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Top spots to take family vacations for the next 8-10 years before kids leave the nest

Top spots to take family vacations for the next 8-10 years before kids leave the nest

Old Jun 10th, 2005, 05:31 PM
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Top spots to take family vacations for the next 8-10 years before kids leave the nest

I'd love to hear from experienced family travlers how you would rank some top family vacation spots to travel over the next 8-10 years before our kids leave for college. Also, what would you say the optimum ages are to visit suggested locations? Before the kids leave for college - I'd like them to have experienced a lot of the U.S. International travel will have to wait until college and beyond, I'm afraid!
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 05:58 PM
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This really depends on what you and your kids like. Our family does lots of camping. We also like to rent condos in different places rather than staying at hotels. Myrtle Beach is a favorite. Niagara Falls was a good trip. Washington DC was also a big hit. Universal Studios is good for older adventurous kids. A canoeing trip is always fun. Our next big plan is to take our 4 weeks vacation all at one time and head west from MA. What do you and your children like to do?
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 06:57 PM
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Love this post...and really love taking my kids places. Right now they are 11, 13 and 15. Places we've loved are London, Ireland(2004), Pacific Northwest(Mt. Ranier, Olympic NP, San Juan Islands), Grand Canyon & Arizona(2003), New Mexico(many times), Chicago(2002), New England(many times), Vancouver & Victoria(2002), Utah Skiing(2005) and other places that are Okay, but I wouldn't return (Disney, Vail, Vegas).

Places I want to take them, but time is running out...California Coast, Nova Scotia, Yellowstone, Italy, Germany(my daughter speaks German), Paris, Costa Rica are all tops on my list.

I just hope they will still want to travel with us once they are in college
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:00 PM
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Something that I haven't done yet with my own kids (not old enough yet) but that I did as a kid was travel through Arizona. Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, Tombstone, the Desert Museum and Zoo...I loved it. I want to wait until they're old enough to appreciate the natural beauty of the area and also to spend some time at one of the dude ranches and do some horseback riding. Would love to take them into the Canyon. I was 10 the first time I went to AZ and 14 the second time.

Right now, we're focused on the Disney trips. My kids (7,5, and 2 1/2) love it. Our third trip with them is scheduled for later this year. But I'm thinking about San Diego for the not-too-distant future. I think they're a great age for that city.
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:08 PM
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It's really hard for me to narrow down family trips to our "top spots" since we always seem to have a good time.

As far as US travel goes, we've enjoyed San Francisco very, very much (probably my kids favorite destination). My boys were in their teens.

Chicago is a great city to visit.

We live in NY so we are often in the city.

I think Boston is fabulous for younger children.

We all want to make a trip out west to the Grand Canyon & Sedona -- maybe next year.

Here's the good news slipperblue...my sons are soon to be 19 and 22, and they still enjoy traveling with their parents and even do a little traveling on their own. And we even get to do a little traveling on our own. See, everyone can be happy!

Good luck planning and savor every moment
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:09 PM
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Hi slipperblue, one thing I loved very much when I was in middleschool and highschool (long time ago) was going to Yosemite. Still have fond memories of all those visits.

I do not know where you live but SanFrancisco is usually a delight for families as is San Diego. Our daughter also loved Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria Island as well as Vancouver Island. Actually all of California, Oregon and Washington and western Canada seemed to always make for wonderful family vacations.

Washington DC was a big hit with both girls as they had family there so got to spend a month each. Hawaiian Islands was also enjoyed and remembered, as was various parts off Florida (all over the state of FL actually).

Death Valley and New Mexico were also favorites (except for the sandstorm in Death Valley, LOL).

I think your plan to expose your children to the US is wonderful. I wish we could have explored more than we did but feel fortunate we were able to do what we did. Best wishes.

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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:11 PM
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Our kids were 8 and 11 last year when we visited our first National Park, now we are planning several summer visits to other parks across the country. We took them to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, they loved it as much as we did. I was afraid they might be "natured out", but they thoroughly enjoyed it.

We also enjoyed Colorado, visited the Denver area and stayed a week in Breckenridge. Beautiful and lots of fun stuff to do.

We are going to Maui and the Big Island this summer, which the girls are especially excited about. I probably would not take small children on such a long flight.

Next summer, Alaskan cruise and Denali National Park.

Future plans include the national parks in Utah and also Olympic in Washington.

Just reading through the trip reports on this forum gets us excited to plan the next trip!
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:14 PM
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How could I forget Washington, D.C.! Never enough time to cover everything while there!

