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shniernan's avatar

What is the best place vacation location in America?

Asked by shniernan (981 points ) January 2nd, 2013

Well, to begin with, I’ll state the limitations of this vacation, and explain the reason for it. My family has a tradition that, as each child of the household reaches the age of 16, they are not given a car or a fancy present for their birthday, but are permitted to vacation anywhere in the Continental U.S. for a week, all expenses (within reason) paid. Now, I am a young jelly on fluther, I found the site when I was around 13, and I am turning 16 soon. I live in beautiful, sunny California… And, not to be conceited… But I can’t think of many better places in the continental U.S. to be!

I suppose my main problem here is that I don’t particularly like America. I enjoy California for Comic-con and other such occasions, and the beautiful beaches and scenery… But I feel this is basically the most America has to offer me. I’m not incredibly interested in New York, I’m iffy on Chicago, Florida isn’t really desirable either, I don’t know much about Washington (Seattle, specifically) and I was wondering about it… I guess I’m looking for somewhere with good food, and good fun. As for fun, I like music, movies, acting, comedians, hiking, and eating.

But I suppose I’m stuck, because (as much as I’d love to visit another country) I’m limited to the continental U.S, and I’ve never really known anywhere better than here…

So, any suggestions on places with great food, fun, and activities for a week, Fluther? Thanks for all the help!

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36 Answers

Carly's avatar

What time of the year are you planning on vacationing?

shniernan's avatar

@Carly – Whoops! Forgot to mention, It should be this summer, somewhere in June, July, August of 2013.

WestRiverrat's avatar

See if you can get an Alaskan Cruise. They don’t cost any more than a weeklong trip to parts of the continental US. Fly to Alaska and take the cruise south. If you pick one of the cruise lines that terminate in California, so much the better.

Carly's avatar

I’d go to Vegas. There are SO MANY things to do besides gambling and drinking. I went there when I was 16, and they have all kinds of comedy shows, music, great food – tons of all-you-can-eat buffets, the coolest hotels, too. We stayed at the Circus Circus and they have an arcade/carnival theme on the bottom floor from what I can remember – and you don’t have to be 21 to play. The Treasure Island casino hotel looked pretty cool, too.

Coloma's avatar

Utah. Bryce and Zion Parks are spectacular!
You could always come on out to my neck o’ the woods in Coloma Ca. for some breathtaking scenery and white water rafting on the American river this summer too!

www.americanwhitewater.com

We’re expecting exceptional river flow this year with all the rain and snow in the Sierras. :-)

Aqua's avatar

I grew up around the Central Coast in CA, and I would have to agree with you, for the most part. Now that I live elsewhere, CA is my vacation spot. I love the Central Coast (SLO, Morro Bay, Pismo, Big Sur) as well as Solvang, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. Lots of beautiful beaches, hiking trails, good restaurants, etc. Plus, LA is close and has a great music scene.

Having said that, Alaska in the summer is beautiful, but it’s outside of the Continental US.

zenvelo's avatar

I think you might consider some spots in New England. Boston is a lot of fun, with lots of college kids even in the summer. Cape Cod is fun, with lots going on and great beaches. Or, you could g up to Bar Harbor, Maine.

And there are lots of places in Vermont that have a lot of outdoor stuff: hiking, canoeing, fishing.

From Southern California, Hawaii can be as inexpensive as flying back east in the summer.
Fly to Maui and stay in the hostel, a friend dis that and it was cheap and a lot of fun. See if the “continental” thing is absolutely fixed.

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hearkat's avatar

The USA has a lot of National Parks where you could explore nature instead of man-made sights.

Another idea is to consider what career you might be hoping to pursue, and see if there are any summer camps or workshops related to that.

burntbonez's avatar

Miami considers itself to be America’s party city.

Leanne1986's avatar

I went to America in September and, on a two week road trip, passed through about 7 states. My favourite state was Colorado, we stayed in Boulder which I loved. Seeing the Rocky Mountains was a dream come true for me. I also loved Yellow stone National Park (I went to Yosemite National Park a couple of years ago and really loved that too).

jonsblond's avatar

Don’t discount Chicago. It might surprise you. For comedy, Chicago is home to Second City. There are many great restaurants you can visit for just about any type of food you want. Taste of Chicago is July 10–14th. It is the nation’s premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining community. Chicago also has an excellent music scene. The Chicago Blues Festival is June 6–9th this year, and is the largest free blues festival in the world.

