Travellling the East Coast of America
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Jan 22, 2013 9:09 PM Last Post By: nicole
Jan 19, 2013 10:40 PM
Travellling the East Coast of Americawe are a family of four on our first trip to usa as a family. My daughters will be 6 and 4 years old.
we would like to tour the east coast over 3 - 4 weeks.
Some of the areas we are keen to see are:
Can you sugguest rental car companys, where to stay and if its possible to see all the above in that time frame or is it too rushed?
Looking at going in December / Jan next year. Whats the weather like at the time of the year?
We will be coming from NZ.
Jan 20, 2013 1:37 AM
1Welcome to the forum.
For a start - can you identify where you are planning to fly into, and then fly out of?
Your selected spots lead to a very ugly shape for a drive - you have three dead-end destinations (Cape Cod, New Orleans, Kay West)), and they would involve a lot of back-tracking and some extremely long drives in your available time. Plus a lot of empty space in between.
Can I recommend you become very familiar using Google Maps to plot things.
Weather could be very cold indeed north of Washington DC, but better in Florida and New Orleans.
We have successfully used carhire3000.com to book a rental vehicle in advance from Australia ... they're good to deal with.
Jan 20, 2013 4:05 AM
2Hard to believe anyone is traveling halfway around the world to go to Cape Cod in the winter. Especially with young kids.
Jan 20, 2013 4:26 AM
3You can have a nice drive down the east coast to NOLA if you skip Fl. hugh detour, you don't say when you're going to do this trip, but for beach time you could stop at the gulf coast between Pensacola, Fl. and Mobile, Al., beautiful beach and not to crowded.
Also see if you can get an open jaw or multiple city ticket so you don't have to back track.
Jan 20, 2013 5:19 AM
Jan 20, 2013 8:10 AM
Jan 20, 2013 8:41 AM
6The only place on this plan that will be warm, if lucky above 75, in Dec/Jan will be Kew West, which is also very expensive destination, not so kid friendly IMO, mainly bars and scuba diving, resorts and hardly much beach.
Florida as a whole is out of the way, but what about going to Orando, DisneyLand/Busch Gardnes etc, then driving 2 hours to the Gulf of Mexico like Sarasota? These are great beaches, lots of condos and homes for rent in low season for $800 week, and walk to beach, and good off, though the water is cold, so you need a place with a pool IMO. I like Holmes Beach in Bradenton, great old school florida feels and low key.
As for Cape Cod, in the winter? Are you nuts, those cottages/homes are all but closed up for the winter.
New York in Dec is expensive, and cold, Jan is also not cheap, as there is a major fashion market in full swing and buyers and designers/labels come in from around the globe. But NYC is great. Stay in midtown manhattan near or around Times Sq is fine.
New Orleans is best if you fly to it, as its way away from anywhere else, 2-3 nights max.
If coming from Aussie land, I imagine you will fly into LAX, so thats a 6 hour flight to the east coast, during the holidays too...$$$ Dec 17th to Jan 8th, flights in the US sell out.
You may look into flying via Shanghia, as you get 24 hours free Visa to enjoy the city, then fly direct to NYC/Atlanta/Houston 13 hours.
Not to change subject, but this time of year and these places are best enjoyed in spring (April to June or fall, Sept to Nov, besides Cape Cod, which is a summer retreat in July-Aug.
What about going to Costa Rica for 3 weeks, lot of nature, wildlife, beaches, great lodges/Inns and much warmer :)
Jan 20, 2013 9:51 AM
7Your list indicates a severe limitation on knowledge of the "U.S. and traveling with kids." Sure, start in Florida (though NOT Key West), but hit up sites that have some history and some serious outdoors running around. I think Colonial Williamsburg, Gettysburg (both unequaled in scope anywhere in the world), and a place like the Hagley Museum in the Brandywine Valley (Wilmington, DE) offer both good outdoor strolls and fascinating experiences. Some of the best the we have to offer.
