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Author Topic: Help me find a holiday in the States  (Read 1917 times)
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Tals
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« on: February 07, 2010, 03:40:07 PM »

I'd quite like to take the family to the States, as a family we have never been and the wife and I have only been to New York - thanks to GTers we managed to sort out reasonable accomodation. I'm guessing that it will be cheaper if I book the flight and the hotel seperately - particularly if the hotel isn't on the package deals.

So as a person not knowing the US at all, any regions or hotels that you'd recommed? Children will be 10 and 14 and we plan a 2 week excursion. New York I don't think is that friendly for the children.

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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2010, 04:03:13 PM »

What sort of things do you want to do? Are you guys into natural wonders? Activities like hiking, surfing, sailing, etc? Like to see the big cities and shop? Help us to help you. Help us to help you biggrin
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2010, 04:05:08 PM »

Quote from: Crux on February 07, 2010, 04:03:13 PM

What sort of things do you want to do? Are you guys into natural wonders? Activities like hiking, surfing, sailing, etc? Like to see the big cities and shop? Help us to help you. Help us to help you biggrin

Yeah good call smile Beach holidays work well but then at the same time i'm guessing we could go closer to home if we want beach. I kind of want the nirvana of them to see and experience America - Something like seeing various areas - the Grand Canyon would go down well for example. We're not great walkers frown
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2010, 04:35:04 PM »

If you're looking for Americana/history, I suggest a trip to Washington DC with perhaps a sidetrip up to Philadelphia.  In between you can stop off in Baltimore for the aquarium/harbors.
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2010, 05:05:26 PM »

Where do you live and what time of year are you planning to visit?
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Tals
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2010, 05:09:46 PM »

Quote from: map on February 07, 2010, 05:05:26 PM

Where do you live and what time of year are you planning to visit?

I'm based in the UK, planning to come over from July 17th to July 31st. I ran the history tour of US across the children and they wern't keen frown The words that seems like school appeared to prevail  crybaby Maybe i'm no good as a Sales Person smile

Florida is an obvious bet but seems expensive - where do US folks go for their holidays (Europe is not allowed in the answers smile )

Tals
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2010, 05:14:41 PM »

Cape Cod has wonderful beaches, and it's a nice place to visit for a week.
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Tals
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2010, 05:27:23 PM »

OK I think I am getting there

In the UK I tend to use this great site

http://www.booking.com/hotel

Now it covers the US as well. Are there any Florida hotels that people have been to with a family and enjoyed it - cost is very important smile

OK this is not working well frown Flights alone are 3000 (approx $5000)! whereas the package comes to just a few 100 after that
« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 05:41:39 PM by Tals » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2010, 06:04:42 PM »

Hogeye Arkansas. We're just non stop fun around here. Should have seen me running around to day being chased by my donkey who wanted to bite me on the ass. An ass to ass confrontation.
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2010, 06:08:09 PM »

In California, we have Caesar Chavez holiday coming up.  Then there's Easter.  But Memorial Day is always fun.  Usually involves BBQ and out on a lake.  If those don't fit the bill, you should come over on the 4th of July
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2010, 06:19:20 PM »

I'm afraid I can't offer any child-friendly ideas if they don't like history or the arts. Maybe you could leave them home.
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« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2010, 06:21:52 PM »

Quote from: Ironrod on February 07, 2010, 06:19:20 PM

I'm afraid I can't offer any child-friendly ideas if they don't like history or the arts. Maybe you could leave them home.

That's the best idea yet  icon_lol
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« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2010, 06:45:54 PM »

There's the whole Disney/epcot/universal/mgm extravaganza thing in Florida.  There are good deals to be had if you shop around but you will be going in the peak tourist season.  There is a TON of stuff to do.

Being From Atlanta I am a little biased but it's not a bad tourist area.  You got a world class Aquarium, kid friendly museums (Fernbank, Kid's Science, Coca Cola), Stone Mt. Park, Six Flags, great shopping and dining, Take in a Braves game.  Lot's to do.  I might even meet you for a beer.  Your treat of course but I'll pick the spot!  Seriously if your interested I'll point to you places to gather some more information.
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2010, 07:02:30 PM »

Quote from: dbt1949 on February 07, 2010, 06:04:42 PM

Hogeye Arkansas. We're just non stop fun around here. Should have seen me running around to day being chased by my donkey who wanted to bite me on the ass. An ass to ass confrontation.

