How to Drive Across America with Preschoolers
Have you ever dreamt of renting an R.V. and then drive across America with your family? How about with preschoolers? I love to travel and have visited some amazing places in the United States: Rocky Mountain National Park, Florida dolphins, Williamsburg, Virginia, Legoland, California, but I’ve never traveled across America in an R.V. If you’re looking to plan your own trip, you’ll appreciate the map and 14 awesome places you can stop along the way from Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas, Nevada.
I’m so happy to introduce you to Haley. She plans the coolest trips for her family. Before she did this last cross country trip, she was living near me in the Washington, D.C. area. Her family did more in their short amount of time here then I do in a year! She never takes for granted the areas she’s visiting and having little ones doesn’t stop them. Let’s welcome Haley! >>
Hi, I’m Haley! Together with my husband, Todd, our two kids, and our golden retriever, we road tripped across the United States of America. Not just once, but twice in one year! It might sound crazy, but we love adventures. We can’t think of a better way to see a big chunk of our amazing country than to drive it.
Last fall we traveled from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C., and this summer we traveled from Washington, D.C. back to Las Vegas. We took two totally different routes, and this summer our itinerary was incredible.
So many people have asked for our itinerary, that I’m happy Kristen has given me a place to share it on Busy Kids Happy Mom. I hope you enjoy our 23 day Drive Across America.
14 Stops to Make on a Drive Across America:
#1 Washington, DC
While technically not a stop on our road trip, this is where all the fun began! We lived here for 8 months and packed in as much as possible during that time. It’s an absolutely fantastic family-friendly city and if you’re lucky enough to live in the area, there’s never a shortage of things to do. If you haven’t been, start planning a trip now.
#2 Charlottesville, Virginia
Charlottesville is famous for the beautiful campus of the University of Virginia, but right along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Parkway and not too far from Shenandoah National Park, this area is absolutely picturesque Virginia countryside. We toured Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s Home, and hiked part of the White Oak Canyon trail and to the beautiful overlook up Stony Man trail in Shenandoah National Park. Stayed 2 nights.
#3 Peaks of Otter, Blue Ridge Parkway & Natural Bridge, Virginia
The Blue Ridge Parkway (photo above) is a stunning drive through the Appalachian Mountains, and the Peaks of Otter Lodge is a beautiful stop along the way. While staying here, we hiked to the top of Sharp Top, around Abbott Lake, and enjoyed several meals with incredible views in the dining room. We also used the Peaks of Otter Lodge as our home base for seeing the Virginia Safari Park, the Natural Bridge of Virginia, and Natural Bridge Caverns. Stayed 2 nights.
Stop #4: Asheville, North Carolina
Further down the Blue Ridge Parkway, but just as stunning, Asheville is a cute and funky mountain town. There’s nothing funky about the fancy Biltmore Estate, but touring the home and the grounds are a must do in the area. We also visited the shops and parks of downtown Asheville. Stayed 2 nights.
#5: Great Smoky Mountains National Park & Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited National Park in the United States. We stayed in Gatlinburg and planned our visit to the park at the Sugarlands Visitor Center right outside the city. We hiked Laurel Falls, to the top of Clingman’s Dome – the highest point in the Smoky Mountains, and Grotto Falls along the Roaring Fork Nature Trail. We also drove the Cade’s Cove Loop and stopped at the historical park there to learn about the early settlers of the area. Stayed 3 nights.
#6: Nashville, Tennessee
Music City offered us a little music and a little history. We toured the Grand Ole Opry House and the Gaylord Opryland Resort Gardens. We also toured the Hermitage – President Andrew Jackson’s Home and Gardens. We enjoyed a delicious ice cream treat at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream shop and then walked around “The District” in downtown Nashville by the Ryman Auditorium and along the Cumberland River. Stayed 2 nights.
#7: Hot Springs, Arkansas
While Hot Springs National Park is the smallest National Park in the United States, there was still plenty to explore! We went to the top of the Mountain Tower where we could see the entire National Park, town of Hot Springs, and surrounding area! We walked along Bathhouse row and visited the Fordyce Bathhouse that is now the National Park Visitor Center. My husband visited the Buckstaff Bathhouse where you can experience the “traditional bath” at the only continuous running bathhouse left. We also visited Anthony’s Chapel in the Garvan Woodland Gardens – a unique chapel with incredible architecture. Stayed 2 nights.
The fun is not over yet – click here for Oklahoma to Las Vegas!