As you can imagine, traveling with two small children (ages 1 and 3) can pose some serious challenges. We made a conscious decision in August 2014 to practice for our year-long adventure by traveling every other month to allow us to discover effective ways to keep harmony in the family while on the road.
The first two weeks out we camped in Redwood and Lassen National Park. We learned that bringing an extra tent for the kids to play in was a very good idea, it helped during meal preparation and also gave us a toy station area that stayed clean most of the time. We also discovered that camping one week is great but we needed to take a break from camping for at least one week in between. Then we stayed two weeks in a 2 bedroom home near Mt. Shasta returning home for the month of September to pay bills, visit friends and family and pack the house for the year long trip. From this we learned to try to book a house close to a public park with a playground area this is a life saver and prevents possible afternoon meltdowns.
During October we traveled for three days to Glacier National Park and stayed in another 2 bedroom home in Kalispell, Montana for one week. We were able to travel between 300-400 miles per day by going with the pace of the children. When they were tired we would rest, when they were hungry we would pull out healthy snacks, and when they needed to get their wiggles out we would stop at public parks and rest stops along the way. Then we went to Mt. Rainer and Cascades National Park and the San Juan Islands and spent two or three days at each location. We took a train ride in Mt Rainer and a ferry boat ride in the San Juans and the kids still talk about these experiences all the time. We spent another week in Olympic National Park in Washington, visited friends and family in Portland and Eugene Oregon, and ended our journey in Crater Lake and returned home for the month of November.
Lisa was great about finding out story times at local libraries in smaller towns or visiting museums geared for young children in larger towns like Spokane or Portland.
We have had terrific success booking rooms on VRBO or AIRBNB. It is important to make certain that your housing has exactly what you need. For us that was on-site laundry, wifi access, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, fully stocked kitchen and a fenced backyard.