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Vacation for parent visiting me first time in the US

Vacation for parent visiting me first time in the US

Old Apr 13th, 2024, 11:33 AM
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Vacation for parent visiting me first time in the US

What are some 3-5 day vacation ideas for senior parent's first time trip to US in the Summer? We are in Chicago


What would be good big city destinations with nearby nature/ beach destinations?Are there any national parks that are easy to fly into and don't need us to rent a car?
Ideal would be combining a big city destination with a nature destination via beautiful train ride

Last edited by explorer2212; Apr 13th, 2024 at 12:04 PM.
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Old Apr 13th, 2024, 11:36 AM
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You can easily go to NYC and spend a few days on the Jersey Shore which is reachable by train. You can also take a train to places in the Hamptons that are walkable but super expensive in the summer and hard to get reservations anyway.
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Old Apr 13th, 2024, 11:48 AM
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Where do you live? What's easy will depend on your starting point. And how far do you wish to go from there?
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Old Apr 13th, 2024, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MmePerdu
Where do you live? What's easy will depend on your starting point. And how far do you wish to go from there?
Updated the post!
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Old Apr 13th, 2024, 12:26 PM
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I don't know of any great national park you can get to without a car as they are obviously more rural locations. Having said, that, I think there are some iconic parks that you can get to and then there are group day trips or something (I'm thinking maybe Grand Canyon). I think there are day trips from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon but LV sure isn't any scenic city or great place to stay, especially for seniors. NOw I'm sure there are some that love that low-life gambling, night club thing. I don't.

YOu can get to Yosemite by public transportation, see this
https://yarts.com/

So that's near a big city, San Francisco. I haven't been there in years, I heard it's gone downhill, don't know. Merced sure isn't a big city, or Fresno that you'd want to tour. I'm a little confused on why you don't want to rent a car but want some nearby beach/nature. What you are thinking of? Can you not drive? If not, it's important to know. Obviously you could do SF without a car but to go north to Muir Woods or the Redwoods or Napa or something, you'd need a car.

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Old Apr 13th, 2024, 01:04 PM
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United has a three-hour nonstop from Chicago to Jackson, WY. There are tour buses that will take you around Yellowstone NP, one of the premier national parks.United has a 2.5-hour nonstop to Charleston, SC, one of the most interesting cities in the South.
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Old Apr 14th, 2024, 02:41 AM
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My favorite National Parks are Yellowstone and Grand Canyon. As has been mentioned Grand Canyon could be reached easily from Las Vegas and there are bus tours or flights from there. You also could take the train from Chicago and connect to the train that goes to the park and spend a night in the park. Once in the park there are busses that go along the rim and you can hop on and off to get to other parts of the park.

For Yellowstone you could look at the route PrarieHiker suggested or look for flights to Bozeman Montana from Chicago, Southwest Airlines has many that go from both Midway and O,Hare. Look for tours from there, Yellowstone is only an hour and a half from Bozeman, but is very big so you would want to stay overnight in the park in any case.

Last edited by oldemalloy; Apr 14th, 2024 at 02:44 AM.
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Old Apr 14th, 2024, 06:38 AM
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Ideal would be combining a big city destination with a nature destination via beautiful train ride.

You could fly into Denver, then take the train to Glenwood Springs from Union Station in downtown Denver.

https://www.amtrakvacations.com/trips/glenwood-springs-getaway-roundtrip-from-denver

https://visitglenwood.com/


The California Zepher also travels from Chicago to Denver, but I'm not at all familiar with how it works, might be worth a look.

https://www.amtrak.com/california-zephyr-train



Last edited by Melnq8; Apr 14th, 2024 at 06:40 AM.
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Old Apr 14th, 2024, 08:09 AM
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From where will they be coming? They may need time to adjust from a long trip just to get to Chicago and not want to embark on another long trip across time zones.

