Top 10 America trip ideas for you and your family
If you've got plans to visit the USA as a family then there are untold ways to do just that. Fly-drives, motorhomes, escorted coach tours and self-drive experiences are all ready and waiting to help you explore this vast country in style and if you're looking to get away for a week or more then there's no point dilly dallying because right here is where you get started. Below are our top 10 America trip ideas for you and your family and if you're in any doubt as to what time in Florida, Orlando, the Deep South, the West coast, the East coast or America's national parks, will do to enliven your family's spirits then read on and prepare to get happy.
10. Fly-drive Orlando
Where: Generally considered as Mickey Mouse's backyard and the home of the American theme park, Orlando is a fabulous option for families looking to soak up some subtropical sunshine in central Florida.
What: Jump on a plane and then pick up your hire car before heading to the theme parks and golf courses of Orlando. There's nothing better for families in Florida who love to be free to explore in their own time and if you're looking to hit the ground running then a fly drive tour lets you do just that. Choose when you go, how long you stay for, the airline, the car type and insurance package to ensure your next family road trip has all the hallmarks of one heck of an experience.
Highlights: With Walt Disney World Resort just over 20 miles southwest of Orlando's downtown district your family can look forward to the Magic Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon and Disney's Animal Kingdom before they've even caught their breath. Other than that, you've got Universal Studios and Epcot as well as four of America's most popular water parks. Several of the USA's most notable golf courses can be found close to Orlando central as well as shopping malls, Lake Eola Park and the Amway sports arena, all situated within the city limits.
More information and to book: Orlando Flydrive
9. SUV self-drive in Washington DC
Where: East coast America starting in Washington and ending in Philadelphia via Williamsburg and Gettysburg en-route.
What: One week of self-driving around America's historic heartland where the museums, monuments and political sites of Washington give your family a unique and deeply personal insight into the key moments in US history. From the capital you'll drive to Williamsburg and then onto Shenandoah Valley, where the first English settlers lived in America and where one of the key battles in the American Revolution took place. The penultimate stop over is Gettysburg before you finally head for Philadelphia whereupon you can 'do a Rocky' or just enjoy one last evening meal within Phili's fabulous heritage district.
Highlights: Washington is always going to stick in the mind as it's just so easy to navigate and you're literally surrounded by site after site of historic significance as well as loads of greenery and all those shops and cafés. Of course, if you fancy popping into Busch Gardens in Williamsburg or watching the sun go down in Shenandoah National Park, then these experiences won't be too far off your top highlight chart; but then sometimes it's just the little things that matter more with early morning breakfast in a roadside diner or just learning more about American history as a family rounding things off rather nicely.
More information and to book: Self-Drive Capital Region Family Experience
8. Self-drive New England
Where: Take your family into the lush green forest covered mountains of New England and discover six states of northeast America that have long been the preserve of the rich, the famous and the Atlantic Ocean.
What: From Boston and Rhode Island to Vermont and New Hampshire, a self drive tour of New England is likely to take your family along the coast and into the foothills of one of America's most heritage and history laden east coast regions. Fly to Boston, pick up your car and head out on a round trip via the likes of Maine, the White Mountains and Cape Cod before returning to the home of the Celtics.
Highlights: Without a doubt this self drive tour is exactly what you need if you're fond of getting away from NYC and into the foliage daubed heartland of east coast America. Lobster on the shore of mid-coast Maine, the lakes, gorges and history of Vermont, and quaint little mountain and seaside villages that have provided a summer retreat for many of eastern America's artists, actors and politicians; the highlights of New England are as rich and plentiful as the region's historical roots and definitely deserve a week or two, if only for the pancakes.
More information and to book: Self-Drive New England Family Adventure
7. Self-drive the South
Where: Drive into the Deep South of America and soak up the good vibrations all the way from Chattanooga to Charleston with a little bit of help from Nashville and Memphis en-route.
What: This is a cracking two week self drive tour that's designed to give families a real taste of southern America with overnight stays in some of the region's most characterful and best loved cities, including Mardi Gras central: New Orleans.
Highlights: If mum and dad are fans of country music then the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville is sure to get the thumbs in the braces although a cheeky trip to Graceland in Memphis might be met with equal appreciation. Kids are going to lap up the seaside vibes in Pensacola with beaches and shipwrecks showcasing just what it's like to be a pirate in northwest Florida. While the laid back pace of life over in Charleston is just about right for everyone with massive plantations and gardens offering perfect picnic spots and a chance to kick back and take stock prior to heading back to the bright lights of Atlanta.
More information and to book: Self-Drive Southern Charm
6. Walt Disney World Resorts
Where: Stay within Disney's Animal Kingdom and you'll find three different All-star resort areas all within just 30 minutes' drive of Orlando International Airport.
What: Choose to stay in one of three themed resort areas: All-Star Sports, All-star Movies or All-star Music and make the most of the rides, attractions and all-star action associated with the wonderful world of Walt Disney. Swimming pools, food courts (including in-room pizzas), kids' playgrounds, games arcades and outdoor sports facilities all add to the allure of extended theme park hours, unlimited shuttle transportation and, wait for it dad, free parking.
