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  • Brande Hoffman
  • "Cross Country Trip - CA to FL with 3 children (ages 10, 7, 6) . . . HELP!"

Brande Hoffman

Manhattan Beach, California

Cross Country Trip - CA to FL with 3 children (ages 10, 7, 6) . . . HELP!

My family (including 3 children - ages 10, 7, and 6) is driving from California to Southern Florida and are looking for recommendations about places to stop along the way and fun experiences for our kiddos - thinking about hitting the Grand Canyon, Ozark National Forest, Memphis, and New Orleans - specifically landmarks, quirky/fun things to see, and restaurant recommendations would be great.  Thanks for your suggestions!


HI EVERYONE - we went on our trip - it was awesome!  I totally recommend it - we saw a mix of things along the way and made lots of good memories!  Thanks for all of the tips and feedback!!!

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  • Brande H.

    Brande H.

    Great - thanks! · (0 likelikes)

  • Josh B.

    Josh B.

    I would suggest with kids Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. Also, right near there is a restaurant called Muriel's that overlooks Jackson Square. Muriel's has a balcony that overlooks Jackson Square and you don't have to eat there to go sit on it. Muriel's is also supposedly haunted. K Paul's Kitchen is the best high end cajun food in NOLA but not sure if it is in the budget. Also, check out the Davenport Lounge in the Ritz Carlton in the French Quarter. Certain nights they have a band that plays and it is free. · (0 likelikes)

 

					
					
					
				

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  • New Orleans (city)

    New Orleans Louisiana

    3 mentions

  • Audubon Zoo (attraction)

    6500 Magazine Street New Orleans LA 70118-4848 (504) 861-2537

    3 mentions

  • Café du Monde (restaurant)

    800 Decatur St New Orleans LA 70116 (504) 525-4544

    2 mentions

  • Lisa Schlesinger

    top answer by

    Lat year my husband and I moved from Memphis to Sacramento, CA so within a 6 week period I drove that southern route twice. Several things are a must do, Grand Canyon National Park is great, maybe not so much for the kids. I've had friends say their parents took them as kids and they didn't appreciate it. Wish I had had the time to see Hoover Dam. Have a meal at Tim's Place (website) in Alburquerque. Cadillac Ranch (website) just west of Amarillo is a cool thing to see and great for photo opportunity. If/When you stop in Memphis visit Peabody Hotel and see the ducks swimming in the lobby fountain, and while you are downtown you can't go wrong with any of these BBQ places linked in blue. The Memphis Zoo is one of the best in the country! And even the kids will enjoy Graceland Mansion Elvis's home. As you leave Memphis, head to Huntsville, AL and spend some time at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the kids will love it. Atlanta will have lots to see as well, but been a while since I've been and never with my kids. Hopefully you will get more info from others for the rest of the trip.

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    • Brande H.

      Brande H.

      Thanks so much - I'm excited! · (0 likelikes)

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    1. Grand Canyon National Park (park)
    2. Hoover Dam (attraction)
    3. Tim's Place (restaurant)
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    5. Cadillac Ranch (restaurant)
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    8. Graceland Mansion (attraction)
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  • Dennis Godwin

    answered by

    Something tells me that the kids are not going to see much value in New Orleans or Memphis. As you pass through central Florida though, try some of the Gator places like Gatorland. It's a decent alternative to Magic Kingdom or Epcot or SeaWorld.

    Also maybe the place to see some middle America sights would be Arkansas. The great outdoors and others like Garvan Woodland Gardens.

    Also, consider treating yourself to Destin. The Gulf is a very different environment from California.

    Hope this helps! Good Luck, be safe, and have fun!

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  • Andrew Bofinger

    answered by

    While you are in New Orleans check out Louisiana Children's Museum. Its located in the Warehouse district and is a blast for kids of all ages. Tons of activities for the kids and is actually pretty fun for adults too.

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  • Jeremi Rabalais

    answered by

    With those stops, I'm not exactly sure what route you're going to take, but about an hour east of San Antonio on I-10 is a place called Buc-ee's (website). It's basically a travel plaza on steroids.

    In Memphis, I recommend the Memphis Mojo Tour from Backbeat Tours. It's a lot of fun. Also, go to the Peabody Hotel and check out the Peabody ducks. Go at either 11:00am or 5:00pm. That's when they enter and exit the lobby, respectively. Get there at least 20 minutes early for a good viewing spot.


    In New Orleans, there's no shortage of good restaurants. Café du Monde is a classic. For attractions, you can checkout the Audubon Zoo, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, and the The National World War Ii Museum.