There are many museums to visit. There is also the Shedd Aquarium. Here is a list of hiking spots in the Chicago area. Or you can take a short day trip to Indiana Dunes or Starved Rock State Park.

I used to be a west coast girl. I lived in California and Las Vegas for the first 16 years of my life, and I thought nowhere else in the states could compare. Then I traveled the country as I got older and experienced the different types of beauty this country has to offer. I was pleasantly surprised. (You couldn’t pay me to move back to California now) :)

marinelife's avatar

For the activities you mention, a city would be best. Seattle is nice if you like to do outdoorsy stuff but not music, comedians, etc.

Why not try Chicago? It has a lot of comedy and music and restaurants and nightlife.

rojo's avatar

Take an extended trip down the Grand Canyon by raft or dory. For a more active and involved experience, try one of the companies that offer paddle or oared rafts and stay away from the big motorized rigs.
You can get one with musicians, I don’t know about commediens but you would be surprised at how humorous your companions and guides can be.
The food is good and plentiful There is hiking and camping and some (limited) climbing.
More importantly, you will learn something about yourself.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Acting, movies – why not New York?

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

I ditto @zenvelo‘s suggestion. Because you’ll visit during the height of summer, New England will be lovely. Boston’s a fun city, and I recommend trips to the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

shniernan's avatar

Wow, so much help! I talked over some of the suggestions, and was told that Hawaii and Alaska are still viable, but Puerto Rico or any Caribbean Islands are off limits.

I would have to say, my three favorite suggestions are the cruise to Alaska (Hearing so much about Alaska, you guys are really selling it), a trip to Chicago, and possibly Boston.

I’ll definitely be looking into these choices, does anyone know of activities in Boston or Alaska? Thanks again, guys!

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mcbealer's avatar

Come to Seattle where apart from our great hiking, food, and international films you can celebrate the end of your stay at Bumbershoot a Music & Arts festival.

I’m also damn proud to say that Providece, RI would meet your entire criteria. If you get the chance to visit be sure to check out Waterfire which will blow your mind. ‘nuff said.

Oh and please let us know where you wind up going. Happy travels!

WestRiverrat's avatar

@shniernan Pick a cruise line and then get their literature. All the cruise lines have contracts with local businesses in the ports of call in Alaska. There will be slight variances in what is available depending on the cruise line. There are also plenty of on board activities to keep you busy.

Kardamom's avatar

You said you live in Sunny California, so I’m assuming that you mean Southern California. If you’ve never been to San Francisco, you’re missing out on some of the most awesome restaurants (like The Stinking Rose a restaurant based on garlic dishes, and a bunch of cool places visited by Guy Fieri from Diners Drive-ins and Dives which you can find on This List, or Alice Water’s restaurant Chez Panisse) in the world, plus world class museums, Comedy Clubs (although you’ll have to check to see which ones are all ages venues) and music venues, plus very close access to some of the most beautiful outdoor places on earth such as the Muir Woods. Of course sightseeing and photography opportunities are in abundance, such as the Golden Gate bridge, Golden Gate Park, Alcatraz, Coit Tower, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street and a whole bunch of famous TV and Movie Sites.

I would also vote for Yosemite for the ultimate nature/photo vacation. Don’t think that you’ll only be eating beans and weenies (unless you want to) in Yosemite, check out all of the Dining Options. There’s also the wonderful Mountain Sage Summer Music Series featuring live bluegrass and roots music.

BosM's avatar

There is so much to do in New England. We’ve vacation on Martha’s Vineyard every summer for the last 10 years and love it. we ask the kids every year where they want to go and they always want the Vineyard.

Fly into Boston and see what the city has to offer, take in a ballgame, 4th of July fireworks at the Esplanade, Concerts on the Common, take in the freedom trail, there’s lots of history here. From Boston take a ferry to the the Vineyard and visit the shops and restaurants in Edgartown. Take another 5 minure ferry to Chappaquiddick Island, visit the fishing port at Menemsha and spectacular sunsets visible from the Beach Plum Inn, spend the day on South Beach and take a biplane ride over the island. The Monster Shark Tournament, Oak Bluffs takes place the 3rd week in July every year.

