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  1. #1

    Default Winter Break family road trip

    I am a newbie (wish I found this site sooner) to this site and am looking for some sound advice. My family consisting of mom,dad and 3 boys aged 11,twin almost 8 year olds are looking to travel from Maryland to points south or SW south but want to avoid route 95 at all cost. This would be for the Winter break (12/22-1/1). Our youngest twin has Autism so we generally travel by car. We are looking for a trip that would generally engage the kids but be relaxing as well. Our road trips have been pretty intense lately (trying to push everything in such a short period of time) so I think this one needs to be staying put in a few spots rather than travel to a different city everyday or every other day. I am not sure how warm the beach sites are in December but would consider beach locations too.
    We travel by minivan and stay in hotels consisting of kitchenettes in case we are not able to eat out at a restaurant due to our little guy and the hotel must have a pool.
    I hope I have provided enough information for anyone willing to help this mommy of 3 three with some ideas for wonderful memories to come.
    Thanks in advance for assistance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default First: Some Broad Brush Strokes

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Since you have roughly a week, want to go S/SW, seek to avoid I-95, have some rambunctious children (Is that a tautology?), and want to stay put in a few spots, let's work with those parameters and see where we get. The first limitation is imposed by the time you have and the nature of the trip you want, and that is how far to go. I'd say you have to stay within a thousand miles of home (two full driving days) if you want this to be a relaxed trip to just 2 or 3 enjoyable destinations. But you'll also want to keep the total miles around 2000 so that the larger amount of your time will be sent doing things other than driving. Realistically, that means you're going somewhere in South Carolina/Tennessee/Kentucky.

    So, within that area, where are some good places to take kids? Tops on my list would be places like Charleston SC; the Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg TN; and the Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky. Note that you can get from Maryland to Charleston using I-81/I-77/I-26 rather than I-95. And while you're driving from place to place, make a point of stopping every couple of hours to let the kids have some free range time. The details can be worked out later, but not much later. Your first task is to work out your basic plan. I hope that the reasoning I used and the suggestions that it led me to help you make your own decision(s).


  3. #3


    Thanks AZ.
    I guess I forgot to mention that we have done previous long distance road trips consisting of a a trip from MD to Green Bay which took us a week to get to GB in about 6 days with three stops in between and a trip from MD up to Ottawa Canada via Niagara Falls and Toronto. Those trips were longer in time so while my kiddos are good travelers in the car ( hardly stop for bathroom breaks) I have time against us. We did do Charleston in a day with one stop. Thinking the Gatlinburg maybe a good idea, but how is the weather there in the Smokey Mts that time of year??
    Do I need to plan for a real south location to get away from the chance of snow?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Do I need to plan for a real south location to get away from the chance of snow?
    Yes. If you want to go to the beach, you need to look at South Florida.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Truisms

    While snow is not common in the Smoky Mountain/Gatlinburg area, it is a distinct possibility in January, and in any event temperatures will be decidedly 'cool', usually getting just below freezing overnight. I'm also afraid that glc is right that you'll have to get to southern Florida if you want Ocean temperatures warm enough to be comfortable swimming in. Even in Daytona Beach, the average ocean temperature in January is only 60║F. It doesn't hit 70║F until Miami. The same is true on the Gulf Coast with average January water temps around 60║F from Tampa to Cedar Key, and only reaching 69║F at Key West. And I'm afraid that I just can't recommend keeping the kids cooped up on the car for as long as you indicate. Putting up with it and enjoying it are two different things. You can, however avoid I-95 on the way to Florida by taking he inland route outlined here.


  6. #6


    Glc...okay...this "northerner" ( even though I live south of the Mason Dixon line I still consider my self from the north) had no idea I really had to south south Fla. to get true warmth until I looked it up after reading your post. Thanks

    AZ... I am the one that needs to make pit stops. The boys get frustrated when we stop. They are the type of kids that rather be at the destination than make little stops here and there. They have their movies and books on tape and I have my restroom stops to visit every now and then. I think I will realistically design a road trip with only a few states from MD instead of So. fla. which would be nice but no guarantees of warm weather that time of year.
    Thanks again for the thread responses.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Try a thorough roadtrip experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midatlanticmom3 View Post
    They have their movies and books on tape ...
    Why not give the older one an atlas, and let him follow where you are... what country you will be passing through. Do some research on the areas along the road, so you can share it with the children as you pass through. Find out about the history of the areas, how did folk live there before Europeans arrived on the continent, when and how did the pioneers move in, and what were their hardships. Hardships we find hard to comprehend these days. And how does the life of the folk living there today differ (if at all) from the life the children have.

    Make every mini stop at a place which has significance, and share that with the children. It will help them to learn about their country and history. It may also encourage them to look out the window, rather than at a movie.


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