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Banff Feb 4th, 2014 05:31 PM

Up, up and away . . . suggestions along the Atlantic seaboard
My family and I are taking a driving trip up the Atlantic seaboard this summer. As you can imagine, tour/admission prices multiplied by four can quickly add up.
Would anyone be willing to share activities/ideas along the drive to hit or skip?
Obviously we will not do all of this things but let me give you a list of places/activities we are currently considering.

Charleston, Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello, Luray caverns, D.C., Harpers Ferry, Gettysburg, Lancaster, NYC, Lake Placid, Burlington, Quebec City, Mystic Seaport

Any suggestions? Things to skip or hit?

Colonial Williamsburg will cost at least $100 for four, Luray = 100, Monticello = 100+, Mystic = 100, DC tours = 100+, Gettysburg = 50.

Thank you!

nytraveler Feb 4th, 2014 05:37 PM

How much time do you have for this trip?

Granted some of thes sights are not cheap - but hotels and meals won;t be either.

And - just taking 4 people to the movies will cost you close to $50 - at least here. For persepctive - how important are these sights versus a movie that you usually forget the next day.

Banff Feb 4th, 2014 06:07 PM

We have two weeks.
I get your point, it's just that with so many options I want to try maximize the value I get.
Actually, I have hotel points to cut down on costs. I have a one way rental from florida for $67 per week and I have ff miles to come home.

PointsWellTaken Feb 4th, 2014 06:34 PM

You can spend days in DC for free. All of the Smithsonians and the zoo are free. Stay in Virginia just across the river and save quite a bit on hotels. DC is a great city to walk around.
I have been to Luray Caverns which my kids loved, but is quite a bit out of the way. Williamsburg isn't all that great to me. Hersheypark near Lancaster is great. Mystic is great, too. Been to Lake Placid, which is also great in WINTER but really out of your way for summer. How about Plymouth, MA? THere is lots there for kids.

nytraveler Feb 5th, 2014 03:38 AM

It really depedns n what you like. I think Colonial Williamsburg is fascinating and needs really a couple of days to see that andd the Yorktown battlefield. And I wouldn;t pay 2 cents for Hersheyland.

Mystic seaport is wonderful and the small aquarium is also interesting.

True many thing in DC are free and in NY check for the places you want to see - some museums have pay what you wish and others (Central Park, Staten Island ferry) are free.

Amy Feb 5th, 2014 04:58 AM

Have you already been to Philadelphia? If not, it's really something to consider: the history, the culture, the there's a lot of free stuff to do! :) (And it's very easy to get around.)

Let me know if you consider adding this and I can happily give you self-guided walking tours/free stuff to do/cheap eats/etc.

exiledprincess Feb 5th, 2014 07:28 AM

A one-way rental from Florida for $67/wk? How much is your one-way drop-off fee? Pretty substantial?

The thing that strikes me about your list are the locations where you would NOT want a car - NYC and Washington, D.C. at the very least. I would add Boston, if that's a possibility during your trip, too.

From your list, it's obvious that historical importance plays a big(ger) part.

When I visited D.C., I actually stayed in Crystal City for less expensive lodging. Took the Metro into D.C. - super-convenient and very cost-effective.

One stellar highlight of that visit was a side-trip through Alexandria, VA to Mount Vernon. I took a morning-into-early-afternoon guided bus tour as I didn't have a rental car. However, I REALLY wish that I had driven there because I could have spent another hour or two there.

Are you planning on going to Arlington National Cemetery as well?

I really enjoyed visiting Colonial Williamsburg. In retrospect, though, I would have checked their calendar of each day's events and then would have chosen the next day to go. They had an event scheduled which I truly would have liked to attend. Nevertheless, it was still quite a fine day.

JMHO, although Colonial Williamsburg is entertaining - and informative - it isn't the real thing. Mount Vernon, Monticello or Gettysburg - those are places with true historic importance. Depending on the ages of your kids, though, they may not appreciate that fine point - but I think adults do.

exiledprincess Feb 5th, 2014 07:43 AM

Also, you might wish to research if there are going to be any Civil War Reenactments in the areas through which you are traveling...

