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Old 10-09-2012, 08:10 AM   #1
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Smile Must see Places in the US and possibly Canada

What do you consider to be places you really should see while in the US or Canada? They can be natural wonders, historical places, quirky or just "have to go there" places. I'd be interested to hear what you all think. Thank you.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:13 AM   #2
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I'm not well travelled, but for the US I would say New York City and at least one of our natural wonders like Grand Canyon or a national park. The Smoky Mountain park is beautiful in the eastern part of the country, and Yellowstone in the western part. You can't imagine how large the US is until you see some of the natural places. Boston would give you a great lesson on the beginnings of US history, and Philadelphia would also. Your travel would depend on how long you'd be staying, and in what area of the country. I hope you have a wonderful time wherever you go.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:18 AM   #3
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DH retires in just over a year and we're considering travelling before we go back to the UK. 5 or 6 months. We'd home school the boys for that time so we really could do anything. We live in southern AZ so have done Grand Canyon 4 times in the last 5 years but we'd certainly go back one last time. We want to do Mount Rushmore,Yellowstone, whale watching from the Oregon coast after seeing Seattle.Maybe Yosemite. Florida so see the in-laws. Civil War battlefields, Maine. This past summer we did DC and Williamsburg but could always spend time in Jamestown. Tons of options. Oh they ought to see the statue of Liberty but I don't know how much more we'd do in New York City? They would be 10 and 12.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:35 AM   #4
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Niagara Falls (my US friends might not like to hear this, but I think the Canadian side is spectacular)! It's an amazing thing to see.

Washington DC area--the many museums on the strip, the monuments, etc. Lots of US history, and a lot of it is free: Washington.org - Official Tourism Site of Washington, DC
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:53 PM   #5
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I agree about Niagara falls but we prefer the US side. It has nice parks (they are protected) while the Canadian side has a ton of shops, museums, etc. Tourist heaven! We do go to the Canadian side and to Clifton Hill (where all the shops are) for about half a day but I think it's prettier on the US side. Both sides have amazing views and both have the maid of the mist tour. The US side has Cave of the Winds and the Canadian side has Behind the Falls, both of which take you right near the falls. Oh and the Canadian side has a huge ferris wheel but we've never been on it. I bet the view is cool from way up there!
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:44 PM   #6
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We tried to pull in Niagara this summer but got as far as visiting family in Pittsburgh then headed back to Baltimore for our flight home. Enjoyed 3 days there rather than rushing to fit the falls in. So would love to do it on this trip, and the nice thing is, if everything falls into place we can spend a couple of days there and see it from both sides.
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:04 PM   #7
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I have to agree with Niagra Falls. I was there when I was 8 but I still remember it 32 (eek) years later.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:24 PM   #8
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I thought it was the Canadian side that had the parks, but either way it is beautiful. I never thought I would want to go to NYC except TI see the Statue of Liberty, but it was amazing. St. Patrick's Cathedral (of course, if you are from the UK you know all about cathedrals), the Empire State Building and its view...I've gone up in the daytime and at night and for me the night view was incredible. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, both during the daytime and at night, both were great, but I just love the lights at night. Seeing the place where Washington stood as he became our first President was very impressive. We stopped by the Library - I love the lions - and the Flatiron building and of course the Statue of Liberty. This was a month after 9/11 so the closest we could get to Lady Liberty was the Staten Island Ferry, but that first sight of her was so moving...

Yosemite is beautiful, but if you only visit 1 park, I recommend Yellowstone instead. We spent 3 days in Yosemite and I don't feel the need to go back. We've been to Yellowstone 5 times and I plan to go back. It has so much more to see. The wildlife, the geysers, the canyon and the waterfalls. There is just so much there.

Another place we've visited and I find incredibly beautiful are the National Parks in Utah...Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion and Canyonlands (in that order for me...DH would put Zion first).

Crater Lake and the coast of Oregon, the Columbia River Gorge - I'm from NM so that much water is downright unbelievable ( just like Niagra Falls), Mt St. Helen's.

Civil War battlefields: I've been to Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Shiloh and all were great, but what had the biggest impact on me was Andersonville in Georgia.

I'm so jealous that you will have 4 or 5 months to travel. There are still so many places I would like to go...Boston and Philly for their history, Mt Rushmore, the Badlands, the Everglades, etc.

I guess I've rambled on long enough and probably didn't help you narrow down the list, but those are the place I've been that stood out. I didn't mention the Grand Canyon since you've already been there.

