vacation ideas - October

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LadyIJ
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vacation ideas - October

Post by LadyIJ » Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:27 pm

We will be celebrating an anniversary and live in the Midwest (north suburbs of Chicago). Willing to drive up to 9 hours. I am recovering from a surgery, so we cannot go hiking, boating, skiing - would love to just see something beautiful - we tend to want more to do at night, plays, concerts, dinners out by the water. Any suggestions - yes, we have Door County, but we've done it, and it is VERY touristy. Thanks for any suggestions.
Last edited by LadyIJ on Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Chicago60
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by Chicago60 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:30 pm

Fall colors in New England would be quite nice, and I assume you can get there by car (if you do not travel too far east) within your time constraints.

Doom&Gloom
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by Doom&Gloom » Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:45 pm

Chicago60 wrote:Fall colors in New England would be quite nice, and I assume you can get there by car (if you do not travel too far east) within your time constraints.
+1

We did this (plus the Blue Ridge Parkway) last October. We liked it so well that we may do it again in a few years. And we did practically no hiking.

As for your night-time requirements, we did little more than nice dinners. But the other items weren't on our list of things to do on the trip.

miles2go
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by miles2go » Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:54 pm

Agree with above poster re New England. If that's too far, try the finger lakes in NY. Plenty of wineries too. May I suggest Ithaca, NY? Cornell and surrounding area are beautiful.
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tennisplyr
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by tennisplyr » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:09 pm

Not sure about the mileage but how about Montreal and Quebec City.
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Old Guy
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by Old Guy » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:23 pm

If you don't mind flying, consider Hilton Head. You can fly into Savannah and drive an hour north to HH or if you can spend a little more you can fly American into Hilton Head's two gate airport. From the Island, downtown Savannah is about an hour away. Charleston is about two plus hours away.

Great time to be at the beach. Still warm, much less crowded.

MrNewEngland
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by MrNewEngland » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:52 pm

I think everyone is underestimating the drive to New England.

Naismith
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by Naismith » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:13 pm

If I lived near Chicago, I would consider Amtrak for leisurely travel. You could take the Capitol Limited over to Washington DC, which can have glorious fall colors that time of year, lots of plays and restaurants.

TMCD75
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by TMCD75 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:16 pm

Gatlinburg, TN, great fall colors nestled in the Smokey Mountains.

livesoft
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by livesoft » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:30 pm

MrNewEngland wrote:I think everyone is underestimating the drive to New England.
Right, google maps says a drive from Chicago to Ithaca is about 10 hours. And it is a ways across NY state to Vermont and New Hampshire.

I have spent the last 30 Octobers in NY and watched the leaves change. Sometimes leaves change earlier and sometimes later. You might just fly to NYC and hang out at night there and walk horse buggy through Central Park in the daytime.
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health teacher
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by health teacher » Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:06 pm

Pittsburgh.

soboggled
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by soboggled » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:19 pm

Maybe Smoky Mountains. Unfortunately, there is no lodging inside the park, most lodging is in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, but you can find lodging outside the tourist traps in those towns. There is also the possibility of snow at higher elevations toward the end of October but it usually is one of the best times of year. You can also rent cabins in Daniel Boone National Forest on the way.
An alternative nearby is Asheville, NC, near the Blue Ridge Parkway, much nicer than Gatlinburg and site of the famous Biltmore Estate, where you can tour and stay. Also, nightlife and restaurants.
The Charlottesville VA area (UVA, Monticello) is maybe even better, especially for history buffs, but a little further.

Chadnudj
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by Chadnudj » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:31 pm

LadyIJ wrote:We will be celebrating an anniversary and live in the Midwest (north suburbs of Chicago). Willing to drive up to 9 hours. I am recovering from a surgery, so we cannot go hiking, boating, skiing - would love to just see something beautiful - we tend to want more to do at night, plays, concerts, dinners out by the water. Any suggestions - yes, we have Door County, but we've done it, and it is VERY touristy. Thanks for any suggestions.

I live in the Chicago area. My in-laws live near Grand Rapids, Michigan -- about 3-3.5 hours drive away.

