Road trip

Old Apr 23rd, 2022, 09:59 PM
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Road trip

Hi,

We are french couple and going to the USA in July with our 2 daughters who are 3 and 6 years old. We often go to the USA and we are looking for the real American life with some entertainment for the kids like parks for kids, funfairs, nature and other things to visit.

Thanks a lot.

D1 dc
D2 dc
D3 Wilmington
D4 Wilmington

D5 myrtle beach

D6 myrtle beach

D7 charleston

d8 charleston

D9savannah / beaufort

D10 savannah / beaufort

D11 savannah / beaufort

D12 saint Augustine / Jacksonville

D13 saint Augustine / Jacksonville

D14 saint Augustine / Jacksonville

D15 macon (step for the night)
d16 chattanooga ?
d17 Chattanooga ?
d18 Chattanooga ?
d19 lake chatuge
d20 lake chatuge
d21 pigeon forge / gatlinburg
d22 pigeon forge / gatlinburg
d23 Roanoke ?
d24 roanoke
d25 back in France flight at 6 pm

OR

d12 okefenoke and jekyll island
d13 okefenoke and jekyll island
d14 saint Augustine
d15 saint Augustine
d16 saint Augustine
d17 macon
d18 lake oconee
d19 greenville
d20 greenville
d21 asheville
d22 asheville
d23 boone or roanoke ?
d24 boone or roanoke ?
d25 back in France flight at 6 pm


What do you think ? if you have any other suggestions ?
Thank you very much !!!!
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Old Apr 24th, 2022, 08:22 AM
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You might want to include Wiliamsburg in your travels, although I do not know if a 3 year old would enjoy it.

https://www.colonialwilliamsburg.org/
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Old Apr 24th, 2022, 09:17 AM
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Looks like a fun itinerary. The second option looks better than the first. Instead of Jacksonville I would go to:

Fernandina Beach. Charming Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island has 50 blocks of historic buildings housing restaurants, bed ‘n’ breakfasts, and boutique shops. Check out the cozy Book Loft, a famous independent bookstore (it has 1,500 rare books). Ft. Clinch State Park features serene beaches and six miles of natural surface trails for hiking and mt. biking. You can sail the islands aboard a 100’ replica 19th Century schooner (sunset cruises).


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Old Apr 24th, 2022, 12:18 PM
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I like the second option better also.
The Greenville art mueum has a fine collection of American painters plus a children's museum
https://www.greenvillesc.gov/481/Museums

I might suggest more time in Charleston than in Savannah. There's an Aquarium. On the way to Charleston drive through Georgetown about an hour south of Myrtle Beach. It is a Revolutionary War town with charming architecture of that era.
In Charleston visit a plantation--I like Middleton.

Last edited by Gretchen; Apr 24th, 2022 at 12:27 PM.
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Old Apr 27th, 2022, 09:35 AM
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I don't know your travel style, but I think you have too many separate overnight locations, especially when traveling with two very young kids.
It looks to be about 12 stops in a 24 night trip, which means you'll be packing/unpacking nearly every other day.
I would cut this down to 6-8 overnight locations. On travel days, leave early and make day-trip stops on your way to the next location. This lets you see a lot without having to overnight at every place.

You have a lot of coastal cities on your list...Wilmington, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Savannah, St. Augustine...and not much time exploring the beautiful areas within the Blue Ridge mountains.
Mark Myrtle Beach and Gatlinburg off your list, unless you like spending time visiting tourist trap novelty stores alongside dumb overweight people from the Midwest.
And St. Augustine is too far of a drive south without much new to see.

