My family (wife and 3 daughters aged 16, 14, 10) hope to visit the East coast US for two weeks Dec 14 to 2008 Jan 2nd. We are really open as to what to do. uestions are:
[*] in the 2 1/2 weeks what should we see Ideas we have NYC, Washingto DC and perhaps head down to Florida?
[*]is it worth renting an RV? From what i see it is costly. Other options are rent a car, train.
[*]what are economical places to stay in these places?
[*]any other suggestions appreciated!
An RV is expensive and personally, don't think it's a good choice in the middle of winter, especially for anything north of North Carolina. Also most RV hook-ups (short of a Walmart parking lot) will cost you $15-$30 a night (that is for electricity and/or water).
My suggestion is renting a car and taking Interstate 95 from NYC to Miami. Along the way you'll pass Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Richmond. With a slight detour on this route you can get to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, or Atlanta in Georgia.
Depending on what you want to see, NYC will take at least 2-3 days. Atlantic City is a detour in New Jersey, you interested in Casinos? The major points in Philadelphia (Art Museum, Independence Hall, etc..) can be done in 1-2 days. Baltimore is a day stop, there is the Aquarium and the Walter's Art Museum. Washington DC can take 3-4 days just to visit all the Museums on the Mall. Annapolis, MD is a very nice quaint town, filled with sail boats and Navy Cadets. That is basically my knowledge, I don't know the South East very well...
As for where you stay.. how cheap do you want to get? You can get motels for $30-$50 a night out side of major cities. My suggestion for New York is look for deals and consider hotels outside of Manhattan, like Jersey City, or Hoboken, etc... generally much cheaper and they are just a train ride away from Manhattan.
Good advice above - I agree with the car rental/hotel option. You can rent a mini-van or suv for just a bit more than a full sized car.( It is also easier to navigate a van or suv in and out of big cities)
Also, you can park on the edges of big cities like Washington or New York and take the subway into town if you are staying on the edge.
That said, I like to stay right in the middle of big cities if I can. I like to just walk out the front door of my hotel and enjoy the life of the city - one can still do this in New York, Washington, or Miami, but you have to look. If you are travelling as a family you could probably get away with two big rooms, no?
In Washington where I live, there is a nice hotel near my house called the Savoy Suites Georgetown. It is where the flight crews of various airlines stay. It is in a good location, has large rooms with kitchenettes, and many of the rooms have fantastic views of the city. Better yet, their room rates are WAY below the DC average. My Mom is coming to visit me in May, and I got her a weekend room rate of $139 a night for a big view room with a kitchen - hard to beat anywhere. The hotel is on a hill near georgetown and about a 15 minute taxi ride from the Mall where all the monuments are.
Here is the link: http://savoysuites-px.trvlclick.com/
The room rates in winter should be pretty good.
I find that if you call the front desk to make the reservation, they can usually offer you a better rate than you can get through hotels.com or expedia.
Christmas in Washington is ok, but not as good as in NYC - plan to be in Manhattan on Christmas to see all the decorations, the Christmas tree on Rockafellar Center, etc. I would avoid New York on New Years eve though - too many people - its a hassle..
It will be winter when you get to DC, but a few good indoor options that should not be missed are the Spy Museum, The Newseum, the Smithsonian (of course), and if the Holocaust Museum. The last one is kind of intense, but very well done, and worth a visit - especially for teen-agers.
You will hear Americans complain about gas prices, but compared to the UK and Europe, they are a bargain.
Have a great trip and please come and contribute to your Washington, DC tourist economy! We love visitors!
Great advice thanks Guys. looks like the recommendation is to hire a car and drive down to Florida via Washington DC. This way we head to warmer climates but do miss Boston and Chicago.
It appears the most expensive place will be NYC in terms of accomodation. The Savoy is a little out of our budget in W.DC but thanks for the link.
I guess it would be best to rent a car online rather than upon arrival?
thanks for your help, will certainly follow it.
Hi, I also agree with the rental car but I wanted to make another suggestion of a place to see on your way to Florida. I live in Williamsburg Virginia. We have a ton of American history to see. Williamsburg is a restored colonial village that dates back to the revolutionary war. You can also visit Jamestown which is the site of the first English settlement in the United States. The best thing during the time you are visiting is a first night celebration on New Years Eve. It is a family friendly celebration that is full of music, dancing, food and fireworks at midnight. If you want to learn more about Williamsburg check out this site.
The other thing I can share is that when I recently visited NY City with my family we stayed at a Holiday Inn right over the Lincoln tunnel in New Jersey. The bus picked us up right outside the hotel and took us to port authority. The ride took about 15 minutes and cost $2.60 round trip per person. The hotel had a restaurant and you got free breakfast as well as kids ate free for dinner. In NYC that is a huge savings if you are on a budget.
The last thought I have is that 2.5 weeks is really not long enough to start in NY and then drive all the way to Florida and see all you want to see. It will take you approx 24 hours of straight driving to get from NY to Florida. If you are stopping for two days here and two days there by the time you get to Florida you will have to turn around and drive right back. In order to insure good weather in December in Florida you are going to have to at least go as far as Miami. Anything farther north and the weather is questionable. It might be hot but it can just as easily be cold. Just a thought.
Whatever you decide to do I know you and your family are going to have a great time.
again excellent advice thank you!
We plan to rent acar one way and fly out of Miami as opposed to doing a round trip. Do you think this is feasable? What kind of temps does Miami get in December.we plan to go there for the warmth predominantly!
I will look up the website for that hotel in NYC, sounds great!