Chicago itself is a major city with lots to see and do and Chicago has nice beaches along the lake. If you want to see another city, how about Washington, DC for a first trip to the US. Mount Vernon is a nice side trip from there.
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Old Apr 14th, 2024, 10:10 AM
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Where are they coming from, and what in other places in the world have they seen already? Seniors is a pretty broad category. Can they walk ten miles, or would a half mile stroll do them in? Do they want an active get-away or more just looking out car windows?

Do you have a car, and can you drive? If so, you could potentially take a road trip from Chicago. Visit Chicago as your big city. Drive up the western shore of Michigan. You could also take the ferry across to Wisconsin. There are national parks in Michigan--Pictured Rocks, Sleeping Bear Dunes etc. You could also visit Mackinac Island. Or, for your nature-oriented portion, drive from Chicago to Door County, Wisconsin--the Cape Cod of the midwest.

Or, take a quick, cheap flight to Minneapolis which is a lovely city destination in the summer. Get a rental car and drive up to Duluth and keep heading north along the North Shore of Lake Superior--lots of parks and nature.

Or, fly to DC, one of my favorite US cities. But, this can be beastly hot in the summer, so it depends on when you will be touring.

There is Amtrak from Chicago to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons etc. But, 4 to 5 days isn't enough time for this option.
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Old Apr 14th, 2024, 10:27 AM
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Isn't there a good train from Chicago to New Orleans...?
After the city you can explore the nature in the Cajun country.
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Old Apr 14th, 2024, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ekscrunchy
Isn't there a good train from Chicago to New Orleans...?
After the city you can explore the nature in the Cajun country.
Yes, The City of New Orleans, famed in song, still runs.


Last edited by Fra_Diavolo; Apr 14th, 2024 at 02:42 PM.
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Old Apr 14th, 2024, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ekscrunchy
Isn't there a good train from Chicago to New Orleans...?
After the city you can explore the nature in the Cajun country.
The train called "The City of New Orleans" leaves Chicago Union station every night at 8:05PM. In the morning you are in Memphis TN. Late in the afternoon you arrive in New Orleans.
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Old May 16th, 2024, 05:27 AM
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Thank you everyone for the wonderful suggestions.
Would California destinations be fine in summer ? ( Worried about wild fires)
Would Zion and some of the other places be too hot?

​​​​​​Sorry, I'm trying to find somewhere that's easy to get to by flight (even if we do this as a long weekend trip) , has good weather & food, natural beauty and would be a good destination for someone visiting the US for first time.
We prefer to not rent a car, and be able to just fly in / fly out without too much of road travel (unless it's a short train ride)
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Old May 16th, 2024, 06:24 AM
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Aside from perhaps Mojave desert/Death Valley area, California is delightful to visit in the summer. Wildfires can happen, and if they do whole areas can be shut down but you cannot plan for that. I would go ahead.

Zion as well is lovely in the summer, but it can be hotter. Much of Zion canyon is shadowed by the high cliffs on either side so it does stay cooler than the desert around the area. The good thing about Zion is that all of the hotels in nearby Springdale have pools, and the Virgin River is cool & refreshing, even in summer. Zion is about a 3hr drive from Las Vegas, the nearest major airport. For some it's a short drive, for others it's a loooong way.

If you want good weather, natural beauty for a weekend trip, and that is also easy to get to without a long drive, consider coastal CA, like the Carmel / Monterey area. Easy to get to (drive from SFO or San Jose), natural beauty, options to see tall redwoods on the way there or back in the Santa Cruz mountains, plenty of lodging. I like Carmel myself, not Monterey which is more touristy. But if you want a wildlife boat ride, Monterey has that. Others like Pacific Grove.
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Old May 16th, 2024, 06:40 AM
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There is no way to generalize about California. It is VAST and has everything from essentially rain forests in the NW redwoods, the hottest place in the US at Death Valley (not relevant to a summer trip but also frequently the coldest place in the US) the highest mountains other than in Alaska, crowded beaches and practically empty beaches, theme parks, etc etc.

