A road trip is a classic American vacation, but it requires good planning.
Some states are while others are treated better than a single destination. In addition to the sights and the landscape, you should also consider the hotel costs and gas prices.
Another tip for family trips? Keep the little ones busy, says Marielle Rishty, a travel agent at Ovation Vacations in New York. "Ask quizzes along the way if you happen to visit certain sites," she suggests, trying to keep the pit stops child-friendly. They do not have to be too "sophisticated" or "fancy" in restaurants, but they give children the opportunity to sample and learn from the local flavors and tastes. "We recommend bringing them to a place where they can try local things and relate to where they are."
Finally, be open to new experiences. Word of mouth recommendations are just as great as well-grounded tips from your travel advisor. Now look at eight drives south for your dream summer trip from the Pacific Northwest.
“You’re covering two great southern cities with great hotel options,” says Jessica Griscavage, of McCabe World Travel in McClean, Virginia, plus there’s. Drive an hour south of Charleston to stay at the five-star Sanctuary Resort on Kiawah Island, or save gas for a beach day at Hilton Head, which is only an hour further. The Cloister at Sea Island, an hour south of Savannah, is another good option for families, with plenty of swimming, fishing and nature walks.
It only takes three hours to get to this 113-acre resort, where you’ll find one suite and 18 cottages, all inspired by different themes. Tell stories by a crackling fire in woodsy Beaver Lodge, or immerse yourself in the wonder of the Connecticut forest in picture-esque Camping. The farm-to-table restaurant is worth the trip alone, but don’t be surprised if your little ones beg to go up in a hot air balloon instead.
At less than two hours, this drive is easy for parents and just long enough for the kids. “San Diego has the zoo, Legoland California and the beach,” explains Griscavage, while “in Los Angeles, you can combine Universal Studios Hollywood or Disneyland with the beach.” Parents will also appreciate San Diego’s , sunny days and Mexican restaurants.
In Seattle, parents can hit Revel for , while kids will go bonkers for the Pinball Museum — it includes 50 games for the price of admission — and sampling the delicacies at Pike Place Market. In Vancouver, don’t miss the massive totem poles at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, or a jog along the 17-mile seawall in Stanley Park, located minutes from downtown.
Whether you choose to stay in a shingled cottage or a beachfront apartment, your kids will fall hard for the Cape. No trip is complete without a visit to , where you can gaze at the water and feast on whole belly clams, or one of the Cape’s kettle ponds, which families often have all to themselves. The Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, with its five miles of trails and salt marshes, is also worth visiting.
Beginning in Orange County’s Dana Point and reaching north to San Francisco, can be completed in under eight hours. But why keep it short? With many major stops — from sprawling Los Angeles to Carmel-by-the-Sea — you could make this road trip last for days. Driving from the south to the north, head to the top of the Topanga Overlook in Malibu for incredible views of the San Fernando Valley. Then, a few hours north in Santa Ynez Wine Country, relax with a glass of vino as you plot your visit to Hearst Castle.
At in the Pocono Mountains, East Coasters will feel like they’re back in summer camp — in a good way, promises Rishty. On and off the property, there’s plenty to do, from paintball to fishing, drawing and bowling. Dare your teens to take on the 600-foot Eagle Eye Zip line, or while away an afternoon playing pool in the Bunker lounge area. Not up for reliving your childhood? Here are in the Poconos.
In the summer, Stowe is an has some of the best beers on tap and is full of New England charm. Cool off with the kids at the — the small heated pool has toys and a water slide — or see the real thing at the Waterbury Reservoir in Waterbury Center State Park. With 17 picnic sites and boat rentals available until Labor Day, you’re sure to keep the little ones preoccupied.
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