There many beautiful places in the US, it sounds like you have a lot of options. Good luck in choosing, have fun.

Only138's avatar

My house. :)

JLeslie's avatar

I am thinking Alaskan cruise, upstate NY, or parts of New England. I think all of them were mentioned already.

I went on an Alaskan cruise this past summer and it was awesome! There is entertainment every evening on the boat from singing to comedians. Dancing in the disco every night. Hiking, kayaking, canoing, horseback riding, just depending on what excursions you pick. Cruises are kind of no brainer vacations, because all the restaurants are right there and any adventures off ship you can just ay the high price for the excursion and they take care of the rest. The cruise price is usually rather reasonable though. It isn’t the continetal US, but you can depart from Seattle, which counts.

I went to Vermont a few years ago, and in Stowe you can go to the Von Trapp lodge and take the history tour to hear the real story of how they escaped Austria, usually it is an actual Von Trapp telling the story. When I went it was Rosemary, one of the children born to Maria (Julie Andrews character) and her grand neice. We absolutely loved it. Also, in Stowe the Ben and Jerry’s tour. The food tends to be very good because there is a very respected cooking school in VT. You can also visit Cabot nearby and see them make cheese or visit a farm. If you drive west into NY you can go to the adirondacks mountains, or drive east through New Hampshire to the Atlantic Ocean.

Just NY alone you can go to the Catskill Mountains which should have some theatre going on. Woodstock is a very artsy area. I have not been there in years though, so I don’t know a lot of info. Also in NY is the finger lakes, the adirondacks (mentioned above) niagra falls, and the thousand islands region.

You could also go somewhere in the great Lakes region. Michigan or Wisconsin. The great lakes are beautiful and blue. Although you already live near the ocean. Still, some people don’t realize how amazing the lakes are, because they hear lake and think brown not so big body of water. But they are like the ocean but fresh water. Sheboygan in Wisconsin or Elkhart Lake. You can go to the Kohler factory tour and see how they make all the kitchen faucets and sinks and everything else they make, tour their designer model bathrooms and kitchens if that sort of thing interests you and learn about the history of the company. I think just north of Sheboygan you can catch a ferry to Michigan. Mackinac Island off of MI doesn’t allow any motorized vehicles. It’s all bikes, and horses, and walking.you have to take a ferry to get there.

Washington DC. DC is beautiful, great museums, and of course places like the white house and other government buildings. You could do a few days there and then drive down into VA to see Monticello and Colonial Williamsburg.

Let us know what you decide.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@BosM Go, go Red Sox, and may they su*k less in 2013!

Kardamom's avatar

Wow! @JLeslie, now I want to go to Stowe, VT. I love the Sound of Music and cheese!

JLeslie's avatar

@Kardamom Here is a link to the lodge, I hope my link takes you write to the history tour info. We didn’t stay there, just breakfast one day and then the tour amd history. We loved it.

Kardamom's avatar

@JLeslie Thanks! That sounds like a wonderful place to visit. It would be funny to know if they screen sing-a-longs of The Sound of Music, where everyone gets dressed up as the characters.

JLeslie's avatar

I remember they do sing, not sure what they do exactly. Look under activities and see if it says anything.

shniernan's avatar

@Only138 – Hahaha, you got a laugh out of me.

@JLeslie – Thank you for the amazing effort in your suggestions!

I believe my favorite option currently is the Alaskan Cruiselines, but if not that, I’m thinking about a roadtrip from here (San Diego, CA) to San Francisco and then Yosemite. And if neither of those, then a trip to Boston or Chicago! I’ll talk it over with the parents, and I’ll be sure to report back with results!

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, if you go to San Fran you can go to Muir Woods and see the huge huge trees. I have not been there, but I want to go. Yosemite is supposed to be wonderful, I have not been there yet either.

My Alaskan cruise had areas for teens only, which was kind of cool probably for them. There are not tons of young people on Alaskan cruises generally, but it is a wonderful family vacation. I assume you will go with your family? If you want to facebook friend me you can see some of my photos from the cruise. I only have about 16 on there though. If your interested PM me, you can defriend me right after you look at them if you want. We went whale watching and it was amazing! So many whales, everyone said better than Hawaii who had done it there, and we went horseback riding through the forest, and on a three hour train ride up mountains, and into glacier bay which is all blue and white, meaning even some of the ice looks blue.

