View Full Version : Driving from Iowa to WDW, need a night stop hotel fun for kids

04-05-2012, 10:15 PM
We are leaving in the middle of the night and plan to drive at least as far as Nashville, but hoping to make it to Chatanooga or further. We have a 2 year old and 6 year old so how far we make it largely depends on how they are doing. I was thinking of making a couple reservations and then seeing how things are going during the day. We were planning on not making reservations but that seems to be largely frowned upon on here. Any suggestions on where to stop throughout the day for the kids to run around a bit? It would be great if we could find a hotel that caters to children for the night, maybe with a water slide or something. Any suggestions?

04-05-2012, 10:34 PM
while we always stay on site at WDW, on the drive down, we go as cheaply as possible. we don't make reservations (we are coming from about 40 miles NW of chicago.)

when we pass a state line, we stop at the rest stop, and pick up a few of the Room saver coupon books. they can really save money.. when we are closer to knowing about how far we will make it, we call on our cell to have them hold a room. we ususally make it to southern GA, but with the little ones, you might not.

can't help you with the "fun for kids" thing... we usually pick up sub sandwiches from subway the night beofre our trip. you can stop in any rest stop, they have picnic tables. let the kids run.
I know chatanooga has the rock falls, etc. we have never done this. I don't think you'll get a hotel with a slide , unless you go pricier. at your kids ages, I think they would just be happy if you stop early enough for them to swi in the pool, nad maybe order a pizza.

I know Valdosta , GA, has a small theme park. never been there. but that would probably require a whole nother nights stay.

I think you can get the room saver coupons online ahead of time.

Shelly F - Ohio
04-06-2012, 10:37 AM
What about stopping to play a round of putt putt golf. Its a great way as a family to get out of the car, stretch your legs and have some fun.

04-06-2012, 11:24 AM
Any suggestions on where to stop throughout the day for the kids to run around a bit? It would be great if we could find a hotel that caters to children for the night, maybe with a water slide or something. Any suggestions?

I assume you're coming through St. Louis, then I64 to I57 to I24? The rest areas in IL all have small playgrounds, as do most of the McDonalds along the way. The Kentucky welcome center in Paducah doesn't have much to do, but is a very nice old mansion & you won't find a cleaner place to stop along the way IMO. There isn't much between STL & Paducah food wise, other than the occasional fast food place.

Try to avoid buying gas in IL, particularly near STL as it will be quite a bit higher than MO gas. As you get closer to KY, the price will drop some. But, you're best if you can fill up in MO & try to make it as far across IL as possible w/o gassing up. We're about an hour West of STL and usually fill back up just inside the TN line, but have on occasion made it all the way to Chattanooga w/o stopping for gas.

On the flip side, a lot of the rest areas in MO are closed due to state budget cuts. Thankfully, I70 is littered with fast food stops & truck stops.

In Chattanooga, there are tons of places with pools (dunno 'bout slides though). Depending on what time of day you get in, you could head downtown to the aquarium. Even if you don't go in, they have a play area outside with fountains that the kids can splash around in and burn some energy.


04-06-2012, 10:40 PM
Thank you for all the replies and suggestions. I am hoping to try and make it through as much of Illinois as possible while they are sleeping but that is very good to know that most of the rest stops have playgrounds. That way when they wake up we can run around for alittle while, change for breakfast and get back on the road for a little bit before stopping maybe in Kentucky. It is tradition that our first breakfast on the way is at a Cracker Barrel.

04-06-2012, 10:45 PM
I know there's a Cracker Barrel right on 24 in Chattanooga as we've eaten breakfast a time or two there as well. Imagine there are plenty others along the way.

04-07-2012, 06:23 PM
Another Iowan :) we stopped just past Tenn. last year, cant remember the name of the place though. We did not make reservations and just based it off how the kiddos were doing. Good luck with the drive, its beautiful during the daytime!