Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

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TarHeel2002
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Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by TarHeel2002 »

Wildly different ideas here. Currently considering two vacations / adventures for our family next summer, Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks or a trip to Iceland. Was curious to hear thoughts and opinions. Thanks!
gunny2
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by gunny2 »

Take this with a grain of salt as It's what I've heard from others, but unless you're really big into snow/ice/glaciers, there's little reason to go to Iceland, so I'd vote Utah by default (and they have some snow/ice of their own, including some great skiing).
stan1
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by stan1 »

Age of kids? Interests?

I'd go with Utah as a starting point. There's a lot of fun stuff to do. It will be hot though.
RMO87
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by RMO87 »

What part of the country do you live? I'm in Kansas City and Bryce Canyon / Zion / Needles (what are the other two?) are on my bucket list and within driving distance or a short flight. I know very little about Iceland, so I would vote Utah! Sounds more economical to boot.
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Bulldawg
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by Bulldawg »

Iceland is like another planet . There are awesome waterfalls , geysers ,volcanoes and beautiful skies and Northern Lights - depending on the time of year. It can be a little pricey , but Icelanders are very friendly and speak English. Utah is awesome too, but Iceland is different.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Bulldawg wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:29 pm Iceland is like another planet . There are awesome waterfalls , geysers ,volcanoes and beautiful skies and Northern Lights - depending on the time of year. It can be a little pricey , but Icelanders are very friendly and speak English. Utah is awesome too, but Iceland is different.
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alex_686
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by alex_686 »

gunny2 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:01 pm Take this with a grain of salt as It's what I've heard from others, but unless you're really big into snow/ice/glaciers, there's little reason to go to Iceland, so I'd vote Utah by default (and they have some snow/ice of their own, including some great skiing).
Plus active volcanos, waterfalls, horses, a interesting snorkeling lake that spans 2 continents, whales, puffins, and a host of interesting geology, and off roading.

Plus, if the kids are old enough, the only phalic museum.

This is what you want to do. Grab a guide book for the Golden Circle (if under 5 days) or the great Ring Road (over 8). Flip through the pictures.
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Da5id
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by Da5id »

gunny2 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:01 pm Take this with a grain of salt as It's what I've heard from others, but unless you're really big into snow/ice/glaciers, there's little reason to go to Iceland, so I'd vote Utah by default (and they have some snow/ice of their own, including some great skiing).
I haven't done the Utah parks (though I have done many US nat'l parks and really enjoy them). But you are underselling Iceland. It is a really gorgeous country. We saw northern lights (which are by no means guaranteed mind you), will always remember it. Lots of beautiful waterfalls, hikes, very successful whale watch, etc. I went early last fall with my kids, and had a fabulous time. Very friendly people, very safe feeling, easy to navigate just speaking English. Felt somewhat similar to Alaska and Hawaii to me in various ways.

Only downsides I saw to Iceland (assuming you want an outdoors vacation) are
1) it is fairly pricey. I found it to be a bit like Switzerland. Food, car rentals, hotels, etc, are on the high end
2) If you don't like lamb or fish (we like both) your food choices are slightly constrained. You'll have choices, but there are lots of those
3) I hear it is crowded in the summer. It is dark in the winter.
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Bulldawg
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by Bulldawg »

I forgot to mention the lack of trees in Iceland - between the Vikings and the Volanoes , you’ll be hard pressed to see any trees .
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srt7
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by srt7 »

OK. So is it which one first (maybe spanned out several years) OR is it more of a ... can only afford to do one?

Also, where are you health and fitness wise? Maybe it's a now or never situation based on that parameter? Then Iceland, for sure! Else, Utah!
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TarHeel2002
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by TarHeel2002 »

We are trying to have some fun family adventures with our kids who range from elementary to middle school. We did Yellowstone + Grand Tetons last summer and loved it. We have a Glacier + Banff trip booked later this summer and Scotland + London for next spring break. Just trying to figure out where we might go next. :D
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Prokofiev
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by Prokofiev »

TarHeel2002 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:08 pm We are trying to have some fun family adventures with our kids who range from elementary to middle school. We did Yellowstone + Grand Tetons last summer and loved it. We have a Glacier + Banff trip booked later this summer and Scotland + London for next spring break. Just trying to figure out where we might go next. :D
Do we assume that price is no object? It will cost a LOT more to take a family to Iceland than driving in Utah.
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the_wiki
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by the_wiki »

Utah national parks are HOT and crowded in the summer. Zion and Arches will probably need reservations. Will be 95-105 degrees and no shade to be found.

I am from Utah and I always suggest late spring or early fall.

