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Looking for "lesser known" destinations around central/south

Kentucky
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Looking for "lesser known" destinations around central/south

I am from far Western KY, and am planning a girls' roadtrip this summer with my daughter, who will be 10, and a friend and her daughter, who will be 12. Our men/boys will be traveling to Iowa that week, and, quite frankly, that's the last place we want to go, however, we don't want to travel 10 hours in the total opposite direction that they will be. (i.e. Florida) We've done Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis, Branson, etc. and are looking for perhaps some lesser known towns or destinations in the central US region or upper south central region that would not be too boring for the kids, but might perhaps be a destination that is not a normal tourist stop. An example of what we are considering is Cincinnati, Eureka Springs, AR, or perhaps something like Fairhope, AL. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as it's hard to put all that in a Google search. ;)

Washington
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1. Re: Looking for "lesser known" destinations around central/south

What time of year are you traveling? Do you have some activities that you and the girls would like to do? How long is your trip? Do you prefer to fly or drive?

Edited: 26 February 2013, 19:45
Kentucky
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2. Re: Looking for "lesser known" destinations around central/south

We will be traveling in July, likely by car unless we can find an amazing deal on airfare. We've actually done 3 other trips that included stops at American Girl stores with the girls, but again, we're looking for something different. Quaint. Cool.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Looking for "lesser known" destinations around central/south

What about southern Ontario, Canada?

Washington
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4. Re: Looking for "lesser known" destinations around central/south

Here is one of my favorite articles from Southern Living: 12 Ultimate trips for Kids in the South that might give you ideas of places to start.

southernliving.com/travel/…

Not lesser known but perhaps Washington DC? Williamsburg, Virginia? Outer Banks North Carolina? Outside of Atlanta, I love Calloway Gardens.

Iowa
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5. Re: Looking for "lesser known" destinations around central/south

Bummer you've crossed Iowa off the list, since Dubuque is a quaint town along the Mississippi, and very non-touristy.

Galena, Illinois would be a suggestion, but I'm not sure how interesting the kids would find it.

It's maybe further than you'd want to drive (near the Canadian border), but Grand Marais, Minnesota would be a good idea. It's right on one of the great lakes, it's scenic and kind of "artsy".

Maggie Valley, North Carolina is a pretty town. I've read they are re-opening the amusement park there, and you could do a day trip to Asheville (Biltmore and shopping?) and to the National Park.

I've never been there, but I've heard Blowing Rock, North Carolina is nice.

Luray, Virginia has the caverns, and a few animal parks.

Dearborn, Michigan has the Henry Ford museum.

Spring Green, Wisconsin has The House on the Rock (incredible), and you could do a day trip to the Dells.

Iowa
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6. Re: Looking for "lesser known" destinations around central/south

Thought of a few more:

Santa Claus, Indiana. Theme park,water park.

Bryson City, NC. White water rafting, tubing, Smokies.

It's well known and probably out of your travel zone, but how about the Black Hills of South Dakota? Badlands, Mt Rushmore, plenty of kid friendly activities.

Sandusky, Ohio although that's also well known. Kids would love it, I bet.

Kentucky
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7. Re: Looking for "lesser known" destinations around central/south

Kren250, thanks for the wonderful suggestions. And no offense to your great state, just never invision Iowa as a vaca destination, though hubby & son can't wait to do the Ragbrai bike ride in July.

Thanks, everyone, you've given me some great ideas!

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Looking for "lesser known" destinations around central/south

I second the suggestion by Island Girl in post #4 to see Williamsburg, Virginia ........the town is really lovely, and the living museum at Colonial Williamsburg is super interesting, and very educational..... it will bring history to life for the girls and I think they'll be fascinated by the actors in period costume role playing........you can even have lunch where George Washington ate....

Edited: 27 February 2013, 14:51
Washington
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9. Re: Looking for "lesser known" destinations around central/south

Ragbrai is GREAT! I have friends who go every year.

Congrats to you husband and son for taking it on.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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10. Re: Looking for "lesser known" destinations around central/south

Hi CNC,

I live in Cincinnati and will give this area a plug. The only thing I would caution you on it that, like most of the midwest, our summers are incredibly hazy, hot, humid and uncomfortable. As long as you were to do things in water or a/c if you came here, you would be okay! Some things in the area I would highly recommend for you and kids 10 & 12 would be:

Cincinnati Zoo (if you get a comfortable enough day - Cincy pride aside, it's one of the best zoos I've been to)

Cincinnati Art Museum (free - and offers some fun activities for kids)

Reds game (go in the evening! bleacher seats can be very affordable)

Cincinnati Museum Center/IMAX Theater (my kids LOVE this place)

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Kings Island (you could spend 2 days here - one doing rides and one in the water park)

Newport Aquarium