Honestly, I had never heard of the Austin bats before visiting Austin, Texas on our #HotMamaDoesAmerica cross-country road trip. Since we were only in town for the day, we wanted to do something truly unique to the city. So while enjoying our complimentary breakfast at The Best Western Plus Austin City Hotel, I started doing …
Posts From Category: United States
Like many other millennial women that are busy planting seeds and starting families, I have unassailable dreams of traveling the world with my kids. Admittedly, these visions have always been more about exciting destinations, and less about the method of getting there. I suppose the “getting there” part is a common afterthought in this age, …
Welcome to Memphis, the home of famous Memphis BBQ, blues music and Elvis! After a fun-filled weekend in Nashville, we were slowly making our way home to California. However, our epic summer #HotMamaDoesAmercia road trip wasn’t over yet and we were determined to make the most out of our one day in Memphis. With so …
In the Summer of 2017, we packed up the kids and grandparents and took the plunge on an epic family road trip across US, driving from one coast to the other in our own minivan. We were able to visit so many amazing cities and attractions that have always been on our bucket list. And we spent only $700 in gasoline to transport 6 people for 60 straight days! I learned a lot about the exceptional value of family road trippin, and had the chance to follow historical family breadcrumbs all across the country.
In this page, you will find an overview of key statistics and an interactive US map of our road trip, with links to explore all of our blog articles and fun family videos from the trip.
We just published an overview video of our epic road trip, where we show 15 awesome cities for 30 seconds each, and a fun US map animation to carry you along on the trip.
Check out our Road Trip Highlights Video:
A Legacy Trip for Grandpa
My parents came along for the ride, and a large purpose of the road trip was actually to take my dad back to East Coast, where he spent his childhood over 70 years ago. We visited his old homes, his old high school, and his favorite stomping grounds from the 1940s. Here is a montage of photos of grandpa in Gloucester City NJ, re-visiting his past and doing something he never thought he would get to do in his lifetime.
OVERVIEW: We were so relieved to arrive at our first major stop, San Antonio, after two full days of driving, and I mean like 12 hours driving each day! We spent 2 nights at the Best Western Plus Sunset Suites Riverwalk, which was nicely situated to explore various areas of the city. Highlights from San Antonio include, of course, visiting the Alamo and taking a river cruise along the river walk. But one of the most surprising delights was randomly deciding to jump off the City Sightseeing bus at the Pearl District to find a bustling market, brewery and outside venue to have a cold beer while listening to live country music.
San Antonio Blog Articles:
- Check out our review of the Best Western Plus Sunset Suites Riverwalk Here
- Find out the best things to do with kids in San Antonio with our destination guide Here
San Antonio Videos:
OVERVIEW: Despite Tropical Storm Cindy, we made the most of our 2 nights in New Orleans. We spent a majority of our time in French Quarter, enjoying beignets at Café du Monde, listening to live music in the rain and venturing into the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum. The rain did hamper us from exploring some of the things on our list, so we will definitely have to take a trip back to the Big Easy and hope for better weather!
New Orleans Blog Articles:
- Please check back later! We will have some great content soon, I promise 😉
New Orleans Videos:
OVERVIEW: In this sweet, historic Georgian town, we stayed at the historic Windsor Hotel, a Best Western Plus property that has a presidential past and infamous haunted history. We spent most of our time in Americus at the hotel because, after all, they had a first class restaurant and second floor bar with a patio. As we left Americus, we explored our own family history with a day trip to the Andersonville National Historic Site and Prisoner of War Museum to find the grave of my father’s great-great-grandfather, a Union soldier that was killed during the civil war at Fort Sumter prison. It was a heavy day, but the kids learned a lot and I could sense they appreciated the magnitude and solemnity of the experience.
Americus/Andersonville Blog Articles:
- Check out our review of the Best Western Plus Windsor Hotel Here
- Find out how to visit Andersonville National Historic Site with kids Here
OVERVIEW: Live music, fried chicken and roadies, oh Savannah how we love thee. We spent 2 nights savoring as much of Savannah’s sweet southern charm that we could. We wandered the many historic Spanish moss covered squares (truth be told it was brutally humid and the kids got hot n’ miserable halfway through), toured the famous house from the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by Jon Berendt, and dined at the storied Pirate House, which is the oldest restaurant in Georgia. We finished both nights by enjoying drinks and live music at the City Market near our hotel at the Best Western.
Savannah Blog Articles:
- Please check back later and subscribe to our newsletter to get free blog updates 🙂
OVERVIEW: With only about a half a day to explore the charming city of Charleston, we tried to see and eat as much as we could. Starting our day with lunch at the Crab House, we then strolled through the city market and historical streets. It was really hot, so to keep cool we let the kids splash around at Waterfront Park and ended up (as we always do!) popping into various bars along the way to grab some “refreshments”.