Enjoy your travels, wherever you go!
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:54 PM   #9
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By parks I mean grass and such. The Canadian side has lots of lookout towers, hotels, shops, museums, etc. Like Ripley's believe it or not, Guiness world record museum, Hollywood wax museum, etc. They may have parks too but we didn't see any when we went. It was all streets and traffic (and people-tons of people. lol). On the US side the parks are right up at the falls and the hotels are all across the street away from the parks. There is also a nice small aquarium in Niagara Falls NY.

I agree about Crater Lake too. It is amazing!! DH's cousin lives in Klamath Falls so we've been to Crater Lake twice.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:06 AM   #10
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Being a New Yorker, ITA with Niagara Falls and NYC. The Grand Canyon is awesome. Just visited Gettysburg and, for someone who is not a history buff, I found it extremely interesting and poignant.

I hope to see some western US sites next summer after I'm in Salt Lake City for convention. There's still so much of this country I haven't seen.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:48 AM   #11
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Yes, we have some of the Civil War battlefields on our list. So, more time in Yellowstone and less in Yosemite then. DH basically wants to hit the 4 corners of the country!
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:54 AM   #12
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We also really enjoyed Plymouth, Mass.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:50 PM   #13
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Ooh, yes!
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:59 PM   #14
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Cape Cod National Sea Shore, Acadia National Park, Walt Disney world, Wild Willy's Air Boats on Lake Topo . . . in Kissimmii to see allegators in the wild; Lake George in the Adirondacks; Weston, VT (Quintessential small new England village), Mt. Washington either cog rail or drive; White Fish Point on the UP of Michigan, Washington DC; Nashville; Savannah, GA
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:00 PM   #15
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Lake of The Clouds in Porcupine Mountains, Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Just Google some photos of it...it's beautiful! I love the UP of Michigan, so I'd add Tahquemmenon Falls, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Mackinac Island to the list!
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:12 PM   #16
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We want to go down to the Everglades after in-laws (nth FL) taking in WDW on the way and go all the way to Key West.
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:12 PM   #17
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We can go through Michigan on the way to the Dakotas I think.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:19 AM   #18
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The beaches of San Diego, Big Sur, San Francisco, Yosemite, the Oregon coast, Bryce Canyon and Arches National Monument in Utah, and of course, where I live....the best place the Columbia River gorge area between Oregon and Washington.

Can you tell I'm a west coast woman?
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:02 PM   #19
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We'll definitely do west coast, Victoria!
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:07 PM   #20
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We'll definitely do west coast, Victoria!
So you can stop and see this Victoria!
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:12 PM   #21
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I'm a CA girl, but I have visited all over the US. I like the historical places, but I vote that you visit the natural locations. Since you've already visited the Grand Canyon, I urge you to go to all the red rock places...Bryce & Zion, etc.
You MUST drive along the CA coast (Big Sur and north) and see a redwood tree (either Big Sur, Big Basin, Muirwood, Avenue of the Giants). Yosemite is very different than Yellowstone. Not much can compare to the magnificence of Yosemite, but it is out of the way, up in the Sierras (which are the BEST..anywhere....in the world). I do really enjoy Yellowstone too.....the wildlife as well as the scenery.
You have some really tough choices to make. We live in a fabulous country, too large to cover in six months. Whatever you can see will be a blessing to you and your family.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:42 PM   #22
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So you can stop and see this Victoria!
Of course!
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:00 AM   #23
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Boston is a great place to visit. Park your car and take public transportation and do take the walking tour of the many historical sights. Once you're downtown you'll be within walking distance of of too many places to see in one day. Also, you might want to head over the Charles River to Cambridge and check out Harvard....food, shops, local color...unlimited experiences if you like a city experience. I have been there many times and I want to go back again and again.

If you have not traveled to the Southwest, Arizona is a very cool (but sometimes HOT) state to visit. It is one of those states that not only has a giant attraction (Grand Canyon) in the North, but as you drive south throughout the state there are just dozens of places to visit and scenery that never stops. Coming from the Mid-West, our first time in AZ was like coming to a foreign country. Of course, you'll want to stop in Flagstaff, Phoenix and on down to Tucson. Keep heading south to the wine country and rolling hills that will seem out of place after you have driven through the desert . If Arizona had an ocean, it would be the perfect place.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:23 AM   #24
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Boston is a great place to visit. Park your car and take public transportation and do take the walking tour of the many historical sights. Once you're downtown you'll be within walking distance of of too many places to see in one day. Also, you might want to head over the Charles River to Cambridge and check out Harvard....food, shops, local color...unlimited experiences if you like a city experience. I have been there many times and I want to go back again and again.