FreshApples's avatar

Depends on the person but I have always wanted to visit Seattle….especially got to watch a Seahawks game to find out how loud and crazy it is at CenturyLink field.

forestGeek's avatar

I’d say Seattle/Portland area would be ideal because they both offer city things to do like good transportation, museums, music, movies, great food, shopping, etc., but in addition offer quick access to a lot more. In a day you could easily visit The Pacific Ocean, San Juan Islands, the Olympics and Cascade Mountains, the desert, rain forests, volcanoes, National Parks, and endless hiking and backpacking. Both are really bike friendly and hotels can easily be found with walking distance of places you want to go. Both cities also have a lot of great music venues (including all-ages) with any style music you could ever want to see.

Also consider that it’s easy to visit Vancouver (3 hour from SEA) or Victoria (easy boat ride from SEA), BC as long as you bring your passport…then you could say you visited a foreign country as well! :)

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shniernan's avatar

I’ve decided on a road trip through California, if anyone is interested, and will probably be starting another thread of questions about where I should stop along the way.

I will be renting a car down here in San Diego, driving up to Los Angeles, staying a night, then driving my way up to San Francisco, where I’ll spend a day or two, before dropping off the rental and flying home.

Are there any interesting museums, monuments, attractions, stops, along the way? And the 1 or 2 days of activities in LA and SF would help, too. Thank you to everyone that’s helped, you are why I love fluther.

Kardamom's avatar

Of course, my first response would be Disneyland, but since you’re only staying over night, and presumably just spending one day in the Los Angeles area, I’m going to go another route. My brother and I did a day trip of the downton Los Angeles area (we parked in a relatively inexpensive lot, I think it might have been $10 for the whole day) and we were within walking distance of: Olvera Street and Union Station and Phillipe’s Restaurant Home of the French Dip Sandwich and Los Angeles City Hall (when we went, you could take an elevator, then one flight of stairs, to the top of the tour, which will give you spectacular views) and the Walt Disney Concert Hall where you could hear a show, or take a tour of the building.

If you have any interest in art, here is a List of Public Art in Los Angeles and of course there is the LA County Museum of Art and The Museum of Contemporary Art and the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena and The Getty

If you have an interest in plants or horticulture, visit the Huntington Library and Gardens. They have one of the biggest and most beautiful Japanese Gardens in the U.S. plus a huge assortment of bamboo and succulents and just about every other type of garden you can think of. Plan to spend a whole day there.

If you want to sample of bunch of different foods, go to the Farmers Market which is conveniently located right next to the Grove shopping center and CBS Studios where you can take a tour or see a live taping of a TV show.

As you head up the coast, I would suggest stopping in Santa Barbara. Take a walk along the beach, the sand here is much wider than the sand in LA or San Diego and they often have art shows on the lawn, depending on what day you go. Then walk and or drive State Street, which is the main drag, for lots of shopping and restaurants and people watching. And don’t forget to have breakfast or lunch at the only remaining Sambo’s Pancakes restaurant in the country.

Then head up towards San Luis Obispo. If you can, try to book one of the specialty rooms at the Madonna Inn a fancy pink hotel known for it’s rock room, it’s super over the top frilly dining room and a waterfall urinal in the men’s room! Downtown SLO is charming and full of shopping and wonderful restaurants, plus the Mission is there for you to tour, and it’s all right there, creekside. And try to take a side trip to Avila Beach. You might even want to spend the night in a cabin at Avila Hot Springs

Before you actually get to San Luis Obispo, I highly recommend taking a little side detour to the town of Solvang where you can eat your way across town with pastries, ableskiver and smorgasborgs. And don’t miss the Hans Christian Andersen Museum”:http://www.solvangca.com/museum/h1.htm and the Elverhoj Historic Home Museum

Either on your way in, or your way out of Solvang, don’t forget to have lunch at Pea Soup Andersen’s Restaurant in Buellton.

Anyplace north of SLO and you’re on your own. I’ve only been north of there once, and that was 40 years ago LOL.

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