Charleston Blog Articles:
- Please check back later. Still working on this one too.
OVERVIEW: Phew! We finally reached our home base for the East coast portion of the road trip. We stayed in and around Baltimore Monday-Thursday for 5 weeks and used this as a jumping off point for various weekend adventures. In fact, Baltimore is a bit of a misnomer here, because we ended up spending most of our time in nearby Havre de Grace, which has some beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay.
Baltimore Area Blog Articles:
- Please check back later. We will soon publish some beautiful content on Havre de Grace.
OVERVIEW: We started our D.C trip with a visit to Mount Vernon, home of America’s first president in Virginia. The day was full of excitement, history and thunderstorms, before we continued the good time with a night on the town in Old Town Alexandria. The rest of the weekend was spent exploring our nation’s capital, visiting various national monuments and government buildings, and eating at trendy Ramen joints. Our weekend was made complete with an unexpected visit to the Game of Thrones popup bar.
Washington DC Blog Articles:
- The Game of Thrones pop up bar (PUB) is closed now, but our review is fun for fans anyways. Read it Here.
Washington DC Videos:
OVERVIEW: Staying at the Best Western Plus Philadelphia Convention Center Hotel, we kicked off our weekend in America’s birthplace with a wonderful evening relaxing at Spruce Street Harbor Park. The twinkling tree lights, colorful hammocks, lively vibe and gorgeous views of the Delaware River, made for truly memorable experience. The next day we hit the history hard by hopping on the Philly PHLASH bus to various landmarks across the city. Highlights included, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Betsy Ross House, Ben Franklin’s grave site and the famously haunted Eastern State Penitentiary.
Philly Blog Articles:
- See our review of the Best Western Plus Convention Center Hotel Here.
- Find our the best ideas for things to do in Philadelphia with kids Here.
OVERVIEW: This weekend was all about retracing the footsteps of Papa’s childhood. We started with a brief visit to Gloucester City, NJ, to see if his childhood homes were still standing (they were!), and to check out the high school and Catholic Church he has so many stories about. We spent two nights in Wildwood, and let me just say, this was one of our absolute favorite spots for everybody! If you have kids, they will love this place with roller coasters, ferris wheels, carnival games, and beach fun. We found it very safe and family friendly for the whole crew.
Wildwood Blog Articles:
- Please check back soon for an awesome post and photos of Wildwood. If you subscribe to our free newsletter with just your name and email, we will send you an update when it is published.
OVERVIEW: Knowing that Manhattan is a nightmare to drive and park, we opted for a stay at the Hilton Garden Inn on Staten Island. What a great choice that turned out to be, because the free hotel shuttle to the free Staten Island Ferry got our trip off to a great start and the driver was super chatty but in a fun way. The ferry ended up being a highlight of the day, with its smooth ride to Manhattan, drinks and glorious unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty. We wanted to get the most of our short time in the Big Apple, so we opted for a hop-on hop-off bus tour. We didn’t have as much time as we would have liked, but we can say we saw all major parts of Manhattan in one day. Other highlights included a visit to the American Girl Store, Central Park, The Plaza Hotel, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and finally some pints at the oldest pub in the city, Fraunces Tavern.
New York Blog Articles:
- Please check back soon for our New York tips and highlights.
OVERVIEW: We actually had planned to visit Boston this weekend, but instead opted to visit Annapolis at the last minute – and boy, did we make a great choice. I think overall, our weekend in Annapolis was our favorite of the entire trip, just a smidge ahead of Wildwood. We saw the Naval Academy and the lunch hour drills (must see and they do it every day!), took a trolley tour around the small city, and really enjoyed strolling the streets and popping into an old bookstore, or an authentic Scottish clothier, or an Irish pub with live music.
Annapolis Blog Articles:
- We haven’t gotten to this one yet, but really looking forward to sharing all our photos very soon 🙂
OVERVIEW: Asheville was the first stop on our way back home, and it provided a fun and wacky jolt to our spirits. First, we visited the historic site and home of former Governor and Civil War Officer Zebulon Vance, with beautiful rolling green hills. We were also lucky to be there during a city festival, with live music and tons of food and fun booths for local businesses. The kids even got the chance to do faux sword fighting and walk tightropes. It was a very interesting day with a lovely ending with live music at Packs Tavern.
Asheville Blog Articles:
- Coming soon! Please check back in a few weeks or subscribe for monthly updates.