You never go ass to ass.
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2010, 07:36:12 PM »

Quote
So as a person not knowing the US at all, any regions or hotels that you'd recommed?

orly?


downtown Detroit is lovely.


 icon_twisted Tongue

if you're bringing kids I'd say morlac has the best suggestion with Disney.
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dbt1949
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« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2010, 08:39:06 PM »

Quote from: TK-421 on February 07, 2010, 07:02:30 PM

Quote from: dbt1949 on February 07, 2010, 06:04:42 PM

Hogeye Arkansas. We're just non stop fun around here. Should have seen me running around to day being chased by my donkey who wanted to bite me on the ass. An ass to ass confrontation.

You never go ass to ass.

I'd get rid of him if he wasn't house trained. Making the donkey door for him tho put a pretty big hole in the door.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 10:28:29 PM by dbt1949 » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2010, 08:42:12 PM »

If British holiday = American vacation, then what does American holiday = ?
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« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2010, 09:00:45 PM »

san fran, then day-trip (or overnight) to grand canyon, muir woods, desert type locations.  if you want to suck in the "vastness" of america with a GREAT city as a home base this is it

'course im also a total northeast / new england junky and would suggest basing yourself somewhere in boston and venturing as far northward as maine (or french canada eh!) but that might not be your cup of tea.  plus im sure you could get a similar experience taking 3 or 4 day excursions closer to home (and i prefer vermont / nh in winter anyway)
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« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2010, 09:03:40 PM »

oh and just to let you know - ive done it MANY times (well, more northern florida, and i really like hot weather) but florida in summer... yea i dont know if id advise it during the dog days particularly coming from the UK.  the heat and humidity might not be something youd enjoy
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« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2010, 09:14:16 PM »

Quote from: ScubaV on February 07, 2010, 08:42:12 PM

If British holiday = American vacation, then what does American holiday = ?

Independence Day.
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« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2010, 09:16:57 PM »

Quote from: Isgrimnur on February 07, 2010, 09:14:16 PM

Quote from: ScubaV on February 07, 2010, 08:42:12 PM

If British holiday = American vacation, then what does American holiday = ?

Independence Day.

a.k.a. 'get drunk and blow stuff up day'.

in Hogeye they call it a weekday.
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« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2010, 09:25:03 PM »

Out of interest when is the best time to go to Florida? Is it better to go March/April?

Tals
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« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2010, 09:32:25 PM »

I'd avoid Florida all together. It's too expensive, too hot, and way too touristy. Look at Myrtle Beach, SC ,  Charleston, SC or something along those lines. Myrtle Beach has the longest contiguous beach in North America. We love going there, you can get a more affordable vacation, you can travel from Myrtle Beach to Charleston in less than 2 hours, you can also make Savannah Ga a stopping point. There are theme parks and water parks, and did I mention some awesome beaches. For you and the Wife, there are things like the historical tours, great dining and other cultural spots. The best part, especially in Charleston, it doesn't feel like school. You take a horse carriage tour, a ghost tour and walk around the beautiful battery park and your kids will have no idea that they are in the middle of history.

I don't know if priceline.com works in the UK, but we were able to name our price. $89 a night for a four star hotel in downtown Charleston, you can book flights and other stuff too. Everything was in walking distance, and we made a couple of day trips to some of the different beaches around Charleston.
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« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2010, 09:43:30 PM »

I like this suggestion a lot. What's the nearest international airport?