In Florida, go for the subtropical state parks and natural areas like the Springs of Central Florida. Or perhaps to the Myakka River State Park - a paradise for alligators (they have cabins to rent by the day). Blue Spring State Park, DeLeon Spring State Park (with an old working Grist Mill; the ground flour there is used at the mill's restaurant where you make your pancakes at the table. In Ocala National Forest: Juniper Spring is the most beautiful, Salt Spring makes for the best swimming. St Augustine is also a good choice. From there, Savannah, Charleston, on up the East Coast to Williamsburg and then on to DC (Library of Congress, Capitol Building) and Pennsylvania/Delaware. Stop in Philly for Independence Hall and pizza at Taconelli's, a historic pizza oven where you reserve your dough in advance- but you will need patience once you arrive. Bring a bottle of wine with you (NZ has some nice ones, right?) and share it with folks at neighboring tables - it's the kind of place where everyone is instantly family. On to New York to see Times Square, some very tall buildings, and maybe the Lower East Side (Chinatown, Little Italy, Lower East Side Tenement Museum).
Stop anywhere you fancy along the way, in most cases no need for strict advance planning. Some good research, state-by-state, is in order. Some great places you'll find are not so well known, but you'll need to discover what appeals to you.
Shorten this trip on either end as you like. Try to limit any one day's driving and you will be in good shape. Lots of interesting history, nature, landscapes, and beautiful cities along the way.
Jan 20, 2013 10:01 AM
Jan 20, 2013 11:37 AM
9I am also puzzled by the notion that the historical battlefield at Gettysburg is "unequalled anywhere in he world". Have you seen every war memorial o the planet? I haven't either, but I have certainly seen several that are more grand and more moving than Gettysburg - where I have been a few times and have found it kid of dull.
And it's definitely chilly in winter.
Jan 20, 2013 4:11 PM
10#8, It seems you are unfamiliar with recent climate changes. The mid-atlantic has not seen a really cold December in years, and January has been pretty nice too. Today you could have gone out in a short sleeve shirt. Nighttime temperatures can drop, but we have had a series of nice New Years Day temps for a while now. The kids won't mind, and it's not like your outside exclusively as both places involve either going into buildings or in the case of Gettysburg, an auto tour where you are in and out of your car as much as you like.
#9, The level of interpretation at Gettysburg is unequaled. More people put more time into interpreting this battlefield site than anywhere else. Go to the Marne, Verdun, Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, or Austerlitz (almost completely unmarked). I have been to battlefields in Europe, and no matter the tourist interest, there isn't THAT much there to help you appreciate the site. In Gettysburg, there is a museum, an audio-guided auto tour, multiple park ranger walks, private guides for hire that can walk you through the entire site or focus in on one aspect of the battle, carriage rides, and enough information on paper to fill a library. Whenever I have visited other sites, I am always in awe of what Gettysburg has to offer. Even in visiting the Beaches at Normandy, it is not that easy to find such a deep level of interpretation. In many cases, you are on your own once you get there.
Jan 20, 2013 4:49 PM
11I appreciate that it might be quite significant for some Americans (even an obsession), and I agree that the museum is impressive. But there are only so many monuments to dead soldiers that one can admire ... after the 21st Kentucky Rifles, or the 19th New York Militia, and on and on, and checked out the view from Little Round Top, it's all rather a blur (and I have studied the American Civil War, which is why I went there).
Jan 20, 2013 4:50 PM
12I appreciate that it might be quite significant for some Americans (even an obsession), and I agree that the museum is impressive. But there are only so many monuments to dead soldiers that one can admire ... after the 21st Kentucky Rifles, or the 19th New York Militia, and on and on, and checked out the view from Little Round Top, it's all rather a blur (and I have studied the American Civil War, which is why I went there).
It is interesting, but I was mainly responding to the world-first praise, which is possibly a little hyperbolic.
Jan 22, 2013 12:10 AM
13Gettysburg is hardly just about the monuments, but obviously not everyone has the same point of view. Doing the audio tour, seeing the landscape, getting out and running around with your kids, playing on the cannons, are experiences that any family should be able to appreciate.
I was thrilled taking my kids to all of the places I mentioned above when they were that age. That's why I mentioned them here.
Jan 22, 2013 12:58 AM
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