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Places to Explore with Family, within 600 Miles of DC


Dec 29th, 2017, 04:31 AM
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Places to Explore with Family, within 600 Miles of DC

Hi everyone,

I'd love your suggestions for places suitable for a family trip (parents and young teens) within a one day's drive (roughly 600 miles) of DC.

Ideally, we'd rent an AirBnB for 4-5 days to have one home base to explore, though we could also have two locations to split the time between, and we could stay in a hotel if needed. We're interested in museums, walking tours, good food, hiking and the outdoors, anything quirky teens might enjoy, and spending time in a charming and (ideally) walkable city. A day at the beach could be fine, but we're not big time beach people. We'd love options where housing, food, activities are less expensive.

In the past, we've traveled to New York, Boston, and Acadia National Park. Montreal is on my wish list now. What about other cities/destinations, maybe in the South?


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Dec 29th, 2017, 07:18 AM
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600 miles gives you lots of options

I too look for walkable cities with good food. Here are some I've enjoyed that fit that criteria. Montreal or Toronto are great, however while some drive it in a day, it entails a longer day than some care for.

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Dec 29th, 2017, 07:28 AM
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Charleston - great city for walking, wonderful food, lots of history (slave trading, etc.) nearby plantations and interesting landscape. Brookgreen Sculpture Gardens is a bit North toward Myrtle Beach and is basically an outdoor museum.

Charleston and Savanah, the two together are quite doable for 5 days.

Hunting Island State Park near Beaufort, SC. This fabulous park has nice, furnished cottages for rent. You may needs sheets, etc. I do not remember. You do need to reserve months ahead. The natural environment is fantastic. I used to go here every summer. I have seen dozens of bottlenosed dophin right near the shore and giant yellow ghost crabs all over at night. There are restaurants within driving distance, but it is much better to pack food and take it with you.
Beaufort is interesting to walk and explore for an afternoon.
You could do the Park for a couple of days and Charleston for a couple of days.

Asheville and Biltmore House, great town for walking. I have been here many times. Br sure to tour the house, textile museum and grounds. Kids seem to really enjoy it. Very interesting history related directly to development of American society. Major fine crafts community. Beautiful landscape.

Kentucky and Mammouth caves. Two big caves to tour. Nice camping too.

Nashville, music, Southern food
Memphis, music, Southern food
New Orleans, food and music, swamp landscape and tours.

Perhaps some riverboat tours on the Mississippi

Not my thing, and been too many years since I was there to say, but many people enjoy Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Atlanta, fabulous museums! Big city, but smaller neighborhoods to explore. Lake Lanier about an hour North of Atlanta. Spend a couple of days on the lake and a couple of days in Atlanta
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Dec 29th, 2017, 07:33 AM
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Daniel just made me remember Williamsburg and the whole Jamestown archeological site. Major history site and charming town for walking plus water country and Busch Gardens in Summer. Rather than Airbnb, there are lots of condos for rent. Kingsmill plantation has some at very reasonable prices. Stop in Richmond for a day. Perhaps do river rafting there.
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Dec 29th, 2017, 07:51 AM
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Charleston has been covered well, and I would do it. On some thread here recommending Charleston there was the possibility of going on a shrimp boat which could be great. And I'm not sure if the Hunley Exhibit in Charleston was mentioned, but it is not to be missed. Also Georgetown just up the coast en route to Brookgreen--it i a Revolutionary War era town and also has the Hobcaw Barony and Tom Yawkey Preserve to see.
A LOT to do on that part of the coast in addition to the best food!!
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Dec 29th, 2017, 10:55 AM
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Here's my trip report for Charleston and Savannah:
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Dec 29th, 2017, 03:33 PM
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These are great suggestions, everyone. Thank you!

We went to Williamsburg and Jamestown a few years ago, that was a nice long weekend trip from DC. (And we'll like go again in a year or two once kids are older so they can check out William & Mary)

I especially like the idea of combining Charleston and Savannah. Neither one seems to have enough to justify the long drive from DC, but taken together it would be a lovely week. And thank you, Michael, for your useful trip report.

Asheville, Hunting Island State Park, and so many other destinations sound great too. (Though I think that New Orleans might be a little far for us to drive, but certainly a great destination.)

Any other ideas are welcome too!
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Dec 30th, 2017, 03:45 AM
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Your assessment that Charleston and environs wouldn't "have enough" for 4-5 days is a bit cavalier, IMO. I think of Charleston as perhaps our most "European" city with its walkability and historical buildings--AND fun stuff to do. Hunting Island IS in the environs of the Low Country, just to be clear. Enjoy.
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