Plans for trip to Jacksonville, FL

So we’re planning for next week’s trip to Jacksonville, FL.  I’m trying to plan an educational trip that will… well, educate and stimulate a 13 year old, 12 year old, and two 5 year olds.  With a husband who refuses to plan where we’ll stop for our overnighter.  😀  So I’m stuck trying to figure out where we might want to stop along the way, to decide how much time we’ll have to spend there, and look for frugal ways to learn something interesting.  Anyone else know how difficult that is?!?

OK, so in my head, I’m trying to plan for anywhere between Diamondhead/Bay St. Louis, MA to Pensacola, FL.  I’m planning to try to encourage a stop in New Orleans, LA on the way back.  NOLA is an expensive place to stay, but I’m hoping since it will be right after the 4th of July, I can find a place or two that will be inexpensive.  The hardest parts about NOLA is that 1) it’s difficult to be frugal in NOLA, and 2) we’ll probably have about 4-5 hours max (half the evening, and the other half the morning) to explore before we leave… and even a long weekend in NOLA was not enough to do more than scratch the surface.  So, I’m trying to plan out a quick visit on the return trip (because everyone will be more mellow on the return trip, instead of as anxious to get to Jax).

I’d LOVE to stay somewhere along here, and drive Hwy 98 for a while… right along the Emerald Coast.  I LOVE Love love this area!!!!

So… does anyone have any suggestions?  Where to go, what to see?  I can google a location after I have one, but in the meantime, I’d like to narrow down where I am “shooting” to stay.  🙂

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