This past weekend we had a quick family getaway to Myrtle Beach. It is a great time of year to visit because hotel rates are quite low and crowds are minimal. Our main cost was food – which could have been reduced even more by using the kitchenette in our room. However, this mama prefers not to cook while on vacation! Breakfast was included in our hotel rate and I brought along snacks, so we ate one meal a day out.
Whether you take a week or weekend trip, it’s always nice to make vacation time special. Here are several free activities that we enjoy doing with our children.
1. Use the hotel amenities. If we are staying at a hotel for more than one night, I try to find a reasonable rate at a place that has an indoor pool. On Friday night, we took the girls down to the pool for a nighttime swim. It was even more exciting for them because it was at the time they’d normally be getting ready to go to bed.
2. Walk. We were staying on the beach, so we went for a walk both Saturday and Sunday. Our youngest brought along a bag for collecting seashells which made for free souvenirs! While a walk’s not always that convenient, you can usually find a downtown location with cute shops, a historical area, etc.
3. Window shop. We don’t have a Bass Pro Shops near us, so we often visit one when we’re out of town. We enjoy walking around the store – and on this visit the girls got to watch the fish being fed in the large fish tank. Bookstores are another favorite stop. We don’t often buy books in the store, but all four of us enjoy browsing through books.
4. Find a local park or playground that doesn’t require an admission charge. By doing research before you leave home, you can often find parks or playgrounds near where you’re staying that have free entry.
5. Allow extra screen time. Our girls don’t watch regular television at home, but when we’re staying in a motel, we allow them to watch certain programming. There are several morning shows on PBS Kids that they still enjoy or we may find re-runs of old shows (The Andy Griffith Show, Little House on the Prairie, etc.) that are appropriate. We usually bring along our portable DVD player and a few DVDs so that if all else fails, they can watch a movie while snuggled under the covers.
What other tips do you have for free or inexpensive entertainment while on vacation?