Want to get away for a few days by car?  There are lots of great places to check out with your family.  Here’s what the moms recommend:


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Tennessee

Chickasaw SP – lovely.

Pickwick! Plenty of lake houses up there for rent! and it’s only a 2 hour drive =)

Just a little further 3.5 hours, Nashville Shores has great cabins and very family friendly.

My husband and I have been to Chattanooga 4 times in the last two years on quick vacations. We get there in 4.5 hours. The hotels are always affordable downtown and there’s lots to see, do and eat! Make sure to walk the pedestrian bridge over the river (ESP at night!) to the north end for shopping and food!  There are several hotels right next to the creative discovery museum (kids) and the aquarium. We have a trip planned for our kids next summer before our oldest goes into kindergarten. The largest mall in TN is 15 minutes away and has a great indoor playground for kids!

Nashville

Noshville is the best for breakfast. The adventure science center is really fun for all ages. Downtown franklin is a cute spot with great shopping and dining. Cheekwood has nature trails and history exhibits.

Rainforest cafe, zoo, opry mills mall and opry land

Pancake Pantry, Buca de Bepo for family style Italian.

Cheesecake Factory at Green Hills, Rainforest Café at Opry Mills,if you are a big reading family McKay’s Used Books is terrific, if weather is pretty you can take picnic to Arrington Vineyards, lots of room for kids to rip and run

Opry mills mall.. Aquarium restaurant in the mall

My kids love the putt-putt golf and go cart track out by Opry Mills. That’s our must-do thing when we go. There’s also places to ride horses and go zip lining right outside of Nashville. That might be fun if it is warmer.

If they like cars the Lane Motor Museum is really cool! They have cars that you will never see anywhere else.

The science center there is awesome!! Our little girl had so much fun!!

I loved the science museum!

The Pfunky Griddle – We are doing this on our next Nashville trip…our local friends say its great!

Our favorite restaurant is silly goose. It is a farm to table restaurant with really good healthy food in a casual setting. Jenni’s splendid creams is right next door and thier ice cream is amazing. We eat there everytime we are in Nashville. Thier zoo is really nice too. It is much more spread out than the Memphis zoo and the animals have alot more room to roam. For a summer trip to nashville, nashville shores is a fun little waterpark

Inside Out Play Park

Arkansas

Red Apple Inn. Heber Springs

Heber Springs is great!

Village Creek State Park (Wynne, AR) has cabins

We went to a great place in Arkansas a few years ago for my grandmothers 80th birthday. Really family oriented and had a range of accommodations from camping sites to luxury cabins. Mountain Harbor Resort on Lake Ouachita. They have a spa to die for too. Wink wink….

Petit Jean State Park in AR. Great cabins, hiking, lake! Good stuff!

Magic Springs & Crystal Falls water and theme park in Hot Springs

Kentucky

Land Between the Lakes

Kentucky Lake!

Mississippi

Its about an hour an a half drive from Memphis, Enid Lake, MS call 1800-reservationusa they have cabins, a pool, a restaurant, mini bikes. The lake is very nice a fish hatchery you can visit as well run by the marine engineering

St. Louis, Missouri

I would also suggest St. Louis. It’s five hours away but there is so much fun free stuff to do that the extra hour of driving is totally worth it. The zoo and the science museum and botanical gardens are free. The childrens museum (Magic House) and city museum (which i HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend for ALL ages…there is nothing else like it anywhere!) are absolutely fabulous. There’s Six Flags, Grants Farm, The Arch and the Lewis and Clark museum, shopping in the Loop neighborhood, etc.. not to mention the fabulous Italian food at the Hill. You can’t possibly do it all in one weekend but my family of six LOVES St. Louis for a weekend getaway.

St Louis. 4 hours away. Great food, (the hill) great music and tons of activities. Zoo, forest park, loop, west end, downtown, brewery, and city museum. Great trip.

Magic house is a must. Also Grants Farm is great too!

City Museum! It is a giant jungle gym (the size of a large warehouse). Tons of fun for adults, too, with some great funky art to look at as well.

We stayed at Homewood Suites across from the Galleria. It was really cheap and nice. Had a pool and breakfast included. It has separate bedrooms and a kitchen, so perfect for families. Two TVs!

We just went on Spring Break. Definitely City Museum. We also loved the St. Louis Science Center. It’s free, as well but there’s a fee to park. They waive the fee with a science museum membership. (They honored Pink Palace.) We have a 7 & 6 year old – one of whom LOVES science, so it was a great place for us. Maybe not so much to do for little bitties, although there is a cool “early explorers” room which is great for little ones. You do have to reserve a time slot for that though. And I think there may be a fee for that as well, but that was also waived with a science museum membership.

The Sheraton downtown was perfect. Very nice and kid-friendly. Its across the street from the arch & walking distance to the baseball park. The zoo is great, the science center, City Museum and the arch were on our last visit stops. Enjoyed all. Though, there isn’t much to do at the arch.

we stay at the drury inn by the zoo. Not cheap but the bedrooms are separate which is good when kids are napping. They have meals/ drinks every night that are included. they also have popcorn and drinks in the afternoon that are included too. we love stl. st louis mills is there too like opry mills.

The Marriott at Union Station is really nice, but $. Also th Hampton downtown. If you are on a budget, go across the bridge and stay in Collinsville or Fairview Heights. Both are very nice areas.

We have stayed at the sheraton downtown and the hilton at the ball park. both were really nice, but the sheraton hotel room was super big and we were right along the trolley route which took us around the city. We found both on hotwire under 3.5 star hotels. City museum is the coolest place on earth for kids and adults of any age. The children’s museum, zoo, science center, and arch are great as well. I have a 4 year old and he loved all of the activities but city museum was by far his favorite. We spent 6 hours there!

You have to stay downtown near the ball park (Sheraton is nice) and go to a baseball game. You will be driving in town every day probably so it’s better to stay in town if not downtown. We loved City Museum and their awesome zoo. Go to the Arch on a weekday and go to the top. So worth it. There is also an IMAX at the arch and some cool museum there too. Eat at Imo’s Pizza and Ted Drewes Ice Cream.We love St. Louis and have been there a bunch because we had boys that loved baseball. Our daughter loves it too but here fave is Six Flags.

Be sure to check out the Embassy Suites – downtown, brand new, breakfast and cocktail hour included. I second the Magic House, City Museum, and zoo. The only thing I would add is the Transportation Museum. Not sure of the ages of your children, but we have 3 boys 5 and under – they LOVED it! We just happened upon it, and it was definitely a highlight of our trip.

The Central West End has always been my favorite area. It is located in Forest Park which is a great place for families to visit. There’s an outdoor theatre in the summer– the Muny. The Basilica is also there and it’s close to one of the science museums and the Zoo. I would only stay Downtown if you plan on just going to baseball games and the Arch. If you like Italian food you have to go to The Hill..it’s an Italian neighborhood not too far away and go to Ted Drewes for some frozen custard.  

Alabama

Huntsville. The Space Museum is fun & there is a nice outdoor mall with a pond

Robert Trent Jones Resort in Muscle Shoals, AL. Great pools for the kids

Doublehead Resort in Town Creek, AL

We did Huntsville a couple of years ago. Stayed at LaQuinta Inn in Madison..new at the time with indoor pool and close to Space Museum…it wasn’t crowded when we went…went with a 4 and 6 y/o…we also went to the Sci-Quest and Harmony Park Safari..the EarlyWorks Children’s History Museum there looks good but we didn’t make it there on that trip.

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