Friday, March 03, 2006

Visiting Moab in February with 2 year olds

The net contains surprisingly little information on the topic of traveling with small children. In an effort to correct that problem, here's how we wish we'd visited Moab for a three day weeked in February with our 2 year old twins.

Where to stay: Stay at the Holiday Inn Express north of town. It gets dark around 6pm and the indoor pool is an ideal place to play with the kids after sunset. It isn't the cheapest place in town but having something to do after 6pm is worth the money.

A note about the desert environment: That National Parks around Moab see many many visitors and are rightly concerned about protecting the critical parts of the fragile desert ecosystem. I wasn't sure how well my two year olds would respond to "stay of that sand" and "don't touch the dirt in the water holes" on top of the slickrock. But to my surprise, they responded remarkably well. One of them still asks which sand is the special sand when we look at pictures from our vacation.

What to bring: Warm clothes for the kids. It will be cold. About 40-50 degress plus wind most likely. We had two-layer coats, ski hats, gloves and extra fleece hats for the kids. We used all of it many times. We also brought some floppy sun hats for them and used those as well. Toys for playing in the sand much like you might bring to the beach (but be careful to play in the right sand).

Where to go:
Sand Flats campground. A picnic in one of the many empty campsites including playing in the non-ecologically sensitive sand while running around on slickrock is ideal.
The BLM "campground" across the road from the Newspaper rock rock art panel on the way to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The campground was 90% empty with a stream at the bottom of the ravine. If you work your way down at the west end of the site you can walk right down to the stream and, of course, play in the non-ecologically sensitive sand some more.
Park Avenue Trail in Arches NP We packed our girls down the Park Avenue Trail in their Kelty baby carriers. About 1/2 way in they wanted to walk and we enjoyed a leisurely stroll down the wash bottom while allowing our 2 year olds to friction climb on the slickrock obstacles. They picked up very well. About 3/4 of the way down, I ran back up the trail, got the car, drove to the end and then ran back to the family. So I got my trail run in and saved carrying the girls back out.
Picnic Area in the Needles District of Canyonlands NP While we were a little sceptical of a picnic area right next to a road, we were a little surprised when three (3) cars drove by in the 1.5 hours we spent there. About 2 miles from the picnic area is, literally, the end of the road.

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