So if you were to go on a family holiday to the US, where would you go?

(30 Posts)
NorbertDentressangle Sat 17-Aug-13 15:50:19

We've been talking about planning a family holiday to the US in a year or two. The DC are currently DD 13 and DS 9.

The trouble is I really don't know where to start in which area(s) we would go to as its so vast and varied. In my head I imagine maybe going to 2 very different states/areas as a contrast but beyond that I'm clueless.

Has anyone been somewhere they'd recommend (or advise against!) or anyone always fancied visiting a particular place? Suggestions as to types of places to stay eg. hotel v apartment.

Guidelines maybe include...not all manic city based, would like somewhere warm, some beach/sea/lakes would be nice, affordable not stupid money.

The only definite is that Disney-type theme parks are a big NO!

Selks Sat 17-Aug-13 15:56:46

San Francisco and California, taking in Yosemite and the coast.

Al0uise Sat 17-Aug-13 15:58:50

I'd fly into LAX then go south to San Diego. Northern California really can be cold(ish) and damp, even in the summer.

Earlybird Sat 17-Aug-13 15:58:53

How long will the holiday be?

Do you want to travel various places (i.e., a driving holiday), or would you prefer to be based in one or two places so you can explore/do day trips.

Do you prefer active or relaxing? What sorts of things do you like to do as a family - are you sporty, cultured, history buffs, shoppers, etc?

Reasonable budget or on-a-shoestring?

NorbertDentressangle Sat 17-Aug-13 16:08:16

Selks - now theres an idea, I love Ansel Adams black and white photos of Yosemite. Looks like an amazing place.

Earlybird - maybe 3 weeks, probably not driving holiday due to the scale of the place (and just done a European driving holiday this year - bored of cars!).

As a family we like a combination of relaxing eg. beach/pool side whilst people watching/reading/dipping in the water for some of the time but balanced with interesting places or towns to visit, things to see. We like to visit a few shops on holiday just to see if anything interesting on offer but not serious shoppers. Certainly wouldn't be going with the aim of shopping.

Budget - ? Probably somewhere between shoestring and reasonable. Not sure as I'm not sure what sort of costs are involved at this stage.

TweenageAngst Sat 17-Aug-13 16:10:27

I would go for a house swap, it keeps cost down and gives you a base to explore the area. Southern California.

mummymeister Sun 18-Aug-13 11:11:20

my teenagers loved florida keys but they are really outdoorsy types. went snorkelling, paddle boarding, sailing, fishing (and eating the catch) days trips into Miami, the everglades , reef snorkelling, canoeing, cycle trail it was fantastic for them and the keys have a great temperature - never above 100 degrees and you can get camping/caravans to reduce the costs. we flew into Miami with a sat nav and drove down. my teens say this is the best holiday they have ever had. pm me if you want more details.

sweetestcup Sun 18-Aug-13 12:02:48

Well haven't been yet - but we leave for the US for our dream holiday in just under 2 weeks, this is something we have always wanted to do! We are having a few nights in New York and then fly to San Francisco for 4 nights and then driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, 1 night Monterey, 1 night Santa Barbara , 4 nights LA and 4 nights Laguna Beach and then flying back from LAX. On paper probably sounds quite tiring with all the driving but the biggest drive is only on 1 day (from Monterey to Santa Barbara), we have plenty sightseeing and relaxing planned!!

feelingood Sun 18-Aug-13 18:41:32

We look forward to going to the USA when the kids are roughly that age to do a fly drive, possibly route 66, and visit various music related places for DH. But this doesn't help your quiet pool type yearnings.

ihatethecold Sun 18-Aug-13 22:09:04

The gulf coast is lovely in Florida.
Lots of wildlife. Gorgeous beaches. Very laid back. Water sports.
I love it there.

mummytime Sun 18-Aug-13 22:31:05

We've done lots of driving holidays in the US. It's great to get a real contrast of sites and to see something of the real America. I would strongly recommend Northern California including Yosemite, with 2 or 3 nights in Y,sometime, SF, Lake Tahoe and similar.
Or the best we did involved flyi g into Las Vegas, then driving to Zion National Park, then on to monument valley (we would follow route 12 if we did it again) then down to Flagstaff, and Grand Canyon, and then back to Las Vegas.

Another time we did a lot of New England, but I would probably do less driving and just concentrate on Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
We also once did the Anderondacks and then Cape Cod and Boston.

I would quite like to do Up state Michigan.
Or Washington DC and then explore Virginia.

feelingood Mon 19-Aug-13 13:27:48

Wow you've done a lot of fly drive mummy time and given me something to think about beyond route 66.

We just doing Disney this year first time abroad. If I ever get everything booked.