Toronto is a great place to take kids -- mine were I think 8 and 11. They enjoyed the Skydome!
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:36 PM
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Your post made me realize that our favorite places are really varied. Ones I can think of off the top of my head include:
Anywhere in the PNW (coast, high desert, mountains, and cities)
Canadian Rockies
San Francisco
San Diego
Hiking/backpacking trips
Road trips

You mention that international travel will have to wait, but you did not say why. If you are thinking that cost makes it prohibitive, take another look. Many times those trips can be less than more elaborate ones stateside. We have taken our children to Portugal, Italy, Scotland, England and France so far. I will say that it has been great. Fun, but they also have learned so much about the areas and the citizens.
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:49 PM
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I love all the suggestions! Yes - I am thinking international travel would be too expensive for our family of 5. In the back of my mind, I think a trip to Europe would be a great HS graduation gift. But realistically - we might be glad to afford college room & board for our twins - ha!
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:57 PM
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Twins and college...yeah, that might make me put it off too! If you think you can go though, try traveling in the off season. We have found that is our favorite time actually. Fewer people, cheaper, and easier traveling overall.
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 10:56 PM
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We've always gone to National Parks on vacations. We started when the boys were just toddlers but here is what we did from the time our youngest was age 8.

8 & 11 Monument Valley, Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion.

9 & 12 San Diego Zoo, Carlsbad Caverns, Petroglyph, El Morro, Bandilier, Lake Powell, Pipe Springs, Zion.

10 & 13 Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Dinosaur National Monument, Arches, Canyonlands, day raft trip on Colorado River, Capitol Reef, Zion.

11 & 14 Smoky Mountains, Appromattox, Williamsburg, Washington DC, Gettysburg, Niagra Falls, Mammoth Cave, Zion.

12 & 15 Ship Rock, Chaco Culture National Historic Site, Aztec Ruins, Mesa Verde, Canyonlands-Needles District, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion.

13 & 16 Drove the Alaska Highway to Alaska and back.

14 & 17 (our trailer was totaled in an accident so we didn't get much vacation in this year.) Zion

15 Yosemite and Glacier (18 year old stayed home

16 & 19 they wanted to stay home.

17 & 20 (They missed going on vacation!) Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay.

Almost every spring we went to Yosemite National Park so I guess it's no surprise that both our sons proposed marriage to their now wives at there.


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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 11:41 PM
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We live in the Chicago suburbs. When our kids were very young we confined our trips to Michigan, Wisconsin and southern Illinois (where my husband's parents live).

In '99, when our oldest was 13 and our youngest was 9, we took our first road trip. For sentimental reasons, our first big trip was to Colorado. My mother's father had taken each of his three children on one trip when they were growing up. My mother's was to Colorado. When I was growing up, our first family trip was to Colorado. So, of course, that was where we took our kids on their first big trip. But, sentiment aside, what could possibly be more dramatic for a first big trip than the Rockies?!

We also visited Mesa Verde and Santa Fe, NM on that trip.

The next year we headed northeast. We went to Montreal, Quebec City, Bar Harbor, ME, Burlington, VT, Cooperstown, NY (which we managed to hit on our son's 11th birthday) and Niagara Falls on that trip.

The following year we went South. We spent a night in Arkansas, a night in Vicksburg, a night in Natchez and a night in Breaux Bridge, LA on our way to four nights in New Orleans. We then spent two nights in Orange Beach, AL and a night in Nashville on our way home.

The next year we went west again. We went back to Frisco, Colorado. But this time, we headed north into Wyoming to see Devil's Tower before heading over to South Dakota and Custer State Park. We also spent a night in the Badlands before heading home.

In 2003 we went East because our daughter was interested in a college in Massachusetts. We started in New York City (after a night in Pennsylvania en-route). After three nights there, we went to Mystic, CT (with a stop along the way to tour a college in New London, CT). From there we went to Newport, RI. And then on to Plymouth, MA for five nights as a base to tour the area. After that, we spent two nights in the "Five College Area" of Massachusetts so that our daughter could interview at and tour Hampshire College (where she just finished her first year).

We really enjoyed all of our family road trips. And, as you can see, it's possible to combine family travel and college searching!

