Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Find Your Staycation!

As a follow-up to The Era of Staycations, here is a list of other bloggers across the country that participated in this year's Staycation challenge. Be sure to check for your area and see what great ideas we have come up with! If your area wasn't covered, no worries--the challenge is up to you! You might be surprised at how many amazing and affordable adventures you can find in your city! Be sure to check back with us and let us know what great staycation ideas you come up with!

Happy Travels!

New England

Connecticut - Parenting Miracles
Boston, Massachusetts - ‎ Maven of Savin'
Manchester, New Hampshire - Common Sense with Money
Western Maine - Bubblegum and Lollipops


Erie, Pennsylvania - Growing Kids Ministry
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - Somewhat Crunchy
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Family Balance Sheet
Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York - Coupons, Deals and More
New Jersey - Oh! Diane


Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Indoor Garden Musings
Mansfield, Ohio - Live the Adventure
Cincinnati, Ohio - Savings Lifestyle~Cincinnati
Mount Vernon, Ohio - Living Better One Day at a Time
Dayton, Ohio - Savings Lifestyle~Dayton
Grand Rapids, Michigan - Kitchen Stewardship
Metro Detroit, Michigan - "Cents"able Momma
Oakland County, Michigan - Bargain Shopper Mom
Warren, Michigan - Saving Dollars and Sense
Grand Forks, North Dakota - Frugal Front Porch
Indianapolis, Indiana - Bargain Briana
South Bend, Indiana - Excuse The Mess
Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri - Kansas City Mamas
St. Louis, Missouri - The Pickledpigsfeet
Branson, Missouri - Getting Freedom from Debt
Springfield, Missouri - I Think I Can
Rochester, Minnesota - Everyday Notions
York, Nebraska - Heavenly Homemakers
Omaha, Nebraska - Mom Endeavors
Madison, Wisconsin - Many Little Blessings
Oshkosh, Wisconsin - A Little Bit of This and That
Chicago, Illinois - Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Champaign, Illinois - Chambanamoms
Black Hills, South Dakota - Little House on the Prairie Living

South Central

Checotah, Oklahoma - Blessed With One Income
Tulsa, Oklahoma - Lynn's Kitchen Adventures
Gadsden, Alabama - Aint Mimi
Dallas, Texas - Funky Faith Girl
Dallas, Texas - Grocery Shop For FREE
East Dallas, Texas - Surviving The Stores
Fort Worth, Texas - Smockity Frocks
Austin, Texas - Stetted
Houston, Texas - Moms Travel Tales
McKinney, Texas - Wisdom Begun
East Texas - The Full Pantry
Murfreesboro, Tennessee - Life in a Barn
Nashville, Tennessee - The Country Chic Cottage
Mobile, Alabama - A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned
Birmingham, Alabama - iGoBOGO
Brunswick & the Golden Isles, Georgia - Teri Lynne Underwood
Alpharetta, Georgia - Cuponeando
Atlanta, Georgia - See Jamie Blog
Augusta, Georgia - Hyperactive Lu
Athens, Georgia and Mississippi - Tractors and Tire Swings
Little Rock, Arkansas - It's Real Life

South Atlantic

Ft. Bragg, North Carolina - Military Wives Saving
Charlotte, North Carolina - The Carolina Clipper
Charleston, South Carolina - The Tween & Me
Greensboro, North Carolina - Mrs. Happy Homemaker
Jacksonville, Florida - Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida - Orlando's Best Deals
Virginia Beach, Virginia - The Singley Fam Blog
Richmond, Virginia - Daily Dwelling
Hampton Roads, Virginia - A Home Made by Kiki
Charlottesville, Virginia - How to Have it All
Blackwater Falls State Park/Davis, West Virginia - Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling
Treasure Coast, Florida - The Cardamom's Pod
Saint Augustine, Florida - Jypsie Visions
Lake Norman, North Carolina - Stretching Pennies Saving Dollars
Washington, DC - The WiC Project
Baltimore, Maryland - The Happy Housewife
Brunswick & Golden Isles, Georgia - Terri Lynne Underwood


Tucson, Arizona - Saving with Pam
Phoenix, Arizona- Mom Endeavors
Albuquerque, New Mexico - The Chou Life
Kalispell, Montana - Our Family Adventures
Salt Lake City, Utah - Just the 2 of Us
Thermopolis, Wyoming - The McDonald Family
Denver, Colorado - Denver Bargains
Colorado Springs, Colorado - Colorado Springs Bargains


San Diego, California - Life As Mom
Yosemite National Park, California -Handbook of Nature Study
Seattle, Washington - Queen Bee Coupons & Savings
Whidbey Island, Washington - Manning the Homefront
Olympia, Washington The Coupon Savant
Portland, Oregon - Frugal Living NW
Willamette Valley, Oregon - An Oregon Cottage

Frugal Vacation Tips

Vacation or Stay-cation: Eating without Busting the Budget - Eat at Home

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Staycation Era

Summer is only about a month away and you know what that means---Vacation Time!!! To children, this is just another wonderful perk of being off school and getting to travel and see new places. For parents however, this can be a pretty stressful time. With today's economy, many parents are having to adjust to living on a budget and some families are facing unemployment.The last thing on many families minds is trying to plan out a vacation. Taking a vacation requires alot of work after all right? There is finding a travel agent and going over the many pricey, although fun options they offer and booking everything in time. Maybe you're the more super organized type and have researched, planned, and made all the preparations yourself for a fun filled and memorable vacation that still will ultimately be costly.

