Help me find a nice place to take my in-laws on a 5-7 day trip, anywhere in the US
December 25, 2009 9:53 AM   Subscribe

My husband's parents will visit us in the US in February and we need to plan a 5-7 day trip for the four of us. Their first idea was Vegas, but they prefer some place they don't know yet. Suggestions?

More details:
- They are around 65yo, active. It will be the four of us, no kids
- No rafting, no biking, no rapelling. The level of adventure allowed goes as far as a hike up a hill
- Comfort is expected - no luxury resorts, but no wilderness camping either
- We are not big spenders but are not on a thigh budget
- Good: history, art, either on an urban setting or not
- Bad: extreme cold. It'll be February, so nothing north. Bear in mind they're from Brazil, so anything snowy/windy or bellow 40 degrees is extreme cold
- They've done Vegas, they've done the Grand Canyon, so those are out

I'm considering a few places, and I'd appreciate feedback on them as well as other suggestions. So far I've thought about:
- Santa Fe or the Florida Keys on the artsy and sunny side
- Pacific highway up the California coast, fun and sunny
- Civil war, plantations, historical routes
- New Orleans

What else?
posted by Opal to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Would they like Disney World? You can do as much or as little as you want. Not sure how much the Disney experience appeals to you. Weather's nice there in Feb. Where do you live? That will be the basis of the price.
I'd suggest Niagara Falls, but it's really snowy and hard to drive up there between snow storms. Although being from Brazil, are they interested in seeing snow? They may think it's a treat. Just get them some good jackets, second-hand is ok for a few days.
The southwest sounds good for hot weather folks, unique culture and scenery. Although N. Arizona and New Mexico can be cold and snowy, especially by mtns.
Have fun!
posted by greatalleycat at 10:34 AM on December 25, 2009

Is the entire US in scope, as long the destination fits your requirements?

Santa Fe is great, but its elevation is around 7000 feet, which means that it gets cold in the winter. Here's the current weather--a balmy 25 F. I'd recommend going back in the summer if you want to avoid the cold and snow.

I live in San Francisco, which is lovely, but be advised it can get cold and damp in the winter. Under 40 F is very rare, though.
posted by tellumo at 10:49 AM on December 25, 2009

Death Valley NP, Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, are beautiful in winter and not too cold.
posted by hortense at 12:26 PM on December 25, 2009

Part of the US 1 road trip, perhaps? You get Florida, Savannah, Charleston, the NC coast (including Kitty Hawk) and perhaps all the way up through Richmond to Annapolis and DC. While DC isn't exactly balmy in February, it's somewhere they probably "know" but haven't actually seen. And they can have lunch at Fogo de Chão when they get there.
posted by holgate at 12:27 PM on December 25, 2009

What about Southern California like San Diego?
posted by mmascolino at 12:48 PM on December 25, 2009

The ultimate trip would be a week on the Big Island of Hawaii to see Volcanoes National Park. Getting to see actual flowing lava is a bit of a hike over dubious terrain, as described in this AskMe answer followup, but I think it's mostly level. Hawaii's also set up for tourism at a bunch of different price points - it's not all five-star resorts. A bed and breakfast or vacation home rental might be perfect.

They've also got all the right clothes already (though perhaps some stronger shoes for lava-y areas would be a good idea!). The cultural fusion, different food (especially Asian foods they may have not have experienced that much in Brazil - Filipino, Korean, etc), long hours of sunlight (compared to the rest of the States in the winter) and whole island/vacation vibe would be awesome.
posted by mdonley at 1:22 PM on December 25, 2009

Santa Fe will be flat out cold in February. That said, it is absolutely beautiful. My second choice would be the California coasts. The landscapes and activities out that way are bound to be much more diverse than what you would find in Florida.
posted by azpenguin at 3:10 PM on December 25, 2009

Definitely Death Valley. One of the most terrifyingly huge, desolate, awesome (classic sense, full of awe) places on earth that you can get to via paved roads. Winter is *the* time to go. There's a question in my AskMe history about what to do there that has lots of great advice.
posted by notsnot at 4:00 PM on December 25, 2009

Some Southeastern US places that might fit the bill:

Savannah, GA (a lovely old historic town with tons of charm)
Charleston, SC (a larger lovely old historic town with tons of charm)
Asheville, NC (a fun downtown, lots of beautiful scenery, lots of interesting places to visit, but may be a bit cold for you--then again, you never know with the weather in NC)

The bonus is that it's off-season in all three of these spots, so prices should be on the low side. None are terribly expensive
posted by bluedaisy at 4:58 PM on December 25, 2009

Texas? You could base yourself in Austin (the Capitol and various government buildings, UT, etc.), take an overnight trip to San Antonio (Riverwalk, Alamo), another overnight or two days to Dallas/Ft. Worth (big city amenities, various museums).
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:54 AM on December 26, 2009

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