Author Topic: Great road trips in US with small kids?  (Read 2120 times)

Morning Glory

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Great road trips in US with small kids?
« on: February 01, 2021, 06:29:23 AM »
Hello, I'm looking for some vacation suggestions/ routes here.

I've got a couple months off work this summer and I'm looking to do some slow travel in the US, or possibly Canada if the border is open. I would love to use the opportunity to check out retirement destinations as well as show my kids some natural beauty.

I like to be active (hiking, sightseeing, kayaking, etc). Kids will be six and three so day hikes are ok but want to save the serious mountains for when they are older. 3 y/o is not yet potty trained. They are good walkers but neither can swim well yet.

 Want to avoid full day slogs in the car, and the really hot states. Open to camping (at campsite with showers/toilets) or staying in cabin, air b&b, etc. Might tie in some family visits if adults have Covid vaccine by then. Live in middle of US, could go east or west, would love to see the ocean.

Papa bear

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Re: Great road trips in US with small kids?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2021, 06:39:45 AM »
Posting to follow.  5 and 3 kids here.  Interested to see ideas. 


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spaghetti1awk

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Re: Great road trips in US with small kids?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2021, 07:37:41 AM »
I have done lots of road-trips with my kids when they were your kids' ages as well as older (although we often did the 8-12hr days of driving to get to destinations and then adventure from there because of being more constrained time-wise). I would totally recommend a slow mosey on I90 with some detours all the way over to the coast (Seattle), and then head over to the Peninsula and drive down Hwy 101 along the coast into Oregon. For my money you can't find a prettier drive, and there's plenty of nice places to stop and camp (or hotel/airbnb). You hit a wide variety of National and State parks. When my kids were yours ages, they really liked both Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, as well as the Oregon Coast.

Spiffy

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Re: Great road trips in US with small kids?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2021, 08:38:25 AM »
We did this when our 3 kids were ages 13, 10, and 7. It is still the most favorite thing we have done as a family. We spent just over three weeks on a road trip from Texas to Canada. We had just bought a Dodge Grand Caravan and packed it up and hit the road. We spent ALL day on the road the first day because it takes a long time to get out of Texas and into unfamiliar territory. But after that, we went slowly and stopped along the way and saw so many things. A few things we visited: the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. Lake Erie. Upstate New York, Ithaca & Cornell University, Lake Placid, Watkins Glen & Seneca Lake, Cooperstown & Baseball Hall of Fame, Fort Ticonderoga (we used to live in upstate New York and wanted to show the kids our old stomping grounds). The Adirondacks. Ferry on Lake Champlain. New Hampshire & Vermont. Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory. About a week was spent at the family camp on a small lake in Maine. A day trip up to Quebec City in Canada. Then Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. On the way back to Texas we took a different route and spent a day at Gettysburg. I think we went through 15 states. The kids were the perfect ages at the time and we did a mixture of fun outdoor stuff, visiting family in Maine and history sites and museums. We packed food in a cooler and stayed at hotels that included breakfast when we were not with family in Maine. I think we spent around $3500. We could have done it more cheaply, but didn't really want to. Your kids might be too young to enjoy historic sights, so maybe save those for when they are older. But we all loved going on that trip and still make jokes that started on it. We might do something similar this summer, since our overseas trip is still postponed. So all that to say, go to the North East because there is so much to do in an area that is so beautiful and the weather is nice. One of the things we all said during that trip is, " It's not HOT!"

Rhinodad

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Re: Great road trips in US with small kids?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2021, 10:08:32 AM »
We live in Wisconsin, and as kids did this. Took 3 weeks to drive out to the coast (we followed the Oregon Trail as my Dad was a history professor), so got to see quite a bit on the way, tent camping the whole way out. The next year, we drove East...Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, Philadelphia, Delaware, NY (Baseball HOF), Canton OH (Football HOF). Again, taking 3 weeks. A great mix of kid stuff, and adult stuff.

cool7hand

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Re: Great road trips in US with small kids?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2021, 12:44:55 PM »
+1 on Acadia National Park. There are plenty of activities for younger kids, from short hikes to tidal pools. June and early September are more cost effective if you have flexibility.

Caroline PF

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Re: Great road trips in US with small kids?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2021, 05:10:53 PM »
Three years ago, when my kids were 6.5 and almost 4, we did a 10-day RV trip around the Great Lakes. We went up through Canada, and also went to Niagara Falls, and the Soo Locks. They had a bunch of fun camping, and still talk about it.