Fall colors in Michigan are awesome. Grand Rapids has a phenomenal restaurant scene, and EXCELLENT brewery scene if you're into craft beer (and also excellent cider mills). Gerald Ford Museum and the Meijer Botanical Gardens are some nice scenery/culture, and there are a number of concert/theater venues around, plus I think they have a minor league hockey team that might be in season that time of year. If you pick the right weekend, East Lansing and Michigan State football is just about an hour to an hour and half east, which might be fun. Some of the small towns nearby (Ada, Rockford) are also really lovely to walk around, and wouldn't be too strenuous so long as you can walk a little bit.

Along the road to Grand Rapids, there are a number of really nice areas to visit/stop along the way for wine tasting (Round Barn, Fenn Valley), apple orchards, restaurants (I recommend Timothy's near Union Pier), St. Joseph, South Haven, Holland.....really, there's a lot to Southwest Michigan, and October (particularly early) is still pretty awesome weather as the leaves change.

Even further up is Traverse City and Lelanau Pennisula and Boyne City and Charlevoix, all of which are incredible too (although I'll admit I haven't been in October).

If you haven't done Michigan, that'd be my bet.

One other option -- Louisville/Nashville. I think Louisville is a 6 hour drive from Chicago, Nashville is about 9 hours. You can do both in some order -- great food/bourbon in Louisville, great food/music in Nashville.

searhapsody
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by searhapsody » Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:05 am

Take the Train to New Orleans. It should have cooled off by then.

carolinaman
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by carolinaman » Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:19 am

Another vote for Asheville and the NC mountains. You can get beautiful mountain scenery, fall colors and Asheville has lots of restaurants, shops, crafts, etc. The only issue is it is very crowded and expensive in October due to peak season for fall colors.

MrNewEngland
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by MrNewEngland » Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:57 am

carolinaman wrote:Another vote for Asheville and the NC mountains. You can get beautiful mountain scenery, fall colors and Asheville has lots of restaurants, shops, crafts, etc. The only issue is it is very crowded and expensive in October due to peak season for fall colors.
Asheville is a really cool place, but just realize it is pretty small. There have been some breweries popping up around there and there's great places to hike fairly local to it, but I'm not sure how much time you could spend in Asheville.

wilshuer
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by wilshuer » Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:04 am

Ozarks and/or Hot Springs, AR might be a relaxing and perhaps a little warmer location. A lot of bed and breakfast places, good fall colors nearby.

LadyIJ
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by LadyIJ » Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:06 am

MrNewEngland wrote:I think everyone is underestimating the drive to New England.
I think so, as did I.

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Watty
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by Watty » Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:09 am

soboggled wrote: Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge
Both these places are painfully touristy.

AlwaysAStudent
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by AlwaysAStudent » Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:22 am

Naismith wrote:If I lived near Chicago, I would consider Amtrak for leisurely travel. You could take the Capitol Limited over to Washington DC, which can have glorious fall colors that time of year, lots of plays and restaurants.
I would take the Amtrak to Albuquerque and enjoy the balloon fiesta then check out Taos/Santa Fe. Not too many fall colors in NM but the train ride down might be fun and I love the southwest.

WhyNotUs
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by WhyNotUs » Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:18 am

Minneapolis- walks along the Mississippi, shows at the Guthrie, visit to Prince's state, leaves in full color, Mall of America, good light rail for getting around, and excellent music scene.
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V1RTUS
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by V1RTUS » Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:40 am

My wife and I will be spending our first anniversary in Gatlinburg and Asheville at the end of October. That's my biased opinion....
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armywife
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by armywife » Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:02 am

Another vote for Michigan's Traverse City area. Truly lovely country and good food/things to do and see in the general area. Ask locals for restaurants ... we were taken to one steakhouse in the middle of no where that had the most amazing giant steaks. I joked that my strip steak leftovers were from a brontosaurus!

I loved all the different little towns along the roads, and the options to have green trees as well as beaches.

Close by and maybe an option to take the ferry from Manitowoc, Wisconsin (not sure how late in the year it runs)?

LadyIJ
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by LadyIJ » Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:11 am

Chadnudj wrote:
LadyIJ wrote:We will be celebrating an anniversary and live in the Midwest (north suburbs of Chicago). Willing to drive up to 9 hours. I am recovering from a surgery, so we cannot go hiking, boating, skiing - would love to just see something beautiful - we tend to want more to do at night, plays, concerts, dinners out by the water. Any suggestions - yes, we have Door County, but we've done it, and it is VERY touristy. Thanks for any suggestions.