Highlights: Staying close to the Magic Kingdom gives you an array of awesome options as well as accommodation to keep you and your family happy and excited from morning till night. Main Street USA, Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland all lie in store within the Magic Kingdom featuring a whole load of rides, characters and attractions to ensure you never want to leave. Head out of the Magic Kingdom and you'll discover Future World and the World Showcase at Epcot, all your family favourite characters at Hollywood Studios and a whole lot more besides at Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Basically, if you're looking for non-stop fun for all the family, check into Walt Disney World Resort and let Mickey and Co take over.
More information and to book: Walt Disney World Resort holidays
5. Self-drive California
Where: The west coast of America from San Francisco in the north to San Diego in the south via some of America's most iconic coastal and city communities.
What: This 11 day scenic self-drive family holiday allows you to experience some of the USA's west coast icons as well as plenty of hidden pockets that the locals tend to keep under lock and key. From the undulating folds of San Fran you'll follow a coastal route away from the Golden Gates and southwards spending time in Monterey, Carmel, San Luis Obispo and Malibu before finally finishing up in LA and Vegas.
Highlights: California's Gold Coast is just brimming over with natural highlights with whales, dolphins and sealions all catching the eye as you drive from one deserted beach to the next. Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row in Monterey is a must for all Steinbeck fans whilst time spent absorbing the scenery of 17 Mile Drive is just about as good as it gets. Of course, California's cities are no slouch when it comes to letting the good times roll with San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas all offering something for everyone, as well as the stunning grandeur of the Grand Canyon – if you're willing to take up the option.
More information and to book: Self-Drive the Golden California
4. National Parks of America
Where: Start the tour of a lifetime in Scottsdale, Arizona before working your way to Rapid City via the likes of: Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon, Salt Lake City and Mount Rushmore.
What: You'll be travelling within six of western America's most revered national parks, which include: Yellowstone, Zion, Grand Teton and the Grand Canyon. The entire tour takes just over two weeks and you'll be accompanied by an experienced and knowledgeable tour leader the entire time as well as like-minded fellow passengers.
Highlights: Some of the scenery in Arizona and Utah is just captivating and you'll be hard pushed to beat Old Faithful spurting in Yellowstone National Park or feeling the Native American heritage of the Bighorn Mountains as you journey over a trail that's steeped in legend. Outdoor activities, such as hiking, canoeing and river rafting in Jackson Hole usually get the thumbs up from the whole gang with the plains of Wyoming always hitting home as to the immensity of western America and how it fits into the wider picture of the United States.
More information and to book: National Parks of America
3. Combine Orlando and Florida beaches
Where: Immerse yourself in the theme parks of Orlando, just an hour from the international airport before heading off to the white sands and sunshine of Florida's Clearwater, near Tampa, just an hour and a half from Orlando.
What: Clearwater Beach is one of the most picturesque stretches of coastline in Florida and boasts a great many beachside bars and seafood restaurants to compliment mile upon mile of snow white sandy beach.
Highlights: Aside from the theme parks, which include: Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Wet n' Wild, Orlando is blessed with numerous entertainment and performing arts centres as well as shopping malls, museums and sporting arenas to keep the whole family happily juiced in Orange County. Away from Orlando, you'll find golf courses pretty much all the way to Clearwater and upon arrival you'll discover some sublime sun sets alongside Busch Gardens, the Beach Walk and the world famous Pier 60 to round off a combined Orlando and Florida family tour.
More information and to book: Orlando & Clearwater Twin Centre
2. Escorted coach tour and camping
Where: Discover just what it's like to live under the stars in and around some of America's most impressive national parks, including: Yosemite, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley and the one and only Grand Canyon. America's western states are just about as wild as you'll want to get with your little cowboys and cowgirls in tow but once you've set off from Vegas and onto Route 66 there's no telling where you'll end up out on the open road.
What: This is as 12 night coach tour and camping adventure for families with a maximum group size of 13. Follow an experienced and knowledgeable group leader into some of the world's best loved national parks and undertake no end of activities to keep your gang happy and active all day long, including: hiking, biking and floating down stream in the stunning wilds of Yosemite National Park.
Highlights: As if learning how to kayak or paddle board on Lake Powell wasn't enough, your family will also be treated to an incredible hike around the Grand Canyon's West Rim trail as well as the chance to buzz over the world's most iconic trench on a scenic helicopter ride. Follow that up with meeting and learning from a Navajo guide in Monument Valley, climbing up Angels Landing in Zion National Park, and strolling over San Fran's Golden Gate Bridge, and you've got yourself one heck of a family photo album.
More information and to book: Western Family Discovery
1. Motorhomes on the west coast
Where: Explore the Pacific Northwest coast and inland national parks of America on a round trip from Los Angeles via San Francisco, Yosemite and Las Vegas.
What: This is your chance to take your family out into the great wide open for a couple of weeks as you cruise through some of northwest America's natural and most iconic landmarks as well as most well-equipped and scenic RV parks. Nothing says freedom than a motor home holiday and if you want to take out the stress of finding accommodation for the night or worrying about where you're going to eat after dark then do yourself a favour and climb aboard a home on wheels.
Highlights: Packing up your troubles, which may or may not include your family, couldn't be easier and no sooner than you've set off from LA you'll be bound for some of North America's most naturally beautiful and impressive destinations, including: Sequoia National Park, Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell and the awesome might of the Grand Canyon. From sunrise to sunset you'll be able to make the most of the great outdoors with scenic stop-overs in the Fresno area always providing highlights that you'd never have thought to mark on the itinerary.
More information and to book: Attractions of the West by Motorhome
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