Why you should do a family road trip – at least once

December 30, 2017

There’s a lot more to the States than Disney World. Why not plan a family road trip instead? We pass on our experience of what worked and what didn’t…USA West Coast Road Trip

Like many families, our kids wanted to go to ‘Disney World‘ when they were younger.

We had been to Disney Land Paris before, but Disney World and the other theme parks in Florida appear to be in a different league.

2 weeks standing in line at a theme park is my idea of hell

However, the cost of getting all the family from the UK to Disney World is astronomical. Plus, to be honest, 2 weeks standing in line at a theme park is my idea of hell.

Don’t get me wrong. We’ve been to plenty of theme parks, and they make great days out. Two days is my limit though.

So we saved. Each year money was put aside for the ‘States Trip‘.

But each year our kids got older and we still hadn’t gone.

There’s more to the States than Disney World

By the time we had saved enough money (we were set back a few years by growing the family!) our little girl that wanted to go to Disney World was now a teenager.

Many people I know that have taken their family to the USA, only went as far as Disney World. I’m not knocking it – they had a great time.

I had been fortunate enough to go to the USA a few times, and had got off the tourist routes, and knew the place had a lot of things to show my kids. Plus as a Brit, the USA is not exactly ‘foreign’ – it’s on our TV and Cinema screens all the time! It would be great to show my family what the place is really like.

…enable us to see a great deal more of the US than just a theme park

Cruising the Pacific Coast Highway had always been a dream of mine, so we started to look at not doing Disney World in Florida and doing a road trip on the West Coast instead.

This would enable us to see a great deal more of the US than just a theme park, and I knew it would give the kids memories and experiences that would last a lifetime.

Any objections from the kids about not doing Disney World?


OK, so the little girl that wanted to do Disney World was now a teenager, but even our youngest wasn’t that interested. It helped that they were involved them in the planning, and we included a trip to Disney Land California in the itinerary (though our kids would surprise us with that later).

The West Coast USA Road Trip

This was going to be a holiday of a lifetime!

With a big list of places to see, we set about planning our USA road trip. This was going to be a holiday of a lifetime!

Over the next few posts, we’ll cover the planning, the trip, what worked, and what didn’t.

USA West Coast Fly-Drive Series

Continue reading; click on the next article in the series.
  • Why you should do a family road trip

    A family road trip is a great way for your kids to see a bit more of the world. Though it's not always easy... Read more >

  • Booking a Fly-Drive Holiday

    Tips on booking a Fly-Drive family holiday. Read more >

  • Our Route

    The route and itinary for our family road trip in the USA. Read more >

  • Airport Hacks

    Airport hotels, airport parking, and flight delays. Read more >

  • Vegas, Desert, and Mountains

    Our first few days saw us acclimatise in Las Vegas, before heading out through the desert and Death Valley, before eventually reaching the Sierra Nevada mountains. Read more >

  • Mammoth Lakes

    We step out of our hotel and are taken by the magnificent beauty of the Sierra Mountains. Read more >

  • Tioga Pass

    The views over the Sierras could have been taken straight out of a copy of National Geographic Read more >

  • The Giant Redwoods

    These trees are immense. You feel as if you have shrunk when walking among them! Read more >

  • Yosemite Valley

    Yosemite is beautiful. Stunningly beautiful. Read more >

  • Welcome to San Francisco

    Arriving in San Francisco was.... interesting Read more >

  • Alcatraz

    A visit to 'The Rock' is a must when visiting San Francisco Read more >


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Gav Grayston
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Gav Grayston Contributor

Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

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  1. Hello, Great guide/advice which inspired me/family to travel for the first time to USA. We did NY this year but now we are planning to follow you West Coast route. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Thank you for your previous reply, approximately how much would you recommend a family budget for the trip over 16 nights (not sure when you went but we would be going in summer)?

    • Of course, it depends where you want to stay and what you want to do.  We had been saving for years and knew we wanted to visit places like Yosemite. The flights are the most expensive part though. Use something like Sky Scanner to get a rough idea of how much that will cost you.  We flew into Las Vegas and out of LA. You probably need to add £3000-£4000 on top of that; more if you plan to visit Disney.

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