Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Frugal Vacations Close To Home

With the rising cost of…well…everything, summer vacations can seem out of reach. If you’re dedicated to keeping that credit card balance at zero but still want to have some summer fun then a staycation may give you the best of both worlds. A staycation combines the fun of a vacation getaway with activities that are close to home. Who says the only way to have fun is to hop on a plane only to come home to a whopping bill that you’ll be paying off all year long? There are some amazing things to do that are close to home and can provide your family with all kinds of wonderful summer memories. Here are five ideas to get you started.

Try Geocaching. Geocaching is like a high tech treasure hunt. All you need is a handheld GPS system and you’re good to go. We’ve had great fun tracking down hidden caches and leaving our mark. Find a cache in your area, enter in the coordinates on your GPS and start hunting. Most caches have a logbook inside for you to sign your name and you can leave little treasures inside for the next person to find. Go to www.geocaching.com to find some hidden geocaches in your area.

Bargain Day at the Oregon Zoo. Every 2nd Tuesday of the month the Oregon Zoo has a discounted rate. For $4 per person (regularly $10.50) you and your family can have a whole day full of fresh air, animals and fun. Kids under two enter free. Pack a lunch and have a picnic to save on overpriced zoo fare.

Take a Hike: Washington State has some of the most beautiful scenery to be found. Just 30 miles east of Portland you’ll find several breathtaking waterfall hikes one of which is the famed Multnomah Falls. You can actually feel the spray of the 542-foot, two-tiered plume that plummets into a mossy forest grotto. There is an easier hike for the kids or a longer hike for the more adventurous.

Attend Community Events: Find out what’s going on in your own town. In Longview attend the 4th of July events, take in a free concert at the lake 6-8pm every Thursday from July 7th to August 18th, or visit the Squirrel festival on August 6th. In Clatskanie show up on August 5-7th for the annual bluegrass festival. In Kalama on July 23rd check out the 2nd annual Washington State Championship Chili cook-off at the Kalama Fairgrounds. St. Helens offers 13 Nights on the River every Thursday from June 19th to September 1st where you’ll find live music and an open air market. These are just a few of the many events in our area. Go to the website of your nearest town and look for events or markets they might be hosting.

Be A Day-Trip Tourist in your own State: We are fortunate enough to live between big cities full of history. Put on your tourist glasses (Hawaiian shirts and sandals with socks are optional) and travel around like you’ve never been there before. Visit Mt. St. Helens, take an underground tour of Seattle or Portland, visit museums and state parks, stroll through Pikes Place Market, explore the Portland Rose Garden or step back in history at the Cedar Creek Grist Mill.

Fun can still be found close to home using whatever budget you have to work with. And don’t forget the camera. Just like any vacation you’ll want to take photos of your staycation fun. But this time you’ll have fond memories as well as a wallet that’s not empty.


Diane said...

Last summer, I bought Entertainment Books for Portland and Seattle, and we picked the coupons to area attractions that sounded the most fun and spent a week using them. It was cheap and lots of fun and we even ate out very cheaply with the restaurant coupons inside. Since I waited until summer to buy the coupon books, they were deeply discounted to something like $5 a piece and easily paid for themselves!

Lynn Woes said...

Staycation is what we call it. I am looking forward to free concerts in the park that are starting soon where I live!

simply heidi said...

We live close to Portland. $4 day at the zoo is great, but crowded. We found a museum/zoo in Ohio of all places that's yearly membership is $70, but they are reciprocal with lots of local places: free admission to Pacific Science Center, (Seattle) OMSI (Portland) or Evergreen Aviation (McMinnville, OR) and half off at the zoo. It's great!
We haven't hike Multnomah Falls in a long time. Thanks for the reminder.