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Road trip from Dallas to Destin w/kids - good stops, advice?

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DFW, TX
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Road trip from Dallas to Destin w/kids - good stops, advice?

Thanks to all the advice I've read here so far, I've been able to plan an awesome trip for the second week in October! I would like to ask a few more questions, though:

1. Our route will be 20 west from Dallas to Jackson, then to Hattiesburg, Mobile, Pensacola and on from there to the beach. We'd like to stop a few times along the way to stretch our legs and let the kids run off some energy (ages 4 and 5 1/2). Any fun suggestions along that route?

2. We'd like to stop overnight either in Jackson or Hattiesburg, MS. Where would we be more likely to find a safe, clean hotel with an indoor pool? I'm thinking the Drury Inn in Jackson may be our best bet, but would like to drive on to Hattiesburg so the second day drive isn't as long.

3. Some of the ideas I've found for rainy days or just something different are:

Fud Pucker's/Gator Beach

Southern Star Sunset Cruise

Gulfarium

National Museum of Naval Aviation

Grayton Beach State Park

Henderson Beach State Park

Are these going to be worth our time?

4. What is our best bet for shell hunting?

Thanks!

Little Rock...
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1. Re: Road trip from Dallas to Destin w/kids - good stops, advice?

I'm from Little Rock. We've stayed at Jackson & Hattiesburg & I like Hattiesburg better. I've read that Hattiesburg had some damage from Katrina & a lot of FEMA people stayed in the motels. There might be some renovating on some of them, but I felt safer there & we were on the beach by noon the next day. As far as shell hunting goes, think a lot of it depends on the weather. We were there this year when Storm Alberto came in & we found the most & biggest shells ever. Where we stay there's a sand bar on further out than I like to go & I've heard you can find a lot around that area. I think the Gulfarium is a great thing to do on a rainy day & your kids are a good age to enjoy it. Have Fun!

Broken Bow, Oklahoma
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2. Re: Road trip from Dallas to Destin w/kids - good stops, advice?

BabyCosmosMom, as far as item #1, you are probably about 6 hours from Vicksburg. Right after you cross the Mississippi River

you can visit the Civil War Battlefield. Just take the marked exit and

there are a lot of things to do. It is really nice and they have all the

facilities that you would need anyway. Item #2, I have stayed at both places but really prefer Hattiesburg over Jackson any day. It is a nice size town with lots of places to eat and stay at. Now granted I didn't make it this summer for the first time since 1977. You will have about a 4 1/2 hour drive from Hattiesburg into Destin, depending on that darn trafffic. Some of you locals step up and help me remember the person that had the posts over the summer where he published the areas for shells and snorkling.

location, location...
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3. Re: Road trip from Dallas to Destin w/kids - good stops, advice?

The Naval Air Museum in Pensacola is awesome and i strongly emcourage you to visit. Plus, it's free! Home of the Blue Angels. Lot's of hands-on displays for the kids.

Grayton Beach, IMO, is much better to explor than Henderson Beach. However, both are nice.

Fudpuckers - have low expectations and you may be OK.

My kids always liked places like Alvin's Island (tourist schlock shop), The Track any of the mini golf places.

Have fun!

Destin, Florida
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4. Re: Road trip from Dallas to Destin w/kids - good stops, advice?

Destin is not known for shells. However, there is a boat from Panama City Beach that will take you to a place called Shell Island. I have seen good and bad reviews.

Try going to the Panama City Beach forum and conduct a search for shell island.

Al.s suggestion about Vicksburg isn't a bad idea. Many years ago, they were able to raise a Civil War Gun Ship and have turned it into a musuem.

Georgia
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5. Re: Road trip from Dallas to Destin w/kids - good stops, advice?

Definately stay in Hattiesburg. I'm from there and I've lived in Jackson as well. Hattiesburg is sooooo much better. As for where to eat, there's all your regular restaurants like O'Charleys, Red Lobster, Chili's, etc. but if you like Mexican and don't want to spend a lot, go to La Fiesta Brava. If you want to spend a little more, go to Crescent City Diner (my favorite) and get Mardi Gras Pasta. YUM Both are good. As far as where to stay, the Hampton Inn seems like a good choice or possibly Quality Inn and Suites, oh and they have a Fairfield Inn that is fairly new as well. Hope this helps!

6. Re: Road trip from Dallas to Destin w/kids - good stops, advice?

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