Help me figure out where to go!

Old Apr 24th, 2024, 10:38 AM
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Help me figure out where to go!

Mom, 20 year old son, 12 year old daughter- summer vacay-
Was going to Ireland, but other party bailed from the trip, so now looking to go somewhere for 9 days inside the US.
This can be a road trip, multi city flight, or a one destination trip.
I want it to be amazing for everyone, and I thought I would reach out for ideas. Have been considering Hawaii, National Parks in CA, National Parks in UT, Yellowstone, San Diego.....
Want it to be the most memorable vacay ever-
We live in the Southeast, so have at it with your travel recommendations!
Thank you!
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Old Apr 24th, 2024, 11:05 AM
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It's pretty late to score accommodations in places like the main national parks in California, or other major national park destinations like Yellowstone. Not impossible, but you'd need to decide quickly and get going asap to secure beds.

Since you were going to Ireland, can we assume you and your kids have passports? If so, two possibilities north of the border:

1. Vancouver and Whistler. There are few cities in the world as beautiful as Vancouver, and the city provides access to some stunning countryside within a half day's drive - Whistler, which offers lots of accommodation options and TONS of activities for families; the Gulf Islands or Sunshine Coast for laid-back outdoor beauty, plus plenty of urban diversions ranging from a huge Asian "night market" to the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival, with the stage overlooking the city skyline. You can fly to Vancouver or to Seattle followed by a scenic 4-hour train ride over the border.

2. Montreal and Quebec City. Historic, vibrant and beautiful, plus easy access to beautiful forest- and lake country in the Laurentian mountains or rent a car and drive down to the Gaspe Peninsula at the mouth of the St. Lawrence - beautiful and very remote-feeling.
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Old Apr 24th, 2024, 01:42 PM
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Yes, if you can’t go to Europe, go to Quebec City. It has the French language, culture and food and “romantic” European-style architecture (it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO).t is the only fortified city north of Mexico. There are buildings, houses and churches dating from the 1600s.. Eat rabbit at a French classic bistro or eat yummy crepes. Grab a croissant or baguette. Take cruise along the St. Lawrence River.

Old Quebec Historic District esembles the historic walking areas that can be found in Europe's most classic cities, with many shops, European-style eateries, sidewalk cafés, and parks. The picturesque old cobblestone streets are sprinkled with historic buildings, churches and shops. Towering over the old town is the Château Frontenac, a grand hotel dating from 1893. Surrounding the city are the stone walls or fortifications which the French built hundreds of years ago to protect the city from being attacked.

Baie-Saint-Paul is located an hour north of Quebec City. This quaint town is one of Quebec’s oldest municipalities featuring narrow streets lined with charming boutiques and art galleries. It has colorful houses throughout the town.
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Old Apr 24th, 2024, 02:35 PM
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I agree with both of the above posters. Either of the two destinations would be an ideal spot to visit and the summer is the perfect time of year to visit either Vancouver or if you head north to Montreal and Quebec City.
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Old Apr 24th, 2024, 03:30 PM
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It most definitely is not too late to get accommodations in Springdale, Utah, which is the town just outside of Zion National Park. Springdale is fairly close to Las Vegas, which is a cheap flight from nearly everywhere in the US.

Have a look for the Maswick Lodge inside Grand Canyon South Rim. They have availability for every night in June and July right now (because there is construction during the day). Book straight with Xanterra. Also look at the alternative Yavapai Lodge (visitgrandcanyon.com).

Nearby to Springdale is Kanab, which is a fun town that has Angel Canyon and Best Friend Animal Sanctuary. We have always enjoyed staying in Kanab as part of a road trip.

Some of the parks can be pretty hot in July, so consider going as soon into June as you can.
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Old Apr 24th, 2024, 04:40 PM
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Welcome to Fodors. I personally wouldn't go to Zion (even if accommodations were available) due to the heat.

Yosemite accommodations would be difficult -- but one property just outside the west gate -- Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal -- is very large and might have rooms for your dates. It is right on the river, has pools, and is a short drive into Yosemite Valley. Don't be misled but other properties claiming to be 'right outside the park' -- most of them will be 80 to 90+ minute drives from Yosemite Valley, sometime 2 hours each way. https://www.stayyosemiteviewlodge.com