If you do go during summer, I recommend getting up early and finishing by early afternoon. Bring lots of water and sunscreen.
srt7
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by srt7 »

TarHeel2002 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:08 pm We are trying to have some fun family adventures with our kids who range from elementary to middle school. We did Yellowstone + Grand Tetons last summer and loved it. We have a Glacier + Banff trip booked later this summer and Scotland + London for next spring break. Just trying to figure out where we might go next. :D
Sounds like Iceland would offer a better change of pace. Utah can be a little later.
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gunny2
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by gunny2 »

Da5id wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:38 pm
gunny2 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:01 pm Take this with a grain of salt as It's what I've heard from others, but unless you're really big into snow/ice/glaciers, there's little reason to go to Iceland, so I'd vote Utah by default (and they have some snow/ice of their own, including some great skiing).
I haven't done the Utah parks (though I have done many US nat'l parks and really enjoy them). But you are underselling Iceland. It is a really gorgeous country. We saw northern lights (which are by no means guaranteed mind you), will always remember it. Lots of beautiful waterfalls, hikes, very successful whale watch, etc.
Again it's just what I heard from others, but I can get all of those things in Alaska and then some (Mt Denali, more wildlife scenery like bear, moose, etc). And a more varied cuisine :)
Da5id
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by Da5id »

gunny2 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:55 pm
Da5id wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:38 pm
gunny2 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:01 pm Take this with a grain of salt as It's what I've heard from others, but unless you're really big into snow/ice/glaciers, there's little reason to go to Iceland, so I'd vote Utah by default (and they have some snow/ice of their own, including some great skiing).
I haven't done the Utah parks (though I have done many US nat'l parks and really enjoy them). But you are underselling Iceland. It is a really gorgeous country. We saw northern lights (which are by no means guaranteed mind you), will always remember it. Lots of beautiful waterfalls, hikes, very successful whale watch, etc.
Again it's just what I heard from others, but I can get all of those things in Alaska and then some (Mt Denali, more wildlife scenery like bear, moose, etc). And a more varied cuisine :)
I love Alaska. Been twice and I particularly like Katmai National Park during the salmon run (many bears). Still think Iceland is very worthwhile. It is similar to Alaska plus volcanos, but s a different European feel that is nice for a change. But yeah fewer land animals other than sheep and horses which are everywhere.

Tho in terms of cuisine Alaska is somewhat salmon heavy. I didn't go to Alaska for the food, though I do like salmon and king crab. I enjoyed the food more in Iceland.
rockstar
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by rockstar »

Iceland is pretty desolate looking. And it has an active volcano that might impact your plans.

Having done both, I'd go to Utah instead for a family trip.
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Admiral Fun
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by Admiral Fun »

Definitely Iceland, mostly because Utah in summer is too hot. And I LOVE Utah.

March/April/May/Oct/Nov/Dec I’d opt for Utah.
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by kenai »

rockstar wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 8:05 pm Iceland is pretty desolate looking. And it has an active volcano that might impact your plans.

Having done both, I'd go to Utah instead for a family trip.
Having been to both, I'd vote for Utah as well.
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by 123 »

Utah MAY have fewer cellphone/data/internet issues. Keep the kids happy.
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by alex_686 »

kenai wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:10 pm
rockstar wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 8:05 pm Iceland is pretty desolate looking. And it has an active volcano that might impact your plans.

Having done both, I'd go to Utah instead for a family trip.
Having been to both, I'd vote for Utah as well.
Since I will soon be heading to Iceland for the Ring Road, what exactly did you do there? Why does Iceland loose?
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by learning30 »

I went to Iceland in the winter and it was just beautiful. Activities available are all incredible as well.

Makes for a better story also.
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by kenai »

alex_686 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:24 pm
kenai wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:10 pm
rockstar wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 8:05 pm Iceland is pretty desolate looking. And it has an active volcano that might impact your plans.

Having done both, I'd go to Utah instead for a family trip.
Having been to both, I'd vote for Utah as well.
Since I will soon be heading to Iceland for the Ring Road, what exactly did you do there? Why does Iceland loose?
I can't really put my finger on it. I mean visiting Iceland is worth it. I would go again. Maybe it's the desolate landscape but it wouldn't make sense either since I only stopped in Iceland for couple of days on my way to 10-day backpacking trip in Greenland. I preferred the backpacking trip compared to Iceland. Talk about remote. The national parks in Utah are awesome.
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by JDCarpenter »

Both are great. Boils down to personal preference, and then planning around crowds to ensure maximal enjoyment.

We did a month in Iceland in summer 2021, which was almost long enough. We loved it and it was not very crowded--but they had reopened for tourism just a month or so before our trip. My guess is that it is packed now. You can do a week long trip in the south and see the highlights, maybe get a good hike in (depending upon the kids' abilities), and spend a day exploring Thorsgaard (sp?)

Utah is also great. Plan well and as noted above, hit the trails early. You'll need reservations for angel's landing now too. Also, don't overlook the many state parks....
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by Random Musings »

TarHeel2002 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:56 pm Wildly different ideas here. Currently considering two vacations / adventures for our family next summer, Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks or a trip to Iceland. Was curious to hear thoughts and opinions. Thanks!
When you say summer, could it be June? Temps were reasonable when we were there, it was even at 32F one night at Bryce. Still can get hot, though, at some of those parks.

