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DC, New York, Maine in 11 days with kids?

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Aug 24th, 2014, 04:05 PM
  #1
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DC, New York, Maine in 11 days with kids?

Hi there,

I have a family of 4 including me, my wife, 8 year old and almost 2 year old kids.

I'm planning a trip to east coast in Oct for 11 full days of traveling days. We're arriving in Dulles on Oct 1 afternoon and flying out on Oct 13 morning. My flight are all booked and cannot be changed and I already paid for rental car so we will be taking our SUV wherever we go even if we have to leave our car at a hotel in big cities like New York or DC. Flights and car can't be changed.

First of all, I appreciate all of your honest advice. So we have decided to trim many places we wanted to include.

We're now thinking about DC, New York and Maine, maybe including Acadia NP.

I was initially planning to make a big loop through Niagara but with all the advice, we decide to skip all that and stick to east coast cities. That made part of our plan a waste of time since we might be driving up and down instead of making a one way trip. But, that's ok. It was my fault.

Anyway, we don't want to get farther away from Dulles as we travel cuz it's kinda scary and streeful. If we start from a far and getting closer makes me much more comfortable not to miss our flight on 13th.

So I'm thinking about driving like 4 hours as soon as we arrive in Dulles and sleep near Woodbury common outlet area. And we shop there next half day and drive again to 4 to 5 hours to Portland or even more if we include Acadia NP which I love to see.

And we travel from north to south which makes us much more comfortable about catching a flight on 13th. We start either from Portland or Acadia and drive down to New York, maybe Philadelphia for a day and DC at last.

What do you guys think? Is it still too much of driving with two kids? Or any idea or advice? It would be greatif I don't drive same way twice up and down. But, if there's no other cities to check along the way, that's fine as well.

We like sightseeing, food, museums with kids and shopping, especially finding great deals like in outlet malls.

I appreciate all your advice and tips. = ]
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Aug 24th, 2014, 04:42 PM
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I answered on your other thread, but I am glad you decided to trim your list of destinations. I think this is still a lot of driving, but more possible than your other plan.

One thing that it is important to keep in mind on your entire trip is that the times on mapping programs along the eastern US corridor are not realistic, unless you are driving at 2 AM. While MapQuest says it is just over 8 hours from IAD to Portland, ME, that would actually be quite impossible. The routes along which you will be traveling are congested and there is always some traffic or accident issue that will slow you down. In addition, since you pass near so many cities, you have to time your trip very carefully to avoid rush hour in these cities or you will be stuck in a lot of traffic.

Monday, October 13 is a National holiday (Columbus Day) and a popular travel weekend - so you may hit more traffic Thurs-Monday of that weekend. Since you seem to want to go directly from IAD to Portland and work south, this is how I would do that.

After arrival at IAD, start your drive north towards Maine. Look at a map, but I might takes Interstate 76 (towards Harrisburg, PA) rather than the usually recommended route thru most of NJ and towards NYC. The drive from IAD to Portland will take your arrival day plus most of the next day, depending on how far you go not he first day. This route is thru small mountains and even though it is early for foliage, there might be some nice views.

Arrive in Portland on 10/2. On Sunday 10/5 leave for Boston. On Tuesday 10/7 leave for NYC. On Friday 10/10 - early - leave for DC. Do not wait until later in the day or you will hit terrible holiday weekend traffic in NJ. Spend the rest of your time in DC - which is about 60-90 minutes from IAD/Dulles. It is approximately 1.5-2 hours from Portland to Boston. 4-5 hours between Boston and NYC and the same from NYC to DC.

I would skip Philadephia. It is a nice city, but I would spend your time in Portland, Boston, NYC and Washington, DC.

That is the rough framework that I recommend. I listened that your air and car arrangements are non-changeable. If you think this makes general sense, then you can then proceed to reserving hotels and selecting things to do and see in each city.
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Aug 24th, 2014, 05:02 PM
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Unfortunately, you are booked in and out of DC, but the truth is you do not have to go all the way to Maine and I sure would not.
If there is any way you can rebook for a small fee and do a return flight from Portland or Boston or Hartford or NYC, then OK, but I would not drive all that way and drive back.

