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Old 11-21-2012, 07:07 AM   #1
mombrontrent
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Family Vacation Ideas

So my Dh has to put in his vacation time for next year now. We debated between doing a resort in the Carribean for a week in February vs a road trip again the first week of May. My Dh gets two summer weeks which he likes to spend at his parents cottage. So we picked the first week of May ( the latest week that's not considered a prime "summer" week as they are only allowed two of those) and are doing a road trip again. Now we just have to pick the location.

We did one all Disney trip in 2008 (we flew) and then in 2011 we did an Orlando (Disney, Universal, Seaworld ect) road trip with some stopovers in Savannah GA. and St.Augustine FL. The spur of the moment stopovers are what makes it fun for us. We just drive until we feel like stopping, find a hotel and some neat stuff to do. We discovered so many great places and activities this way that we would never see if we flew. However the drive to Florida is a LONG drive for us coming all the way from Canada. This past June year we did Williamsburg VA. It's about a 13 hour drive for us, perfect. We saw Gettysburg, stopped for a day in Richmond and seen some Caverns on the way home. It was our favourite trip so far.

So we need a destination for the first week of May. We want to go South enough that the weather is swimming weather but not all the way to Florida. We are coming from near Toronto Ontario. Somewhere in Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee ect would be perfect but we are open to anything. My kids love to swim (pool or beach), love waterparks, love amusement parks (Busch Gardens in Virginia was their favourite so far), love animals (we LOVED the alligator farm in St.Augustine), we enjoy historic places, nature preserves and anything fun! We like to book a week at a condo and then spend a couple days each way for travelling and site seeing (my Dh takes a couple banked holidays for an extra couple days). It will be me, DH, DS13, DD10 and DD6. Thank-you for all suggestions.
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Last edited by mombrontrent; 11-21-2012 at 07:15 AM. Reason: added info
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:40 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by mombrontrent View Post
So my Dh has to put in his vacation time for next year now. We debated between doing a resort in the Carribean for a week in February vs a road trip again the first week of May. My Dh gets two summer weeks which he likes to spend at his parents cottage. So we picked the first week of May ( the latest week that's not considered a prime "summer" week as they are only allowed two of those) and are doing a road trip again. Now we just have to pick the location.

We did one all Disney trip in 2008 (we flew) and then in 2011 we did an Orlando (Disney, Universal, Seaworld ect) road trip with some stopovers in Savannah GA. and St.Augustine FL. The spur of the moment stopovers are what makes it fun for us. We just drive until we feel like stopping, find a hotel and some neat stuff to do. We discovered so many great places and activities this way that we would never see if we flew. However the drive to Florida is a LONG drive for us coming all the way from Canada. This past June year we did Williamsburg VA. It's about a 13 hour drive for us, perfect. We saw Gettysburg, stopped for a day in Richmond and seen some Caverns on the way home. It was our favourite trip so far.

So we need a destination for the first week of May. We want to go South enough that the weather is swimming weather but not all the way to Florida. We are coming from near Toronto Ontario. Somewhere in Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee ect would be perfect but we are open to anything. My kids love to swim (pool or beach), love waterparks, love amusement parks (Busch Gardens in Virginia was their favourite so far), love animals (we LOVED the alligator farm in St.Augustine), we enjoy historic places, nature preserves and anything fun! We like to book a week at a condo and then spend a couple days each way for travelling and site seeing (my Dh takes a couple banked holidays for an extra couple days). It will be me, DH, DS13, DD10 and DD6. Thank-you for all suggestions.
I know you said you want to go south, but how about Algonquin Park. It's moose season in early May. You can see them at the side of the highway. There are lots of trails for short 1-2+ hour hikes. Deerhurst has an indoor pool and condos.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:08 AM   #3
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I know you said you want to go south, but how about Algonquin Park. It's moose season in early May. You can see them at the side of the highway. There are lots of trails for short 1-2+ hour hikes. Deerhurst has an indoor pool and condos.
That is a good idea, however it's a little to close to home for us. We have been to Deerhust but it was many years ago. Also Algoquin Park my Dh is a truck driver and drives through there all the time in the summer. We are only about 2 hours from these places and would like more of a roadtrip. We are planning a roadtrip out to eastern Canada in a couple years during the summer months. This is the last year I will be able to take my kids out of school as my son is going to high school next year so one more roadtrip down south is what we are after this time.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:28 AM   #4
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I would still recommend a resort in the Caribbean!

I go to the FL Panhandle at the end of May...
It is JUST then beginning to be real swimming weather.

Not sure you would find it warm enough any further north than that at all.
Not the first week of May, right after April.
I live in the area of the South that you mentioned...
Where we live, while May can be warm and nice...
The very beginning of May can be chilly, like at night, or if cold rainy weather happens to come thru.
Unheated pools might be chilly.
I think over on the coast it would be warmer.
But, not here.

