Over the river, through the woods but NOT to grandmother's house we go
June 19, 2016 8:53 PM   Subscribe

We have time off from work the week of the American Thanksgiving (late November) and are trying to figure out an interesting family trip to new destination. Two 50-something parents, two twenty-something adult children. Challenge: Child A is adventurous and would be exceptionally bored if asked to just hang out with family for a week, even in a pretty location. Child B has issues with chronic pain so on her good days is limited in how active she can be and on her worst days focuses on just making it from the bedroom to the kitchen. B is Ok with being left behind sometimes but we want there to be some fun family options that include her.

Additional concerns:
Diet: one person is vegetarian and another is gluten-free and dairy-free.
Crowds: Hate them. Cities are OK but no standing in long lines with other tourists.
Destination: Very open to ideas, US and elsewhere. Not interested in snow sports.
Facilties: Decent beds that can sleep a 6'3" guy. Two star motel is OK, sleeping on a bunk bed with springs probably not. Usually arrange to have at least a refrigerator and microwave to help with food issues but not required if there are other solutions for making sure everyone has something to eat.

A cruise (go to bed in one place, waking up in another) would be perfect except for the no crowds issue and concerns about food that fit the dietary requirements.

Ideas for how to make this trip to remember, not a family disaster?
posted by metahawk to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Great Wolf Lodge.
posted by tilde at 8:56 PM on June 19, 2016


You mention wanting some place new: where have you been already successfully or not? Also, that week will be incredibly busy for both road and airplane travel. So maybe a few other details as well: how many travel days do you want? By what mode of travel? Any activities A or B especially would like? For the traditional Thanksgiving Day meal itself, do you want to cook, go out to eat or ignore it?

Maybe a beach house in Galveston or South Padre Texas? Galveston would be easier to get to and have better restaurant choices.
posted by beaning at 9:13 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Paris, but with a bit of research?

- Vegetarian/gluten-free/dairy-free is probably quite easy.
- Small/uncrowded sites (for a city) are all over the place; many tourists only have a few days and hit the Louvre or the Champs-Elysees exclusively, but whole swaths of the city are relatively untouristed.
- Crowds/queues are manageable with pre-booked tickets.
- It will be the middle of the arts season and many arts events have tickets you can book online in English.
- Child A might like a catacomb/sewer/underground tour! Child A might also like a daytrip to Lyon or London on a high-speed train.
- Easy public transportation/cab-hailing apps make getting around easy.
- If you are in a big-enough US city there may be an easy nonstop flight. Air France have champagne in economy class!
- Could Child B fly there in a lie-flat seat in business class if a long flight would not otherwise be possible?
- AirBnB may be helpful for Child B if having a home-ish apartment-like space is important; you can also look for listings by elevator access to avoid walk-up surprises.
posted by mdonley at 9:22 PM on June 19, 2016


Australia.
Sydney, Blue Mountains, the harbour and a meetup!

And Uluru if you've got time and resources.
posted by taff at 9:25 PM on June 19, 2016


San Diego?
posted by k8t at 9:26 PM on June 19, 2016


How about Vancouver, BC, where it won't be Thanksgiving and is off-season for tourism?
posted by bluedaisy at 9:45 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


How about someplace where there's beach for relaxing but also options for more adventurous stuff like hiking, scuba diving, etc? Two options that spring to mind are the Yucatan Peninsula (which also has Mayan ruins) and lots of the islands off Thailand.
posted by lunasol at 10:06 PM on June 19, 2016


Responding to questions:
I expect that we will probably fly and then, if appropriate rent a car.
We would be happy to create our own nontraditional Thanksgiving meal - that can be part of the adventure. Last time we tried this (three years ago) we went to Kauai, Hawaii which was pretty successful. A recent family wedding in Chicago gave us a chance to do a architectural boat tour of the city which was perfect. We've done San Diego both individually and as a family.

Australia is probably too far and too expensive for east coast person (Child B) but Europe is a possibility. US, Canada and Mexico are probably easier.

I really appreciate all these ideas - it is so easy to run into all the constraints and feel like giving up.
posted by metahawk at 10:42 PM on June 19, 2016


Costa Rica might be worth a look -- we stayed at a lodge in the rainforest that had hikes and such on the premises (nighttime hikes or treks into the rainforest), but one person could also spend the day reading in a hammock or watching wildlife. We went over Thanksgiving and it was great.
posted by Threeve at 11:06 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


We took a mixed family group to Sedona, AZ for a long weekend once and had a great time. November would be gorgeous. Hiking, red rocks, the town of Jerome is nearby, Slide Rock park, plus lots of arts and crafts shopping. And that was 20 years ago. I'm sure it's grown since then.
We rented a house and had a most excellent vacation.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:15 AM on June 20, 2016


Costa Rica or Belize would be great--you'd be in the early part of the dry season in late November. I would VRBO or AirBNB so you can have a kitchen. You could be on the beach in either country or do something more like an eco-lodge where child A could hike and explore and Child B could hang out and admire the local bird fauna from the veranda.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 9:45 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


How hardcore is the gluten-free dairy-free stuff? If they have issues with cross-contamination (eg serious allergies, diagnosed celiac) it's worth staying near a grocery store, IMO. If they can handle things that are cooked on the same grill as something with gluten, though, most restaurants right now are really good about it.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:28 AM on June 20, 2016


How would a driving vacation do? Would that be too painful for B?
If not, one idea is to go to the website of your state or an adjacent one and check out the tourism section. I get a magazine for my region (Midwest Living) and often there are articles about fun roadtrips like "great river towns" or "best places for pork tenderloin" (don't ask, it's a big thing here :), or "Victorian resorts". Every few months, I like to choose one location and go there and spend the weekend, and just wander around the little town or sit on the porch of the old hotel.

I also second the Great Wolf lodge sort of place, or one of those all-inclusive resorts. -A- would have plenty to do, and B could take it easy and relax in the lobby or garden.

Any decent cruise ship, btw, would be happy to accommodate food needs. I'm not a cruiser, but did take one cruise with family, and we had the vegan and the celiac patient and the shellfish allergy, and the kosher aunt-- we just told the cruise director ahead of time, and every meal was prepared with the restrictions in mind. They are used to dealing with that. My problem was that I never forgot I was on a ship in the middle of the ocean. Claustrophobia is NOT a nice experience on a ship.
posted by my-sharona at 11:26 PM on June 20, 2016


Victoria is a beautiful city, very walkable, and again, Canada has a different Thanksgiving, and November would be out of season. Weather would be cool but fine then.
Canada's pretty wonderful. Banff (near Calgary) is a lovely town with a great old hotel.
posted by my-sharona at 11:30 PM on June 20, 2016


Thanks for all of the ideas. Costa Rico sounds fun and exotic (my family's standards) so I'm going to look into it. An AirBnB in Galveston sounds a like another good (and simpler) option.

I am very encouraged by my-sharona's report on the accommodating cruise line - if they could handle all that, maybe there is hope for us.
posted by metahawk at 2:09 PM on June 27, 2016


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