Reader Question: Inexpensive Vacation

This reader question comes from Morgan. She was wondering if anyone had any ideas for a quick and inexpensive vacation!


I want to bring my family on a quick and inexpensive vacation this summer somewhere in the tri-state area! Does anyone have any suggestions?

Do you have any advice for Morgan? Where have you taken your family?

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  • Donna

    Morgan some of my best vacations were camping along the Delaware River. Campsites are very reasonable,(then about $30 a night with electic and water).Pitch a tent for the kids and one for the adults. Bring your food and drinks (that you buy on sale and with coupons). Bring a boombox and firewood. White Water Rafting on t he Delaware is the Main Attraction. There are beautiful waterfalls, hikes, lots of nature and going back to the basics. On your way home bring a picnic lunch to High Point, NJ were the view is spectacular on a clear day. Don’t forget the flashlights

    • Amanda

      There is a great campground (I think it’s a municipal campground) in Fairfax Virginia. Free showers, flush toilets, $25 per night. About 20 minutes from a metro station to take you into DC. Then you can see and do TONS of free things. And with camping, you only have to buy lunch (if you want, or you can pack a lunch).

  • Robin

    Our yearly vacay is at Knoebels in Pennsylvania!!! It’s an amusement park that charges no admission, you just pay for the rides, and if you go to a Weis Grocery store and purchase tickets there, you get 10% off. I am not much of a roller coaster person, but my hubby is. There are a ton of rides for the kids, a water/pool park, and lots of things for me to see as well. We camp in a cabin but campsites are available. For our family of 4 for 3 days, we spend about $300. That is for food (we eat 3 meals in the park –it is very reasonable– and bring the rest), lodging, and gas (it’s a 3 hr ride from our house in an SUV) Make it cheaper by sharing the cost with another family. The more the merrier! to see what you think!

    • Michelle

      Hi Robin, What’s the campsites name where you rent cabins. We’ve had Knoebels on our list and that sounds like a lot of fun? Thanks for the info Michelle.

      • Staci

        Thank you! I didn’t know there you could get discount tickets at Weis. We go to Knoebels every year. It is the best! They have cabins at Knoebels. The campground is not the best we have been to, but the amusement park is the second best amusement park, with Disney coming in first.

        • hanna

          Thanks for listing Knoebels. We just came back from 4 nights vacation from there. We stayed at Danville area hotel and Weis was
          near by. We paid $16.00 at Weis to get $20.00 ride tickets.
          Overall,other than hotel, everything cost about 1/2 of what we paid at Hershey 2 years ago. We will try next year again!

      • karin

        I am in northern NJ, but my neighbors tell me all the time how greatKnoebels is. It is on my list too! We just went to Land of Make Believe in Hackettstown area and it was so much day fun. Picnic lunch, coupons in the kidstuff book for b1g1 adult. Water park and rides. My kids are 8 and they went on nearly everything.

  • Lisa

    I highly recommend Promise Land State Park in PA. They have cabins as well as tent sites. We have camped there a number of times. Another idea is to look at vacation by owners…rent a home/cabin in the Aidoranak area where you can hike, swim, maybe even boat. We have rented near Lake Placid very cheap and since it is last minute you may be able to negoatiate prices. Good Luck!

  • Gwen

    We go camping outside of ricketts glen. We usually go about 4 days and the campsite costs $60. We bring all of our own food, and drinks (that I buy with my coupons). We take 2 cars, my hubby brings his truck w/ firewood and I take the SUV with the kids and everything else. We spend one day in Ricketts Glen doing the Water fall walk through the Mountain, there are 22 waterfalls. The next day we go to Lake Jean at the top of the mountain where the kids fish and we swim. Very inexpensive. My in laws camp with us, and we just end up enjoying nature and eating all weekend!!
    The start up for camping does cost a bit, but we camp 2 times each summer, and we have been doing this for about 10 yrs. So every year we usually end up buying or replacing somethings. But if you never camped before to get started with a tent and sleeping bags, and a pots and pans….probably wouldnt cost you more then $250. but then you will have the stuff for the next time.

    • Jackie

      I agree with Gwen. Camping is great, but it does cost money to purchase the equipment you will need. If you shop around, you can find some great sales. Towards the end of the summer, all camping equipment gets marked down for clearance. Keep an eye out for this at stores like Walmart, Kmart, Target, etc.

  • Jennifer

    I have been camping at knoebels since my oldest child was just about 3. She will be 16 this year. Its a great place. Tent sites are now $40.00 a night. And on top of the 120.00 for 3 nights and about 50.00 in grocery we bring with I spend an additional maybe $300.00. Which includes ride tickets food in the park and souveniers. This is for me my teenager who brings a friend along and my little 4 yr old. If fact tomorrow starts our annual trip there. Yay!

  • Nic

    A great cheap place to vacation is Washington DC. I have gone about 5 times recently. Here’s how I save… first the hotel I book on priceline with name your own price for about $40-45 per night. Last time we got an extended stay hotel with breakfast included so we loaded on free food and had a light lunch. For food we used yelp to help find cheap eats near by and stumbled upon awesome restaurants, and delis. Entertainment- FREE FREE FREE all the Smithsonian museums are free as are the monuments and many other sights. There is a ton to see in walking distance for every age to enjoy. The national Zoo is amazing and free except for the $5 of metro (DC’s subway which is clean, safe, easy to use and inexpensive) tickets to get a family there. Tip- pack a lunch or buy one at the 7-11 outside the zoo, the food there is pricey and terrible. Finally there are tons of events and concerts throughout Washington DC as well. One visit we listened to the army corp band on the lawn outside the capital building which was amazing.

  • Kim D.

    The Hudson Valley in NY is a great place to vacation as well! A short train ride to the city & lots of hidden gems to visit- Minnewaska state park, Lake Taghkanic, lots of cute drive-in movie theatres, Dia:Beacon, Storm King Art Center, New Paltz, Woodstock, the Walkway over the Hudson and cheap hotels! Oh- and if you plan a trip for the end of this month, be sure to check out the Ulster County Fair- it’s awesome. 🙂 Entrance is $15 and you can ride as many rides as you want, all day. (Plus, the Village People are performing there this year haha)

    My fiance and I have lived here our whole lives and we’re still amazed at how much there is to do that we haven’t experienced yet!

    When we want to get away, we head to the Jersey shore (AFTER labor day). Hotels are cheaper and quieter and there are far fewer people- it feels like you have the place to yourself! We stayed at the Amethyst in Point Pleasant last year and it was great.

    Another great idea if you’re open to being spontaneous is to book everything last minute online- the deals to be had are phenomenal.

  • Kim D.

    Oh! And anywhere you visit, check out for places that have certificates in that area- you can search by zip code. One of my favorite things to do is to stock up on certificates when they have 80% off codes, then go when the restaurant is having specials (be sure to read the fine print). After all is said and done, we spend about $15 on a $35 dinner (including price of certificate and tip).

    Happy travels!