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Los Angeles to Orlando

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Jun 6th, 2013, 04:12 AM
  #1
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Los Angeles to Orlando

We are an Australian family, including 2 boys 10,12. We are landing in L.A. In mid September and pick up a car, have 2 days to get to Las Vegas, 5 days in Las Vegas. We want to go to Santa Fe, New Orleans and have 5 days in Orlando doing theme parks. We have 3 and a half weeks.
What do you suggest we do
Before Las Vegas
In Las Vegas
In Santa Fe
In New Orleans
Other places to visit between destinations.
We are open to suggestions and want to make this the trip of a lifetime for our boys.
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Jun 6th, 2013, 05:23 AM
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Oh dear.
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Jun 6th, 2013, 05:28 AM
  #3
 
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Five days in Las Vegas with two children? Why?
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Jun 6th, 2013, 05:31 AM
  #4
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I've heard there's lots to do there. Why do you say that?
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Jun 6th, 2013, 06:19 AM
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3 1/2 weeks is roughly 25 days. You are spending 5 in Orlando and Vegas each, and two in LA which leaves you 13 days to make the cross country trek. The following is a lot of driving but definitely doable. Our National Parks are all gems. If you do decide to do this then be sure that your first purchase is an annual pass, which for about $80 gains you entrance to all of them.

The first day I would spend in Santa Monica or Manhattan Beach, rent bikes and ride the beach bike path. The second day you have a 6 hour drive (without traffic) to Las Vegas. 5 days would be 3 too many for me in Vegas, but that's just me.

After Vegas I would wind through the national parks of southern Utah. Next cut across southern Colorado stopping at Mesa Verde NP and or Durango. The mountains north of there are beautiful and a nice change of pace from the desert. If you do go this route then do the train ride up to Silverton. From there drive east stopping in Great Sand Dunes NP for a run up the dunes.

Continue on to New Mexico and visit Sante Fe. From Sante Fe head south to Carlsbad Caverns NP. From there head south picking up I 10. Make sure to stop in Fort Davis, Texas to see the old west fort as well as attend a star party one night at the McDonald Observatory. Hop back on 10 stopping in Houston to visit the NASA Space Center. Somewhere on your way to New Orleans stop to take an air boat tour of the swamps where you will see alligators in the wild.

From there a fun stop might be to tour an aircraft carrier in Mobile Bay. That is assuming they still have those tours.

Have fun, great trip.
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Jun 6th, 2013, 09:18 AM
  #6
 
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Many visitors want to at least see Las Vegas - so yes, go there for a few days. But there are not five days worth of things you can do with children. They can't enter any of the casinos and many of he shows are off limits. There are kid friendly places/shows, just not that many. Plus it will still be very hot in LV. So I'd flip your plans and spend 5 days in LA and maybe San Diego and just two days in Vegas. (I personally wouldn't go yo LV that time of year, but for a couple of days it would be OK)
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Jun 6th, 2013, 09:37 AM
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I agree with janisj, on all accounts.
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Jun 6th, 2013, 12:47 PM
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Thank you so much for all your advice. We will definitely consider all of the above. We were going to do a few side trips out of Vegas and use that as a base, like a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon and go to the little towns that we would've driven past on our way to LV. What do you think? We hadn't considered the national parks nor the weather that time of year - thank you! Fabulous suggestions all of them....
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Jun 6th, 2013, 07:42 PM
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>> and go to the little towns that we would've driven past on our way to LV. What do you think?<<

There is hardly anything to see between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Sure there are some hellishly hot small backwaters and lots and LOTS of desert. Towns like Barstow and Baker are best seen through the windscreen of your air conditioned car and not stopping for even a moment. Most people leave LA, turn on the cruise control a bit over the speed limit and don't slow down (if the traffic allows) until they get to the Vegas city limits.

Now, the Grand Canyon is great - and the helicopter tour could be done on one of your two days in LV. The National Parks (Zion/Bryce/Grand Canyon) are not near enough to LV to be good day trips - Zion is the closest and it is a 3 hour drive from the Strip. You could take a bus tour that gives you a short time at the south rim of the GC. But it is 4+ hours in the bus each way.
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Jun 7th, 2013, 05:13 AM
  #10
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Thanks janisj. I appreciate your candour. We will definitely take to into account. Do you recommend the NP's?
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Jun 7th, 2013, 06:11 AM
  #11
 
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familyfourfun, take a look at nps.gov, go to find a park and take a look at the photo gallery for each of the parks I mentioned.I just think that with two active boys they would have more fun exploring Indian cliff dwellings, caves, and running around in the big outdoors as opposed to Vegas. Of all the things I suggested though I think the Fort Davis/Star Party will be one of your highlights. If you do go there then plan to stop at Balmorhea SP at the I 10 exit for Fort Davis for a swim in the huge spring fed pool. A good place to stay overnight in that area is the lodging at Davis Mountains SP. Another must stop I think is the air boat tour of the swamp outside New Orleans.

As janisj mentioned there are no towns to explore on day trips from Vegas that top all the other cool things there are to see on the road to Orlando. You may want to stop in Vegas for a short visit then start driving east from there stopping in the GC on your way. If wondering through the parks in Utah does not appeal to you then after the GC get a feel for the area by hitting Monument Vally, an Indian Reservation, not a NP. What is kind of fun about that is you all will recognize the scenery from movies and commercials.

Have fun planning.
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Jun 7th, 2013, 02:01 PM
  #12
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Thanks Barblab. That's given us a lot to think about. I'm getting really excited just reading the info you have given me. Your info janisj is just as fabulous. This is the first time I have used a forum and I love it!
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Jun 7th, 2013, 02:58 PM
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Yes to all the excellent prior suggestions, especially the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde NP, and Carlsbad Caverns. From our home in Southern California, we traveled all over the West with our two boys when they were growing up, as far north as Yellowstone and as far west as Santa Fe and Carlsbad Caverns. Another place I'd recommend if your route takes you nearby is Acoma Pueblo, http://sccc.acomaskycity.org. The Hopi mesas in Arizona are also fascinating, http://www.experiencehopi.com/walpi.html.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 06:38 AM
  #14
 
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Just want to chime in regarding Las Vegas.
We go to Las Vegas once in a while, each time we stayed 4 - 5 days and each time we had a good time - food, sight, and entertainment.

Although kids may not linger in a casino floor, they may walk through a casino to go to restaurants, shops and elevators.

Choose a hotel within walking distance of Bellagio, so that they may enjoy the water fountain show anytime of the day. The inside of Venetian and the inside of Caesars Palace are all entertaining for the first-timer.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 08:36 AM
  #15
 
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Please, 5 days in LV is 4 too many, if this is a trip to see the wonders of the US.
There is the Hoover Dam to see en route somewhere in there. There are the Indian pueblos--ancient and modern-- others have mentioned--something only in America.
Five days in Orlando could even be overkill.
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Jul 1st, 2013, 06:25 AM
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I would spend time on gmaps exploring
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Jul 1st, 2013, 07:44 AM
  #17
 
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5 days in LV is 4 too many

Completely agree.

Five days in Orlando could even be overkill.

We have many UK visitors who come for 2-3 weeks every other year.

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Vic's travels: http://my.flightmemory.com/vogilvie
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