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USA with a 3 year old

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Mar 10th, 2014, 02:20 PM
  #1
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USA with a 3 year old

We are hoping to spend 3 weeks in either May 2015 or sept 2015 with our son who will be 2 3/4 years to 3 years old dependent on when we travel. Just hoping for some suggestions. We are not really beach/sea people but we have travelled to and loved Washington DC, Bar Harbor, New Hampshire, Chicago and San Francisco. We like attractive cities with nice open spaces, zoo's or quaint towns like bar harbour that we can walk around and maybe hire bikes for gentle cycling. We are considering San Francisco with a trip to Yosemite so far.

I've always fancied Utah but don't think will be suitable for a toddler. I do think Colorado and Montana look stunning and also love the thought of strolling around Savannah.

As you can see I am all over the place. We just like to stroll and eat, check out the scenary and play.

Any suggestions

thanks
kristie
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Mar 10th, 2014, 03:06 PM
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I'm not sure what this means: "attractive cities with nice open spaces." Every major city has park land and some have a lot of it. It's easier to tell you what cities to avoid (Detroit, Oakland, Camden, Wilmington, St. Louis, etc.) than which to visit. Omaha, Nebraska and Columbus, Ohio have good zoos, but would you traverse the pond for that?

You tagged Arizona. In either May or September, it will be hot especially if my guess is right and you are a Brit (Americans don't hire, we rent, and spell harbor thus). Arizona's summer is about as long as Russia's winter (albeit different months).

Both Montana and Colorado are old west states with many national and state parks in and around the mountains.

You do really need to determine what you're looking for with a bit more specificity - you could stroll around a lot of places.
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Mar 10th, 2014, 03:07 PM
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Savannah GA and Charleston SC would both be enjoyable. You could also include Hilton Head or one of the other off-shore islands as well. What about New Orleans? (although maybe not so good for a toddler?)
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Mar 10th, 2014, 03:21 PM
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Yes we are brits so the heat would be a problem for us. We are used to doing around 3 internal flights when we are travelling so can manage a good distance this way, however first time having to consider the toddler. Here cities are not that great for nice outdoor open spaces. This was a reason we loved DC so much.
Simpsonc510 we would have loved New Orleans however now planning on waiting until the baby is older for that one.

I tend to land east coast, see the city then get an internal flight to the next combining with fly-drive. My initial thoughts are NYC, savannagh then San Fran though open to influence.
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Mar 10th, 2014, 03:23 PM
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Take a look at Portland Oregon. Attached to Forest Park is the Portland Zoo, the World Forestry Center and the Rose Gardens.
The city has a great transportation system (TrMet).
The Red Line Light Rail end is right outside the baggage claim area at the PDX airport.
You will have to rent a car to go see the ocean anywhere from Astoria south to maybe Newport where there is the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Tillamook is the town to stop at the cheese factory for some great ice cream and cheese.
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Mar 10th, 2014, 03:33 PM
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How about San Diego? A beautiful zoo,wonderful Balboa Park, great seafood, Mexican food. Bike rentals etc. You will need to drive to really enjoy the city.

I would avoid Arizona - too hot!
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Mar 10th, 2014, 04:44 PM
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I have young boys...4 and 5. I find young kids can have fun anywhere. My boys love nature, big cities, amusement parks, anything.

I would consider flying into San Francisco. He will love the cable cars, alcatraz, the ocean. Then drive south to San Diego. Visit towns along the way. Maybe stop at Legoland. Visit the San Diego Zoo and Seaworld. Spend a day touring tide pools.

Another option would be Utah which has great National parks...but go in early May or late September to avoid heat.

Wyoming is fun. The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Devil's Tower, badlands of South Dakota.

You could also consider the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Go hiking. Visit Dollywood.

Where he is so young, pick a place you want to enjoy and then tailor some activities towards him.
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Mar 10th, 2014, 05:18 PM
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three year olds will never remember anything from a vacation at that age... do what you want to enjoy and bring a stroller, car seat and plan around naps and you can go anywhere... my kids don't even remember much more than the characters from their disney trip at 3 and 5...

I would choose San Francisco and down the Pacific Coast to Monterey... great trip
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Mar 10th, 2014, 05:40 PM
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I don;t agree that kids can't remember things that early. They may well remember things - I remember Lake Winnieasaukee and my dad making me a tiny birch bark canoe (i know how old I was since by mom was obviously pregnant in the photos) and I kept the canoe until a college roommate squashed it.

Plus - your child will enjoy a lot WHILE it is happening - and isn't that what you want? Based on what you have enjoyed before I would go for a couple of cities and a couple of areas of natural beauty. There are a ton of both in the US. But I would do most of a week in/around NYC and then head west to SF and see Yosemitie from there - and perhaps a little of the coast.

Don't reco Savannah or Charleston - since at that time of year you can get a million gnats and flies.
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Mar 10th, 2014, 07:52 PM
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Minneapolis has a lot of parks and open space - one of the best city park systems in the country. Great weather in September plus a lot of smaller towns nearby. It is not far from there to Duluth and the North Shore which has great scenery and many state parks.

Personally I think if you focus on national parks you'll be somewhat limited in your sightseeing because the 3 year old simply can't handle that much. Putting him in a stroller limits you to the paved or very smooth trails, and you certainly don't want to carry him everywhere - I think a trip to the Utah parks is a waste of your time right now. Save it for when you can get out and see more than just the easy trails.
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Mar 11th, 2014, 03:51 AM
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If you are going to hike, just buy a quality back carrier. We use a Kelty brand one.

This year we are taking our boys to Baltimore/DC, Chicago, Vermont, and haven't decided on our December trip yet.

We've done disneyworld, San Diego, NYC, Boston, bar harbor, the jersey shore, and Indiana. They have enjoyed each place.

Future plans include Atlanta and driving up to Huntsville for the space center after, st Louis to Branson, San Francisco.
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Mar 11th, 2014, 09:20 AM
  #12
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This info is great and I will look at your suggestions. Thanks for the information regarding Savannah and Charleston and the flies/gnats as I'd pretty much convinced myself that was our option after an east coast city. A little gutted to rule it out. Having a look I'm now thinking late August 2015 departure and return mid sept. 3 weeks in total. We couldn't carry our child as he is 28lbs now so hiking with a carrier is out at present. He will love just being with us which is why I want to go when he is so young so we can do places we enjoy. Thinking of leaving Disney florida until he is 5-6.
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Mar 11th, 2014, 05:35 PM
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I know you said the US, but have you considered any places in Canada? Quebec City, Montreal , Toronto, Vancouver, etc..?
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Mar 12th, 2014, 02:56 AM
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I don't necessarily agree about flies and gnats--and I would go to Charleston rather than Savannah. More for kids there, plus great food. You even have a bit of time for a beach visit--in spite of saying you don't enjoy it particularly.
But San Francisco and the west coast would be great.
Denver has a good zoo, and the mountains are beautiful and have things that also are nice for little ones--train ride, gold mine. Maybe animal sightings.
But I agree that a child that age remembers little--the memory that NYtraveler has has been reinforced greatly through the years (which is wonderful)complete with the canoe model so that she does "remember"--IMO.
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