Is there any possible way to reduce the time for the car? You will be paying to park it in DC and NYC.

Flying out on the morning of the 13th, book a hotel close to the airport with a shuttle service for that last night.

If it is true that absolutely nothing can be changed and made more efficient and comfortable, then rethink the itinerary.

There are plenty of museums (art, history, air and space, Holocaust, American Indian, spy, fabulous old postoffice) and memorials like the Vietnam Wall in DC to keep a family busy for four days, especially if you go also go Mt Vernon and Woodlawn, perhaps Great Falls, the Arboretum, hike along the canal, visit Old Town Alexandria and even a zip down to Potomac Mills outlet Mall. Take a boat down the Potomac. The National zoo would make a great afternoon for the kids.

The Baltimore Harbor, ride on the water in the water taxi and visit the Aquarium makes for a great day.

Annapolis is historic and beautiful with nice shopping. I find it a bit boring, but most people love it.

Philadelphia has history and great food and there is very historic and nearby Bordentown, NJ.

Then NYC, good for several days. Won't begin to name all the places to see.

You could return through Lancaster PA to see Amish Country, or through Gettysburg and Frederick if those seem interesting, though with 4 days in DC, 1 or 2 in Philly and 4 or 5 in NYC, plus about two days of driving, I do not see how you could do more.
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Aug 24th, 2014, 05:56 PM
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I'm afraid you are severely underestimating driving time. There is now way you will get from Dulles to Woodstock in 4 hours (as agree except at about 2 am - and even then I;m not sure). I know there are different cities on the map - but you are really driving through a megalopalis with more than 50 million people - and there is traffic, construction and potential accidents everywhere. I would guess more like 6 hours. (At the moment google maps says it will take 4 hours 55 minutes - and that's on a Sunday evening).

I think you need to do some more research on how long these drives will actually take. I used to have a client near Trenton and drove there more than 100 times from NYC - and it could take as little as 1.5 hours (at 6 am) or as much as 4 hours (traffic, bad weather and construction).
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Aug 24th, 2014, 06:00 PM
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Why would you want to shop at the very beginning of your trip and then have to haul all your purchases around with you for the next ten days?
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Aug 24th, 2014, 06:18 PM
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Agree with going to your farthest point and then heading back to the airport so you don;t end up missing your flight - but you many find you have no time left for DC if everything takes longer than you think - as seems likely.
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Aug 24th, 2014, 07:33 PM
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Please listen to NYtraveler about driving times and traffic. Once in awhile you get lucky, but mostly not. Traffic around Dulles can be a nightmare, especially if you do not land and get your rental and get away from the area by 2:30 P.M. I do not mind the airport itself, but arriving and departing from there is the pits. If you are even a little later getting away from Dulles, you will likely be in major traffic by time you get north of DC and around Baltimore. Further north in NJ can be a mess also. We try to carefully time trips in these areas.
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Aug 24th, 2014, 08:23 PM
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Hi everyone,

Only reason that we're shopping first at Woodbury Common outlet is that we don't think we can drive 8 to 10 hours as soon as we arrive at Dulles. And one of to do list is shopping at Woodbury so we thought we can drive like 4 to 5 hours and since we're near New York area, we can shop there first and continue to drive north to Maine or Acadia. That is the only reason. Nothing else. And we have a SUV so we can put everything we shop in our SUV so that's not a big deal even though it might have been better if it were other way around.

And my wife doesn't want to spend too much time in not so well known cities like Baltimore and Annapolis. She might change her mind once we get there but for now, she rather check megalopolis like DC, New York, Philadelphia(don't know for sure for time constraint) and Boston(don't know for sure for the same reason). It's me who wants to go and see Maine because I want to start from less hectic quiet cities like Portland, ME until we overcome our jet lag.

Now I'm in a door to a big decision if we go to Maine and possibly Acadia NP or just focus on DC(Baltimore and Annapolis if we don't go too far up north), Philadelphia(?), New York and Boston(?).

We don't want to visit too many museums. We just wanna check and see most popular ones like National Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum like that. Especially ones good for kids.