I live in the Chicago area. My in-laws live near Grand Rapids, Michigan -- about 3-3.5 hours drive away.

Fall colors in Michigan are awesome. Grand Rapids has a phenomenal restaurant scene, and EXCELLENT brewery scene if you're into craft beer (and also excellent cider mills). Gerald Ford Museum and the Meijer Botanical Gardens are some nice scenery/culture, and there are a number of concert/theater venues around, plus I think they have a minor league hockey team that might be in season that time of year. If you pick the right weekend, East Lansing and Michigan State football is just about an hour to an hour and half east, which might be fun. Some of the small towns nearby (Ada, Rockford) are also really lovely to walk around, and wouldn't be too strenuous so long as you can walk a little bit.

Along the road to Grand Rapids, there are a number of really nice areas to visit/stop along the way for wine tasting (Round Barn, Fenn Valley), apple orchards, restaurants (I recommend Timothy's near Union Pier), St. Joseph, South Haven, Holland.....really, there's a lot to Southwest Michigan, and October (particularly early) is still pretty awesome weather as the leaves change.

Even further up is Traverse City and Lelanau Pennisula and Boyne City and Charlevoix, all of which are incredible too (although I'll admit I haven't been in October).

If you haven't done Michigan, that'd be my bet.

One other option -- Louisville/Nashville. I think Louisville is a 6 hour drive from Chicago, Nashville is about 9 hours. You can do both in some order -- great food/bourbon in Louisville, great food/music in Nashville.
It's kind of a short trip - we only have 5-6 days. If we don't go to Milwaukee (again) I think Louisville might be better for a drive. I have to see what's to do in Louisville. I know Milwaukee - lot's to do. Maybe Louisville is pretty? No idea. I'll check. Thanks.
Part of the problem is it's our anniversary - I only have a week off. ALSO, I may retire by the end of the year, and then we would have no time constraints at all, so I'm not wanting to spend a lot when in a few months we can go anywhere. Thanks all for any thoughts.

Doom&Gloom
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by Doom&Gloom » Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:47 pm

Watty wrote:
soboggled wrote: Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge
Both these places are painfully touristy.

Painfully is a nice choice of words, but needs much more emphasis to be accurate :beer

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Watty
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by Watty » Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:48 pm

LadyIJ wrote:It's kind of a short trip - we only have 5-6 days.
It has been a long time since I have was there but a loop through Hannibal Missouri for the Mark Twain stuff and then the Amish Colonies in Iowa might work from Chicago. I think there are riverboat tours in Hannibal that might be very pretty if you hit the fall colors right.

letsgobobby
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by letsgobobby » Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:20 pm

LadyIJ wrote:we tend to want more to do at night, plays, concerts, dinners out by the water.
so why is everyone suggesting the Great Smoky Mountains, the North Carolina Mountains, Traverse City/UP, the beach at Hilton Head, and fall colors in New England?

I'd suggest:

Stratford festival, Stratford, ON
Quebec City
the Twin Cities
Nashville

Given the exchange rate I'd be partial to Canada.

LadyIJ
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by LadyIJ » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:07 am

letsgobobby wrote:
LadyIJ wrote:we tend to want more to do at night, plays, concerts, dinners out by the water.
so why is everyone suggesting the Great Smoky Mountains, the North Carolina Mountains, Traverse City/UP, the beach at Hilton Head, and fall colors in New England?

I'd suggest:

Stratford festival, Stratford, ON
Quebec City
the Twin Cities
Nashville

Given the exchange rate I'd be partial to Canada.
Thanks for the ideas - we had gone to Stratford - so much fun. I would think MAYBE Nashville. We do like entertainment. We' "ok" with country music (just "ok") but it might be interesting.

neilpilot
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by neilpilot » Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:47 pm

LadyIJ wrote: I would think MAYBE Nashville. We do like entertainment. We' "ok" with country music (just "ok") but it might be interesting.
Well then visit Memphis, where the music is blues, rock, rockabilly, and (only sometimes) country. If you like to travel via train, the City of New Orleans runs from Chicago to Memphis, and AMTRAK returns northbound on The City of Chicago.