I'd do something like this...
D1/2/3/4 – DC
D5/6/7 – Norfolk/Colonial Williamsburg/Outer Banks
D8/9/10 - Wilmington
D11/12/3 - Charleston
D14/15/16 – Savannah / beaufort
D17/18/19 – Asheville
D20/21/22– Roanoke
D23/24/25 – Charlottesville
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Old Apr 28th, 2022, 02:40 AM
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I think Bluegrasss has a good thought concerning the "too many overnight stops.
But he may have forgotten the young children and their "needs" for entertainment.
I don't really understand the Norfolk/Williamsburg/Outer Banks days--maybe a drive through. I would omit the outer Banks because of distance. Theoretically you could drive from DC to Myrtle Beach in one long day but a stop in Wilmington would leave you a short drive to MB the next day.
Wilmington does not even approach a 3 day stay.
Myrtle Beach could because there is REALLY a lot to do for everyone there.
Divide the days left along the lines of Bluegrass and then
You could stop in Williamsburg on the way back to DC (instead of Roanoke)
For the Asheville portion be sure to have a day in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
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Old Apr 28th, 2022, 01:00 PM
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They are tourists from France so I would leave in Myrtle Beach, the kids would probably like it a lot.
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Old Apr 29th, 2022, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jamie99 View Post
They are tourists from France so I would leave in Myrtle Beach, the kids would probably like it a lot.
Why would anyone travel all the way from France to spend time at Myrtle Beach?
It is a wasteland of tourist traps...t-shirt shops, wax museums, putt putt golf...visited by hoards of tourists from the Midwest.

The OP's kids are age 3 and 6. Kids that age are entertained by cardboard boxes and pillows.
No reason to waste your time in Myrtle Beach when there are literally hundreds of more desirable places to visit that will also keep the kids entertained.
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Old Apr 29th, 2022, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by bluegrass1 View Post
Why would anyone travel all the way from France to spend time at Myrtle Beach?
It is a wasteland of tourist traps...t-shirt shops, wax museums, putt putt golf...visited by hoards of tourists from the Midwest.

The OP's kids are age 3 and 6. Kids that age are entertained by cardboard boxes and pillows.
No reason to waste your time in Myrtle Beach when there are literally hundreds of more desirable places to visit that will also keep the kids entertained.
Which places we must visit with childrens please ? Thanks.

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Old Apr 29th, 2022, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by dimibenjani View Post
Which places we must visit with childrens please ? Thanks.
There are no "must visit" places for a 3 and 6 year old kids.
At that age almost anything will entertain them, for a limited time, and they are too young to really immerse themselves into "must visit" sites.
I would suggest finalizing your route based on locations you would like to see, then determining age-appropriate activities/places along that route.

Let's take Charleston for example. Options would be...
the beaches (obviously), Aquarium, eco/dolphin tours (boat ride to see marine life, find shells on remote beach), Fort Moultrie (forts/cannons), Patriot's Point (air craft carrier, submarine, helicopters, planes)
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Old Apr 29th, 2022, 11:04 AM
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Sorry Bluegrass, but when I was 6 years old I had my own bicycle and had had a library card for a year (my mother had to teach me to write my name in longhand to get the card). I also had a pair of roller skates and was a champion tree climber (I was a bit of a tomboy). Play with boxes and pillows? Maybe the 3 year old, but the 3 year old little girl next door had her own miniature car to drive, with a working horn and a stereo and she is allowed to play on her own, as long as she stays in the yard. I think you are confusing young kids with kittens or something.
When I went to Myrtle Beach ten years ago, it was with my husband's Aunt Libby and she was playing in a bridge tournament in North Myrtle Beach.
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Old Apr 29th, 2022, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jamie99 View Post
I think you are confusing young kids with kittens or something.
You are taking my 'boxes and pillows' comment WAY too literally, and have completely missed the point of the post.
I have an 8 and a 10 year old, so I know exactly what kids are like. I'm not sure what library cards and bicycles have to do with vacation planning.

The OP's kids are age 3 and 6, so a toddler and a first grader.
There are no "must visit" places for children that age. They would be content at a hotel swimming pool or playground. There is no need for a family from France to tailor their vacation for kids this young.