What we wanna do:

- Sightseeing: Usual touristy places like Washington monument, Lincoln memorial, White house, Alexandria and so on in DC, Wall street, Empire State building, Penn station.. you know what I mean. And museums or Aquarium, Zoos since we have two kids. Possibly walk on the beach in Maine?

- Shopping: Outlet malls or big malls

- Food: Blue crabs in DC area, Lobster rolls in Boston or Maine, other popular seafood restaurants, Chinese food, Sushi, Steak, you name it!

These are the things we wanna do.

Maine is just too far to do? Just try DC, Philadelphia, New York or Boston?

I know you can even spend a month in those cities alone but we're thinking about spending 2-3 days in DC, and 3-4 days in New York, and other days in other places.

I really appreciate your comment and advice. = ]
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Aug 24th, 2014, 08:26 PM
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Is there a particular reason you want to go to Maine? Because if not, if maybe the idea of countryside and a national park are the draw, I would skip it and draw a tighter circle for your trip. Why not, for example, stick to DC and NYC? With day-long drives out of both cities for a change of pace, you would not run out of things to do in just 11 days.

I didn't read your other thread, so if you've already considered and rejected this, sorry and carry on!
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Aug 24th, 2014, 08:35 PM
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Oh, we were posting at the same time! IMO, Maine is too far to go. As others have said, you can get a beach experience in Delaware (Rehoboth), Maryland (Annapolis isn't exactly beachy, but still), New Jersey (Cape May)--even closer to Boston, although I wouldn't include Boston, either. NYC, DC and Philly--that's my advice.
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Aug 24th, 2014, 08:38 PM
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We don't plan on spending too much time in one place like a half day or a full day just to see the Statue of liberty. We might take a free ferry people are talking about to see it or just drive close enough to see it. But more time in museums like National Museum of Natural History like half day but no more.
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Aug 24th, 2014, 09:26 PM
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Well, I really don't know why I want to go to Maine. Maybe because I have a feeling that Maine seems like a very peaceful and rustic state with harbors dotted with picturesque fishing boats and so on. It might be just my imagination. Oh, and there's big L L Bean outlet mall and Acadia NP. That's why.

I've been to California a lot but only twice in East Coast and it was kinda brisk visit so don't know much.
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Aug 25th, 2014, 02:27 AM
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You can't go to LL Bean or Acadia - it is just too far. While the experience is worth something, everything they sell is available on-line. If it is too costly to ship it to South Korea (I think that is where you are coming from), then buy it on-line when you arrive and have it shipped to your last hotel.

I get the Maine thing - and Portland would fit your description - and it is only 2 hours north of Boston.

I still suggest Dulles - Portland - Boston - NYC - DC. We could easily add many stops along the way, but then you would be here for a month.
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Aug 25th, 2014, 03:43 AM
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gyhmn, I agree to eliminate Maine from your trip. There are places in Maine and other New England states that are peaceful and rustic but definitely not at the Freeport outlet malls. Hopefully there will be another trip in your future when your children are older and you can do some of the peaceful rustic things.
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Aug 25th, 2014, 04:16 AM
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You have said in NYC you want to see the Staue of Liberty the Museum of Nat'l History and the Met in half a day!!!

This is NOT possible. You already have 2 days in NYC - since the visit t the statue of liberty and Ellis Island is about 6 hours including the various ferries. And if you don;t already have ferry tickets you need to get them today - or you face extra time - an hour at least on line BUYING the ferry ticket. And don't forget the airline type security to get on the ferry. And have a look at the web sites of the museums. They do not take an hour to see. You need at least 3 hours or so at each (to see would take more than a full day for each museum - but highlights will take at least several hours).

I fear that - as with driving times - you are completely underestimating how long things take. And now you are adding more places in Maine. First you were talking Acadia - now you are adding Portland. You really are planning a 4 week vacation - and as far as I can tell you have only 9 days on the ground.
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Aug 25th, 2014, 07:23 AM
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Penn Station in NYC is not a place to spend any time in. Not sure why you would want to go there. Perhaps you mean Grand Central Station? IF you do go to see GCS, you can walk from there to Bryant Park (walk from 42nd Street and Park Avenue to 42nd Street between 5th and 6th avenues). One of my favorite parks in NYC. Stuff for children to do as well. They have a reading nook with books for children. Kiosks with food to buy/eat. Chairs and tables. Etc.

