Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Arches National Park

During our family road trip, we took the time to stop at Arches National Park. Since it wasn't our actual destination, we didn't have a lot of time to see Arches, but even for the half day we spent there, it was worth the $10 entrance fee (which is actually valid for seven days). I'm glad we went. I was a bit concerned that our small children would not enjoy Arches. I was wrong. they loved climbing on rocks and looking for lizards.

A trip to Arches National Park is budget friendly. Anyone living within a day's drive of Arches ought to take the time to see it. Driving, as opposed to flying, is one thing that will keep the trip inexpensive. The entrance fee at Arches is pocket change and nearly irrelevant.

One can take in Arches in a variety of ways... biking, hiking or driving. If biking with a group, I'd recommend taking a vehicle into the park since the fee per biker is $5 and can add up as opposed to the $10 vehicle entrance fee.

At the visitors center, we picked up a map and visitor's guide and loaded up on water. They have a bunch of taps outside the visitors center for this very purpose. The visitor's guide organized the hikes by level of difficulty so you can easily decide what you are willing and able to do while you are there. The easiest hikes are less than .5 miles one way and have minimal incline. If you didn't even want to get out of your car, you can drive through the park in about 30 mins to 1 hour. We did the hike to Skyline Arch and to the Delicate Arch viewpoint with our kids. They loved it. We had our babies strapped on us in carriers. I would not recommend a stroller... I think one could make these hikes with a good, sporty stroller, but the trails aren't made for them, so packing your little one on you would be the easiest and most comfortable option.

For lodging, we stayed at a KOA in a Kamping Kabin after carefully researching the various camping/lodging options in Moab, UT. Our main concerns were price and comfort. The Kabins were perfect for our family and at just under $60 for the night, it beats almost any hotel stay. The Moab KOA has clean bathrooms within walking distance of the kabins. The kabins were clean also. It is camping, so it's not like there isn't going to be dust. In our kabin, we had a queen bed and a set of bunk beds. The mattresses have a vinyl cover; you bring your own linens to make your bed. Kabins are equiped with a space heater and a swamp cooler. We didn't have reason to use either since the weather was perfect while we were there. The mini golf course is a bit run down, but we we're there to play mini golf. They have a swimming pool and playground for the kids. This was my first time staying at a organized campsite. I was quite impressed with the caliber of the guests there. Everyone was quite clean and friendly. The Campground hosts a nightly ice cream social and daily pancake breakfast for a small fee, but we didn't have time to participate. I think if we would have stayed longer, it would have been fun.

For eating, we dined at Paradox Pizza. We prefer going local when we're on the road as opposed to national food chains. It's more of an experience. Paradox Pizza is real pizza. All my picky kids enjoyed it. We could have cooked at our campsite since the have grills and picnic tables, but in the interest of time, we didn't do that.

If you haven't been to Arches, I recommend it, even if you only have time to drive through. Everyone talks about the economy. Well, Some good things are coming of these tough times. I'm seeing more people out on their two feet or their bikes instead of the car. When we bought our pass at Arches, the lady there said they have seen an influx of people this year, probably because it is an afforadable family trip... and she added, "it's healthy too." I concurr. Get out and move.

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