!! PM me when you have the dates nailed down and we can plan to meet you and your dad. In Albuquerque, there's Old Town, Botanic Gardens (one of the finest in the world), the world's longest tram up Sandia Crest, less than an hour to Santa Fe and all the attractions there. Mountains, rivers, Native American pueblos, Vegas-style casinos (on Indian land), lakes, fishing, rapids in the upper Rio Grande--what more do you want????


Scott Donley
09-27-2006, 4:40 PM
Jim, sounds like a great trip. The most amazing thing I have seen in my life has been the view of the nature and devastation of Mt. St. Helens here in Washington. There is a road off I 5 that will take you to many state run outlooks complete with movies, history, and breath taking views, just an amazing thing to see, nothing like you see on TV. The fact I had done a fair amount of camping there or lost two friends from work when it blew might influence my opinion, but I don't think so, it really is amazing. Take care on your trip, sounds great.

Mark Rios
09-27-2006, 5:27 PM
I didn't see CA on your list but I haven't ever talked to anyone that was disappointed after visiting Yosemite National Park.

I've spent many, many days and walked/hiked many, many miles in (and out of) and climbed many, many feet of the park. If you decide to come, let me know if you'd like any info on the park.

Roger Myers
09-27-2006, 5:31 PM
I just came back a few weeks ago from a great trip to Montana and Wyoming... spent a week just there, visiting Yellowstone (Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Lake, Canyon area, etc) as well as the Livingston-Bozeman area...
You know your tolerance for driving and how you want to spend your time, but I would second the comments that you might want to scale back the driving so you can really enjoy some of the areas(even if not as many) more...besides, while you can really move on the Montana Interstate, you will be going considerably slower in places like Yellowstone...
In any event, it is a great trip you are planning, and will no doubt be some incredible 1-1 time with your dad!!

Al Willits
09-27-2006, 5:46 PM
Minn, I'd add Fort snelling, Mall of America, Guthrie, any of the many museams in the twin cites, might be easier to do a web site on each of the places your going to and check out their department of tourism, find what looks good and see what other think of it.



Karl Laustrup
09-27-2006, 6:12 PM
Jim, if you get to Wisconsin you've got to take a couple of hours and visit. Ideally it could be when Spring and some of the other Wisconsin Creekers could meet you and your dad.

If you both can walk "The House on the Rock" is a must see in Spring Green. It's an all walking tour and will take several hours, but I don't think you will see anything like it in the world. Besides "The House on the Rock" is only a few miles from Spring's house. And I'm only a short jaunt from Springs place.

As far as some of the other places you've mentioned, Vegas is a must. Downtown to see the Fremont Street Experience. It's free, goes once an hour once the sun goes down and there are several different shows. Besides if you've never seen Vegas, it's worth the trip just to see it. And you wouldn't be too far from the Grand Canyon.

Man there's a lot too see here in the U.S. You sure two weeks is going to be enough?


Ken Fitzgerald
09-27-2006, 6:18 PM
Oregon.........Go to Bend...........spend a few days.........Century Drive....Lavalands National Park.........it'll be crowded but the scenery is spectacular. Oregon Coast....Newport....any of the the little coastal towns......Sea Lion Caves.......

Idaho..........Lewiston....Hell's Canyon via Jetboat tour.......Salmon River via rafting trip...............Sawtooth Range (near Stanley/Ketchum) via car

Wyoming..........Grand Tetons.......Yellowstone Park but I'd do it before schools get out for the summer or after schools start back up due to the crowds.....

Utah........4 corners...........Monument Valley.....40+ movies filmed there....John Ford/John Wayne movies......Clint Eastwood Eiger Sanction....Thelma and Louise....

Colorado........Rocky Mountain National Park.........Durango....take the tour bus to Silverton and narrow gauge railroad back to Durango.....Mesa Verde...........

Steve Evans
09-27-2006, 9:17 PM
I'll second Ken. Grand Tetons in Wyoming really are quite beautiful, and a lot less crowded that Yellowstone when I was there. Jackson Hole was a neat area as well. I would like to get back one day.


Matt Warfield
09-27-2006, 10:13 PM
Here's one for Illinois that I can't believe I forgot about. But, just to be fair, my dad owns and operates the place. If you like haunted houses, this is a one of a kind!!


I suppose the place explains a little bit about my personality too. :rolleyes:

Gary Herrmann
09-27-2006, 10:16 PM
Well, I'm sure theres a lot to see in MO, but I'll focus on St. Louis.

the arch (good movie and the ride is fun)
I've always wanted to take a steamboat trip down the Mississippi to New Orleans
the zoo - best free zoo in the country year after year
Grant's Farm
Purina Farm's dog museum
Train museum
new Busch stadium (oh and take him to Wrigley - my all time favorite ballpark - probably because I was born in Chi)
the 250 yr old white oak in my neighbor's yard...

Speaking of Chicago
any museum you can think of
oak st beach during the summer for eye candy
Oak Park - Frank Lloyd Wright's home
did I mention Wrigley?

Roger Bell
09-27-2006, 11:28 PM
In Oregon and WA, its the mountains and the coast which are very different from any other. We have desert too and lots of it. Forget about the cities, they are no different than any other.

For starters, Crater Lake, the Columbia River Gorge, Timberline Lodge-Mt Hood, and for a bit of contrast maybe some stuff south of Bend. The central and southern coasts (south of Newport, rather than north) are generally nicer and less polluted with people and have less of the typically tacky coastal offerings (like casinos) for tourists, but the entire coast is generally worthwhile.

So much for the better-known-postcard-national park-stuff near the population centers in the Williamette Valley. Because of their access to large airports and major freeways, these areas attracts tourists from all over the world....and they are somewhat less desirable, in some ways, simply because of that.