Many thanks
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« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2010, 10:13:29 PM »

Tebunker's plan is a good one. One thing that never seems to fail is to go from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe by way of the East side of the Sierras[route 395] You can see the great surf beaches or Disneyland while in L.A.. As you drive North[2 5-6 hour days] you'll see the high desert, Mt Whitney, Mono lake, Mamoth, June Lake, etc. There are many towns [e.g. Lone Pine, Big Pine, Bishop, Bridgeport, etc. you could stop over for side trips. You could duck over to Yosemite at Lee Vining or take the June Lake Loop. I can tell you from sitting in the McDonalds in Bishop that non-natives are uniformly impressed. 
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« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2010, 11:17:40 PM »

Quote from: Tals on February 07, 2010, 09:43:30 PM

I like this suggestion a lot. What's the nearest international airport?

Many thanks

Gah!  Continental American beaches are winning out the contest?  If you're doing international travel for beaches, go to Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Hawaii, something like that.  If you're going to America, experience something you can't get elsewhere.

I have to put in another plug for the natural wonders.  The Grand Canyon will blow you away, as will Yosemite.  Yellowstone is a ok if you want to see lots of wild animals (and plenty of other neat stuff) but I much much prefer Yosemite.  The California coast is incredible. 

I'm totally biased since I grew up in the San Francisco area, but if you're comfortable with doing some driving I'd recommend landing in San Francisco, spending a day or two seeing the city, and before you hit your final leg in Los Angeles:

Option A) Make the longish drive to spend a couple days in Yosemite getting blown away by the natural beauty, then take the fast moving but horribly ugly and boring drive down Interstate 5 to get to the Final Leg.

Option B) Take the slow scenic route to the Final Leg by driving down the gorgeous Highway 1 coastal drive.  See some not-as-good-as-Yosemite-but-still-gorgeous California natural beauty in the Henry Cowell Redwoods and/or Big Sur along the way.  Pit stop/day trip options include:
  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk - Get some sandy beach time with amusement park rides available too.  Kind of a West Coast Coney Island.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium - One of the best aquariums in the world, surrounded by some of the nicest examples of California coast.
.
Final Leg: Disneyland!  Yay!  Kids have something to look forward to the whole drive down and get to end on a surefire winner.  Some more sandy beaches in the area if you didn't get enough.  Fly out of Los Angeles.
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« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2010, 11:22:10 PM »

I like the California idea as well.  You and the wife will get a different perspective on the US then you get in NYC and there is a ton of stuff to do.  Not just Disneyland, but other themeparks in the LA area, Hollywood, a short trip gets you to San Diego and it's excellent parks, you can get to the Grand Canyon, Vegas, Death Valley, and a lot of other places on day or overnight trips.  And the climate will be easier to deal with then Florida's.

There's a reason so many people live down there and it's arguably the most culturally significant part of the country because of the entertainment industry largely being based in SoCal.

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« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2010, 11:26:39 PM »

With a 10 and a 14 year old I have to say Disney World & the other Orlando stuff is the best choice in the Spring.  You can find good package deals if you search enough and have some flexibility on when you're going.  There's no real history in Orlando, just fun, but if you can time the trip for a Shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral then it would be something you'll never regret or forget.  Unfortunately Shuttle launches are hit and miss with the actual launch day so I would schedule the vacation to start near the launch day.   The SF/LA/San Diego/California option would be my next recommendation based on what you're looking for but it's more expensive than Florida.
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« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2010, 02:55:36 AM »

Quote from: Doopri on February 07, 2010, 09:00:45 PM

san fran, then day-trip (or overnight) to grand canyon, muir woods, desert type locations.  if you want to suck in the "vastness" of america with a GREAT city as a home base this is it

'course im also a total northeast / new england junky and would suggest basing yourself somewhere in boston and venturing as far northward as maine (or french canada eh!) but that might not be your cup of tea.  plus im sure you could get a similar experience taking 3 or 4 day excursions closer to home (and i prefer vermont / nh in winter anyway)

I second this idea. If your kids aren't interested in US history then a lot of Boston's appeal is moot. You'd probably have a better time in CA than here.

You could just force a historical vacation on them. When my wife was little her dad took the family on a tour of Civil War battlefields. She didn't care about history at all then, but she still talks about that trip today. It made a huge impression on her. But if your kids aren't Americans the odds of them falling in love with US history are remote. CA has no history to speak of, but is does have some amazing nature. Your kids would probably love SF and northern CA, especially if they appreciate fine wine.
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« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2010, 02:57:40 AM »

Quote from: DOSHIGH on February 07, 2010, 11:26:39 PM

if you can time the trip for a Shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral then it would be something you'll never regret or forget.  Unfortunately Shuttle launches are hit and miss with the actual launch day so I would schedule the vacation to start near the launch day.  