LadyIJ
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by LadyIJ » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:58 pm

neilpilot wrote:
LadyIJ wrote: I would think MAYBE Nashville. We do like entertainment. We' "ok" with country music (just "ok") but it might be interesting.
Well then visit Memphis, where the music is blues, rock, rockabilly, and (only sometimes) country. If you like to travel via train, the City of New Orleans runs from Chicago to Memphis, and AMTRAK returns northbound on The City of Chicago.
Thanks - we'll either do Memphis or go to Door County.

DTSC
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by DTSC » Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:03 pm

How about Toronto?

About 8 hours from Chicago

Excellent food!!!

Good USD to CAD exchange rate, 1: 1.31 currently

Like New York, but without the crime!

Need a passport though

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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:30 pm

DTSC wrote:How about Toronto?

About 8 hours from Chicago

Excellent food!!!

Good USD to CAD exchange rate, 1: 1.31 currently

Like New York, but without the crime!

Need a passport though
Keep in mind that several states are onboard with enhanced licenses, these border states include Washington, Minnesota, New York and Vermont. It really helps those near the border to make spontaneous decisions for a night on the town (Montreal in our case). Illinois is, unfortunately, among them.
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health teacher
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by health teacher » Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:42 pm

I definitely wouldn't reccomend St. Louis. The wife and our two tots were coming back from a well known place around 5PM and there was a drive by shooting while we were waiting at the train station.

We usually don't pay a ton of attention when a city is deemed "dangerous" but a first hand experience kind of changes that.

neilpilot
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by neilpilot » Fri Aug 19, 2016 7:52 am

health teacher wrote:I definitely wouldn't reccomend St. Louis. The wife and our two tots were coming back from a well known place around 5PM and there was a drive by shooting while we were waiting at the train station.

We usually don't pay a ton of attention when a city is deemed "dangerous" but a first hand experience kind of changes that.
Don't you realize that the OP lives in a Chicago suburb? Just saying....

health teacher
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by health teacher » Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:49 am

neilpilot wrote:
health teacher wrote:I definitely wouldn't reccomend St. Louis. The wife and our two tots were coming back from a well known place around 5PM and there was a drive by shooting while we were waiting at the train station.

We usually don't pay a ton of attention when a city is deemed "dangerous" but a first hand experience kind of changes that.
Don't you realize that the OP lives in a Chicago suburb? Just saying....
I'm not sure what you're implying...

This is from 2015...

http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/most ... tates.html

Sure, the likelihood of being involved is low, but it was still worth noting. The population in Chicago is much higher, I get it. It's just not something to be oblivious to. Memphis is #2 on that list of violent crimes per 100,000 people, higher than STL. Just something to consider.

Edited to make the post relevant to OP:

If I was the OP, I'd choose Door County over Memphis because of a personal anecdote supported with data.

bstevlin
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by bstevlin » Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:24 am

LadyIJ wrote:We will be celebrating an anniversary and live in the Midwest (north suburbs of Chicago). Willing to drive up to 9 hours. I am recovering from a surgery, so we cannot go hiking, boating, skiing - would love to just see something beautiful - we tend to want more to do at night, plays, concerts, dinners out by the water. Any suggestions - yes, we have Door County, but we've done it, and it is VERY touristy. Thanks for any suggestions.

You can do the Natchez Trace which starts out of south of Nashville. There are some very nice B&B along the route. Combine that with Nashville which has a very vibrant live entertainment scene in the evenings. The twin cities have an active live entertainment venue also along with some good fall scenery. If you are satisfied with spectacular scenery without night life consider the Mi upper peninsula. Pictured Rock National Sea Shore park is a must see.

Doom&Gloom
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:22 pm

I cannot imagine traveling from Chicago to Memphis for a vacation unless one has an overwhelming desire to see Graceland and/or Sun Studios and to eat great bbq. And October is just a bit too early to be absolutely confident of escaping the heat and humidity. Just my 2c.

Rodc
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by Rodc » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:56 pm

Chicago60 wrote:Fall colors in New England would be quite nice, and I assume you can get there by car (if you do not travel too far east) within your time constraints.
Or Adirondacks (NY not officially NE and closer)
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MP173
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by MP173 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:35 pm

A trip along the Mississippi might be in order...

Dubuque is a very pretty town. A drive over on US 20 and then up the river thru LaCrosse to Mpls/StP. would give you plenty of fall colors and panoramic vistas overlooking the river. You could plan it around a drive and then stay a few days in the Twin Cities for a little culture.

