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  1. #1

    Default Alabama to Washington DC in December

    Hi! :) I have been doing lots of research...but I was hoping I could get some advice from experienced travelers. We are going on a road trip this winter. We will be driving from Alabama to Washington DC. The catch is it will be me, my mother, and my 2 brothers (13 and 3). So, we will need to stop halfway there and spend the night and halfway back and spend the night. I really want to make this fun or my brothers...any suggestions on MUST SEE things for their ages? Also, any suggestions on neat places to stay halfway would be EXCELLENT!! :) My plan so far is leave on Thursday morning at 3am drive halfway and spend the night. Early Friday morning continue into Washington DC, sight see in Washington DC. Saturday take a bus to New York and spend all day. Sunday Take a bus to Pittsburgh and sight see. Monday head home, drive halfway and sleep. Tuesday continue to Alabama. Does that even seem realistic? Are there certain things that I should avoid with 2 boys age 3 and 13?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    Realistic would depend on your definition of "sight see". I would never consider a half day to be acceptable in our nation's capital city, but maybe you would. Walking the mall, seeing the Capitol Bldg, the monuments, and one small museum would take up that half day. I would spend days in the Smithsonian. Your mileage may vary.

    The bus from DC to NY is going to be about 3-4 hours. Train might be the way to go, though it takes about the same time, I'm told (by my brother) that it's more comfortable.

    Why Pittsburgh? What are you planning to see there? (I think Philadelphia would be closer, and full of great places to see.)

    The children are going to need things to keep them occupied in the car - - toys, books, video games, or whatever interests them. This is especially true of the younger one.

    The other issue you will have to think of: you indicated that this will be a WINTER trip. Keep an eye on the weather just before you leave. It could be totally cooperative, or it could be a miserable mess.


  3. #3

    Default Frankly, it doesn't sound like much fun to me, especially for the children

    Hello amyhammond85,

    While I applaud your desires to show your brothers a good time, I think you're trying to cram far, far too much into what amounts to a long weekend, and during the shortest days of the year, at that.

    As was noted, you'll spend half a day getting from DC to NYC. I suspect there's literally no way to bus from NYC to Pittsburgh and sight-see, all in one day, as it strikes me that traversing the mountains of western NY or western PA is an all-day affair to begin with. Your Monday would seem to include a bus trip from Pittsburgh back to DC, then drive halfway home to AL, and that sends up yet another red flag. All you need to do is get caught in DC commuter traffic in the late afternoon and you'll find heading out to the west along the I-66 corridor or south down I-95 can be a 5mph nightmare which can last for hours.

    There are virtually unlimited options for sight-seeing in the DC area. Boys being boys, they'd probably be thrilled to spend the better part of a day at the Smithsonian in the District or especially the huge aircraft facility out near Dulles International Airport in the Virginia suburbs. If I were trying to show younger siblings a good time, I'd get them to DC by mid-day Friday, spend the afternoon and evening there, all day Saturday, Sunday morning, go down to the US Marine Corps museum in Quantico, VA (40 miles south, right on I-95), and continue on south to, say, Petersburg or South Hill, VA, then on down I-85 across NC, SC, GA, to AL. If your AL departure and destination point is B'ham, you'd do yourself a big favor by routing up I-59/75/40/81/66 to reach DC, thus avoiding heavy Interstate traffic from Atlanta all the way to Durham, NC, and from Richmond, VA to DC, as well as the cities of Atlanta and Charlotte. If that's the case, and you're still interested in some sight-seeing on the return trip, you can go down US 29 to the Charlottesville, VA area, where you can visit Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and a number of other Colonial and Early Republic historical sights. It's only a 45 minute to an hour on I-64 from C'ville back over to the Valley and I-81 at Staunton, VA. Or, farther up in the Shenandoah Valley, at Newmarket, is the Newmarket battlefield, where boy cadets from the Virginia Military Institute were pressed into service during the Civil War, and one could stop by there if leaving from DC down US 29 to US 211, or just by going out I-66 to I-81.

    All in all, I'd save NYC and Pittsburgh for another trip.


  4. #4


    Thank you Donna!! :) I have done some research and you are sooo right!! Philadelphia is way closer and has plenty to do!!! So how many days would you schedule to try to see everything?

  5. #5


    Thanks Foy!! Y'all have helped so much!! Being from Alabama....its hard to know how long it will take to see everything!! Where I live you can drive the entire county in 20 minutes!!:) I am really excited about our trip and I will def. take all this into account!!!

  6. Default


    How lovely to plan a trip for your younger brothers. When my boys were 8 years old, they enjoyed the museums on the National Mall with second visits to the Air & Space Museum and to my surprise, the National Gallery of Art. The National Geographic Explorer's Hall and Mt Vernon (George Washington's home, outside the metropolitan area) were also hits. You could find plenty of things to do with your brothers in Washington, DC and have a nice trip without going up to New York and Pittsburgh.

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