If you have not traveled to the Southwest, Arizona is a very cool (but sometimes HOT) state to visit. It is one of those states that not only has a giant attraction (Grand Canyon) in the North, but as you drive south throughout the state there are just dozens of places to visit and scenery that never stops. Coming from the Mid-West, our first time in AZ was like coming to a foreign country. Of course, you'll want to stop in Flagstaff, Phoenix and on down to Tucson. Keep heading south to the wine country and rolling hills that will seem out of place after you have driven through the desert . If Arizona had an ocean, it would be the perfect place.
We're beginning to think the trip may last longer than 6 months! We live in Tucson and I am waiting for the more pleasant autumn temperatures to finally hit - it may begin today! AZ is really a state of extremes, we will miss it when we go home ( but not the extreme heat!) I was in Boston for 2 days in 1992 during the 500th celebrations of Columbus discovering America. During the Big Dig and everything was so snarled up that we didn't get to do the freedom Trail. We set sail for the UK the next day so I would love to go back.
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:53 PM   #25
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Have been to and recommend: San Francisco, Seattle WA, Boston, Cape Cod MA, Bar Harbor and Portland (Maine), Newport and Providene RI, Atlanta GA, Savannah GA, Charleston SC, Myrtle Beach SC, Baltimore MD, Annapolis MD, Philadelphia and Lancaster PA, and the Salt Lake City Utah area. Vancouver has a lot to see and do too.

Places that are on my list to see: New Orleans, San Antonio, Rapid City SD for Mount Rushmore, Chicago, New York, Memphis for Graceland and more, Lexington KY, St.Louis, Oklahoma City, Denver, Portland Oregon, Santa Fe NM, anywhere in Wyoming and Idaho. So many more cities!

How great to take 5-6 months and just see as much as you can! Good luck planning!
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:22 PM   #26
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We love San Francisco, our son lives there so we visit quite often, there's so much to do, Alcatraz is really interesting, they have great trolley tours around the city and of course the cable cars are brilliant. Monteray Bay Aquarium is a good day out too just down the coast.
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:04 AM   #27
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I agree about Monterey Bay Aquarium. I LOVE any kind of aquarium so even a tiny one makes me happy but the one at Monterey Bay is amazing!
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:05 PM   #28
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Wyoming is pretty, but I do have to warn you if you are going to Yellowstone don't do it during tourist season. We went this past summer over the 4th of July and it was horrible. I think some of it is because we are from Wyoming so seeing wildlife isn't all that big of a deal to us. When people are not used to seeing wildlife they swerve off the road or stop in the middle of the road to take pictures. Drove me crazy. The grand tetons are beautiful, as well as making trip to Jackson Hole would be nice. In Thermoplis Wyoming they have geysers up there as well. In the Bridger Tetons I think that is what it is called there is Granite hot springs, which is pretty they have a waterfall there too. Between Casper and Rawlins there is Indpendance Rock. The Flaming Gorge has a nice view as well which is between Utah and Wyoming. Anyways though enjoy and have fun!!!
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:39 PM   #29
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Being a West Coast based gal, I would recommend Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. There is limited travel in the winter (think you have to sign up for snow coaches in Yellowstone) but the summers present easy accessibility. Don't try to see everything in 1 day, either!
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:48 PM   #30
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Well. We sat down on Saturday and came up with ideas and a loose route/timeline. We're at 10.5 months to go where we want to go. We've got flexibility in stay longer in some places if the weather isn't right. Basically we'll drive from AZ through TX to FL where my in-laws live. Christmas 2013 with them. Disney for New Year. Tampa for friends and education stuff then Everglades to Key West. Back up via Cape Canaveral. Savannah, Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte. Virginia for Williamsburg, Jamestown, civil war battlefields, DC etc. ( at least a month in that area). Then New York, Newport RI for Cape Cod, Boston up to Maine. Back over to NY state and maybe pop into Canada for Ottowa and Toronto. Niagara Falls. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Chicago area, Wisconsin Dells ( we've been told to go there) Mount Rushmore, Badlands, Yellowstone. Montana, Washington state, Seattle maybe Vancouver. Redwoods, Crater Lake, Yosemite, San Fran and down the coast to Monterey finishing back in Tucson to sell the RV and go home! Phew. I'm sure I've missed stops there!
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:49 PM   #31
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Yes, missed Gettysburg out.
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:29 PM   #32
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If you are going to be in Montana, then pop north to the Canadian Rockies. The National Parks ... Waterton, Banff, Jasper. It's stunning and beautiful ... and different than farther south. The Columbia Icefields are between Banff and Jasper. You can park the car and walk to the toe of the glacier (the walk gets longer every year). And you can take a tour that goes right out onto the glacier. Very cool (literally). Lots of fun! Take a camera and sunglasses!


