Tag Archives: affordable

Family Vacations on a Budget

With a new baby on the way, my brother’s wedding coming up this fall, and my husband’s limited vacation time (which we want to conserve for after the baby is here), we decided that it would be best for us to do “Family Vacation Lite” this year. So I started looking into ideas for a short three- to four-day vacation that won’t break the bank. I found some really great options, so I thought I’d share my findings in case anyone else was trying to plan a quick family vacation this summer.

Since we’re in the Washington, DC area, most of what I found that will work for us is on the East Coast. But since I know not everyone lives on or near the right coast, I’ve included some of the other ideas as well.

Washington, DC
While it’s not much of a vacation for us, living here, DC is really a great spot if you’re trying not to spend a ton during vacation. There are so many free museums, inspiring memorials and monuments, great cheap eats, farmers markets, and inexpensive entertainment options—like $15 tickets to Nationals games—that your family won’t get bored and you won’t go broke!

Yellowstone National Park
Between Old Faithful and the beautiful views, Yellowstone is a great vacation spot for outdoorsy types. In fact, national parks in general fit this bill. Many of them have inexpensive cabins, campsites, and inns on the property, so you’re only steps away from hiking trails, fishing, waterfalls, and more.

Sedona, AZ
If you’re in Sedona, you have to go to Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon. The rocks have been worn smooth and are covered in soft slippery algae that it makes for some awesome natural water slides. Yes, it sounds a little strange, but trust me—it’s so fun! I went when I was younger and LOVED it. Plus, Sedona is just two hours from the Grand Canyon, so you can easily make a day trip out of it.

Ocean City, MD
We have gone to the Maryland and/or Delaware beaches nearly every summer since moving to DC. While we love Rehoboth Beach, there are more inexpensive hotel and resort options in the more commercial Ocean City. The best part about a beach vacation is that it doesn’t cost a penny to build sand castles and ride the waves. And after you’ve left the beach, there are lots of restaurant options for every type of family and budget, as well as miniature golf and the boardwalk.

Williamsburg, VA
I grew up in Hampton Roads (just down I-64 from Williamsburg), so I’ve spent a ton of time in this colonial town. Jamestowne, the first English settlement, is a must-see, and children 15 and under get in for free. Step back in time as you stroll through the Revolutionary City and learn what life was like in Colonial America. If you can swing it, Busch Gardens and Water Country USA—always a hit with kids—are just up the road.

Have you planned a great family vacation on a budget? Share the details!


New All-Natural Food Line + Giveaway = Happy Thursday!

I am always on the lookout for healthy, kid-friendly and affordable food for my family. So when the folks at Wholesome Goodness asked if I’d like to try out their new line of all-natural foods at Walmart, I figured I’d give it a try. I liked their belief that “nutritious foods are beneficial only if they are accessible and affordable.”

I was expecting a few small samples of this, a taste of that, so I was rather shocked to have a large box delivered to my office. These people mean business. No sample sizes here; these were full sized products. I immediately tore into the box and started sampling (and sharing with anyone who stopped by my desk and wanted a snack); unfortunately, this means that, by the time I got around to taking a picture, I’d already polished off several of the items in the box (oops!). Still, it’s an impressive spread, right?

The samples came with a list of 126 banned ingredients, including anything artificial, and none of their foods contain trans fats, high fructose corn syrup or other processed ingredients. The real question was, what does all that naturalness really taste like?

Honestly, everything was pretty darn delicious! The Omega Apple Cinnamon Granola Bars were a clear favorite—packed with yummy apple-ness and the perfect toddler snack size. I did a quick comparison to Quaker Chewy Granola Bars and found that the Wholesome Goodness bars have a lot more fiber and protein than the Quaker bars and a whole lot less stuff I can’t pronounce.

The best part was that it lived up to the affordability hype. I compared the prices at Safeway, and most of the Wholesome Goodness items were at or below the cost of their comparable Safeway generic item. Not bad.

I enjoyed the food so much, that I asked Wholesome Goodness if they would be willing to throw in another box of food for one of my lucky readers, and they were all too happy to oblige. Enter below to win $40 worth of free, all-natural food from Wholesome Goodness! One lucky person will win everything I received in my sample box, including granola bars, salsa, chips, cereal, oatmeal, trail mix, and more!

The Wholesome Goodness line is currently available in 226 Walmart stores throughout Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and parts of West Virginia. For those in the DC area, you can find Wholesome Goodness at the following Walmart stores:

6303 Richmond Hwy., Alexandria, VA 22306
3549 Russett Grn., Laurel, MD 20724
13059 Fair Lakes Parkway., Fairfax, VA 22033
45415 Dulles Crossing Plz., Sterling, VA 20166
17041 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Dumfries, VA 22026
9401 Liberia Ave., Manassas, VA 20110
8386 Sudley Rd., Manassas, VA 20109

 Good luck!

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