But I agree that going to Canada would be great . . . Vancouver + Whistler, or Vancouver + Victoria/Vancouver Island would be a wonderful holiday. Montreal+Quebec would definitely have a European vibe.
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Old Apr 24th, 2024, 07:50 PM
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Hotel rates in Vancouver are sky high during Alaska cruise season if that matters
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 02:43 AM
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We do have passports. We went to Montreal a few years ago and absolutely loved it! We didn't do QC. I want to do that. It's definitely on my short list as well as Banff. I wonder if Quebec City could be combined with Great Lakes area or if that would be too far apart. Will research. Thank you!
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 02:46 AM
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Also, regarding the Grand Canyon and Utah, I had scheduled my trip for first week in August. So I think it's going to be too hot there. Thank you for the California suggestions as well, as trying to figure out possible lodging there makes me dizzy. LOL
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 04:25 AM
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I think my geography is laughable. Just realized how far QC is from Great Lakes when pulled up the map.
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 04:57 AM
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Look into flying into Bozeman Montana and going to Yellowstone. It is big enough to spend several days. I would want lodging in more than one area. If they say there is no availability in the park, make a reservation nearby and keep calling back as people do make reservations a year ahead and cancel when the time gets near.

Yellowstone has a great variety of features. Animals, thermal features, Mountains, hiking, boating, easy trails,boardwalks, etc. there are also state parks and Grand Teton NP nearby (by western standards) to explore too.
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 06:06 AM
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I'll throw out another suggestion that will not be too hot. Fly to Calgary and visit Banff and Jasper National Parks. With an extra day or two, you could swing down to see Glacier and Waterton National Parks as well. The Going to the Sun road through Glacier NP probably won't be open fully over the Logan Pass until early July.

If you wanted to stick to Glacier and the US, you could fly to Spokane and take the overnight train to Whitefish Montana. The Meadow Lake Resort in Columbia Falls is a great jumping off point for exploring Glacier NP.
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by AmesB
We do have passports. We went to Montreal a few years ago and absolutely loved it! We didn't do QC. I want to do that. It's definitely on my short list as well as Banff. I wonder if Quebec City could be combined with Great Lakes area or if that would be too far apart. Will research. Thank you!
As you saw, it's a long way from the Great Lakes. With just 9 days (are more possible?) I'd probably try to limit the destination(s) to those that won't require too much time bouncing around.

One possible route might be to spend a couple of days (maybe 3) in Quebec City, then get a car and do a loop of the Gaspe (or Gaspésie) Peninsula downstream along the St. Lawrence. This is really beautiful country, combining mountain, forest and ocean environments. The going is easy enough that with six days or so you could handle the distances, and there's LOTS of variety in terms of towns, food, history... Highly recommended.

Map - https://maps.app.goo.gl/JC3PWkvManqCYWTV7

Note this video is worth watching on YT as hot-linking is blocked.


Last edited by Gardyloo; Apr 25th, 2024 at 06:59 AM.
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 07:31 AM
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The Canadian Rockies as I understand are also very expensive. Here are some other options from Quebec City.. you could fly from QC to Halifax possibly and rent a car there and travel around in Nova Scotia which has dramatically beautiful scenery as well as historical sights or you could do Toronto and Quebec City. Toronto is a lovely city and has a beautiful shoreline plus maybe you can catch a Blue Jays game, visit the CN Tower, lots of dining options as a mutli-ethnic city, visit the Art Gallery of Ontario and in general it is a very walkable city.
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 08:21 AM
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Want it to be the most memorable vacay ever-

Hawaii! No contest
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 02:31 PM
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The Canadian Rockies are beautiful but they had bad wild fires last year and are predicting the same if not worse this year.

Despite the good recommendations I have to agree with Suze, Hawaii - no contest. It's expensive, but so is every place these days. The hard part is choosing an island. I would recommend Kauai, the "Garden Island" for the scenery.

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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 02:36 PM
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I think your family would really enjoy Hawaii. We took our kids when they were young and they still talk about it.
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 03:11 PM
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This site gives a nice rundown of condo options on Kauai and an idea of prices

https://www.hawaiigaga.com/kauai-condos.aspx

Kauai's north shore (Princeville) is the go to place for Summer travel.

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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 08:25 PM
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hey nothing against the other ideas California is an amazing and diverse state, highly recommended (I grew up there). It's just I think Hawaii would be more "special" for most people.
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Old Apr 26th, 2024, 07:18 AM
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Question, since you have passports, why does it have to be the US or Canada, or Europe?

Why not somewhere like Peru? It is winter south of the Equator in August, so definitely not hot!

There are reasonably priced nonstops from MIA to LIM. You didn't mention your departure city but I would expect it is not easy getting to Hawaiii from "the Southeast". Probably why folks from the East Coast go to the Caribbean or Florida Keys or Gulf Coast instead. Just like most Californians go to Hawaii or Mexico.

Last edited by mlgb; Apr 26th, 2024 at 07:27 AM.
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