OVERVIEW: We were lucky to spend two nights in Nashville as invited guests to the Best Western Plus Belle Meade, which was a perfect jumping off point for visiting the Belle Meade Plantation, famous for breeding thoroughbreds important for modern day horse racing. This is the Music City, so of course we finished each night with several hours of live music at the Wild Horse Saloon and the renowned BB King’s Blues Club and restaurant. The night life is just amazing in Nashville and the kids had so much fun. We finished our last night at the world famous Hattie B’s, and it did not disappoint.
Nashville Blog Articles:
- See our review of the Best Western Plus Belle Meade Inn & Suites Here.
- Find out all you need to visit Belle Meade Plantation with kids (teaser: they have free wine tasting!)
OVERVIEW: We were fortunate to get a room at the Peabody Hotel, home of the infamous duck parade from the fountain in the central of the lobby, to the elevator and up to their own room. They have been doing it every single day for years, and it is quite a popular spectacle for all ages. We started our day off right with the best ribs I’ve ever had in my life at central BBQ. Later, we hung out at Beale Street at night to get a feel for the city and it was really lively, colorful, and exciting. We capped the night off by witnessing the most amazing live music at the original BB King’s Blues Club. We retired to exquisitely decorated rooms at Peabody. I wish we had more time in Memphis to soak up more of the sounds, and food and culture.
Memphis Blog Articles:
- Check out How to spend one day in Memphis with kids Here!
OVERVIEW: It was such a long drive from Memphis to Austin, but we finally arrived to the Best Western Plus Austin City Hotel, and we were delighted to find out they have a bar and restaurant attached to the hotel. Super convenient after being on the road. The following day, we took an Uber into the heart of the city and explored a bit and listened to live music at the Dricoll Hotel. The highlight of our day, though, was a Lone Star River cruise to see the legendary Austin Bats at dusk. We had the most perfect weather and sunset we could hardly believe it. The bats came out in full force, and you must watch the video to see the whole experience.
Austin Blog Articles:
- See our review of the Best Western Plus Austin City Hotel Here.
- Find out everything you need about seeing the Austin bats on a bat cruise Here.
OVERVIEW: Our final stop before returning to Orange County was in Scottsdale AZ, a place I had visited as a child, but forgot how fun it was. We stayed two nights at the Best Western Plus Sundial, and this is honestly a great place to stay in Scottsdale. It is in the heart of everything and the kids loved night swimming in the generous pool. We just loved the western vibe and desert feel of the city, with turquoise jewelry and leather stores abound. But the place to hang your cowboy hat and grab a cold one is the Rusty Spur Saloon, a favorite of locals and tourists that prides itself with live music all day seven days a week. We spent several hours here and the kids loved it too! Scottsdale was a perfect relaxing ending to a long and exciting road trip across the country.
Scottsdale Blog Articles:
- See our review of the Best Western Plus Sundial Hotel Here.
That’s a Wrap
What else can I say, this road trip was an experience of a lifetime. It took months of planning and preparation, but it was all worth it in the end. Our kids learned and experienced so much, I hope this is one of those things they carry with them for the rest of their lives. I can already see how they have grown and changed over this adventurous Summer. A sixty day road trip is not for the faint of heart, I will be honest, there were a lot of twists and turns (literally and figuratively!), but I will just say that you will not regret taking the plunge on a family road trip across US with your kids and your parents.
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The last stop on our epic #HotMamaDoesAmerica road trip was in Scottsdale, Az. Despite being on the road for almost 60 days, we came into town with a renewed energy. Maybe because we were closer to home and on more familiar turf or maybe it was because we were just really excited to be in …
After a long day of driving from Memphis on our epic 60-day family road trip, we were relieved to arrive at the Best Western Plus Austin City Hotel. We were arriving into town later than we thought, hungry and tired. Reminiscent of a boutique style hotel, the lobby was bright, modern and welcoming. However, what …
Although there are many things to do in Nashville with kids, there is a lovely little place on the outskirt of Nashville that I would like to share with you. Belle Meade, though it retains its independent status, is also a part of the city of Nashville. It is home to the Belle Meade Plantation, …
After spending a good chunk of the summer on the east coast, it was time to head back through the south to make our way home to California. After visiting Asheville, NC the next stop on our #HotMamaDoesAmerica summer road trip was Nashville, Tennessee. Although we only had about a day to explore the county …
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was one of the cities we were really excited to visit during our #HotMamaDoesAmerica family road trip. For one, it is the birthplace of America, where the Second Continental Congress signed the United States Declaration of Independence. It also served as our nation’s capital until 1799. For my daughter, it is home of …
After completing the southern portion of our #HotMamaDoesAmerica road trip, we headed up to explore what the east coast had to offer. One of our most anticipated stops was Philadelphia. My daughter was especially excited about this visit. She was learning all about the Liberty Bell in school and couldn’t wait to see it in …