As for less hectic areas, if you go upstate NY or PA, you will get that. Not exactly Maine, but if you want some relaxation time that would be better than driving all the way to Maine, lovely though it can be.
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Aug 25th, 2014, 07:48 AM
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Sorry - you are still totally underestimating travel times. You are saying that Woodbury to Acadia is 4 hours - but google directions shows it as almost 8 hours - and that is without any stops for food or fuel.

I'm afraid you will get there in the middle of the night, start late on your itinerary - find out everything takes longer than you thought and then have to race from NYC to Dulles without seeing anything in between and missing DC entirely.

IMHO better to have a more focused plan now than find out with only 2 days left that you have just run out of time.

PLEASE -

Lay out the trip day by day.
Put in realistic driving times based on google driving plus allowing for traffic on holidays and stops for food and fuel
Figure out how long it will take you to see/do what you want in each place (you have said stop 1/2 or 1 day each - but for NYC you have 2 full days of activities)
Have you even started looking at hotels - in busy/expensive times in some areas?
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Aug 25th, 2014, 08:22 AM
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Where did he say he wants to see all those things in half a day, nyt? Really, it's not helpful to exaggerate. I read his remarks as meaning half a day each, perhaps a whole day for the Statue of Liberty.

Re: the Statue--you can't realistically drive close enough to see it well at all. The ferry is fun in and of itself, IMO, budget half a day. That's my 2 cents!

I understand not wanting more than half a day at any one museum, that makes sense, especially with kids.

As for Maine, as kenav said, it's not that it's not worth seeing, it's just far to go on this particular trip.
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Aug 25th, 2014, 08:30 AM
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I agree with the others, you will be spending far too much time in a car driving w/ little ones and it would not be worth it. You will be more stressed than you think. An 8 year old and 2 year old - no way! My gdaughter is almost 8 and has a great tolerance for driving but not that distance. Please re-think your itinerary.

There is no way that you can drive from Dulles to Portland in that time frame. As noted, traffic can be downright horrendous at certain times of day on the routes you would take. We live in MA and have driven south many times and you just don't want to deal w/ the traffic w/ 2 little ones in your car. This past April we drove to FL and went the longer route thru PA (I84-81) just to avoid the traffic. Worth every minute of our sanity. Route was 100 miles longer but so worth it. Driving to Portland would be even longer. Traffic in DC area is nasty! LOL

DC is a wonderful place to visit, kid friendly and almost everything to see is free. There is much information in DC forums about what to see and do. You could stay outside the city and take the metro in if you wanted to save some money on hotels. They are expensive in DC. You could easily spend a week there and find something different to see and do.

Baltimore - another great place to visit as noted!

NYC - easily do this area, again much to see and do and there are free things there as well. Hotels - mega expensive tho.

Boston - u would love Boston as there is much to do there as well. Trolley tours, duck tours, and lots of other neat things for kids.

Please do not torture yourself and your family and re-think that itinerary. Portland is a wonderful place and my favorite place to visit but not worth the drive! JMO ....
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Aug 25th, 2014, 08:44 AM
  #20
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Hi everybody,

Thank you for all your advice.

Me and my wife took your advice and decided to skip Maine. We might have an another chance to see New England area in the future. That was difficult decision to make especially for me but I will pass that.

So now we are focusing DC, Philadelphia and New York to save time and have more time to enjoy.

I never said that I will do Grand Central Station, National Museum of Natural History and all that in half day. What I meant was that we are not going to spend a whole day in one place.

And we're not doing Statue of Liberty. We were interested in getting on a ferry and taking a closer look at the statue but if it's too difficult and painful with long lines, especially with two kids, we will skip the ferry as well. We will just drive by or have a look from far. Spending more time at a zoo or an aquarium where kids would love is better for us, too.

So if we stay in these areas, any peaceful national parks or harbors or any place that people love just to make a loop instead of same drving
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