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  1. Default Virginia/DC to Sacramento with 3 kids by myself

    My husband is military. We have moved a lot but never coast to coast. Our move this summer is from the DC area to Sacramento. I will be traveling by myself with three kids under 11. I am excited to see everything we can. We have no time restraints (other than the limits of how long they will be happy in the car). I thought about trying to stay at military installations as much as we can to help defer some of the costs but the first focus will be on making this memorable. Probably will break the trip into 6 or 7 hour segments at most, more or less to see sites.
    Obviously traveling by myself, I am a little concerned with safety. Beyond being alert, what advice do you have? Would it ever be safe to tent camp along the way?
    We will be traveling across the northern part of the country, DC to either Chicago or Topeka then pop up to I80 or I70. What amazing sites would you suggest we be sure to see, knowing that we may never make it out that way again?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Amazing, at Eleven and Under

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First, thanks for your service as well as your husband's. Second, kudos for realizing that the kids are not going to sit still for hour after hour trapped in a car - It may be moving, but they won't be. Six to even hours in the saddle will actually let you get a goodly distance each day while still leaving plenty of time for sight seeing and, more importantly, exercise. And here's the really good news. "Amazing" has a pretty broad definition to young children for whom everything will be new. You can find any number of small parks everywhere along the Interstate System that will let them blow off steam and help forestall the "Mom, (s)he's touching me!" screams.

    This is also a good chance to get at least the older kids involved in the planning. Although I can make recommendations, theirs are much more worthy just because the sites they want to see are going to be the most meaningful to them. Have them sit down with a map and each pick one or two 'big' attractions along your possible routes and then see which route hits most of them. then have the kids do a little research on their choices so that they know they're getting what they want. You can fill in quicker, smaller stops for picnic lunches, some swimming time, etc. One last thing. If you stop at any national parks, monuments, historic sites, etc., ask about their age appropriate Junior Ranger programs.

    As a mother of three, your own built in and well developed 'danger radar' will serve you as well as any advice I can give you. If a place feels wrong, move on. You're not tied to any particular place, town, restaurant, or anything else as you make your cross country journey. Tent camping in state parks is an enjoyable way to save some money and keep the kids from simply bouncing around four motel room walls. The majority of other campers will be just like you, families who enjoy saving a buck in the outdoors. And most such facilities are at least minimally patrolled if for no other reason than to collect fees.


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