Travelling with my 3 year old son, one month, May, where to go?!
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Mar 21, 2013 2:11 PM Last Post By: LongIslandBob
Mar 20, 2013 6:41 AM
Travelling with my 3 year old son, one month, May, where to go?!I'm 30 next year and am planning to take a month off of work to travel the US with my 3 year old son.
I'm not fussed about NYC and want to spend the last week in Orlando for his benefit.
I'd like to see Santa Barbara, Chicago and DC. Where else could you recommend? How long should I spend in each? What order?! I'm planning on flying between cities, didnt want to rent a car....
Any help and advice is greatly appreciated, thanks xxx
Mar 20, 2013 7:04 AM
1You dont mention any interest? What time of year? Not sure Orlando theme parks would be so good for a toddler, maybe wait till he is 6 or older...
NYC you can train or bus to Wash DC.
Depends what you want to see in each city. You can hit DC 4 days or a week. Chicago 3 days or a week. What about San Fran? Lot of funs tuff there too...
Obviously, flying would be NYC or DC to Chicago, Chicago to west coast, west coast to Orlando, Orlando to NY.
Mar 20, 2013 7:15 AM
Mar 20, 2013 7:22 AM
3What time of year? That could be important. You may not want to see Orlando in August or Chicago in January.
What kind of lodging are you thinking about? How much do you think you want to pay per night--in dollars or some other currency, not adjectives, please. My "moderate" might be your "too expensive."
Why Santa Barbara and not other cities in California? San Francisco is the easiest place to visit without a car and there are many things you could do with a toddler. Santa Barbara has a beach that will be warmer than SF, but will be much harder to do without a car. It is also harder to get to--you will most likely have to fly to Los Angeles and catch a small plane to Santa Barbara.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Mar 20, 2013 7:43 AM
Mar 20, 2013 7:43 AM
5Mr Tim; My interests are art, museums, beaches, any tourist attractions specific to that area really. I want to travel in May. I've been to Orlando before with my son....Mickey Mouse!!! I don't know anything about San Fran, but will definitely do some more research - thank you!
Itzawonnder; he'll probably get the same out of it as he would if I took him anywhere else in the world, doing cool stuff with his even cooler mum. Maybe I could stop off at some petting zoos in the states?!
Nutraxfornerves; I'm looking to spend around $200 a night, I know some cities are going to be a lot more expensive than others. I already have accomodation for Orlando. Santa Barbara has been recommended by a friend, do you not agree? It sounds like San Fran is a lot more convenient, maybe i'll have to skip SB....
Mar 20, 2013 7:45 AM
Mar 20, 2013 8:14 AM
7Well, New York does have a children' zoo, as do many other places. Many of them are privately operated so you will have to find them on Google. There are playgrounds everywhere also. I agree that Santa Barbara is an odd choice. Besides it being very expensive, it does have a nice beach, but May wont be good beach weather. Chicago is the top of my list for underrated cities and I think a great city to explore, but it isnt particularly child friendly and could be cold in May, or warm. Same with DC. They both do have good zoos as well. If you really want beach time and a good zoo in May, you will have to go to San Diego, which is generally overrated, in my opinion. A week in Orlando would be enough time to turn any adult in a mindless raving manic and I think if you focus on it, this will turn into a lost weekend sort of trip for you. While I think it is admirable that you want to do things for your child, this will be an expensive trip for you, and one that should give you great memories. I suggest you get a good USA guidebook (LP is good as any) and start planning a trip around things that you really want to see, assuming you will never have a chance to see them again, and then fitting in activities for your son. Cheers
Mar 20, 2013 8:39 AM
Mar 20, 2013 9:08 AM
9May is a good time for San Francisco. It's the tail end of the rainy season, so rain is unlikely. It's also, second to October, a time when there is less fog. You can get to the City from the airport by transit, or if you don't want to cope with transit, luggage, and toddler, by cab.
Lonely Planet on San Francisco with Children. Some of those ideas may be for older children.
The Cal Academy of Sciences is great. There are specific exhibits & activities for toddlers. Early Explorers Cove for instance. Search the site for "toddlers". The Cal Academy is in golden Gate Park, which has lots of places to explore.
He will probably enjoy watching the sea lions at Pier 39. There is a childrens zoo. Not the finest on the planet, but fun for kids. He might also enjoy the Insect Zoo.
There is also the Walt Disney Family Museum. This is not a theme park. Mickey won't be there. But sometimes they show old cartoons or films that are not being distributed. You can look at the site & see if it seems too old for your son.
For $200 a night, you should be able to get a comfortable hotel, located near transit in SF. Don't forget to factor in a hefty city lodging tax, however--be sure whatever you research gives you the tax included price.
edited to add: San Francisco has beaches, but son't expect warm beach weather.