Another great idea. There are only 4 shuttle missions left after the one that's about to launch. I would dearly love to see one, and it's something your kids would never forget.
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« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2010, 03:33:01 AM »

Quote from: wonderpug on February 07, 2010, 11:17:40 PM

Quote from: Tals on February 07, 2010, 09:43:30 PM

I like this suggestion a lot. What's the nearest international airport?

Many thanks

Gah!  Continental American beaches are winning out the contest?  If you're doing international travel for beaches, go to Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Hawaii, something like that.  If you're going to America, experience something you can't get elsewhere.

While I like some of your suggestions, not much is comparable to the South Carolina Low Country. I'm an East Coaster, so I am a little biased, but I don't even live in South Carolina, I just love that area. If you've never been, you really don't know what you're missing. You have the southern facing beaches of Myrtle, you can spend weeks travelling the sound, you get salt marshes and fresh water marshes. Charleston alone is 7 to 8 beaches that are so vastly different from one another you will think you are in different countries. Not to mention all the history in these areas. For the price you won't get a more diverse trip. On top of that, you won't eat better than in Charleston. Stay away from resorts, get a more historic hotel, walk, take the carriages. I would make Myrtle Beach a day trip. It's worth renting a car, going up there for a night or two, hit up the parks and event type stuff, and then spending most of your time in Charleston/Savannah.

Tals I would suggest either flying in to Charlotte, NC, I doubt Columbia, SC is international, or fly in to Atlanta, GA. You will probably connect into Columbia or Charleston proper.

Also, I suggest:

http://www.angeloaktree.org/history.htm

http://www.charlestoncvb.com/

http://www.seaportgeorgetown.com/

http://www.savannahvisit.com/

http://www.visitmyrtlebeach.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charleston,_South_Carolina

http://www.nps.gov/fosu/index.htm

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« Reply #31 on: February 08, 2010, 04:12:42 AM »

Quote from: map on February 07, 2010, 10:13:29 PM

Tebunker's plan is a good one. One thing that never seems to fail is to go from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe by way of the East side of the Sierras[route 395] You can see the great surf beaches or Disneyland while in L.A.. As you drive North[2 5-6 hour days] you'll see the high desert, Mt Whitney, Mono lake, Mamoth, June Lake, etc. There are many towns [e.g. Lone Pine, Big Pine, Bishop, Bridgeport, etc. you could stop over for side trips. You could duck over to Yosemite at Lee Vining or take the June Lake Loop. I can tell you from sitting in the McDonalds in Bishop that non-natives are uniformly impressed. 

I also like this idea. Since I live in Reno, NV I know Tahoe well. The entire area is very different from what I would assume would be any climate in the UK. I would say hit Disneyland/Unverisal Studios for the kids and do a trip on I-80 up to Lake Tahoe or you can do to other places around there. Hoover Dam would be cool to see for you and them. Also it is a great time of year for California/Lake Tahoe it isn't to hot and it's pretty dry. Which is nice compared to Florida which is 100 degrees and 2000 percent humidity. Tahoe has a ferry that goes around the entire lake that includes dinner, you can do water skiing if that is your thing or just enjoy the wonderful views. As for Disneyland it has been a really long time since I've been there so I'm not sure how much has changed but I think you can get the Disney experience in a few days with Disneyland compared to Disney World. I've heard mixed things about California Adventure or whatever but I'm sure it would be fun for your kids. Universal Studios is always fun though.