One thing, The first of May is when the prices drop in the Caribbean.
Both the resorts, and the airfares.

What kind of resort would you be looking for!
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:30 AM   #5
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I agree that it probably won't be warm enough to swim in many places at the point...the ocean will be freezing.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:34 AM   #6
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Have you considered the Smoky Mountains Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area?

Since you are traveling off-season, before schools are out, it would not be crowded and might be a good option?

What kind of vacation do you guys enjoy?
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:37 AM   #7
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What about Myrtle Beach, warm enough the first week of May? Could you swim in the ocean then?

If we went to the Carribean it would probably be in Feb or March not May.

As for the type of resort, something family friendly. Does not need to be all-inclusive in the Carribean as we do not drink anyways and I hate to eat at buffet type places. The last couple times we went away in Florida and Virginia we stayed in amazing 2 bedrooms condos using my Aunt's timeshare. We have been spoiled by these and would love to do something similar again.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:41 AM   #8
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I'm in NC and you won't get swimming weather the first week of May, especially not the ocean! Have you ever been to Myrtle Beach? While its not my cup of tea some people around here adore it. I know there are several hotels with indoor pools and slides, I think some are pretty elaborate.

Gong that direction you could stop over in Wilmington which has a gorgeous riverfront downtown. There's a battleship there to tour also.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:41 AM   #9
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I agree that it probably won't be warm enough to swim in many places at the point...the ocean will be freezing.
Yep, rare is the early May that's warm enough for swimming unless you're far south. We hit the Outer Banks in early June and often the weather barely hits 75. That's a month later. BUT, I adore the Outer Banks and you could get a house with a heated pool, eh? It's pretty cheap rental there. Go south, like Hatteras Village for warmth. If you think you'd like to step back in time...Ocracoke Island is amazing. Families riding bikes all over the place, fabulous beach, lots of pirate lore and great people, neat shops, good food. It does require a ferry ride or two to get there depending on your approach.

I've been to Myrtle Beach several times. Choose to go to the area of Myrtle Beach but not right in Myrtle Beach central. It's carnivalish and not a place I'd allow my kids to be by themselves although early May might be fairly quiet. Lotsa traffic, lotsa golf and heavily developed. Check out Hilton Head; it's South Carolina. Also, a tad further south, Amelia Island, just over the Florida border, is a great family vacation spot.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:40 AM   #10
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Charleston SC has great architecture and history plus the ocean.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:12 PM   #11
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Oh I second the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge -- Smoky Mountain area. It has everything you are looking for. You can rent cabins by the stream for the week. There are TONS of paid activities (mini golf, go carts, shows, MagiQuest, Wonderworks, etc) in the towns. Also Dollywood is a very fun amusement park. (not sure if her water park is open yet) But the great part is the National Park -- tons to explore and do, and that's all free. The waterfalls are the best in the Spring and you would be there when all the wild flowers are blooming. The average temperature is 77 in May. We go for Spring Break when it is about 72 and have a great time - and it is warm enough for us to sun and play in the pool.

Also, check out cavern.com to see where caves are located on your way down. A fun stop off activity.

I would suggest you check out the tripadvisor boards for more details but it is a great area to visit.

Have a great trip!
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:26 PM   #12
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Wisconsin Dells. ~12-13 hours by car from Toronto, and full of INDOOR water parks
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:27 PM   #13
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Oh I second the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge -- Smoky Mountain area. It has everything you are looking for. You can rent cabins by the stream for the week. There are TONS of paid activities (mini golf, go carts, shows, MagiQuest, Wonderworks, etc) in the towns. Also Dollywood is a very fun amusement park. (not sure if her water park is open yet) But the great part is the National Park -- tons to explore and do, and that's all free. The waterfalls are the best in the Spring and you would be there when all the wild flowers are blooming. The average temperature is 77 in May. We go for Spring Break when it is about 72 and have a great time - and it is warm enough for us to sun and play in the pool.

Also, check out cavern.com to see where caves are located on your way down. A fun stop off activity.

I would suggest you check out the tripadvisor boards for more details but it is a great area to visit.

Have a great trip!
I agree with this suggestion. We've been there twice and absolutely love that area. We have rented gorgeous log "cabins" (I hesitate to call them cabins because they are really big, beautiful vacation homes) way up in the mountains. Both times we rented from sunsetcottage.com. We prefer more private cabins up in the mountains, but they have a lot of cabins in gated communities with swimming pools too.

The area, with the National Park, is gorgeous. Lots of walking trails, and roads for driving, in the Park, beautiful scenery, etc. Then in the towns there are lots of things to do as well. And many, many wonderful restaurants. Dollywood is a great place to spend a day or two as well.

Do some exploring of the area on the internet, and like a PP mentioned, check out the tripadvisor boards too.
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