Santa Barbara with Children Most of these are for older kids & you might need a car to get to them.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Edited by: nutraxfornerves
Mar 20, 2013 9:34 AM
10You asked about "what order?" Part of that may depend on how well your son tolerates long haul flights. Would you rather have fewer days spent flying, but longer flights to get it over with? Or more flying days, but shorter flights?
You might prefer to fly to DC (4 hours), fly to Orlando (4 hours), fly to SF (5 hours), fly to Chicago (4 hours), fly home (7-8 hours). Shorter flights, more expensive because you are not flying in & out of the same city.
If you try to fly between London and the West Coast, you are looking at 10-12 hour flights.
Is your son into trains or boats? Would he be interested in s few hours riding one of them?
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Mar 20, 2013 9:43 AM
11I am actually in Orlando right now, I live in Chicago. Been here 2 weeks for work, but I have no desire for the amusement side of things, as I dont have kids and I am here solo.
I can tell you May will be nice weather, the end of the shoulder season and starting to get more heat and humidity. Great beaches nearby would be on the Gulfside, consider places like Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, though Clearwater Beach and St Pete beach is fine too. While I have been here, I have mainly played golf, gone to Sebring for a race, going to Bayhill for a PGA event, I am going to Devils Den to dive in the springs, and will hit the Honda GP in St Pete, went to Bike week in Daytona (nuts) and enjoyed New Smyrna on the atlantic side.
Orlando you need a car overall.
Chicago has a lot to do, May will be great, the later the better, as the street festivals start up in various parts of city around Memorial Day. You have the Museum Campus, which has the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium, as well as Grant Park, Millenium Park, the Art Institute and Navy Pier, all within walking distance. You can rent a bike with child seat too, and ride the lake front for 12 miles in both directions, hit the free Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park, the children's museum, and also ride the river boats for a Architecture tour, or the lakefront, and take water taxis everywhere too.
San Francisco is one the prettiest cities in America IMO, super fun to discover, great parks with hiking, redwoods, wine country to and beaches nearby like Stinson Beach, as well a very diverse city of arts, cafes and lifestyles all on the bay.
San Diego may be a good time too, easy to get about downtown, and a great zoo as well.
Here are some links-
Mar 20, 2013 10:21 AM
12I’ve never been to Santa Barbara.
When my son was 3 we went travelling to various historic sites and nature spots. He enjoyed running around on the grass having no idea what he was looking at while mom and dad had a great time.
There is a toy Museum in Brooklyn NY and another one somewhere in the upstate area but If NYC is just a fly-thru destination for you I’m not sure you should change your plans just to go there.
In Easton PA (an otherwise avoidable location), is the Crayola Crayon museum, which isn’t really a museum, but more like a giant craft center. Not far from Philadelphia is an amusement park called Sesame Place which is especially geared for younger kids. Three might be a little too young to get the full effect of those places, but they are on the way from NYC to Philadelphia nd Washington DC.
Near Washington is a town called Baltimore. It’s a little pricey but it’s got a GREAT aquarium and my son absolutely loved it when he was about 3 or so. (I think he peed himself when he saw the sharks.)
DC has a great, free natural history museum. Dinosaurs, stuffed tigers, stuff like that.
There are nice waterparks near almost every major city, including Orlando. I remember taking my son to several when he could barely walk. He had a blast. You said May, so keep in mind you need to get about as far south as N. Carolina before the weather gets really warm.
Beaches are always great for young kids. You don’t have to go all the way to Miami. Our east coast and west coast each have a number of good beaches. The water is warmer on the east coast, especially south of Cape Hatteras, but I don’t want to start a fight.
Chicago is a great town but what makes it great is its food, its music its people etc.. Off the top of my head can’t think of much there for a 3-year-old. Maybe the Ripley’s believe-it-or-not museum will have something interesting.
Edited by: LongIslandBob
Mar 20, 2013 11:34 AM
The west coach beaches are known for things like sea lions and "runs" of grunion (thousands and thousands of silvery fish beach themselves to mate.)
The East Coast is less known for such things but does have two completely wild beaches. One is on the Maryland/Virginia border (a little cold for swimming that time of year) it is commonly known as Chincoteague and is famous for it's wild ponies.
Another is in Georgia (MUCH warmer) and is called Cumberland Island.
If you do go to Chicago, nearby is the Illinois river. There is a "fish jumping" phenomenon that happens there . It entertains kids (even big kids like me).
You might have to wear a helmet, but it looks like a lot of fun!!!
Mar 20, 2013 12:47 PM
Santa Barbara often has pelicans on the beach. I can't imagine a 3 year old not enjoying that.
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