The real Oregon is on the backroads and in the hinterland where fewer tourists go and the country is vast, sparsely settled, and, although roaded, remains in many ways primitive and wild. For that consider the Owyhee, the Blue Mountains, the Wallowas, Steens Mountain and the playas of the Alvord Desert, Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge, Malheur Bird Refuge....among others. Most Americans live their entire lives without experiencing what areas like these have to offer.

Mike Jones NM
09-27-2006, 11:45 PM
To add to what Nancy said. The southern part of NM has white sands national monument, international space hall of fame, you can go from the desert to above the timber line in less then 45 minutes.

Ken Salisbury
09-28-2006, 3:54 AM
Ken Fitzgerald mentioned Wyoming - Cody Wyoming in particlular is a good stop. It is the closest town to the Jellystone :) National Park main entrance which is a must to see. While in Cody go by the Prime Cut Saloon for a cold one and the best steak in Wyoming. Also go right down the street to the Cody Hat Shop and get Dad a Stetson (that's where I got mine). -- They have simulated gun fights in the afternoon in the streets at the Cody Hotel. Rodeos each night which are very entertaining and of course a visit to the Buffalo Bill Museum is a must - the largest collection of firearms short of the Smithsonian in DC.

Happy Holiday.

Vaughn McMillan
09-28-2006, 4:10 AM
Nancy beat me to the list of New Mexico stops (she's good...she could work for the Tourism Board), so I'll add for Arizona:

Grand Canyon - Plan on more than two hours ;)
Deserts - Pick a desert...any desert
White Mountains - Unexpected high country in southeastern AZ

Chip Charnley
09-28-2006, 1:19 PM

Upper lower Peninsula
Sleeping Bear Dunes Park
Take a sail on a tall ship out of Traverse City
Petoskey/Charlevoix if only to pass through and possibly pick up some Petoskey stones and/or Charlevoix diamonds (local names for some unusual fossilized coral that only is found in those regions and are becoming harder and harder to find).

Upper Peninsula
Sault St. Marie Locks
There's a wonderful day trip train ride into some beautiful country on the Canadian side of the Sault St. Marie Locks
Let me add a third vote for Kitchtikippie (sp?). It's beautiful although, if you are a fisherman, you will want to die knowing it's impossible to even try to catch the trout in that spring. And, while it's 42' deep, it doesn't look much more than about 15' until you toss a penny or something in and watch it go down and down and down and ...
The copper country on the Keewanaw Peninsula is beautiful and interesting as well.

Between the peninsula
Mackinaw Bridge
Mackinaw Island

Above the upper peninsula
If you are the outdoorsy type and you can time the trip appropriately, visiting Isle Royale National Park is, I understand, a trip of a lifetime. I haven't actually done it myself but I know some people that have and they haven't stopped talking about it 15 years later. But it's only for a certain breed of people.

Lee DeRaud
09-28-2006, 2:27 PM
Grand Canyon - Plan on more than two hours ;)You might want to plan on more than two days. Plus a side trip to the other big hole in the ground, the Meteor Crater in Winslow.

One note about the Grand Canyon: it's about 8500ft altitude, in case there are any respiratory/cardiac health issues to consider.

Tyler Howell
09-28-2006, 3:29 PM
Bayfield Wisconsin and the Apostle Islands. Take the light house tour or go on a sailboat ride.
Minnesota's North shore on Lake Superior.
So Dakota's Black Hills area is worth the side trip.
Might as well catch Vegas, Brice Canyon. Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon as long as you're in the area.
All must sees:cool:

Barry Stratton
09-28-2006, 4:46 PM
Thanks for starting this thread, I'm learning a whole bunch of interesting places to go see when I move to the lower 48.

For a truly remarkable trip of a life time, did you give any thought to driving thru Canada to Alaska? We are known for a couple scenic places as well!

Jim Young
09-28-2006, 5:15 PM
For a truly remarkable trip of a life time, did you give any thought to driving thru Canada to Alaska? We are known for a couple scenic places as well!I fully agree, a trip through Canada is a must. That's one we may end up doing in a couple of years. We should have done it a few years ago when the CA dollar was still weak.

This thread has turned into an information powerhouse.

Karl Laustrup
09-28-2006, 6:13 PM
One other one here in Southern Wisconsin and just a few miles from "The House on the Rock".

Frank Lloyd Wrights' "Taliesin" is in the neighborhood of Spring Green also.

Man Spring's got all the good stuff down his way. All we got is the largest indoor waterpark in the world as well as the most waterparks in a resort area.


Steven Wilson
09-28-2006, 6:16 PM
Two weeks, isn't much time to really see the west from Michigan so I would limit it a bit. I would suggest a loop. I would concentrate on the National Parks and fill in other places as they work out. I would go through the Black Hills and hit the Mt. Rushmore area (I've become rather fond of the area over the years). From there on your way to Yellowstone you'll go by the Custer battlefield which is fairly interesting and starkly beautiful. Yellowstone NP and the Grand Tetons can easily take a week. There are some very interesting vistas away from the normal tourist destinations in the park. I plan on spending a couple of weeks fly fishing the area next year. From Yellowstone NP I would venture up to Glacier NP which is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Now you can return via North Dakota (the NP there, mentioned earlier is very insteresting BTW) and in through northern Minnesota. I would then take the route through Duluth, northern Wisconsn, up through the UP and then back to your home. I've been through all these areas on motorcylce and with the familly and it's all great. While your at Yellowstone you may be able to pull in a tour of Utah's NP's down to the north rim of the Canyon but I would want to budget 3 weeks for that. In any case, if you plan on staying in any of the NP lodges you will need to book soon as they book up about a year in advance.