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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!

pennygallops Sat 31-Aug-13 08:01:49

Hi, I've just returned from a 5 week family holiday in the US, DC 10 and 9. Last year we did 4 weeks.

We like The South! The Carolinas are great and my DC loved the beaches there. I preferred Charleston to Savannah. I would recommend Asheville in N Carolina. It's on the edge on the Appalachian Mountains close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Cherokee Reservation. We took an overnight train from Washington DC to Charleston (completed with sleeper cabins) - great experience.

This year we also spent two weeks in Texas - fantastic! Not to everyone's taste but we had a great time. Had a mixed of small places (Paris), country places (Marble Falls) - went to some caverns and a place where there are dinosaur footprints, beach (Galveston Bay) and cities - Dallas/Fortworth (great museum in Dallas - 6th Floor), Austin (a fantastic happening city) San Antonio (Riverwalk and The Alamo) and Houston (lots to do but some crazy driving). The people make Texas - they are so friendly!

Last year we loved Memphis (and Tupelo), but I guess you have to be into Elvis (at least a bit) and other music. My DS got into civil rights (aged 9) after visiting the Civil Rights Museum and learning about MLK's assassination. We also loved New Orleans - great place, love the history and music.

Next time we are thinking about doing Boston, Maine and going West a bit. Then finally Seattle and going down the West Coast and Yosemite, though my son desperately wants to experience Death Valley. Going to use the Amtrak more as it's so good. We avoid Florida like the plague - just not us.

Car hire is essential, going off the beaten track is key and going where other British rarely go is a must! We book both our holidays on-line, adding a hotel here and there, changing our routes, researching places to go. It's all part of the excitement. Enjoy - where ever you end up. I recommend Trip Advisor and Virtual Tourist (great for safety tips).

newfavouritething Wed 28-Aug-13 18:31:48

Favourite state to date is Texas, bloody loved it. The JFK museum, Stockyards, Rodeo's etc. Fab. On the same holiday we also went to Houston, New Orleans, Memphis, saw Gracelands, etc etc. Covered a few miles, but very casually so didn't really notice the driving.

AmericasTorturedBrow Wed 28-Aug-13 06:34:54

I live in LA, California does tick a lot of boxes but I'm also in love with NYC and Chicago. I really want to go to Austin too, which is supposed to be fab.

But California is pretty much guarantee to be a good family holiday!

BlingBubbles Sat 24-Aug-13 07:46:50

Been to the states a few times, before we had Kids, Florida is great, we did Fort Lauderdale, Miami and the Florida Keys! The beaches are great and the weather is super hot. As one poster said up thread there is loads to do in the Keys.

When I was 21 I went with my parents to the west coast, we flew into New York spent a few days, then flew to LA, spent a few days there and then drove to Lake Tahoe spent a week there for Christmas, was then onto Vegas for a night and then back to San Fran. Was a wonderful holiday and would really recommend it.

Groovee Sat 24-Aug-13 07:35:59

Port Washington in Long Island New York is fab. My cousin lives there and it's just perfect for us. Sarasota in Florida or St Augustine is where we would like to go next.

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

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).

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!!

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.

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.

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