4 day summer getaway for 6 (my parents, brother and i, our spouses)
April 16, 2016 7:57 AM   Subscribe

Looking for ideas for a four or five day trip for six adults in early July, no more than a three hour flight from Boston. Considerations inside

- open to either a big city with lots of sightseeing options or more rural
- Everyone except my sister in law has been to Boston often, and we've been to the Berkshires and NH/Maine often so looking for other options
- also made multiple trips to NYC and DC already
- my parents are in their early 70s, fit and active for their age, but tire easily and need frequent breaks
- interest in the group vary and include art, music , walking in nature, food, history
- 3 of us are vegetarian
- no interest in beach resorts or overly tourist options like Disney

Places I am thinking about:
- Chicago - enough to do in the city, but are there open hikable spaces close to the city?
- south Carolina - Charleston as a base, day trips to plantations
- it's important we have time to just spend time as a family, as well as sightseeing

There have to be other options I am not thinking of - what are your suggestions? Assume budget not a significant concern
posted by darsh to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you're open to leaving the US, Montreal and Quebec City are great. And there is a national park roughly between them for hiking.
posted by something something at 8:13 AM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Chicago has some great urban hiking. Walking along the lake front and in the Lincoln Park zoo was one of the great ways to see the city and spend an afternoon.

The botanical gardens in Glencoe also offer great walks /hikes and well some amazing fauna.

As a native NYer and current NY resident who lived in Chicago for 14 years, I can safely say it is a great city to visit and in which to live.
posted by AugustWest at 8:14 AM on April 16, 2016

[One comment deleted. Please keep it constructive; a debate over the ethics of visiting plantations isn't within the scope here.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:26 AM on April 16, 2016

Weather-wise, I would not recommend Chicago in July. What about Maine?
posted by katieanne at 9:33 AM on April 16, 2016

I'm going to recommend the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg.

First, you can rent a cabin, which is great fun.

There are tons of things to do in the Smoky Mountains, hikes, elk, checking out one of the first settlements, Cade's Cove.

Dollywood, both the amusement park and the water park. If you do the water park, I recommend renting a Retreat for the day.

There's also Cherokee, through the park. There's a museum, a bazillion pancake houses a dramatic pageant, a casino. If you're inclined to that sort of thing.

It's a pretty southern experience, but the Smoky Mountains are so cool, I just have to recommend them.

Fly into Atlanta, drive up, it takes 3-4 hours, depending on Traffic (which can be terrible through the park.)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:43 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Chicago is great, agreed.

You might consider Madison, WI. It is smaller and perhaps more doable for a shorter trip. The downside is you'd have to fly into either Milwaukee or O'Hare, or connecting flights to Madison itself, so it does put it outside of the 3-hour travel range (with the addition of driving times if you fly into Mil or Chicago).

Here are some of the attractions. There is also a huge and wonderful farmers market on Saturday mornings, around the Capital building (which is nice and you can go inside and lie down on the floor to look at the rotunda painting). Coffee stands, food stands, etc., flowers, in addition to crafts and plants.

FYI, there is a large outdoor art festival in early July, which may or may not be to your liking.

There are plenty of vegetarian restaurants, and the first link lists some day trips, like Taliesin East, but there is plenty of nature hiking on the lakes if you choose to stay in town.

It can get hot in July, so bring sunglasses and hats, but there are plenty of shops and restaurants to duck into for cooling off. Just be aware that the art festival can be really crowded, if that's not your thing (but it's only 2 days, July 9th & 10th).
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 10:58 AM on April 16, 2016

Buffalo/ Niagara Falls. Many of the 1812 battles were fought in that area of ON.
posted by brujita at 12:40 PM on April 16, 2016

Seconding Montreal. Gorgeous city, lots to do (museums, galleries, cafes), beautiful old sections of town. Plus, your US dollars will go a bit further with the current exchange rate.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 2:04 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Finger Lakes. Ithaca is gorges!
posted by woodvine at 11:17 AM on April 18, 2016

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