We bought clear craft containers, like these: https://www.amazon.com/Paylak-CNTB111-6-Storage-Stackable-Containers/dp/B00TGDARSW/

We labeled each layer of the tower with the name of each lake, and the kids saved some sand and rocks from each Lake. It made a great souvenir of our trip.

rosarugosa

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Re: Great road trips in US with small kids?
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2021, 05:23:27 AM »
Lots of fun things to do and beautiful scenery in the White Mountains of NH.  I don't have kids, but I was one myself once upon a time and have fond memories of many happy times in that region with Mom, Dad and Sis.
https://www.familyvacationcritic.com/white-mountains-new-hampshire-family-vacation/dat/

LiveLean

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Re: Great road trips in US with small kids?
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2021, 03:43:46 PM »
Get kids accustomed to long car vacations. We would drive 5,000 miles over three weeks from where we live in Florida starting when they were little. The upside is they get used to long car travel at a young age. We played a lot of DVDs --do they still install DVD players in minivans anymore?

The upside is that now that they're teenagers they think nothing of long car drives. They have cousins and friends who have known nothing but air travel and their parents can't take them for even a two-hour drive without getting complaints the whole way, even as the kids stare at phones.

AMandM

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Re: Great road trips in US with small kids?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2021, 06:22:04 PM »
Whatever route you decide on, I recommend getting books set in some of the places you'll visit and reading them to the kids ahead of time. Then when you get there you can show them places from the books. It gives small children a connection to the things they see, in the same way that adults are interested in a house because it's where someone famous lived.

yachi

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Re: Great road trips in US with small kids?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2021, 02:16:59 PM »
Get kids accustomed to long car vacations. We would drive 5,000 miles over three weeks from where we live in Florida starting when they were little. The upside is they get used to long car travel at a young age. We played a lot of DVDs --do they still install DVD players in minivans anymore?

The upside is that now that they're teenagers they think nothing of long car drives. They have cousins and friends who have known nothing but air travel and their parents can't take them for even a two-hour drive without getting complaints the whole way, even as the kids stare at phones.

You know, they don't install them much anymore.  Not at the factory at least.  I was talking with someone who got a new minivan back in 2017 or so, and the salesman told them there isn't much demand- parents want their kids to use tablets now.  I guess that makes sense - everyone can do their own thing on them, but I'm not sure how that works with/without network connections and such.  We did a long-to-us 3 hour trip, and I rigged up a portable DVD player between the front seats for the kids to watch a movie or two.  I had to make sure the kids kept their seatbelts in the right location as they tended to move to see the screen better.

reeshau

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Re: Great road trips in US with small kids?
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2021, 03:49:38 PM »
Get kids accustomed to long car vacations. We would drive 5,000 miles over three weeks from where we live in Florida starting when they were little. The upside is they get used to long car travel at a young age. We played a lot of DVDs --do they still install DVD players in minivans anymore?

The upside is that now that they're teenagers they think nothing of long car drives. They have cousins and friends who have known nothing but air travel and their parents can't take them for even a two-hour drive without getting complaints the whole way, even as the kids stare at phones.

You know, they don't install them much anymore.  Not at the factory at least.  I was talking with someone who got a new minivan back in 2017 or so, and the salesman told them there isn't much demand- parents want their kids to use tablets now.  I guess that makes sense - everyone can do their own thing on them, but I'm not sure how that works with/without network connections and such.  We did a long-to-us 3 hour trip, and I rigged up a portable DVD player between the front seats for the kids to watch a movie or two.  I had to make sure the kids kept their seatbelts in the right location as they tended to move to see the screen better.

I did get them on my 2021 Chrysler Pacifica.  The way the rear screens are set up are more like seatback entertainment on a plane:  the screens have games installed, and usb and HDMI jacks to plug in your devices or media.  There is a blu-ray player in the front console that can communicate with either screen.

I think this is standard on the Pinnacle, and an available option otherwise.  It seemed pretty common on Limited trim levels at the dealer lot.

kpd905

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Re: Great road trips in US with small kids?
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2021, 07:04:30 AM »
I was talking with someone who got a new minivan back in 2017 or so, and the salesman told them there isn't much demand- parents want their kids to use tablets now.  I guess that makes sense - everyone can do their own thing on them, but I'm not sure how that works with/without network connections and such.

We have downloaded episodes of kids shows through the Netflix app and had our 3 year old daughter watch them on some 1.5-2 hr drives.  Not everything on Netflix is available to download, but there is plenty to keep them busy.