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Old 09-20-2011, 10:16 AM
 
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I want to take a vacation next year, in July (around the July 4 holiday) and am trying to think of good/fun places to go with my 7-year-old daughter. I would like to stay within driving distance or go to a place that's cheap to fly to (to keep travel costs down). We go to the beach all the time in the summer since my mom lives near there... so the beach, while it's a vacation, is kind of the "same old, same old for us."

Here are some of my ideas, but I would really like to hear from others (with other ideas or to add to the ones I've come up with).

Virginia: Yes, just stay in VA and tour the state. I've never been to Monticello, so that would be fun. My daughter loves anything to do with the Revolution, so we could also go down to Williamsburg (we went there two years ago and she loved it and says she'd like to go back).

Tennessee: I heard Nashville can be fun. I am not really a country music fan, but things like Opryland could be fun. Plus there is history in Eastern Tennessee as well as beautiful mountains.

Pennsylvania and Delaware: A trip to Philly could be fun. My daughter would like Independence Hall and the Franklin Institute. Fort Delaware could be interesting too as well as the Hagley. The bonus is I can stay with relatives.

Boston: (cheap flights). There is a lot to do in Boston, but my big fear is cost... so this is my least favorite idea of the bunch.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Prince William County, VA
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Hi!

We have 4 kids and because of the cost of flying/rental cars big enough to accomodate us, are big on roadtrips! Some of the trips we've taken in the last few years

1. Summer of '08 we drove cross country and back. We mostly took the I 40 out to San Diego, stopping in
Smoky Mountains, TN
Ozark national Forest, Arkansas
New Mexico (Santa Fe, Roswell, and White Sands national Monument)
Tucson, AZ (Seguaro National Park)

then we spent a couple weeks in California and drove back along the I 15/I70/I80 stopping in
Las Vegas (mostly to see the Hoover Dam, since we had the kids!)
Bryce Canyon and Salt Lake City in Utah
Fossil Butte, WY
Mt. Rushmore
Chicago (my brother lived there at the time so we specifically stopped to visit him

2.Florida (we've driven to Disney World twice)

3. Mammoth Cave National Park in KY. We camped a few days in the park, then spent a few more days visiting Louisville and Lexington

4. Roadtrip to New England. We drove to Acadia National park in Maine and camped there for a few nights, then we went down to Boston and stayed in a hotel for a few days. We did the freedom trail, rode the swan boats in the public garden, visited Concord and Lexington, went to Plimoth Plantation down in Plymouth...Then we went back up to Vermont and stayed in a cabin in one of their state parks. We went sailing on Lake Champlain, visited all the factories (Ben and Jerry, Cabot creamery, maple syrup, etc.)

5. New York City Due to cost, we stayed in a hotel in Jersey city, but it was right next to the Path station so it was easy to get into the city. We visited the Tenement Museum, the Met, the American museum of natural History, went to the top of the Empire State Building and top of the Rock, rode the Ferris Wheel at Toys R Us in Times square...and the statue of Liberty (if you want to go to the crown, you have to book months in advance!) and Ellis Island...all in just 3 days! I want to go back, still so much there to see and do!

6. This summer we took a roadtrip to Canada. We drove to Montreal and stayed a couple days, then camped in Gatineau Park (right outside Ottowa) and finished at Niagara Falls. We spent about 10 days total.


Currently I'm trying to plan a vacation for christmas time....I'm thinking of driving down to Florida to visit the Everglades...
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:33 AM
 
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Lancaster, PA
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:34 AM
 
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If you are willing to go to Canada, I would recommend Montreal and Quebec.
You can save money by camping in many of their national parks.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jillabean View Post

Tennessee: I heard Nashville can be fun. I am not really a country music fan, but things like Opryland could be fun. Plus there is history in Eastern Tennessee as well as beautiful mountains.
Opryland, the amusement park, no longer exists. It is a big outlet mall now with a fancy hotel next to it.

You can also go to Memphis which has Graceland and a nice Zoo and then take your child to Beal Street and go partying all night
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Prince William County, VA
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Regarding Boston being expensive:

Actually a lot of the things aren't too bad
Most of the Freedom Trail is free
Swan Boats are only a couple dollars a person, etc.

The hotels ARE expensive....
are you willing to drive up, instead of fly, so you can stay outside of the city?

Parking can be brutal in Boston, but when we went, we went into Boston on a Sunday, and the parking garage near the public garden had plenty of spots and wasnt' too expensive (I want to say $10, but I might be off)
There are other things to do just outside of Boston, where parking isn't as bad--such as Concord/Lexington (free!), the Salem Witch Museum on the north shore, Plimoth plantation (a little pricy, but really interesting.

Also, if you are open to camping, or staying in cabins check out this page for the reservation system
Campgrounds and Camping Reservations - ReserveAmerica
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:43 AM
 
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This Philadelphia native has an obvious bias. Center City (our downtown) has a lot packed into its walkable two square miles. Beyond perhaps your family's location, you wouldn't need to drive (or conversely, driving to Center City would be about as inconvenient and expensive as DC). Boston is similar to Philly if on a somewhat larger scale.

There's certainly something to be said about recycling your tourist dollars at home in Virginia. As they say, you can go from the mountains to the beach in one day. There's certainly no shortage of quaint towns let alone historical sites.

In Tennessee, you may enjoy touring through Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains. If a non-country fan is open-minded enough to try Opryland, then the Dollywood amusement park might appeal to both you and your daughter. Consider passing through Asheville NC on the way: great mountain views, a quirky/artsy downtown and the Biltmore Estates!
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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Gatlinburg, TN would be a fun place. Tons of things to do and see plus it's the opposite of the beach...you'll be in the Smokies!
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
1,419 posts, read 3,018,313 times
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Just went to Nashville in August because we have family there and i have to say, not gonna do it again. The city is OK but really not worth the nearly 10 hour drive, especially with a daughter yours age (my kids were 8). We went to the Grand Ol Oprey where my kids were bored off their rockers, but otherwise, yeah not overly impressed. We did however drive from there into KY, stopping at Mammoth Caves and then spending a few days in Lexington KY (My daughter and I are horse crazy). LOVED that area of Kentucky, but if you're not a horse lover, well not sure you'd love it. Both were quite long drives so for me, we spent far too much time in the car and not seeing the sights.

I'd stay in VA... there is ALOT to see and do locally and you'll spend less time driving and more time doing.

I Do love Boston though, was born there and have spent alot of time there. If you're daughter is a history buff, she'd probably love it.
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:29 PM
 
390 posts, read 524,051 times
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Default Cities on the Weekends

One helpful hint: if you are booking a hotel in a city you'll do MUCH better if you book Friday/Saturday nights. When I went to Boston with my family I got two nights right by the Aquarium for the price of one weekday night. I see lots of promotions for Philly where there are 2 for 1 nights on the weekends.

My suggestion for your vacation: Philly for the weekend, then Lancaster for the weekdays. Maybe Hershey Park, too? And it's really not far from Northern Virginia.
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