It’s time to plan the best spring break vacation ever! And springtime might be the most underrated season to visit national parks in an RV. Barren landscapes transform into verdant panoramas; newborn wildlife are taking their first steps; and, perhaps best of all, the crowds are almost nonexistent. You can also find reduced rates to national park entrances (like on April 18, the inaugural day of National Parks Week).
We know planning a spring break vacation can be overwhelming, so our goal is to make it as stress-free as possible. Tracks & Trails has five different trips spanning the Desert Southwest and California, and we’re ready to help you have the most memorable family adventure yet.
Grand Canyon and Sedona
8 nights; fly in and out of Las Vegas
Spend two nights in the Neon Capital of the World, where family-friendly adventures abound (from the Adventuredome Theme Park to the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay). Drive along the “Main Street of America” (aka Route 66) on your way to the Grand Canyon, where you’ll spend several days exploring the South Rim. Get up close and personal with this magnificent geology on the Rim Trail or South Kaibab Trail. Then head to Sedona, a city steeped in culture and surrounded by spectacular sandstone formations. Perhaps most famous for its mystical energy vortexes, Sedona is also home to hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, biking, Jeep tours, and horseback riding. Visit the Sunset Crater, a volcanic cinder cone, and hike next to a hardened lava field. You’ll also get to visit the neighboring Wupatki National Monument, rich in Native American history and home to ruins built by the Ancient Pueblo People.
10 nights; fly into San Francisco and out of Los Angeles
Beginning in San Francisco, you’ll make your way down the coast for a week and a half, experiencing the Golden State’s most beautiful sites. Take a whirlwind tour of Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 before heading to Monterey, whose aquarium is considered one of the best in the world. (Pro trip: Don’t miss the sea otter feedings!) Further south is Big Sur, where the secluded Pfeiffer beach awaits. Low tide reveals pools teeming with marine life, and you must take your next family portrait under the arch Keyhole Rock. Next up is Hearst Castle, where you’ll marvel at its Egyptian sculptures, Roman columns, and priceless works of art.
During your few days in Santa Barbara, you’ll tour the Old Mission, a beautiful church that’s home to Franciscan friars; hike to Inspiration Point or explore the Botanic Garden; or rent a jet ski, stand-up paddleboard, or kayak in the harbor. Up next, head to Ventura, where you can kayak among the unbelievably gorgeous Channel Islands or stroll along the beaches. Finish your trip in Los Angeles, where the entertaining Venice Beach is always worth a visit! The California coast truly is the perfect setting for a spring break vacation.
Zion, Bryce & Grand Canyon
8 nights, fly in and out of Las Vegas; available starting May 15
There’s no better time to visit the desert Southwest than in springtime. After walking the Strip in Vegas and seeing the fountain show at the Bellagio, head to Zion National Park. There, the waterfalls will be in full force from snowmelt, and wildflowers like desert marigold and slick-rock paintbrush will be in bloom. You can’t miss the Hanging Gardens, where lush mosses, wildflowers, grasses, and ferns seemingly float among the sandstone walls. Then it’s on to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, where you can hike to Bright Angel Point, which offers sweeping views of the vast gorges below. There are many scenic lookouts, and the rangers offer programming throughout spring, summer, and fall to learn more about this geologic masterpiece. In Bryce Canyon National Park, gaze in awe at the world-famous “hoodoos,” or colorfully striped, irregularly shaped columns. Explore the canyon floors by horseback or ATV, and take advantage of the many ranger programs provided (like a full moon hike). Before returning to Vegas, stop over in Snow Canyon, a stunning and (less crowded) state park that offers hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and many wildlife viewing opportunities.
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