In either case I vote California, especially if you want a true American Experience.
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« Reply #32 on: February 08, 2010, 04:32:50 AM »

Oh yeah, I wanted to add that we have plans to take Amtrak's Scenic railways across the country in the next couple of years. You can literally go from DC to LA in a little over a week by taking the scenic train system through the Alleghenies's on the Capitol Limited , through Chicago switching on to the Empire Builder to Glacier National Park, on to Portland and then south on the Coast Starlight to LA. Whole trip, first class with meals included in a 4 person sleeper car was pretty reasonable.  Depending on schedules we'd probably take a day or two off to visit some of the stops. Granted you need to schedule it to get the train with the sleeper cars, but it can be done.
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« Reply #33 on: February 08, 2010, 11:02:50 AM »

I lived in South Carolina for 4 years and visited that area a bit.  Just be sure you know that during the time you are going it's going to be hot and humid.  I mean really, really HOT and HUMID. 

Also, hurricane season technically starts on June 1, so there is a miniscule chance you could get to see one of those as well (they really usually don't start hitting until end of August).

I don't know much about Charlotte's airport, but lI think it might be easier to fly into Atlanta - it's about a 6 hour drive to Charleston from there. 
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« Reply #34 on: February 08, 2010, 03:38:14 PM »

Quote from: Tebunker on February 08, 2010, 04:32:50 AM

Oh yeah, I wanted to add that we have plans to take Amtrak's Scenic railways across the country in the next couple of years.

I thought about recommending a cross country train ride to Tals--it's certainly on my life's to-do list--but as a first trip to America, with children in tow, I can't see it working out well unless the family is extremely fascinated by corn fields. We've got a whole lot of empty space in this country of ours.
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« Reply #35 on: February 08, 2010, 03:52:51 PM »

Quote from: DOSHIGH on February 07, 2010, 11:26:39 PM

With a 10 and a 14 year old I have to say Disney World & the other Orlando stuff is the best choice in the Spring.  You can find good package deals if you search enough and have some flexibility on when you're going.  There's no real history in Orlando, just fun, but if you can time the trip for a Shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral then it would be something you'll never regret or forget.  Unfortunately Shuttle launches are hit and miss with the actual launch day so I would schedule the vacation to start near the launch day.   The SF/LA/San Diego/California option would be my next recommendation based on what you're looking for but it's more expensive than Florida.


Didn't see this mentioned but if your kids like Harry Potter then the HP Universal Studios attraction opens this spring. That would make Disney World/Universal in Orlando a good bet.
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« Reply #36 on: February 08, 2010, 03:55:58 PM »

Tals-  What about skipping the mainland entirely and go to Hawaiii instead.

Island hopping, beaches, Pearl harbour (theres some history) and some volcanoes for the kids.  Not to mention, killer coffee. 

The diving isn't too shabby either.
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« Reply #37 on: February 08, 2010, 04:21:31 PM »

Camden, NJ has a nice aquarium....  ninja
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« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2010, 04:31:54 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on February 08, 2010, 03:38:14 PM

Quote from: Tebunker on February 08, 2010, 04:32:50 AM

Oh yeah, I wanted to add that we have plans to take Amtrak's Scenic railways across the country in the next couple of years.

I thought about recommending a cross country train ride to Tals--it's certainly on my life's to-do list--but as a first trip to America, with children in tow, I can't see it working out well unless the family is extremely fascinated by corn fields. We've got a whole lot of empty space in this country of ours.

My family rode the California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco (IIRC) when I was 8 years old...so that would've been 1965. It was an awesome journey, sitting in the observation deck of the dining car and watching the desert stream by. That trip instilled a lifelong love of trains. I imagine that things have changed a little since then, so I don't have any practical advice. But this 8-year-old was absolutely thrilled with it back in the day.
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Scuzz
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« Reply #39 on: February 08, 2010, 04:41:47 PM »

Quote from: Ironrod on February 07, 2010, 06:19:20 PM

I'm afraid I can't offer any child-friendly ideas if they don't like history or the arts. Maybe you could leave them home.

I would recomend this compromise as a child friendly trip. Visit Washington DC....then go south into Northern Virginia to Williamsburg. Next door to that is a huge theme park (I forget who owns it), Yorktown, Anhauser-Busch brewery and lots of hotel accomadations. You get history and booze, the kids get rides.

Williamsburg is a great recreation of a 1600's american city. Yorktown is where the British surrendered to the Rebels, every Brit should go there. The theme park is huge.
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