My advice was very simple...At that age almost anything will entertain them, for a limited time, and they are too young to really immerse themselves into "must visit" sites.
I would suggest finalizing your route based on locations you would like to see, then determining age-appropriate activities/places along that route.
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Old Apr 30th, 2022, 04:13 AM
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We spend time at the beach south of MB at least 4 weeks a year. I have gone to beaches north of MB for 50 years. The change is dramatic of course. Myrtle Beach is a good destination for these folks as it is for many others. AS Disneyland Paris is for some travelers from the US!! I am sure we do not consider MB "exotic" but in the real sense of the world, it is to foreign travelers. There is nothing like Paris--and there is nothing like MB.
There is Ripley's at MB where IF they make reservations well in advance at least the 6 year old can swim with rays--it is a really interesting and fun thing. There is miniature golf galore--kids LOVE it. A child does not need to be "educated" every hour of the day--in fact that is counterproductive to healthy kids. There are bumper cars. There is the beach. There is a really fun Pirate dinner show--our kids just did this last mongh. A day in MB will not stunt their growth and is certainly more fun that a day at the hotel pool.
But to the point, Blue grass did have a more cohesive itinerary

Heading south from MB on Route 17 you could visit Brookgreen Gardens which has a REALLY interesting sculpture and art collection AND a small petting zoo for the kids. A little further down 17 is the HObcaw Barony dating from the late 1600s as a land grant and is now a climate study area of Clemson University--you can take a tram tour of it by reservation. And then just over in Georgetown is the Tom Yawkey nature preserve--also viewable by reservation. I'll come back with some links.
On down route 17 to Charleston are some small plantations.
On the route 17 side of Charleston there is Patiriot point with a WWII aircraft carrier to tour. It can be pretty much a shock to us now in how "primitive" warfare was then with the same tragic result.

Here are two links--to Ripley's and to dinner theaters. The first item in the dinner theaters is the pirate adventure. Our granddaughter LOVED it--and so did her parents. It is a first class production (Dolly Parton). The other dinner shows are well established also.
Our grandson swam with the stingrays when he was about 5 I think and did love it also. Spectators can see the rays from many places also so the 3 year old can watch.

https://www.seacrestmyrtlebeachresort.com/blog/dinner-shows-in-myrtle-beach/

https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/myrtlebeach/

Last edited by Gretchen; Apr 30th, 2022 at 04:27 AM.
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Old Apr 30th, 2022, 05:26 AM
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After my lengthy reply above I might suggest to the OP that they look for accomodations for MB in North Myrtle Beach or soutth of MB in Garden City or Surfside Beach. The traffic will be a bit less but everything will be accessible.
If the OP stops in Wilmington (I don't really recommend it for more than a stopover) there is the Battleship North Carolina to tour there--another WWII ship. It is a fun tour especially for children. The beach at Wilmington is named Wrightsville Beach in case you choose to rent something there. Rent oceanfront if you do.

Here is a Charleston link for things to do in Charleston that hits most if not all. The submarine Hunley exhibit is maybe a "Not to be missed". It has only been open to the public in recent years and is a wonderful piece of American Civil War History. The kids will be interested. The Aquarieum is small but very nice--always a good thing.
There are waterfront restaurants in Mt. Pleasant (just across the bridge --that are fun and interesting to eat at especially for kids. Shem Creek area is the name to look for. There is a cat cafe for lunch or a snack.

Last edited by Gretchen; Apr 30th, 2022 at 05:42 AM.
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Old Apr 30th, 2022, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
Myrtle Beach is a good destination for these folks as it is for many others. AS Disneyland Paris is for some travelers from the US!! I am sure we do not consider MB "exotic" but in the real sense of the world, it is to foreign travelers. There is nothing like Paris--and there is nothing like MB.
There is Ripley's ...There is miniature golf galore...There are bumper cars. There is the beach. There is a really fun Pirate dinner show.
A day in MB will not stunt their growth and is certainly more fun that a day at the hotel pool.
You're comparing Myrtle Beach to Disneyland Paris? You think foreign travelers will think Myrtle Beach is "exotic"?
There is something else like Myrtle Beach...it's called Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge.
They are both horribly congested tourist traps filled with junky activities & stores.

