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Old 03-26-2018, 08:35 AM
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,322 posts, read 4,167,038 times
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Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
We are thinking of this option in 2019. We recognize that generally self-drive, indepent travel is certainly a better way to go. But I don' t like to drive (especially with passengers) because of a visual field cut, and DH feels that at 75, he is "so-over" long driving vacations. Plus, he would like to enjoy the scenery, too.
If you're up to short drives, you can still see many of the parks on your own without a tour.

You don't need a car to see Grand Canyon National Park. You can fly into Flagstaff and take a shuttle from there. The park itself has an excellent free shuttle system. Ditto Zion National Park during most of the year; all you have to do is get to St. George, UT and from there you can use the park shuttle to move around in the park.

Amtrak can get you to the east side of Glacier National Park.

If you fly into Moab, UT and rent a car there, Arches National Park and Canyonland National Park (Island in the Sky district) are both a stone's throw away. And there are lots of great sights on adjacent BLM lands, too.

Fly into Jackson, WY or Boseman, MT to see Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. (You really do need a car to properly see those parks, though, as they are huge. They are not hard to drive in, though, and there are a lot of pullouts.)

You can fly into Bar Harbor to see Acadia National Park, and the park also has a shuttle service.

But if you do want to do a tour, Road Scholar is good - but look for tours labeled "small group.' Some of their bus tours get pretty large. And be honest about how much walking/hiking you're up for, as their tours vary a lot in terms of activity level.
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Old 03-31-2018, 12:32 PM
Location: Central Indiana/Indy metro area
1,501 posts, read 2,327,221 times
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A lot of people do the bus tours, especially older folks. My grandparents were big on local tours with a retirement group. My parents have done a cruise with YMT vacations, which is a big sponsor of the radio station trips (bus and cruises) here in our area. AAA also offers these tours as do the cruise ships (not sure if you have to do the cruise as well).

Personally I couldn't stand them. While researching Alaska cruises we wanted to see the interior. A young guy posted about their cruise and bus/train tour. The tour was very restrictive, but for some, they like that. Some folks can't make a decision on what to do and would rather leave it up to others. He said they would have some options: Go to A for 90 mins or go to B for 90 mins, then everyone meets back up and they all do C for whatever. However you have to be ready by certain times, might have to put up with kids if the tour isn't all retirees, etc..

I will say that if you want to do this, do it now. The national parks are getting more and more crowded by the year. I thought this would end once the economy got better (more people doing international, cruise travel). It hasn't, it just got worse. With the foreign bus tours, it can get really crowded, real quick. I do believe that within the next five years, the major parks will be having very restrictive visiting opportunities.
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Old 03-31-2018, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by indy_317 View Post
I do believe that within the next five years, the major parks will be having very restrictive visiting opportunities.
A number of them, Yosemite and Zion prime examples, already do in Summer. Yet another reason to visit in the off season, when visiting is a totally different experience. At the same time, too much seems to be closed in the off season.

I think one answer will be more people visiting national forest sights, national monuments, and such. They also hold great sights, just not the fancy campgrounds, motels and restaurants.
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