My husband and I are heading from Souhthern Ca to Whistler and possibly beyond. We have two small children and two big dogs. We are taking our camper and are going to camp along the way with maybe a few hotels in between. I would love any suggestions/advice on campgrounds, routes, restaurants, hotels, kid friendly places, or anything else!
It will be an amazing trip! I have done the drive from the lower 48 to Alaska a few times, as well as some roadtripping out west so I have covered some of the same ground that you will in this journey. I will create a random itinerary for you based on the information you have given me as well as some things I have liked.
Ok, so leaving north from Ojai you can follow the coastal highway. If you live in that area you might have done it before, but it is insanely pretty. You could camp in Big Sur. Alternatively you could follow the Sierra Nevadas more and camp in Yosemite National Park and/or Lake Tahoe. Don't forget Redwood National Park at the northern edge of California too!
If you wanted to spend some time in Portland but still wanted to sleep in nature, you could stay east of the city in or near Mount Hood National Forest. Before entering Canada, consider visiting Olympic National Park. You could also ferry over to San Juan Island and search for orcas on route. There are campsites out on the islands.
I know it's a bit out of the way, but if you are able to I would suggest the trip out to Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. The Icefields Parkway that connects them is unreal! After that you could start heading south again, entering the US through Idaho. Sandpoint is a cool little ski town and no matter the time of year the view from up where the ski resort is situated is awesome. Taking the Sawtooth National Scenic Byway through the Sawtooth National Forest is worth while too. You can stop and see ice caves in Shoshone. I've had good camping experiences in both Craters of the Moon National Monument (which you actually camp on a relatively recent lava flow) and City of Rocks National Reserve (which has crazy rock formations and is popular with climbers).
From there to get back home it would be quickest to go through Nevada, and longer (but possibly more exciting) to go through Utah. Going north to south through Utah you could hit up Bear Lake State Park, Salt Lake City, Goblin Valley State Park, Bryce, and Zion National Park, as well as a number of other beautiful places.
Anyway, I have no idea if that's actually what you had in mind, but at least it's something to think about! I'll end with some good resources for planning your holiday.
Road Trippers is great for planning and while you're on the road. It helps you find attractions and camp sites on route. It is how I usually end up finding campsites when I am driving without a set schedule. It has a great feature for building itineraries.
WikiTravel. This is also good for finding attractions as well as some practicalities and history of your locations.
Trip Advisor. Good for finding out what people are saying about different attractions. Also good for finding hotels.
Air BnB. My preferred website for accommodation. You can sometimes find whole apartments or houses/cabins for less than a hotel. Plus they are usually more cozy than a cookie cutter hotel.
That should help get you started! Happy travels!
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