Banff Feb 5th, 2014 09:30 AM

THanks for the input - I never really considered Philly b/c I really want to avoid the BIG city (traffic) as much as possible. Although I listed NYC on possible places we will go, I've been leaning toward NOT. It's not that I don't think Philly has much to offer, it's just that I don't want to deal too much with the traffic on vaca if possible.
Free drop off. Snowbirds drive the cars down so they need people to move the cars back up north. NOt a bad price $67 a week for one way car and 16000 SWA points to return all 4 of us home. We did Boston last summer.

garyt22 Feb 5th, 2014 09:34 AM

Consider adding Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame...

Gretchen Feb 5th, 2014 09:52 AM

Have you added up the days and travel time between places and getting settled into your hotel each change of place? I am not seeing that length of trip being done in 2 weeks --to Quebec!!
Got a map and put flags in all these places?
I think Williamsburg is a good informative piece of reconstructed history. Hershey, not so much.
Washington--a must. Philadelphia is a wonderful city full of history.
The drive from Charleston to DC or Monticello is easily 8 hours I'm guessing. So I guess I'd have to very reluctantly say that Charleston is the outlier--IF you are going into upstate NY or Connecticut.
Charleston to Philly with the "detours" might be possible, but even that is a lot.

exiledprincess Feb 5th, 2014 10:03 AM

That's a really good deal with the rental then! I just wasn't sure if you had researched it and didn't want you to get a bad, bad, bad surprise.

Although I've stayed in Charlottesville (for Monticello) - which I really enjoyed - as well as visited some other cities along VA's eastern seaboard, I've never traveled between the two areas. I have the (firm!) determination to return to Virginia in the future to visit the James River Plantations (Route 5 between Williamsburg and Richmond). And, although I've never been, my brother who lived in this area for several years and revisits often, thinks I'd enjoy a visit to Richmond as well.

exiledprincess Feb 5th, 2014 10:05 AM

That post was supposed to end: Maybe you would, too! But I got trigger-happy with "submit". :)

Banff Feb 5th, 2014 11:04 AM

Gretchen, Right now I am going from fla to connect in 2 weeks . . . right now nothing is set, only considerations. There are 2 thoughts I have right now:
A) take a slow trip from point A to point B. This plan would be more leisurely but include more stops that are not of my highest priority.
B) beeline from point A to northern Virginia/DC/Penn and spend 5 days day tripping the area - then bee lining it to upstate NY/Vermont and then spending 5 days exploring that area (which is a very desirable area in my book).
So, either way I plan on making it doable for my speed and tastes. I'm hoping that the suggestions from those on this board who have "been there, done that" can help me figure out what to see and not see and which plan to take.
THanks for the input.
Exiledprincess, as a child I visited a plantation on the James river and loved it!

dwdvagamundo Feb 5th, 2014 11:57 AM

Wilmington, N.C.

Outer Banks, N.C.

If you do decide to go to Quebec City, you should also take time to drive to Tadoussac, Quebec.

Ackislander Feb 6th, 2014 02:50 AM

The important museums in Richmond, Virginia are free, and there are many, many small restaurants with good inexpensive food that are not fast food chains. Civil war history, cemeteries galore.

Washington, DC, absolutely. You own it, and everything that matters is free.

New Castle, Delaware, is an amazing Colonial town on the edge of Wilmington's industrial sprawl. From there, Philadelphia, definitely. Tour Independence Hall, free, and realize that these men were not just taking. Risk, they really were laying their lives, their fortunes, and their honor on the line. If they had failed, they would have been hung as traitors and their families left in poverty .

I would not do NYC on this trip.. I would also bag Hersheytown. There is a lot less to Lancaster than you might be expecting. So Washington, Gettysburg, Cooperstown, Saratoga, Burlington, Montreal are all sort of on a route. Make sure you can drive the rental car into Canada. Quebec City is a lot more awesome than Montreal, but it is a hike up there and back.

Have fun, whatever you do.

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