...An alternative we've tried is to take I-79 south instead at Morgantown, then pick up I-64 west at Charleston, WV. A much prettier route, to me, though it takes a bit longer...We also prefer I-64 to I-70. I-64 seems to have less trafic and better road surface. I-70 around the Indianapolis area has been terrible the past couple of years. My impression is that there are fewer campgrounds/RV parks along I-64 so a little better planning is required.
...The amount of time we'll spend traveling will obviously be influenced by finances...people could forward me their current expenses and a brief description of how the travel...We rarely stay more than a week in a single location when not at our home base. Our fuel costs (total towing and site seeing while traveling) for 2014 and 2015 were $5053.69 and $3192.45 respectively. We did not intentionaly change our travel style between the two years, so most of the difference is the effect of a general reduction in fuel prices of a dollar a gallon in just about every location we visited. Our campground costs for 2014 and 2015 were $4,363.95 and $3,700.37 respectively for 162 and 148 nights in public and private campgrounds/RV Parks ($26.94 & $25.00/night). Campground costs are highly variable and ranged from $2.50 to $50.00/night.
...Heading out across either US 50-56 to Clayton NM, or down US 54 to Tucumcari...We have driven all three through Kansas a number of times, but never in the winter. Not sure what may be open or closed. I know that the middle of America and Sodhouse Museum in Kinsley closes for the winter. US-50 will take you through Dodge City if you were a "Gunsmoke" fan. Clayton Lake State Park has a campground and dinosaur tracks. From Clayton US-412 will take you to I-25 and Las Vegas where there is Fort Union National Monument.
South on I-25 is Santa Fe with lots to see and do including: Bandelier National Monument, Pecos National Historic Site, Museum Hill, the Canyon Road Galleries, and the Plaza. The drive up to the Ski area is a very scenic drive.
Going South from Santa Fe, the Turquoise Trail Scenic Byway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe takes you through the old mining towns of Madrid (where the movie "Wild Hogs" was filmed) and Cerrilos. Also South of Santa Fe is Tent Rocks National Monument. If conditions permit, the drive up to the Veterens Memorial Overlook is worth visiting in my opinion.
Lots to see and do in Albuequerque including Petroglyph National Monument and Pueblo Cultural Center.
Tucumcari is an old Route 66 town. We enjoyed the Foundary and dinosaur museum at the College and got a tour of the windfarm training facility. Their are murals on buildings scattered throughout the town. Between Tucumcari and Albuquerque are El Malpais National Monument, El Moro National Monument, Acoma Sky City, Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano, The Blue Hole, and the Mining Museum.
I'm sure you realize that you will have to watch the weather carefully.
There is a lot to see and do in Savannah. We enjoyed the Oatland Island Wildlife Center, the Historic District, Old Fort Jackson, Wormsloe, Fort Pulaski, Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum and the Old Town Trolley Tour. There are several good campgrounds at various price point in the Savannah area.
This concept has been discussed a few times in relation to campgrounds offering ala carte service so that you only pay for what you want to use.
There are a number of parks that have coin operated showers. Haven't seen a pay toilet in a while. Coin operated laundry is still pretty much the standard.
I have encountered two campgrounds/rv parks that used automated kiosks to collect the fee and printout a receipt with the site # that you then posted at your site. Neither had the ability to turn the utilities on or off. I have encountered one automated dump station that took cash or credit card and then unlocked the magnetic lock on the dump cover. There were two dumps and each had its own kiosk.
While the technology is available, I am not sure it would be cost effective for a budget park. Terminals at every site would likely be too costly. One or two terminals at a central location might result in problems if they went down. For example, the dump station I mentioned above had one kiosk out of order resulting in only one of the dumps being available for use when we were there. There was no sewer at any of the 50+ sites in the park, so there was a pretty long line at the dump station in the morning.
In my experience no one directory or website lists all the campgrounds/RV parks. I use the following websites to find campgrounds along our route and still encounter ones that are not listed anywhere that I can find. Some of these websites have data sets that can be downloaded to a GPS or mapping program so that you can see whats available along your planned route. There are also many data sets available on the Discovery Owner's Forum and POI Factory.