Besides the Utah loop, if you have enough time, include the North Rim Grand Canyon as part of your vacation. Temps there are typically reasonable there due to the higher elevation.

You did Yellowstone last year, so you saw geysers, hot springs and waterfalls, so I say Utah. We are going back this year again, although most likely just hitting the Moab area and perhaps Capitol Reef. Don't underestimate how busy Iceland can get now. No matter what your choice ends up being, start each day early!

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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by halfnine »

gunny2 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:55 pm
Da5id wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:38 pm
gunny2 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:01 pm Take this with a grain of salt as It's what I've heard from others, but unless you're really big into snow/ice/glaciers, there's little reason to go to Iceland, so I'd vote Utah by default (and they have some snow/ice of their own, including some great skiing).
I haven't done the Utah parks (though I have done many US nat'l parks and really enjoy them). But you are underselling Iceland. It is a really gorgeous country. We saw northern lights (which are by no means guaranteed mind you), will always remember it. Lots of beautiful waterfalls, hikes, very successful whale watch, etc.
Again it's just what I heard from others, but I can get all of those things in Alaska and then some (Mt Denali, more wildlife scenery like bear, moose, etc). And a more varied cuisine :)
I've spent time in all three. And if I had to pick I would take Iceland.
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by stay_the_course »

I’ve been to Iceland for a 10 day trip, Utah a couple times and Alaska several times and love all these places. If money is not a concern go for Iceland. Sufficiently unique landscape, very beautiful waterfalls and a rugged landscape straight out of a movie. Hiking trails are rather less developed unlike Utah. However are these the only options? Consider Norway which is in the general area of Iceland and probably costs the same. I’ve been there and hands down I’d pick Norway over Iceland. Magnificent fjords and natural beauty with great hikes. Can’t go wrong with any of these though, have fun!
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

123 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:23 pm Utah MAY have fewer cellphone/data/internet issues. Keep the kids happy.
We went to Galapagos and a safari in South Africa, where the cell service either didn’t exist at all or was horrible. Somehow the kids found other things to look at. We didn’t do Iceland as a family, but the kids (and us, separately) went and it’s still my choice for OP.
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by Da5id »

123 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:23 pm Utah MAY have fewer cellphone/data/internet issues. Keep the kids happy.
Kids being present for shared experiences and cut off from the Internet seems like a feature and not a bug to me. That said I had ok connectivity with Google Fi in Iceland.
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by Kagord »

Both are spectacular, I'd do both.

For adventure and "just a different experience", I'd give the edge to the Ring Road. I'd consider a camping trip renting a larger camper and do over the summer, 10-12 days, and hit Costco on the first day to stock up as Iceland is expensive. For a little more comfort, perhaps, another alternative is hotels, there's some turnkey setups here where most of the planning is done for you: https://guidetoiceland.is/book-trips-holiday
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by MJS »

Kagord wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:17 am Both are spectacular, I'd do both.

For adventure and "just a different experience", I'd give the edge to the Ring Road. I'd consider a camping trip renting a larger camper and do over the summer, 10-12 days, and hit Costco on the first day to stock up as Iceland is expensive. For a little more comfort, perhaps, another alternative is hotels, there's some turnkey setups here where most of the planning is done for you: https://guidetoiceland.is/book-trips-holiday
Tent camping in Iceland is also fabulous - and cheap. Bring a dark tarp or two block the 2am sunlight if you or the kids are sensitive to brightness. Also, you can bring many foods into Iceland, then splurge on skyr, licorice or the local tomatoes.
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LakesandRivers
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by LakesandRivers »

We did Utah last summer and it was incredible. Cannot recommend it highly enough.
gfirero
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by gfirero »

Both need to be on the bucket list. A couple thoughts:
Utah: It gets hot in Southern Utah in the summer. Get up early and finish your sightseeing before the heat of the day.
Iceland: Highly recommend the Blue Lagoon, but you can't get to it now because of volcanic activity. I would research to see how likely it will be open by summer.
The ring road is good, but there are sights off the ring road that are much better.
I think your kids are at a great age to expose them to different cultures. Obviously easier to do in Iceland, although Utah has a pretty unique culture :D

Highly recommend doing Iceland via an "Iceland Stopover"
https://www.icelandair.com/flights/stopover/

I have spent a fair amount of time in each. PM with any specific questions.
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by rockstar »

alex_686 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:24 pm
kenai wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:10 pm
rockstar wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 8:05 pm Iceland is pretty desolate looking. And it has an active volcano that might impact your plans.

Having done both, I'd go to Utah instead for a family trip.
Having been to both, I'd vote for Utah as well.
Since I will soon be heading to Iceland for the Ring Road, what exactly did you do there? Why does Iceland loose?
I did a private tour with G Adventures for a week there. And I’d still recommend Utah for a family over Iceland.

What specifically does the OP want to see in Iceland?
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Re: Family trip: Iceland or Utah’s Mighty 5?

Post by white_water »

If kids are interested in dinosaurs, a side trip to N. Utah to Dinosaur Nat'l Monument may get their interest.
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