school break trip
My kids are out of school the last week of April and we are looking for an inexpensive road trip to do during that week. The kids are 8 and 9 year old boys. We live in New Jersey and would like to go south. We would like to sight see along the way. Any suggestions would be great.
2 boys - 7 days - 5 states
I'm going to suggest a circle trip as far south as North Carolina, but at no point will you be more than a half day's drive from Jersey. Start by heading to the southern tip of New Jersey (Cape May) and take the ferry to Lewes, Delaware. This is a 10 mile crossing over open water, but only $36 for you, the car and the two boys. Spend some time on the shore at the Delaware Seashore State Park (free). It's too early for swimming, but then the beach won't have been picked clean of shells either. Stop and see the Fenwick Island lighthouse and museum (free). There's a small amusement park at the south end of the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland, but I don't know if it will be open that early in the season. Also consider crossing over to the Chesapeake Bay side of the peninsula to the town of Chrisfield, MD. It's just a fishing village with lots of working boats and docks and some good seafood restaurants.
Next head on down to Chincoteague Island, ($12 for the carload). It's a national wildlife refuge on a barrier island with wild horses. Just outside the town of Chincoteague, visit NASA's Wallops Island facility (free). They launch sub-orbital rockets (only 1 or 2 a month) but have a nice little visitor's center.
Continue south to cross the mouth of the Chesapeake on the Bay Bridge Tunnel ($12) another 10 mile open water crossing, this time on a causeway with a couple of underwater tunnels.
If you're fealing real adventurous continue south to Manteo, North Carolina to see Fort Raleigh (free) and Roanoke Island Festival Park ($8 for you, I don't know what the child admission is) to see reproductions of the ship that brought the original English settleres over, the fort they built, and costumed re-enactors.
Start heading back north up through Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. Colonial Williamsburg is a bit pricey ($59 for you and the two boys), but Jamestown and Yorktown together would be $34 for the three of you.
Next up, Washington, DC. Several contributors to this site have suggested parking near a metro stop in Virgina and taking the subway into the city. The Mall, Capitol, Washington Monument and many of the major museums are all within walking ditance of each other.
Either here (northern VA) or later (Wilmington, DE) consider taking in a baseball game. Potomac, VA and Wilmington have Class A Carolina League teams. I don't know that much about the Potomac team, but a Wilmington Blue Rocks game would cost about $10 for general admission for all three of you.
From DC head over to Annapolis and the Naval Academy. You can then head up through Baltimore or over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge up to Wilmington. Maybe see the tall ship, the Kalmar Nycel, and then finish up with a visit to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia ($36 for the three of you).
I realize that doing everything would not be cheap, but you can probably do the whole thing on three or four tanks of gas, accomodations in the shore areas ought to be relatively low during off season, and it's a journey any 9 year old boy would love.