I guess it's lucky for us that our daughter chose a college out east. We certainly can't afford to travel and send her to school. At least this way, we get a bit of a trip as we're taking her out!
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 12:40 AM
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Washington DC is a GREAT place for a family vacation!!! I loved it as a kid in my own family (back in 1958--yipes!) and in all the times since, with different ages of kids and adults. There's soooo much to see and learn, and the Smithsonian museums there (Air and Space, American History) are educational in a FUN way for children.
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 04:14 AM
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hmmm, i'm 33, my sis is 35 and other sis is 26 and we still go on family trips!!!!

there is our yearly trip to the adirondacks and then some random ones...getting less frequent as we all graduated college and got married and have kids, but still there... trip to italy 6 years ago, a New England/Canada Cruise a few years ago and now a resort in puerto rico in 2006
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 04:23 AM
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My son's all-time favorite family trip was last year's trip to San Diego and drive up the west coast when he was 13. My daughter's favorite vacation was Atlantis (Bahamas) when she was 13.

We also spent a lot of time at beach vacations when they were younger. They still love to visit Cape Cod and the Maine coast, although they no longer consider it a "trip."

We've all enjoyed our Disney visits, esp the first time to DW Fla when they were 5 & 7, which I considered the optimum age.

We took them to London and Paris when they were around 8 & 10, and they loved it. Many, many great memories... But somehow, that is not their "all time favorite family vacation," although they speak of different experiences there often.

I wonder if it is just coincidence that that both their fav vacas were at age 13, or perhaps it has more to do with maturity, and sense of adventure of the age.

With my daughter about to enter her senior year of HS, I feel your sense of urgency loud and clear. It's really reassuring to read SeetheWorld's comments!

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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 08:13 AM
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1. Yellowstone
2. England
3. Germany (if your kids love castles!) & Austria
4. The Mayan Riviera (beaches & history, Mexico
5. Washington D.C.
6. New England
7. New York City
8. Banff, Canada
9. Yosemite
10. Chateau country, France

Places I'd skip: San Diego & Vegas
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 08:40 AM
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We took our kids to Wahington DC and Disney World. Other then that we always rented a house at the ocean for a week. My husband was in school and it was the most economical vacation we could do. We've stayed on the Ocean with our kids from Martha's Vinyard, Virginia Beach,Long Beach,Outer Banks,Myrtle Beach,Ft Lauderdale, Miami,Clearwater,Panama City, Pensacola,and Narvarre. Needless to say, now as adults with kids of their own, they love the Ocean!
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 08:45 AM
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Of all the family vacations my parents took us on the most memorable has to be when we drove cross country andn saw EVERYTHONG! We live on Long Island so it was a true coast to coast. It took about 2 months, but we went to Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore Yosimite (sp),Petrified Forest, Hollywood,Alcatraz, San Francisco, Monument Valley, Grand Tetons, Disneyland, Disney World, New Orleans....well, you get the picture we went everywhere.....

It was kinda like the movie "vacation"...my dad bought a new Lincoln continental and off we went. I was 14 and my brother was 11...it was the best vacation.
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 10:52 AM
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Two words: ROAD TRIP! And they're never too young to start.

Like seetheworld and ediegirl, our kids still love traveling with us, and i hope it continues. Both DH and i traveled with our families through college.

Our kids have been traveling since they were babies. Its sometimes a challenge between football, internships, cheerleading camps etc and they don't always like to leave 'significant others' (they're typical busy, 'cool' kids) but its well worth the effort.

Road trips ROCK because we have our kids allllll to ourselves. Amazing what can be discussed, discovered, and enjoyed when you're on the open road together with few distractions. Driving facilitates that and is half the fun!

We started our 3 week out-west road trips (Griswold style ) when the kids were in elementary school. Thinking we'd only do one trip, we made a huge sweep of america, from the midwest to California and back, for 3 weeks and over 6000 miles.
Turns out we all loved it so much that we did it again ..... then again, and again.... and we're doing our 9 th (ninth) next month. Between 6500 - 8000 miles each, doing and exploring as much as possible, nat'l parks, big cities, little villages, major leaque baseball games, presidential museums, historical homes, whale watching, jeep tours, rafting etc etc.

We also drive (occastionally fly) to WDW and / or a florida beach every spring break and often take long weekend trips to Williamsburg or other mid-atlantic cities (ocean city, annapolis, DC)

We did a big UK / europe trip a few years ago and while the kids loved it too, we let them choose where we'd go this summer, europe, hawaii or out west, and they chose another out-west road trip adventure!

The love of traveling is contagious. Wherever you end up going, if you're excited, the kids will be excited. Have a great time, take tons of pics and have the kids keep travel journals. They're great fun to read years later!

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