Friday, September 16, 2011

Fly / Drive Fun with Kids

Hi there Road Trip USA ,

My wife and I are considering taking our two young daughters ( ages 7 & 5) on a road trip out west. We have approximately 2 and half weeks to accomplish a round trip this coming June.

We were wondering if you could give us some tips on places that would interesting for the entire family. As previously mentioned, the girls are young and we need find stopping places and highlights that would entertain them as well as ourselves.

We're also wondering about travel time since we do want to see places of interest but still be able to get back home (to Georgia) by the end of the vacation. Perhaps there's a 'loop' trip we could make where we could maximize what we are able to see.

Any advice would be appreciated.



Hi Bill --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA, and having traveled with my own youngsters (who were once 5, and 7...), one thing I've learned is that littler kids don't really need a big famous (expensive!) attraction to have fun, so you don't need to be very ambitious in your planning. Some of the most fun we've had on trips has been in "unexpected" locales, like old forts, where we wander around sitting on cannons and clambering through the gunports, or simply going for a walk in the woods, or on a beach.

Fort Pulaski, near Savannah, is a great example near you. It's in a beautiful location, in a lush green marshland between a good beach and a great, historic city. And it's free for under-15s!)

St Augustine FL has a lovely old fort, too -- it's also the oldest city in the eastern US, and has some great attractions (incl the pricey but fun Alligator Farm!)

I've also had a lot of fun at "living history" parks, where people recreate the "Old Days". Natchez MS is a great example, though this might be more appealing when your girls are a little older. The Natchez Trace Parkway has some intriguing history and scenery, and the whole "Plantation Alley" tour along the Great River Road to New Orleans is a great road trip, if you wanted to get some miles away from home. You could head west along US80, thru historic Selma and Montgomery, then return via the Gulf Coast.

And of course if you are really ambitious to see the West -- in your subject line you had California! -- there's the whole wonderful world of the western National Parks, though for these I might suggest hopping a plane and doing a fly-drive trip, out of Las Vegas up through Zion and Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, for example.

Or maybe to Yosemite and the California coast. However, to get all the way west from Atlanta by road is a _long_ undertaking (a good week each way, at 350 miles a day!), and in my experience lots of driving is not exactly ideal with little kids on board.

Hope these ideas lead you to a nice vacation, wherever you go.

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

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