Holiday Road
January 3, 2015 4:28 PM   Subscribe

Where can a family of four Floridians drive to have a fun vacation?

We have done the Disney/Universal Studios thing many times. We have done baseball in Tampa and Bush Gardens a few times. We have done the Florida Keys thing a few times. This summer we want to drive somewhere fun.

We're pretty much open to anything. We would all like to go to New York and could probably fly to New York inexpensively, but not sure if we have NYC money (hotels, restaurants, etc.). We have been to Washington DC and our son just went with his school, so that's not at the top of our list this year.

We have seven days. Our family consists of two parents in their forties and two boys, ages 12 and 14. Have you been to Stone Mountain, Georgia? Anywhere in South Carolina or North Carolina that you would recommend for a family with boys? I think we would be open to a cabin retreat if there were plenty of things to do and other people around. How about cruises? Apologies for this question being all over the place, just longing for a great family vacation somewhere in the southeast United States, or some place affordable where we could fly and not have to rent a car.

Our budget: $3,000-$3,500.
posted by Fairchild to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Get a City Pass, and you can do cool things like tour the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca Cola (which is pretty decently fun), the CNN tour, catch an Atlanta Dream WNBA basketball game, a baseball game at Turner Field, or the Gwinnette Braves, see the gorillas at Zoo Atlanta, see history at the King Center and old Ebenezer Baptist Church, Fernbank Natural History Musuem.

Stone Mountain is a huge park, with picnic areas, and fun things to do. I think they have zip lines and ropes course. The confederate dudes on the side of the mountain are creepy and there's an evening show with lasers which is cheesy as hell.

We also have Six Flags if you want a day at an amusement park.

I can wholeheartedly recommend a cruise. Leave from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa or Port Canaveral. We enjoyed the hell out of a Norwegian cruise. They are all inclusive (except for cocktails.) There are activities for kids, and places to explore at each port. The cruises are to the Caribbean. My favorite ports are Barbados and Puerto Rico. I find the Bahamas yukky as well as Key West, although sometimes you have to get off the ship to run to CVS for something.

Gatlinburg, TN would be quite a schlep by car, but it's only 3 or so hours from Atlanta. You can rent a cabin or you can get a timeshare condo there are lots of things to see and do there. A tacky tourist area, Dollywood, both amusement park and water park, both are excellent. Neat things to check out in Cherokee, NC, and the Smoky Mountain National Park, which is gorgeous--Cade's Cove is a must see.

Any of these things are hellafun! If you come to Atlanta, we'll have a meet up.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:47 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

2nding Atlanta.
posted by COD at 5:01 PM on January 3, 2015

I grew up in Florida (Tampa, Key West, Jacksonville, G'ville). Definitely come to Atlanta - I loved it so much, I moved here. :)
posted by heathrowga at 5:26 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Have you been all the way down to Key West yet? If not, you should. It's nuts. Hemingways house is worth the trip alone.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:11 PM on January 3, 2015

I've spent a week in western North Carolina every July for the last few years with my friend and his now nine yr old daughter- a fearless young girl. We go tubing in Cherokee and visit two great museums there, one outdoor and one indoor, if your kids are at all interested in learning about the Cherokee they'll enjoy them. We also go whitewater rafting down the Nantahala River, the French Broad River, and the Tuckaseegee River, all very exciting. There are guided trips if you've never done it before. We did the first and the third rivers without a guide and we're middle-aged non-athletes. Numerous places for short hikes in the mountains. Asheville is pretty interesting too.

We try to make sure we stay in places that have creeks by them which the kid finds endlessly entertaining, she builds dams, and collects rocks, and generally has a blast.

This past summer we took a slight detour through Chattanooga, went to railroad museum and aquarium, both awesome.

Very different from Disney...
posted by mareli at 6:15 PM on January 3, 2015

New Orleans! You could drive, depending on where you are in Florida, or fly and walk around or take cheap cabs/the streetcar to get most places you want to go if you stay somewhere central (e.g. the French Quarter or CBD). Depending on what you family is in to, there's swamp and ghost tours, just walking around the Quarter, music and cultural stuff all the time, and obviously great food.
posted by MadamM at 8:17 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding New Orleans. 12 to 14-year-olds would enjoy the World War II museum, Cafe du Monde, Superdome tour (if they're into football), street music, riding the streetcar, Mardi Gras World (working warehouse of Mardi Gras props), more. Lots of possibilities there.
posted by mark7570 at 12:21 PM on January 4, 2015

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