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East Coast, child-friendly Christmas break

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Oct 5th, 2011, 09:41 AM
  #1
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East Coast, child-friendly Christmas break

Hi Fodorites! This may seem like a weird choice but can you suggest anywhere on the East Coast for a winter break of 4 nights between Christmas and NYE? Preferences are: No driving (a walking, city-break), a clean, uncrowded environment, plenty of choices for eating out and if possible somewhere where the chances of severe winter weather are not too high (but it's winter, I know). We'd be travelling with a 2yr old too, so child-friendly attractions/activities would be a bonus. I was thinking of Boston but are there any other options?
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Oct 5th, 2011, 10:16 AM
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Well if you want to avoid winter weater I would go a lot farther south than Boston. DC is likly to be not as cold and less liklihood of snow.
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Oct 5th, 2011, 10:50 AM
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PHiladelphia will be quite a bit warmer than Boston. It's a very walkable city with plenty of restaurants.

What's your idea of "severe winter weather"? There may or may not be snow on the ground in Boston during Christmas/NY time period, but it will be cold. And of course, no one can predict if there'll be a snowstorm or blizzard during that week.
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Oct 5th, 2011, 11:49 AM
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Charleston
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Oct 5th, 2011, 11:50 AM
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Williamsburg Virginia
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Oct 5th, 2011, 01:51 PM
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I would also agree that Williamsburg is a good choice. I would just advice you that flights to and from Norfolk can be really pricey.

Although, not totally sure how child friendly it is with a two year old.

You don't say where you are starting from hard to be too definitive on where to go.

Though not on the East Coast, would you consider New Orleans? Fits the food criteria and the ability to walk. Weather should be pleasant and there is enough to do with a two-year old.
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Oct 5th, 2011, 03:07 PM
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I'm wih starrs. Charleston is beautiful at Christmas and often quite mild weather-wise. Easy city to walk around, foodie choices beyond belief, and yes, kids welcome.
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Oct 5th, 2011, 03:11 PM
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Hi, I'm starting from London so East coast is preferable as shorter journey time. Boston appealed as I have this image of it being very Christmas-sy in wintertime. But maybe south is better. Do people go to Florida in December or is that seen as a bit weird?
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Oct 5th, 2011, 03:17 PM
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If you want warmth than the trade-off is the Christmas feel of the northeast. Honestly, if you're coming for the Christmas feel, then really NYC is the best option.

The store windows, the Rockefeller Center Tree, and the ambiance isn't something you can replicate in Boston or Philadelphia. It may be cold, but with the abudance of things to see you should be fine.

If you want warmth, then consider Florida.
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Oct 5th, 2011, 04:39 PM
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Again, Charleston, South Carolina.
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Oct 5th, 2011, 04:51 PM
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I would say Charleston SC or Richmond VA, then again, Williamsburg VA would be decorated so pretty! Of course, I am going to Florida for Christmas!
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Oct 5th, 2011, 05:26 PM
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Come on down to Philly the city of brotherly love - our winter weather is usually pretty reasonable (occasional snow tho), great zoo, great Please Touch Museum, fantastic food, lots of childrens entertainment, good public transport. what more could you ask for

also, just my 2 cents on Williamsburg. my son goes to school there and it's not really a town for toddlers - more appropriate for preteens IMHO, plus the food is expensive and on the whole not that great.
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Oct 5th, 2011, 05:38 PM
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If cold weather is okay, NYC.
If you prefer not to be as cold, Charleston.
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Oct 5th, 2011, 06:32 PM
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Coming from England for 4 days with a two-year old doesn't say Williamsburg or Charleston, both of which require a connecting flight. To risky given the weather the crowded planes. With four days you want to minimize, not maximize your in-transit time.

With 4 days your best option is a place with no connecting flights.

If you hed to Florida between Christmas and New Year's it will range from hugh 50's to low-70's. Always a risk that it can be colder than 50.

No offense, but if looking for warmth for 4 days and when traveling with a 2 year old, wouldn't flying into Faro or Lisbon be a whole lot easier from London?
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Oct 5th, 2011, 06:34 PM
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If you want a real Christmassy atmosphere you want NYC - not Boston. And you have a better chance of decent weather - they get much more snow than we do. But it will be cold - colder then England - anywhere in the NE.

If you want warmth go to FL (but it will be mobbed with US families from farther north taking a break in the sun).
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Oct 6th, 2011, 02:45 AM
  #16
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My (almost) two year old niece loved her Christmas holidays in Philadelphia two Christmases ago (see trip report here: http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...ot-of-kids.cfm )--and there are good suggestions up-thread for even more kid-friendly places.

Good possibility of cold, but you don't need to be out too much and it's very easy to get around--and, of course, there are direct flights.
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Oct 6th, 2011, 03:16 AM
  #17
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Hi, thanks for the tips so far.

Yes Europe would certainly be easier and perhaps warmer but I was thinking of getting that picturesque American holiday feel, rather than just winter sun etc. We've been to NYC already but that could be an option.

I'm going to research Phily too. Thanks!
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Oct 6th, 2011, 03:57 AM
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Fly to Boston, rent a car, and drive north into New Hampshire. There will be snow from Concord northward, almost certainly.

Both the Lincoln-Waterville Valley and the North Conway areas meet your requirements for a variety of restaurants, and both have lots of condos for rent, good if you have a small child, esp since some of thee condo complexes have indoor pools.

You will, however, be competing with skiers for lodging, and it may be too late to find what you want, though with the current state of the economy, you may be fortunate.
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Oct 7th, 2011, 01:32 PM
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Boston is a GREAT option for you. The city is usually beautiful decorated & lit, and not so crowded that week (until New Year's Eve). The average high/low on December 31 is 38F/24F. The average precip for that day is .3 inch snow or .12 inch rain. If there IS a big snowstorm you would be in the city and we know how to deal with it here. If there is a big weather event in Washington, DC, they do not know how to deal with it. You could be stuck for days. Even in NYC, they are not always so great at dealing with it. You would be highly unlikely to get stuck here. Just bring a good winter coat and lots of layers!
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Oct 7th, 2011, 02:19 PM
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Another vote for Boston -- the time after Christmas and leading up to N Year's Eve is a very nice with ice sculptures and ice skating in the park, hot chocolate booths, etc.

The First Night Boston (NY Eve) festival is great fun and there are many activities for kids, not to late -- they have fireworks around 8pm, for example, so the kids can enjoy them and go to bed.

As Charlotte mentions, there is not usually that much snow in December, and if there is, it is usually the fluffy postcard type (although please do not consider that a guarantee). And if there is a heavy snow, the city and the citizens know how to cope (so everything doesn't grind to a halt.)
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