Crowdsourced Vacation Planning

If you had a $6,000 budget and a family of four who needed a vacation from Los Angeles this August, where would you go?

Please be VERY specific.

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  1. Carolyn S.

    If everyone has passports, consider Canada. Most of us don’t know jack about our neighbors to the north or south but the south isn’t very friendly right now. Go north, maybe Vancouver.

    • We do, but WHAT would we do in Canada? Where would we go?

  2. I would spend a week in Honolulu, Hawaii and island hopping to see the waterfalls and volcanoes. I would go scuba diving/learn how to/get certified. I would take the helicopter tour.

    • Okay this is where I’m confused, that’s a $10k vacation for a family of four. I’m not seeing any way to get this one to budget.

  3. I’d want to go up to Seattle, see the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Gas Works Park (where there is a lot recreational activities), the locks where the boats come in and there are a number of great museums. Then I’d drive up the coast to Canada to hike in the mountains and enjoy nature in the summer without feeling like I need to use a towel every five seconds.

    • I’m thinking of doing this one in a drive, complete with a few days in Oregon. I haven’t been to Seattle since 2001

      • Oregon is nice. A few years back we took a roadtrip there. We stayed 2 1/2 weeks. the hotels seem a little cheaper (compared to many places in CA) & we cooked a lot for the kids in the room. This past winter we spent a week in Ashland, Oregon, cute downtown. The Shakespeare theater is huge there (if that is something you are into).

        • Carolyn S.

          Three years ago we drove from Las Vegas (yes, people live here) to Seattle. We went up through the Sierras and back down along the coast. Spectacular scenery both ways. We loved it, but we didn’t have children in the back seat wanting to know how much longer before the next McDonald’s.

  4. I would fly to Illinois and stay in our best hotel in the area. And I would put Cassie in charge of planning adventures like combine rides and tours of this old swedish village that was really founded by a cult. and maybe a couple of trips to the public pool.

    And then I would take the $5000 you have left and take Jane shopping.

    You can tell her I said so :)

  5. Everyone that has ever been to British Columbia that I have spoken with, has gushed about the trip.

    I’ve not been so I have nothing personal to add!

    Have Fun.

  6. Go to Maui, stay in a VRBO condo and hang out on the beach doing a whole lot of nothing.

      • Vacation Rentals By Owner
        You can rent a condo from the owner for much less than the cost of a hotel, plus you get more space and a full kitchen and usually a washer and dryer. Saves on meals and you don’t have to pack as much. Check the Kiehi area for the best deals on Maui.

        • Jessica Gottlieb

          Okay, so some of the above suggestions are within reach.

          Have you traveled this way? Do you end up cleaning someone else’s house?

          • We -always- travel this way. I barely clean my own house, no way I’m cleaning someone else’s!

  7. Get on the web, look up the National Park Service lodges in Oregon. There’s one at Crater Lake and others in the state. We saw a PBS special on them, and their locations are just magical. You could tour Oregon on the way to Seattle. Seattle is nice in August, not too hot.

    • I adore Crater Lake. Honestly, my parents taking me to Oregon and Washington are two of the vacations that I remember the most and loved.

  8. Go to a little village in Greece called Galatas, it is 5 minute ferry ride from an island called Poros. Walk to the market each morning for fresh bread and vegetables. Live like the villagers, which is really, really amazing. Not at all rustic. Swim, walk, ride motor bikes, and drink wine with me and my family every night while kids play until 1 am. Easily done for your budget. Okay, not easily. But within.

  9. Well, it probably wouldn’t cost $6K, but a trip up to Seattle, followed by 4 or 5 days at a house on the Oregon coast is one of our favorite family trips. We’re heading up there in August – minus the Oregon detour. (Sister in law decided to visit here during what would have been the first part of our trip.) If you drove up you could also enjoy N. California on the way there.

    Victoria, BC is also GORGEOUS, with lots to do… we’ve done Seattle/Victoria combos also. It’s a couple of hours on the Ferry – stay at the Empress Hotel for charm.

  10. Jessica

    Don’t know how much plane tickets would be from LA, but I’ve had friends constantly recommending Costa Rica. Specifically Costa Verde:

    They even have an old plane that was refurbished into a suite.

  11. Mikalan

    I sat down planning on writing about my families favorite vacation to date and then read all the comments and having something to add there too. About 5 years ago we took or family of 6 to South Dakota for a week. We spent well under $6000. We drove from Minnesota in the spring. We visited Mt. Rushmore, and stayed in a cabin on someones farm. I cant remember how we found our lodging. My husband might remember. Included with our stay was a horseback ride throught the Black Hills. After 4 days here, we drove North to Deadwood and visited this historic old west town. With a few days left on our trip we went to Little Big Horn, and then drove to Miles City, MT (this part was for me as my great great grandparents helped found the town and I was able to do some genealogy research) before heading home. This is a trip my kids still talk about and would like to do again.

    Now for my response to all the other comments. I grew up in Oregon, and now live in VA. Oregon has tons to offer especially during this time of year. Ashland has the Shakespeare Festival. The tree houses hotel in Takilma where all the rooms are tree houses. Bend has the high desert museum. The coast lines are beautiful. Hiking is the one thing I truly miss. We would take the kids on hikes into beautiful waterfalls. We own several books by William Sullivan that have great hikes and trip suggestions. I highly recommend this. Another super fun place to visit is the Oregon Vortex in Gold Hill. I remember visiting this place as a child and regret not having taken my kids there yet. I could probably go on and on. If you want more information, let me know. We just got back from a visit home and all we did was see family.