There is a reason Myrtle Beach is referred to as the "Dirty Myrtle" and "Redneck Riviera".
The OP should google those terms before deciding to visit.

You can find miniature golf, bumper cars and beaches in hundreds of other locations. There is no reason for a French family to spend their vacation at a crowded tourist trap like Myrtle Beach or Gatlinburg. Unless maybe they want to recreate one of the National Lampoon's vacation movies.
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Old May 1st, 2022, 02:50 AM
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I personally do not care for MB but I am trying to help people find local advice for a travel experience like I look for when traveling. Since we seem to have to parse everything, my reference to Disneyland Paris is in wonderment that any American would spend precious time there--much like your feeling about MB. BUT each person plans their own trip and experiences.
I am suggesting they stay "around" MB. The Rednec Riviers is in Alabama. I have listed a number of things to do that match their wish to go to MB with young children that will entertain the entire family. It's a "stop" on the way to other "stops". It is "on the way". AND if they stay IN MB they can even probably find a hotel with a pool where the children can do as you say little children should do. Probably not very many hotels on the rest of the coast will have that.
BUt to the OP, MB IS congested and crowded. A bit further south are nicer and quieter beaches (Garden City, Surfside, Litchfield) and MB can still be visited. This area of your trip is the best chance to stay right on a beach. Charleston is not on the ocean--it's beaches are 15 or so miles away.

MB can be to one's eyes ---- Strange or different in a way that is striking or fascinating;= exotic




Last edited by Gretchen; May 1st, 2022 at 02:58 AM.
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Old May 1st, 2022, 04:10 AM
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I'll stay out of the Myrtle, or not to Mytle fray as I've never been.

In my experience traveling with young children this age, I agree with the comments that nothing is "must see" or "must do".

Most important is that there is something to engage them for a good part of each day. I've learened that being able to locate a neighborhood park with a playground is a mandatory travel planning skill, regardless of where I was in the world. I can still tell you more about the small playground right near the Hofbrauhaus in Munich than I can about what they served inside... A small beach, be it on a lake, a bay, a gulf, a sea, or an ocean is always a winner. A place to run, climb, explore is much more important than any city or building or ride or fairytale land or historic this or historic that. A 1hr walk through a park, or through the woods, or spashing in a stream looking for critters under rocks, or whatever.... Anything with animals is good. It could be a local farm with small animals to pet, or ducks to feed in a park, or fish in an aquarium, or a cats in the ruins in Rome.

I also learned that moving around too much, changing hotels, logging miles rather than experiences, and the trip is just a blur....

ymmv..



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Old May 2nd, 2022, 01:48 AM
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GREAT advice!!
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Old May 9th, 2022, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
AND if they stay IN MB they can even probably find a hotel with a pool where the children can do as you say little children should do. Probably not very many hotels on the rest of the coast will have that. This area of your trip is the best chance to stay right on a beach. Charleston is not on the ocean--it's beaches are 15 or so miles away.
When people talk about visiting Charleston with a young family, very few are suggesting staying in a hotel in historic downtown Charleston.
Instead, the OP should book a rental condo in a place like Wild Dunes. Oceanfront views, miles of pristine/wide/uncrowded beaches, pools for the kids to swim, 15-30 minutes from attractions.
This would be a MUCH better experience than staying in/around the Dirty Myrtle...why come all the way from France to stand shoulder to shoulder in a sea of drunk people while visiting wax museums and putt-putt courses.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/south-carolina/articles/2021-12-19/myrtle-beach-doesnt-want-to-be-dirty-myrtle-anymore
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Old May 13th, 2022, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by J62 View Post
I also learned that moving around too much, changing hotels, logging miles rather than experiences, and the trip is just a blur....
I absolutely agree with you. It's good that there are photos in our phone, and you can look after a while where you were and be surprised by the forgotten landscapes and beauties
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