    On more recommendation I have is a book called The Next Exit. It's a comprehensive listing of what's at every interstate exit in the US. It will help you a lot on your trip.

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    • Brande H.

      Brande H.

      Love book recommendation - thanks! · (0 likelikes)

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  • Cara Whitehill

    answered first by

    Two suggestions:

    1. Check out a site called RoadTrippers -- awesome features to help you map out a route based on what to see, what to eat, places to stay, etc.

    2. Utah & Arizona are awesome for good outdoorsy stuff, which is a great way for kids to burn off energy. You might be able to pick up the Route 66 trail somewhere in there as well, which is cool for the history angle. Marfa, TX has all sorts of weirdly interesting artsy/kitschy stuff to see, somewhat odd given that it's located a thousand miles from anywhere. Austin, TX is a must for history, BBQ, music, BBQ, hill country activities, and BBQ. New Orleans would be another great sensory experience for kids -- so many distinct things to see, smell, hear, taste, and do there. That can put you onto the Gulf Coast for lots of beach time along the final stretch.

    I'd also suggest stopping over for more than one day at a couple points along the way. It will take a little longer overall, but the extra 2 or 3 days here and there will give you time to relax a bit and see more of the interesting places you're checking out.

    Enjoy!

    Update: Re-read your Q and a couple more things given your described route: Zion National Park in southern Utah is amazing and probably a bit less crowded than the Grand Canyon. Hot Springs, AR is charming and full of hikes & outdoors activities. In Memphis, we hit Mud Island when I was a kid, and loved it (if it's still around)...Beale Street has some fun kid-friendly things going on during the day (more BBQ) and of course Graceland Mansion (altho the kids might not appreciate that as much as the adults).

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  • Rachel Csintyan

    answered by

    The Grand Canyon National Park is great, but I would suggest the North Rim as it's less crowded and just as comparable in views. If you are headed that way, Zion National Park is gorgeous, and Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell are unparalleled as well. As for around New Orleans, The National WWII Museum is phenomenal, and Global Wildlife Center takes the kids on a ride much like a safari with exotic animals. Hope this information helps!


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  • Zoë Sonofabear

    answered by

    Re: New Orleans - Audubon Zoo is great for kids and right by Tulane. Before or after stop at St. James Cheese Company for lunch. Great kids menu and amazing cheese plates, sandwiches and salads. Then walk next door to The Creole Creamery for ice cream. The National World War Ii Museum downtown is also great for kids of all ages. Enjoy!

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  • Mark Soto

    answered by

    If and when you come through Oklahoma City. There is a nice playground right in the heart of okc next to Chesapeake Energy Arena where the thunder play. I have kids your kids age and they all would think it was cool and you would be really close to as many restaurants as you could want in the Bricktown District. Enjoy!

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  • JR Johnson

    answered by

    I would add one place to consider. It's overlooked by many but I found it to be one of the most beautiful nation parks/monuments in the country, and it's a relatively short stop if you're headed past it. It's the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Sheer black cliffs that your can walk right up to the edge (with safety railings of course) and look down into the gorge. It's spectacular and relatively few people ever go to see it. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Parkimage from my-photo-blog.com

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    • Brande H.

      Brande H.

      Looks amazing! But probably too far north for this trip. THANKS! · (0 likelikes)

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  • Emory Mills

    answered by

    We went from Oklahoma to California two years ago with our three kiddos (aged 14, 11, and 6). We made several stops along the way, so I can share what I know.

    Grand Canyon South Rim was great!

    Roswell was not so exciting for the kiddos.

    Las Vegas...what were we thinking stopping there with kids?!

    Hoover Dam was pretty neat, and the kids liked it - especially our oldest.

    We are considering New Orleans currently for this summer, but not sure yet. I have enjoyed my visits there, but not sure if there is enough for kids - probably would be for one or two days, though.

    Boathouse Districtis fun (our backyard). Our son had his 8th birthday party there that was quite the hit.

    Hope this helps!


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  • Jerry Whaley

    answered by

    Audubon Zoo, a must see in New Orleans!

    Café du Monde in the French Quarter for beignets (French donuts with powdered sugar!)

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  • Rebecca Morgan

    answered by

    A must stop for me is Midtown Caboose in Tallahassee, FL. It's an eclectic atmosphere with unique food. They specialize in burgers from the mundane to the extraordinary. I highly recommend the Chick Flick burger or the PB & J burger.

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  • Jim Landelius

    answered by

    If you go through Mobile, you should stop at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, the old battleship in the bay. If you're on I-40, you might want to check out the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum in Oklahoma City, OK (that was the building that was destroyed by a fertilizer bomb).

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