  12. I would drive to Monterey stopping at San Simeon to see Heart’s Castle. For lodging in Monterey call special places like The Inn at Spanish Bay, Monterey Plaza Hotel, The Highlands Inn and The Pine Cone Inn in Carmel and asking for comp/disc in exchange for reviews.

    Visit the Aquarium, Cannery Row, Asilomar, 17 Mile Drive, the Carmel Mission, Carmel and Fisherman’s Wharf. I’d spend a day in Big Sur and go horseback riding either there or in Carmel Valley.

    Then drive to San Francisco, stay at in a Kimpton hotel suite (great with kids and caters to luxury loving Mom’s too). Ask for comp/disc if you don’t get them book online and make sure your rate includes parking (its $50 a day). Their rates are pretty good right now.

    In SF spend a day at Golden Gate park, paddle the boats and go to the AMAZING kid oriented museums in the park. Go to the Exploratorium and Pier 39 on other days (eat the hot donuts on the pier, just do it).

    Return home via the 5 freeway – takes 5.5 hrs and provides the opportunity to teach children about agriculture, farming, why cattle feedlots are disgusting, inhumane and unhealthy and free roaming grassfed cows live humanely, happily and produce superior milk and meat.

    There you go, that’s my opinion.

  13. Sherree

    Go to Yellowstone National Park. You can fly to Bozeman, Montana and drive to West Yellowstone in about an hour or so. Take a side trip through the Grand Tetons.

    Lodging is available inside or outside of the park and there is so much to see and do. We bought 2 books – Lonely Planet and something else. Mine is the Lonely Planet and it’s been getting the most use. (I always get Lonely Planet books when we’re traveling someplace new).

    We’re going August 21st and staying for a week (although we’re driving roundtrip). We’re staying in West Yellowstone, outside of the park, on purpose. You can stay in luxurious lodgings in/out of the park.

    We’re going to the Terraces in the Mammoth Valley, taking a morning photo safari (I’m hoping for wolves) in the Lamar Valley and we’ll most likely go to the Geysers, although not necessarily Old Faithful. This still leaves us plenty of other things to see and do (we’re still planning).

    My 2 cents worth!

  14. Michelle Miscichowski

    Lake Mancos Ranch dude ranch. Haven’t been lucky enough to go myself, but a good friend went with her family and said it was the best vacation ever, and they travel regularly.

    • ooo I want to do this. It’s on my bucket list.

  15. Gabrielle Schumaker

    We just got back from a fantastic 10 day trip to Zion National Park. The husband, me and the girls 9 & 12. Driving from L.A., we stopped in Vegas by noon to break up the drive. Not being one to want the kids this age to see too much, one night was perfect. We left early, and checked into Treasure Island offering a great pool for kids and deals for the Cirque d’Soleil show. We were able to get connecting rooms for $59 each, and they were actually really fine. Our girls loved it, and we had our space. We are not much for gambling/casino life etc… But I have to say my husband loved the arcade and showing the kids how to play the newest games. One night was enough. Next day we set off of an easy drive to Zion. Being a city girl, but loving nature, I was overwhelmed. The views, pictures and memories are somewhere between a Griswald adventures and A River Runs Through It. I’m talking, nice people, delicious owner-run restaurants and shops, unbelievable landscapes and challenging adventures that will last a lifetime… The flowers, birds and sky were truly cinematic. OK… The days were spent hiking trails (easily matched for any level), riding horses a half day through Bryce Canyon, (9 year old was safely on a mule) and even a day trip to the Grand Canyon staying in a log cabin with a traditional western cookout. Other days were spent discovering waterfalls and clear pools to swim in. We had the best time. Wonderful memories and adventures made without too many laid out plans. We were even able to squeeze in another one night stop in Vegas on the way home at the MGM Grand with a poolside cabana, and spa massage for mommy. Can I tell you there was no sweating, crying or complaining from time to time… no. But it was a fantastic trip that we all enjoyed and will never forget. No stress. Well within the $6K budget. My husband is now saying I should keep this a secret. ;)

  16. I’d call the sitter and spend two nights at the Beverly Peninsula ;)

  17. You know, as much as I want to move to, say, Los Angeles…..Maine is a nice place to “visit.” My husband works at the most amazing Inn in the coastal town of Camden. You can go sailing, kayaking, see the real life Belted Galloway cows(yes, it really IS a treat), and of course eat a lobster! Plus, I would totally be able to stalk you, I mean take you out for a drink! ;)

  18. Kathryn

    Come to British Columbia and go to Tofino – you will LOVE it! Middle Beach Lodge is my favourite place to stay – the kids can surf/boogie board, tons of hiking around. Very dog-friendly if you want to bring Mini :). Spend a night in Vancouver on your way in or out, there is a ton to do here as well if you have never been.

  19. Kristine

    Some people like to escape the heat, others chase it. If you are in the latter category, check out Sea Island, GA.

    It has activities for adults, kids, adults + kids, Southern charm, great food/wine, and if you come in August, most of the Southern schools will have started back and it should be less crowded. (This goes for a lot of the Southern beaches.)

    But, it would be hot.

  20. Jay Walker

    Depending on the age you should go with an educational trip.  There is an excellent write up on possibilities for families looking to take an educational vacation at travel destinations .  Enjoy!

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