In a few days my 11 year old daughter will attend her last day of elementary school. I realize that this summer may be the last I have with her as my sweet little girl and not a “too cool” middle schooler, therefore, I want to fill it with lots of good memories and activities. But how do you pack the summer full of wonder without going broke? Hello Staycation!!!!
Since I live in Texas, most of my research and ideas are based around my city of Dallas, but many of these ideas can be easily done in any location.
I absolutley love the idea of packing my suitcase and going somewhere. I almost feel like the anticipation and “getting ready” part of any vacation is half of the fun! Since my budget doesn’t allow for too extravegant of a vacation and with the mounting gas prices, I’d rather not take a long road trip, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still hop in the car and go somewhere local that feels like it’s a world away. I found several places that are perfect for the kind of staycation atmosphere I’m looking for.
Great Wolf Lodge- An amazing hotel equipped with an indoor waterpark, children’s beauty salon, ice cream parlor, and interactive games on every floor. This place is truly a world of it’s own. Depending on the type of room you rent and day of the week you stay, rates can run you up to a couple hundred dollars a night. While I agree that’s pretty pricey for a local hotel, remember you’re saving money on gas or airfare and you can easily bring food and snacks to cut meal costs. You are really just paying for the experience and ambiance of the hotel which is like nothing you’ve ever seen outside of places like Disneyland. There are several Great Wolf Lodge’s nationwide so take a moment to look into it if you want a bells and whistles kind of place.
Cabins- If you’re far from the beach but near a lake there are usually lots of great surrounding places to stay. If you enjoy camping, consider pulling an over-nighter or even a weekend at your local campground. My daughter loves roasting smores any time of the year and there’s nothing like sleeping in a tent outside. But, if you’re a city girl like me and the idea of not having your own bathroom gives you nightmares, then look into renting a cabin for a night or weekend. A cabin will give you the adventurous feeling of being away from it all without having to sacrifice the luxuries of privacy and air conditioning. The kiddos will get to see and experience some of the things that truly makes summer, summer!
Bed & Breakfast - I’ve stayed at several of these and I always find them to be the most interesting places to stay. Many are themed after some period in time which makes for a fun history lesson and the meals are usually included. You are able to get a homey feel away from home and if it’s not too busy, some extra personalized service. Most B & B’s are centered around some small city attraction like an annual festival so ask about these things when you’re calling to book. Make sure you also ask what they have or know of for the kids to do. Remember this stay is to make family memories and the last thing you want is the memory of your daughter texting on her phone telling her friend how much she hates it! You know they will
For those on a true shoestring budget (like us), here is a simple idea that’s not only affordable, but as creative as you can get. Get online and find a little hotel with something unique. For example:
- Some Best Western’s have suite’s with a full size jacuzzi inside the room and are located nationwide and very affordable.
- Omni hotel presents kids with a backpack full of activities upon arrival, milk and cookies deleivered to your room on the first night, and backpacks filled with toys, books, and games upon request.
- Embassy Suites is a very nice hotel that combines a feeling of luxury with some unique extra’s for kids and families. On top of a complimentary breakfast each morning that’s for a king, many locations also have game rooms, offer stroller rentals, and shuttle rides to and from city attractions at no additional cost.
Whatever your budget, it IS possible to make great memories with your kids without going into debt or having to leave your city! Remember, we are parents…creativity’s part of the job!!