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Old 06-01-2012, 09:14 PM
 
Location: Houston-ish
345 posts, read 959,119 times
Reputation: 214

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Hello all!

I am driving from the Houston area to Chicago with two boys, three and seven. It's just the three of us, so I'd like to find somewhere fun (about halfway through) to spend the night. Last year we stopped over in Memphis and had lots of fun. To keep things interesting, I was thinking about stopping someplace different. Any suggestions? I don't mind going "off the beaten path", but I'll pass on camping in a tent. With such a long drive to tackle, I'll be looking forward to some R&R

Thanks in advance for all your great ideas!
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:17 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,484 posts, read 62,084,629 times
Reputation: 32136
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmalone4 View Post
I am driving from the Houston area to Chicago...
This is a boring but easy 1000+ mile trip entirely on Interstate Roads.

Quote:
I'd like to find somewhere fun (about halfway through) to spend the night.
With such a long drive to tackle, I'll be looking forward to some R&R
Half way? How about a third of the way? Make the trip with two stopovers.
At 65mph 350 miles is over 5hours rolling and at 60MPH it's closer to 6 hours rolling.
Add in a few snack and potty breaks and it's easily an 8 hour day.

After such a day with two kids in the car about the only thing I'd want is some quiet
and an hour in the same motel swimming pool the kids will want to be in until they're ready to fall asleep.

With this in mind I'd be focus on starting early enough to get those planned miles covered by 4PM at the latest...
and not loading the kids up with too many calories or any sugar early in the day.

hth
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:58 AM
 
Location: El Dorado Hills, CA
3,693 posts, read 8,333,627 times
Reputation: 3812
We always go for the motel with a swimming pool. Tires them out and gives them something to do for a few hours. If you have a smart phone, you can just pull up nearby hotels when you get tired rather than having to plan it out way in advance. Just make sure you're not in the middle of nowhere when you decide to stop!
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:54 PM
 
Location: A circle of Hell so insidious, infernal and odious, Dante dared not map it
623 posts, read 1,046,283 times
Reputation: 472
I can't speak from personal experience, as I haven't been... but have you considered Branson, MO? It's about halfway between you and Chicago.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:29 AM
 
706 posts, read 1,806,662 times
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If you try to make that in two driving days, you will be entirely on interstates, and have almost no leisure time along the way. By expanding it to three days, you can have quite a bit of flexibility in the middle day, to spend some time with a daytime activity. Graceland would be one possibility. There are some nice National Wildlife Refuges along the way, such as Reelfoot, in northwest corner Tennessee, and Mingo, north of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, which are both located in swampy woodlands and will have interpretive centers.

Just north of St. Louis, there are several ferryboat options for crossing the Mississippi River, which would be an interesting diversion.
River Ferries of the Middle Mississippi River Valley
There are also ferry crossings from Kentucky into Missouri (at Hickman) and to Illinois (at Cave in Rock).

As for overnight stops, you'll all be satisfied with a motel pool and a delivered pizza.

By the way, if you plan to visit a National Wildlife Refuge, you can avoid paying the daily fee by buying a $15 Federal Duck Stamp, which funds the purchase of wetlands for wildlife protection. The stamp is valid for a year, sold at most post offices and stores that sell hunting licenses. When expired, it can be resold to collectors, if you can keep it in perfect pristine condition in a plastic sleeve.

Last edited by CowanStern; 06-05-2012 at 09:55 AM..
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:57 PM
 
Location: Houston-ish
345 posts, read 959,119 times
Reputation: 214
Reps and thx to all!
I made the drive twice last year. Stopped in St. Louis the first time, saw the sights, etc. On the way back we stopped in Memphis, sight-seeing all day as well.

We don't get too many chances to have a real vacation, so I try to make every road trip count.

Unfortunately, I can't make it a three day trip. I'm dropping my boys off to spend some time with my parents (and get some much needed rest as well as save $ on childcare expenses). I only have a six days make the round trip due to work obligations.

I found a Jellystone Park just outside Memphis. We've been to the one near Houston and loved it!

I love the idea about the Wildlife Refuge. I'll also look into Branson. I'll be a tired soul, but we'll make memories to last a lifetime!

Thanks again, guys.
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