Best Destinations for Multi-Gen Girls Trip

The Sweetest Small Towns in the U.S. to Visit This Summer
When you're traveling to a foreign country, especially one you've never been to before, it's easy to look like an obvious tourist without realizing it. There are certain habits we have as Americans that are just, well, distinctly American-and it can be hard to just turn them off during a vacation. But with a little research into the country you're visiting to get an idea of their customs and daily routines, you just might be able to fool them. The first step to blending in? Avoid these travel habits that scream "tourist." You'll thank us when another tourist asks you for directions because they assume you're a local.
a train crossing Golden Gate Bridge over a body of water: The iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California

Multi-generational travel has been a popular trend for a few years now, allowing families to gather together for shared travel adventures making memories along the way.

A year ago, my daughter, granddaughter and I decided it might be nice to start a new travel tradition of our own—the Mother-Daughter-Granddaughter Weekend Spectacular. It would involve just the girls, three to four days (including travel time) going to places we’d most enjoy spending time together.

The planning became serious once we made our list of all the possible destinations within the U.S.—the location choices being either a short road trip or flight away.

A key consideration is determining what’s most important for those planning this type of weekend getaway. Is it food, history, culture, shopping or a combination thereof that trips the trigger? Most importantly, these experiences must possess a multi-generational appeal.

Here are some of the best places to share some amazing family experiences:

New Orleans

There’s no place in the world like New Orleans which just happened to be the choice for our very first Weekend Spectacular. While most people associate the Big Easy with Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street, there is so much more to this vibrant city. First off, getting around is a breeze. New Orleans is easily walkable, especially for those staying close to the French Quarter.

For venturing beyond the Quarter, the narrated City Sightseeing’s one- to three-day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours cover a multitude of stops all around the city. Other must-dos include a mule-drawn carriage ride through the historic French Quarter and a guided tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, the resting place of famous Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.

Exploring the city’s magnificent shops, boutiques and art galleries is an unforgettable experience even for non-shoppers. And then there’s the food. Food is religion in New Orleans, and the confluence of its Creole, Cajun and African-American cultures makes it downright delectable.

New York City

Yes, the Big Apple is indeed a big city that might seem overwhelming to many visitors. But with advance planning, we found it be a perfect destination for our second multi-gen getaway.

Staying at the Renaissance New York Times Square proved to be the perfect central location. For one, it’s right around the corner from a major subway stop and two, it’s right smack in the middle of Times Square and all its Broadway vibe. If you’re able to nab tickets ahead for a play or musical, that’s great. If not there’s always the New York TKTS booth where show-goers can get same-day tickets at discounts up to 50 percent.

To take in all there is to see in the Big Apple, we found the CityPASS a fantastic deal. The pass includes anywhere from three to six attractions chosen by the ticket holder, all for one discounted price.

Guests can select venues like the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, 9/11 Memorial and Museum, harbor tours and the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. There’s even a narrated circle city bus tour perfect for an overall orientation to the city and its boroughs.

Charleston, South Carolina

One of our favorite southern towns has to be Charleston, South Carolina. The city oozes with Southern hospitality and genteel southern charm. With its well-preserved antebellum architecture, cobblestone streets, magnificent iron gates, majestic oak-lined plantations and remarkable history, this grand Southern belle is a pure delight.

Staying in the heart of the historic district is ideal as Charleston is a compact foot-accessible town with loads to do. The City Market at the Old Exchange is filled with vendors selling their quality wares including its Gullah artisans weaving their sweetgrass baskets, one of the nation’s oldest and most beautiful handicrafts of African origin.

Clippety-clopping your way through the historic district by horse-drawn carriage is a must. Guides regale riders with local tales as the carriage rolls slowly past the harbor, magnificent mansions and famous Rainbow Row named for its thirteen multi-hued, pastel 18th-century-row houses. Stately plantations just minutes from downtown offer glimpses of grandeur from its storied past.

On top of everything else that makes Charleston so grand, its Lowcountry cuisine puts this splendid destination on the map as one the best foodie cities in the U.S.

Washington, D.C.

The Smithsonian Museums alone are worth a trip to our nation’s capital and yes, there are really 17, and they are all free. Then there are the magnificent monuments and memorials from Jefferson, Lincoln and F.D.R. to those honoring the spirit and sacrifice of our veterans who served in Korea, Vietnam and World War II.

Washington D.C. is wrought with history, and good or bad, government institutions here stand the test of political battles and time. D.C. is another walkable city, but its metro system makes navigating a simple task. Of course, staying in the heart of the capital is the best bet.

Those into outdoors will love walking or bicycling past the picturesque banks of Potomac River and around the Tidal Basin. Sunset and dinner cruises are a way to see the city and its lighted monuments from a completely different and wonderful perspective.

Boston

Bostonians walk everywhere, so, it’s no surprise that one of its most popular historic attractions is a walking tour called the Freedom Trail. It’s an easy 2.5-mile trek linking 16 sites, many associated with the Revolution and the early days of the United States. Somehow the hike seems to intrigue even the kiddos.

Other fun adventures include riding on a Duck (that is a reconditioned amphibious World War II DUKW landing craft) for a sightseeing ride that includes a dip in the river. Boston is home to the New England Aquarium, numerous intriguing museums and Quincy Market, a shopping paradise.

And let’s not forget some of the fun foods Boston is famous for—Clam Chowder, Boston Cream Pie and Lobster.

San Francisco

Exciting and diverse San Francisco manages to magically blend its fascinating multi-cultural history with cosmopolitan flair. And who can resist the ding-ding-ding of its famous trolley cars rumbling up and down the city’s infamous steep hills?

For a city that covers only 49 square miles surrounded by water on three sides, San Francisco packs an incredible number of sights into its urban area. The easiest way to explore this marvelous place is a city sightseeing two-day hop-on-hop-off city tour. With more than 40 stops at San Fran’s best landmarks, including a trip over its world-famous Golden Gate Bridge, this is the best way to get around.

Of course, it’s quite impossible to resist the incredible scents of garlic and fresh seafood wafting from its many eateries along Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero. San Francisco’s Chinatown is another iconic neighborhood with fascinating markets and culinary gems.

There are others that can be added to our list, but the Dalai Lama said, “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” Wise advice, and perhaps it could be the best destination of all.

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