If you're going to be in TX (my parents did a 3 month US trip when I was 13, my siblings were9 and 10), Big Bend Park ... very cool. San Antonio and the Alamo. I learned SO MUCH US history on that trip! So much to see. It took us 3 months to get from CA to Washington DC and even then we missed a lot. This will be an incredible memory for your kids!
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:33 PM   #33
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I agee Banff is a must see and being a B.C. gal, I also think going on the Ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island is wonderful!

And you should go to Hawaii at least once!
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:28 PM   #34
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Ooh we hadn't thought about Canadian national Parks. It only seems to be a 1 day drive to get there.We did the Alamo a couple of times when we lived in TX but San Antonio is a perfect stopping point for us so we'll do it one last time. We had considered Big Bend but the time we can leave doesn't give us much to spare as we want to be in north FL for Christmas with the in-laws. I'll see if I can persuade hubby to stop there for a couple of days though.
We visited Hawaii back in 2006 when we stayed with friends who were stationed there at the time. It was a beautiful place.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:46 PM   #35
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Bryce Canyon (the hoodoos are fabulous) and Zion National Parks in Utah; Old Forge and Blue Mountain area in the Adirondacks, NY; Niagara Falls; New York City; Washington, DC; Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine; Key West, Florida; Grand Canyon, Arizona; so many places!

Oh, yes...Maui and Kauai, Hawaii
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:52 PM   #36
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Niagara Falls (my US friends might not like to hear this, but I think the Canadian side is spectacular)! It's an amazing thing to see.

Washington DC area--the many museums on the strip, the monuments, etc. Lots of US history, and a lot of it is free: Washington.org - Official Tourism Site of Washington, DC
I'm a native upstate NYer and still agree that the Canadian side is much better than the American side for the view of the falls although the Cave of the Winds is pretty awesome on the NY side.

Be sure you have Your passports and the special Canadian insurance certificate for your vehicle if you are going to cross into Canada.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:19 PM   #37
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Arlene, thank for the info on the insurance certificate for Canada, we'll check that out. As far as Utah, if we do Bryce it would be on the main trip but we're hoping to take a few shorter trips over the next year ( to see if we can stand to do a year!) and Zion is on the list. We also want to go to Monument Valley, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert and 4 corners on another small trip. I went to Monument valley with my sister last year and I feel that the family really needs to go there. Amazing place.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:30 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Englishrose View Post
DH retires in just over a year and we're considering travelling before we go back to the UK. 5 or 6 months. We'd home school the boys for that time so we really could do anything. We live in southern AZ so have done Grand Canyon 4 times in the last 5 years but we'd certainly go back one last time. We want to do Mount Rushmore,Yellowstone, whale watching from the Oregon coast after seeing Seattle.Maybe Yosemite. Florida so see the in-laws. Civil War battlefields, Maine. This past summer we did DC and Williamsburg but could always spend time in Jamestown. Tons of options. Oh they ought to see the statue of Liberty but I don't know how much more we'd do in New York City? They would be 10 and 12.
I was going to suggest Virginia because of all the historical places but you've been here.
How about Tennessee, you can visit The Hermitage, the Graceland ( Elvis Presley) house, Grand Ole Oprey,the Blue Ridge mountains and parkway.
Texas to visit the Alamo and many other sights.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:16 PM   #39
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Irene, I think we're going to spend about 4 weeks in the Virginia/DC area as there is so much we didn't get to see last time. Mount Vernon, Richmond. Yes, we can easily spend more time in the area. Hadn't considered Tennessee as that would delay our arrival in north FL for Christmas with the in=laws.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:49 PM   #40
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I've had the opportunity to see many beautiful and interesting places.

The Grand Canyon
Yosemite
Yellowstone
The Redwoods in California
Disneyland or Disneyworld
New England in the Fall
Lots and lots of beaches are great, the best I've been to is Destin Fl, but so many are wonderful
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