When in 'summer'? Wild fires are mostly (not exclusively) in late summer/early autumn.
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Old May 16th, 2024, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by explorer2212
Thank you everyone for the wonderful suggestions.
Would California destinations be fine in summer ? ( Worried about wild fires)
Would Zion and some of the other places be too hot?

​​​​​​Sorry, I'm trying to find somewhere that's easy to get to by flight (even if we do this as a long weekend trip) , has good weather & food, natural beauty and would be a good destination for someone visiting the US for first time.
We prefer to not rent a car, and be able to just fly in / fly out without too much of road travel (unless it's a short train ride)
I agree with janisj about the vastness of California! For ease of access without a rental car, I think Yosemite would be easiest and most beautiful in California. Fly into Sacramento (SMF). There is a cheap bus from the airport into downtown Sacramento. Depending on how much luggage you have, you can taxi or walk to the train station. From the train station you either get on a San Joaquin train or a bus to Stockton (1 hour) where you get on the San Joaquin train to Merced.
In Merced you get on a YARTS bus that takes you into the Valley of Yosemite. If you can get lodging in the Valley, DO IT! Otherwise, you can get lodging outside the park at El Portal which also has a stop on the YARTS bus line. There are other buses that get you around within the park.
Yosemite is usually cooler than the cities of California because of its elevation and tree cover.
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Old May 17th, 2024, 06:54 AM
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You might think about flying to Seattle. Hotel prices are high during the Alaska cruise season, but that's going to be the case pretty much everywhere popular.

You could do a day trip to Mount Rainier National Park (either 2 1/2 hours in a rental car or one of several tour companies) or by ferry to Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, or to the San Juan Islands, or whale watching from Edmonds (just north of Seattle.)

If they can travel into Canada, you could spend a night or two in Seattle, ride the scenic Amtrak Cascades train up to Vancouver BC, and fly back to Chicago from there. Or you could do that trip in reverse.
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Old May 17th, 2024, 07:49 AM
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Hotel prices in Vancouver are also very high because of the Alaska cruises. It is however a great city to visit with pretty spectacular views both from the city itself as well as from destinations outside the city. When we visited Grouse Mountain you could see all the way to Mount Baker in Oregon. We opted for a day trip to Vancouver Island on a tour that took us to Victoria and to the incredible Buchardt Gardens by mini-van that went on the ferry. It was a full day as we were picked up at the Hyatt Regency at 8 and returned at 8 PM. Had beautiful weather and really enjoyed sitting outside for a fish and chips lunch on the waterfront in Victoria.
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Old May 17th, 2024, 10:26 AM
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Look 3 to 5 days isn't much time, if you need to account for the time of getting there and coming back.
There's so many beautiful destination in Michigan State, you and your parents would be delighted to spend relaxing time together rather then keep them for hours on a plane or in the car driving somewhere far. Also, you could split up the drive to stay in different places, In addition, all National Parks are overcrowded. Here's what I'd suggest to start with:
From Chiacgo, drive up to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.



than I'd cross the bridge toward Mackinaw City, without necessarily visiting Mackinac Island. But wouldn't miss the Sleeping Bear Dunes



On the way, you could visit some very unique places like Legs Inn Restaurant , build by an early European settler, he later became Native Indian Tribe Chef named White Cloud.
Or stop and search for Petoskey Stone (a Coral Reef fossil stone).




There are some many charming cities, like Holland. Also, depends on the season the have cherry, peach or apple orchards.
Michigan is home to many beautiful beached and lighthouses, and if you wanted more, you could stop at the Indiana Dunes N.P. as well.
This would allow you a great, yet set your own pace adventure, maximizing time with your parents. Guaranteed you won't be disappointed.

The Good, not too much time wasted on getting there and affordable. However, you'd need a car for this. you don't need nothing fancy, it's all relatively a short ride.

Last edited by andyg5056; May 17th, 2024 at 10:30 AM.
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