NorbertDentressangle Mon 19-Aug-13 18:02:36

Thanks everyone for these ideas.

I've also looked at the Trailfinders for ideas of fly-drives etc and like the idea of the California one that also takes in Yosemite.

TerribleTantrums Mon 19-Aug-13 18:06:55

When the DC are older I am planning to take them to a dude ranch somewhere dramatic and mountainous, perhaps Wyoming, Colorado or Montana.

Before DC we had a lovely holiday driving up from Rhode Island to the top of Vermont and back down again. It was beautiful but wouldn't have been as much fun for children.

carlajean Mon 19-Aug-13 20:10:49

We've just returned from 2 months driving around the USA and had a lovely time. Given that you've got less time I'd recommend flying into Denver. Drive to Pinedale (Wy) via a visit to the goal at Rawlins. Then north, through the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. Stop at West Yellowstone and go to the theater, which is great. Then over to Livingston and Bozeman in Montana - beautiful driving and they're both great laid-back towns. Also there's a good dinosaur museum in the latter. Onto Martindale, a tiny town near the ghost town of Castle. Then drive the Bear Tooth Pass and Chief Joseph Highway to Cody. Then onto Thermopolis (petroglyphs and mineral springs). Then Leadville, 10 000 feet up, an old mining town with a fascinating history and good cycling.
Sorry to have gone on, we had such a great time I just want to share it smile

TarkaTheOtter Mon 19-Aug-13 20:24:02

We've done several driving holidays in the US and highlights would be:

West Coast:
Death Valley (not in summer though)
Monument valley (the view hotel and a private tour in particular)
Yosemite/Sequoia/Kings Canyon NPs
Lake Powell
Grand Canyon/Bryce Canyon

If you go Easter, you can have the heat and warmth if the desert and walk in snow in the mountains - incredible

East Coast:
Savannah, Georgia
Newport, RI and beaches
Washington museums
Boston
NYC

Rascal79 Mon 19-Aug-13 22:05:02

Carlajean what did you travel in? Did you camp? How did you book? Did you do it all yourself or through an agent? X

carlajean Mon 19-Aug-13 22:54:17

We hired a saloon car and stayed in motels and b&b's. We never booked in advance (but we were right at the start of the season) and did it by ourselves. We had the odd disappointment (Steamboat Springs and Cody). If you want to pm me, I'm happy to answer other questions.

I love the east coast. There is so much history - revolutionary war, civil war battle sites (eg gettysberg is very moving). Then all of the Colonial homes & places to see (eg Colonial Williamsberg, Mount Vernon & Alexandria, combine Monticello with Blue Ridge parkway). There is plenty of coastline eg off Boston (in Mass) or North Carolina Beaches. Then clearly the cities - Boston, NY, DC.

I did a fly drive on West Coast and just found distances too big. But Grand Canyon should be on everyone's list to see in their lifetime.

sassytheFIRST Mon 19-Aug-13 23:31:30

Hi Norbert (waves)

We've just come back from California - San Francisco, Yosemite, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Anaheim and Disney (whoop! wink), San Diego and finally, briefly, LA. completely awesome and we wouldn't have missed any of it though if we'd had another day we'd have spent it in Santa Barbara.

Driving was ok - only one long drive really and that is due to winding coastal road and many, many photo ops! Cost a lot but worth every red cent. Back to camping in Wales next year...

kickassangel Mon 19-Aug-13 23:39:45

What do you want to see? Cities, country, mountains?

I assume during the summer?

Yellowstone is great, and you can do the Tetons, go horse riding, camping etc.

We've done SF a few times, then gone on to do Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Death Valley.

Zion national park is great, if you like deserts and amazing scenery.

Around Virginia also good. History, amusement and water park, beaches.

Haven't done Florida, except for Disney. May do that next summer.

Whoever said Michigan, I live ther, but in the SE. Anyway, a trip round the lake is popular, it's an easy couple of weeks. Ferries and camping are all booked up 6 months in advance, pm me if you want to know about campsites.

Pachacuti Mon 19-Aug-13 23:42:02

I'd go to Boston and other areas in New England. I've been before without DC and thought how much they'd enjoy it. But yes, I like your idea of contrasting that with another very different area -- maybe one of the national parks.

NorbertDentressangle Wed 21-Aug-13 15:37:20

Thanks for all these ideas.

sassy - I saw your photo on fb of the girls and wondered if you were in Disney/US.

You'll have to tell me all about it when we next meet-up.

mummytime Wed 21-Aug-13 15:50:24

I think I and DD2 want to do a Laura Ingalls Wilder tour sometime (and I quite fancy seeing the worlds largest hand dug well).

Oh, a Laura Ingalls Wilder tour would be brilliant. Also the Oregon Trail - always wanted to do that.

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