This would hit the demographic of working folks who want to get their kids outside, but do so in a more realistic time frame. If you’ve followed my blog for the past year or so, you’ll know that I’ve made a hobby of optimizing various road trips around the U.S., so I couldn’t pass up on this opportunity to optimize yet another road trip. The trip included stops to several major landmarks, National Historic sites, National Parks and more, but did not include trips to all 48 National Parks. What is the point of origin or departure for your route (aka first destination)? Wow, thank you so much for putting this together. Well yea, when you’re talking about a van or RV, you’re right. For summer travel, consider going to some lesser-known national parks like Capitol Reef to dodge the crowds, or go to parks like Glacier or Rocky Mountain that are only fully open in the summer. If that could be fixed it would be great. FWIW, I have generally found I can achieve better gas mileage than EPA estimates for my vehicles, and that the mileage shown on the vehicle dashes overestimate the mileage I’m getting. I will keep your website bookmarked and look forward to more interesting info! What time of the year would you recommend taking this trip considering I am departing from Columbus, and should I start the route going east or west? It is tedious, but it’s a lot easier to do it this way than by trying to take in all the information and build an itinerary after. To answer your questions: Does the origin matter? The so calles “Data Scientist” missed one, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. At some point, I will add another layer with places I visited but did not stay … and I hope to someday scan and add a few of the 900+ photos I took during the trip. This is essential from a conservation perspective, but it also means it can be a major source of disappointment if you don’t plan ahead. Wow, pretty amazing. My bad! It sounds crazy but it’s possible and known as the National Parks road trip. I particularly like Utah’s Dead Horse Point State Park as an interesting interlude neatly tucked in between the magnificent Canyonlands National Park and the always inspiring Arches National Park. Grand Portage to Windigo is under 2 hours. When I was planning my own trips, traveling in an RV definitely came out as the cheaper option. My interpretation of this map – and the earlier blog post about how it was generated – is that the planning algorithm is designed to optimize shortest distance. is more S. Rim. Great work, thank you. If you paid attention to the article, the author states that you can start at any point and follow clockwise or counter-clockwise. The Optimal U.S. National Parks Centennial Road Trip. What about Scotts Bluff National Monument in Gering, Nebraska? Ok, maybe the Hawaiian ones would be a tough drive, but you included Isle Royale, Dry Tortugas and Channel Islands. Is it Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona? “Data Fool”, Not on your list? Your Road Trip Guide to the Longest Road in the U.S. 3 Wintertime RV Destinations and Road Trip Tips for Seniors, 4 of the Best Music Festivals Worth the Road Trip, The 13,235 Mile Year-Long Road Trip for 70 Degrees Everyday, Campendium Helps You Find the Right RV Park for Your Next Adventure, Top 10 Tips to Prepare for a Solo Road Trip, The Easy Way to Find Road Trip Stopover Spots, These Are 7 Common Road Trip Mistakes Travelers Make, Your RV Guide to the National Park US Road Trip. Permits are typically bookable online 3-6 months in advance, and sell out in seconds in the most popular areas. I recall the real “fire fall” of embers pushed off the rim of the granite raining down hundreds of feet. They also have a program for drivers aged 20-25 who are unable to rent a car from other major agencies. So figure $1000-$1200 in gas with some dilly dallying in there. It is CA’s largest state park. This time around, I used the Gurobi TSP solver to optimize this road trip. Go to Olson's interactive map here. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. The drawback to an RV is that, once inside a number of our parks (especially the larger ones out west where there are multiple types of terrain within the park boundaries), it becomes cumbersome–though not impossible–to operate it without become a bother to other drivers. With that said, there are at least six of Alaska’s National Parks that I would put on the list: Denali, Glacier Bay, Katmai, Kenai Fjords, Sitka, and the aforementioned Wrangell. Just be sure to choose a car with enough space for your stuff (and perhaps one with 4WD). But second, your overall map does not fully show the entire trip. The list goes on… You’ll also sometimes be able to find alternate routes, or get permits for less-known hikes or backcountry sites that are just as awesome. Last year admission to the National Parks was free for like a 4 day period, and we even got free admission to Wind Cave, and took the tour. I’m sharing some of my favorites that I have visited in the USA, is pretty nice and not on your list, but thank you this is very helpful. Take a ferry between Port Townsend and Coupville to shorten the route between North Cascade NP and Olympic NP by several hundred miles. Thank you for putting this together! Narrowing down your list of parks can be easy if you already know where you want to go, and very daunting if you don’t. In 2016, data scientist Randy Olson created an interactive map that optimized driving times to create the ultimate US National Parks road trip itinerary. Great map Randy, and some fantastic comments! Familiarize yourself with the booking engine and pre-fill basic details like your email and address. It was published in 1972. These lands are open to the public generally, but are also open to “multiple uses”, i.e. We planned a round Utah/Arizona/Nevada about 2.000 km (with google maps). I hope you enjoy my projects as much as I have. I live in Iowa, so I was thinking that if I were to run this, I’d drive up to Wisconsin for my start, and end in Minnesota. Why is Sleeping Bear Dunes NP not on here?! After I did RAGBRAI July 2016 I stumbled upon a gas station selling unleaded gas w/out ethanol. As a GIS professional, you have truly optimized it use. Also, certain park might not be a good place to visit either due to crowd or weather. There are some obvious items (like a tent, sleeping bag, and a cooler), but would you have thought to bring a power outlet adaptor or a pair of chains for your tires? I’ve designed this road trip to form a circle around the U.S., so you can hop on at any point and proceed whatever direction you like. At the least, you can use the interactive maps to create the perfect National Parks road trip for you. It had been home to a Crow tribe, who were expelled, in much the same spirit as the wolves there were exterminated. As a general rule, these lands do not receive the same level of protection as National Parks, although National Monuments are close. I’m talking about a car, like the one I would take, that gets 40 mpg. By the end of the journey, travelers will have covered 14,498 miles of road. Then you’d need to find a private campground or a motel (hotel?!?!) Were doing your loop next year. Not much to see up there now that there are only two wolves left. At the end of the tour about 17 days I had 3.000 km in the rental car. They are exempted from any semi truck permits because it’s recreational use. I would like to point out a different take on optimization, though.

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