Ed

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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by radiowave » Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:57 pm

Old Guy wrote:If you don't mind flying, consider Hilton Head. You can fly into Savannah and drive an hour north to HH or if you can spend a little more you can fly American into Hilton Head's two gate airport. From the Island, downtown Savannah is about an hour away. Charleston is about two plus hours away.

Great time to be at the beach. Still warm, much less crowded.
I would recommend Charleston SC - easy to fly in/out and October is a perfect time, all the tourist have mostly left, warm but pleasant, plenty of historic things to see in CHS, Folly Beach on the south side is more of a local beach, just 20 min from downtown, Mt Pleasant and Isle of Palms to the north are fine as well. Plenty to do, Savannah as noted is 2 hours to the south, Beaufort is also a nice historic town a little over an hour to the south and makes a nice day trip. In Charleston, there are some charter boats that provide dinner cruises, of course there is plenty of good/great restaurants in town. Stay at the Mills house (awesome Sunday brunch). If you want to stay right on the water, there is a Holiday Inn on Folly Beach and a nice restaurant right at the main peer overlooking the ocean. And if you are up for walking the beach, go all the way to the south end of the island and park in the county park, then stroll to the south end of Folly beach abt 1/2 mile around the inlet side, you'll likely see schools of dolphin, plenty of sea birds, and a magnificent sun set over the marshes.
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DTSC
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by DTSC » Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:49 pm

health teacher wrote:
neilpilot wrote:
health teacher wrote:I definitely wouldn't reccomend St. Louis. The wife and our two tots were coming back from a well known place around 5PM and there was a drive by shooting while we were waiting at the train station.

We usually don't pay a ton of attention when a city is deemed "dangerous" but a first hand experience kind of changes that.
Don't you realize that the OP lives in a Chicago suburb? Just saying....
I'm not sure what you're implying...

This is from 2015...

http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/most ... tates.html

Sure, the likelihood of being involved is low, but it was still worth noting. The population in Chicago is much higher, I get it. It's just not something to be oblivious to. Memphis is #2 on that list of violent crimes per 100,000 people, higher than STL. Just something to consider.

Edited to make the post relevant to OP:

If I was the OP, I'd choose Door County over Memphis because of a personal anecdote supported with data.
I've been to St Louis a few times and never had a problem. I'm sure there are higher crime neighborhoods, just like there are dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago.

I think St Louis is a good city for tourists. Many great museums - the Science Museum, Zoo, Art Museum are all FREE. The City Museum is great if you have kids. St Louis is much cheaper than Chicago. We paid $6 to park all day at the City Museum; it would easily be $20 at any Chicago museum. I went to the bar at a hotel and paid $12 to get *2* martini's instead of 1 in Chicago.

Rodc
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by Rodc » Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:35 pm

radiowave wrote:
Old Guy wrote:If you don't mind flying, consider Hilton Head. You can fly into Savannah and drive an hour north to HH or if you can spend a little more you can fly American into Hilton Head's two gate airport. From the Island, downtown Savannah is about an hour away. Charleston is about two plus hours away.

Great time to be at the beach. Still warm, much less crowded.
I would recommend Charleston SC - easy to fly in/out and October is a perfect time, all the tourist have mostly left, warm but pleasant, plenty of historic things to see in CHS, Folly Beach on the south side is more of a local beach, just 20 min from downtown, Mt Pleasant and Isle of Palms to the north are fine as well. Plenty to do, Savannah as noted is 2 hours to the south, Beaufort is also a nice historic town a little over an hour to the south and makes a nice day trip. In Charleston, there are some charter boats that provide dinner cruises, of course there is plenty of good/great restaurants in town. Stay at the Mills house (awesome Sunday brunch). If you want to stay right on the water, there is a Holiday Inn on Folly Beach and a nice restaurant right at the main peer overlooking the ocean. And if you are up for walking the beach, go all the way to the south end of the island and park in the county park, then stroll to the south end of Folly beach abt 1/2 mile around the inlet side, you'll likely see schools of dolphin, plenty of sea birds, and a magnificent sun set over the marshes.
OP: Willing to drive up to 9 hours.
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Re: vacation ideas - October

Post by radiowave » Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:42 pm

Yes, MapQuest is showing 14 hours, sorry abt that, but my comment stands for anyone else.

Have you thought abt taking Amtrak westbound - maybe a sleeper car?
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