RV Park Reviews
National Forest Campground Guide
Ultimate Public Campground Project
Corps of Engineers Campgrounds
...We have an 8 year old boy, so this is the BESTEST time to start our Out-West travels...For the boy, many National Parks have Junior Ranger Programs. Maybe Dinosaur National Monument and the Utah Field House State Park near Vernal, Utah would be of interest. Goblin Valley State Park in Utah is an amazing place.
Cody is a gateway to Yellowstone from the East. The Buffalo Bill Center in Cody is a huge complex of museums. Cody also has a Nightly Rodeo. In Yellowstone, consider the chuckwagon cookout.
Sunset Beach is not a new campground. We stayed there many times in February and March on the way South. In the summer it was a rent for the full season only campground. However, it has been closed the past few winters and appears to be under new ownership/management. It appears from the website that they have greatly expanded the number of RV sites and divided the old pullthrus into back to back backins. According to their website, the Sunset Beach campground will open for the Fourth of July weekend.
Aztec Ruins National Monument and Salmon Ruins are in Northwestern New Mexico. I agree that the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad is worth a ride. In the Taos area are the Rio Grande River Gorge, Kit Carson Home & Museum, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, and lots of shops in the plaza.
In Santa Fe, Check out the Galleries on Canyon Road. Take a drive up Hyde Park Road (NM-475) to the Ski Basin. We enjoyed Pecos National Historic Park not far Northwest of Santa Fe on I-25. Visit Museum Hill in Santa Fe. There is lots of shopping and numerous historic sites and museums on and near the plaza.
We also enjoyed driving the Turquoise Trail(NM-14) visiting the shops in Madrid where the movie "Wild Hogs" was made and the semi-ghost town of Cerrilos. Tent Rocks National Monument is not far South of Santa Fe.
Other attractions in the area North of I-40 are: Chaco Culture National Historic Park, Christ in the Desert Monastery, Bandelier National Monument, Ghost Ranch, and Fort Union National Monument.
I certainly second Ricketts Glen, Goblin Valley and Kodachrome Basin.
These aren't large attractions with campgrounds, but in my opinion are worth a visit if you are in the area:
Fishlake Scenic Byway,
Windmill Museum in Lubbock, TX,
Underground World in Ellinwood, KS,
Madrid and Cerillos on the Turquoise Trail,
Mariachi Sundays in Old Town Mesilla, NM.
Three Rivers Petroglypgh Site
...If you're planning to be in the state for 2 weeks, you should consider the NM Annual Parks Pass. It makes stays in NM's many wonderful state parks very affordable...A non-resident annual camping pass for New Mexico State Parks is $225. Thus, the break even point is reached after 22 days of camping. Maybe a few less if you visit additional State Parks that have an entrance fee (usually $5).
Lots of great places to see in New Mexico. We have been there in September and October a number of times. In September, start in the North or higher elevations and work your way South. The Balloon Fiesta is always in early October. There are a number of harvest festivals and Oktoberfests around the state. In September and October, Mesilla has mariachi Sundays in the plaza in front of the church. If you like trying local wines, here is a link to New Mexico Wine Trails. If you like craft beers, here is a link to New Mexico Breweries Here are links to some of the places we enjoyed:
Fort Union National Monument,
Pecos National Historic Site,
Bandelier National Monument,
Petroglyph National Monument,
El Malpais National Monument,
El Moro National Monument,
Aztec Ruins National Monument,
Salinas Pueblos National Monument,
White Sands National Monument,
Tent Rocks National Monument,
Acoma Sky City,
Pueblo Cultural Center,
Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano,
The Very Large Array,
Tucumcari, The Blue Hole,
Cumbres & Toltec Railroad,
Vietnam Veterans Memorial,
Rio Grande River Gorge,
Kit Carson Home & Museum in Taos,
Christ in the Desert Monastery
Carlsbad Caverns National Park,
Museum Hill in Santa Fe,
Canyon Road Galleries in Santa Fe,
Chaco Cultural Historical Park,
Geronimo Springs Museum,
Valley of Fires,
Three Rivers petroglyph Site,
Rockhound State Park,
City of Rocks State Park,
Poncho Villa State Park,
Smokey Bear Historic Park,
Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument,
Oliver Lee Memorial State Park,
New Mexico Museum of Space History.