If the current economy crisis has taught us anything, it's that we as parents have to be thrifty, and the best way to be thrifty is to get creative! Savvy families all over the country are entering the Era of Staycations! Staycations are mini vacations in or close to the area you live. Many cities have plenty of attractions that are free or inexpensive and center around family fun. One of the bonuses of staycations is generally you can enjoy visiting more attractions than you would on a typical vacation since your budget isn't largely consumed with hotel and food costs.

To give you a better idea of how you can make staycations work for you, I'm going to give you an overview of a possible staycation for my family. We live in Suffolk, Virginia which is about 30-40 minutes away from Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach is a definite tourist attraction during the summer and the hotels along the boardwalk are filled with families on vacation. We'll eliminate hotel costs completely since we are so close so that frees up a large portion of our staycation budget.

Virginia Beach is best known for their popular boardwalk and fourteen mile long public beaches. Tourists flock to these beaches every summer to soak up the sun, fish, or maybe just take a stroll or a bike ride down the boardwalk. The boardwalk is lined with hotels, restaurants, beach shops, and night clubs. There is definitely something to cater to everyone's needs!

If the beaches aren't your thing there is a wealth of historic points of interest. History buffs will enjoy checking out the Adam Thoroughgood House, The Lynnhaven House, Ferry Plantation House, and Francis Land House. Each of these historic homes have very reasonable admission rates that range from $4 for adults and $2 for children/students. Another great option is the Virginia Legends Walk. The Virginia Legends Walk is located directly across from the 13th Street Park and honors Virginians that have made contributions to our country. Some famous honored Virginians include Patsy Cline, Pocahontas, Edgar Allen Poe, Thomas Jefferson, and Ella Fitzgerald. Admission is free, and this will certainly be a great experience diving into Virginia's rich history!

Virginia Beach also boasts many wonderful museums that range from art, military history, and bird watching. The Contemporary Art Center of Virginia not only offers regularly changing exhibits but also studio art classes as well. Whether it is glass, photography, sculpture, or painting you'll be sure to find something to satisfy the creative artist in you! Admission is affordably priced at $7 for adults and $3 for children.

For those interested in military history, be sure to check out the Military Aviation Museum and the Old Coast Guard Station. These are sure to be a big hit especially with the boys in your family and a great opportunity to step back in history! The Military Aviation Museum offers the largest collection of World War II and Korean War aircraft. Admission is only $10 for adults, $5 for children, and preschool aged children are free! The Old Coast Guard Station is located right on the oceanfront if you want a break from the surf and sun. Here you can learn about the Coast Guards life saving history as well as several shipwrecks that occurred off the Virginia Beach coast. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children.

For the nature lover, Virginia Beach offers a wide variety of parks and outdoor activities. Whether you're interested in hiking, bird watching, fishing, or even just taking a leisurely stroll and getting back to nature, Virginia Beach has parks to fill every need. First Landing State Park is by far one of the best stops in Virginia Beach. First Landing State Park sits on roughly 2,800 acres of hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, swimming, and even campgrounds! Their campground area offers water/electric hookup for your tent or rv, but if you're anything like me and enjoy the camping experience without being too close to nature, they also rent out cabins! Other great parks that offer plenty of wildlife and trail opportunities are Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park. Whichever park you decide to visit, you'll be sure to have a wonderful time immersing yourself in Virginia's natural beauty!

A great stop that your children will be sure to appreciate is the Virginia Beach Amusement Park. Admission is free and tickets for the rides are very reasonable priced ranging from .70 to $1. The amusement park is conveniently located right off the boardwalk and is a great way to take a break from the sand and sea! Another great option the whole family is sure to love is Ocean Breeze Water Park. They have everything you could possibly desire in a water park from wave pools, to kiddie sections, water slides and everything in between! Tickets can be a little pricey ranging from $21 to $28 a piece but if you live local you may find that a season pass is a great investment and will be sure to keep your children occupied all summer long!

Virginia Beach also hosts a number of festivals and cultural events throughout the year. Past festivals have included the Latin Festival, Blues at the Beach, Panorama Caribbean Music Fest, Festa Italiana, and plenty more!

Virginia Beach is a excellent location for a staycation since it has many options that will be sure to please even the pickiest member of your family! Staycations are becoming increasingly popular with families who still want the vacation experience without the vacation price. And if you're worried your children will be disappointed that you didn't travel for vacation, you can rest assured that they will still have a fantastic time! Many children tend to get restless and bored during the actual 'travel' of vacations so by the time they get to the destination they are more likely to be burnt out and exhausted. Staycations have significantly less travel time so everyone is sure to arrive rested and ready to enjoy spending time together as a family.

If you are looking for a great way to enjoy 'getting away' this year without breaking the bank, I encourage you to look into creating a staycation for your family in your local area. You'd be surprised at all the great opportunities that you can find with just a small amount of research. Chances are you'll discover hidden adventures that you weren't aware of in your area and create memories that will be sure to last a lifetime!

Happy Travels!