Four weeks may not be as long as you think if you really want to explore an area and not rush from site to site. You were already provided a link to the Utah Grand Circle trip planner. Here is a list of links to places that we visited and enjoyed in Utah:
Utah 12-24 area:
Ut-12 Scenic Byway
Fishlake Scenic Byway
Scenic Backways off UT-12
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
Kodachrome Basin State Park
Anasazi State Park
Calf Creek Falls
Capitol Reef National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Goblin Valley State Park
Kane Creek Road
Potash Lower Colorado Byway
Upper Colorado River UT-128 Scenic Byway
Dead Horse Point State Park
Arches National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Zion National Park
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Monument Valley, Bluff, Blanding Area:
UT-261 the Moki Dugway
Goosenecks State Park
Hovenweep National Monument
Natural Bridges National Monument
South Fork of Mule Canyon and House on Fire
The Valley of The Gods
Sand Island Petroglyphs
Edge of the Cedars State Park
There a lot to see along I-40. In Amarillo, there is Palo Duro Canyon State Park and the Big Texan on Old Route 66. In New Mexico, Tucumcari still has dinners along Historic Route 66 and numerous murals painted on buildings plus other attractions. Santa Rosa is another Route 66 town and has the The Blue Hole and Santa Rosa Lake State Park which has a nice campground. In Albuquerque, the Pueblo Cultural Center and Petroglyph National Monument are worth visiting in my opinion. In Grants, there is the Mining Museum. Just South of I-40 going West from Grants are El Malpais National Monument, El Moro National Monument and the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano. Acoma Sky City is said to be the longest occuppied location in the U.S. They give tours of the pueblo and there is an RV park next to the casino.
On the way to Flagstaff along I-40 are Petrified Forest National Park, Meteor Crater and Homolovi Ruins State Park. You can stand on the corner in Winslow Arizona.
In the Flagstaff area are Sunset Crater National Monument, Wupatki National Monument, and Walnut Canyon National Monument. Sedona/Camp Verde/Cottonwood are about an hour South of Flagstaff with Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well National Monuments, Tuzigoot National Monument, Palatki and Honaki Ruins, V-Bar-V Heritage Site, Verde Canyon Railroad, Fort Verde State Park, Cathedral Rock, Gold King Mine, Jerome State Historic Park in the area.
All this before you even get to the Grand Canyon.
Checkout Rocky Mount and see if there is anything that interests you there. From there you could head East and pickup US-17. Washington and Chocowhinty are small towns with Historic Districts. New Bern may have some things of interest to you. Wilmington has some historic sites and plantations, a nice historic district and the Battleship North Carolina. I have no idea how much damage US-17 incurred during the recent storms, but we have driven it many times over the years and have always enjoyed our stops along this route.
We drove the I-70, I-68, I-79 route to I-64 and then I-64 to St. Louis in late August. I don't recall any real problems. We have driven this route a number of times and never had any real issues. When driving that great a distance, there are going to be some construction areas somewhere along the route. It has been a couple of years, but we have taken the Bluegrass Parkway several times between I-64 and I-65 it saves some miles and was good road.
Some places in the Bluff/Blanding area that I don't think were mentioned are: Muley Point and UT-261 the Moki Dugway, Bluff Fort, South Fork of Mule Canyon and House on Fire, Sand Island Petroglyphs, and the Blanding Dinosaur Museum.
In the area between Torrey and Bryce Canyon there are a lot of great places along the Ut-12 Scenic Byway. We enjoyed the Burr Trail, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Anasazi State Park, Calf Creek Falls, Hells Backbone Scenic Backway. The Fishlake Scenic Byway off of UT-24 West of Torrey is worth a drive.
If it is still open when you are in the area, Cedar Breaks National Monument is worth a visit in my opinion. As is Goblin Valley State Park.
...must sees...?Charleston has Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, the Fort Lamar Heritage Preserve and Patriots Point Museum.
There are a number of plantations like Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation and Drayton Hall.
Not too far South of Charleston is the Caw Caw Interpretive Center.
Savanah has a lot to see and do. In the military history venues arena, there are Old Fort Jackson, Fort McAllister, Fort Pulaski and the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum.
For cultural history, there is the Wormsloe State Historic Site and the Savannah History Museum located next to the Visitor's Center which has lots of parking and shuttle bus and tour bus stops.
On the nature side of things, the Oatland Island Wildlife Center run by the Savannah School District is a good environmental education center that is open to the public. There is Skidaway Island State Park, Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge, Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge, and the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.
There are lots of Shops along the River Front Plaza.
Hope you have a Great Trip!!!