Planning a Summer Family Vaca? Here’s How to Save and Still Take it All in From a Vacation Land Local

I was raised in Vacation Land. A town called Wellfleet on Cape Cod, MA is where I grew up and still go regularly to visit family and friends. Wellfleet and the Cape in general aren’t
unlike many other popular vacation spots (aside from our amazing beaches and local seafood. Just saying). Beautiful scenery, beaches and ocean views, fresh water ponds, natural habitats to explore, local and upscale restaurants, and hundreds of activities to spend your time and money on. Taking a family vacation can be an expensive proposition, but with a few inside tips you can save and still have all the fun.

  • Do as the Locals Do: I often get asked “they have schools on the Cape?” No, no, they just ship us in for the Summer to work. But really, yes, we do have schools. As do other vacation spots. And those local families, they aren’t playing mini-golf every day. If you want a break from the beach but still want to have fun with the kids without breaking the budget, look in the local papers (on-line or in print) for low cost or free activities for kids and families. These can range from story hours at the library to local baseball games and fairs.
A Touch a Truck event on the Lower Cape. E loved seeing and playing in the cars and trucks on display, and as a fundrasier for a local after school program, at $5 a kid, it was affordable and the money went to a good cause.

A Touch a Truck event on the Lower Cape. E loved seeing and playing in the cars and trucks on display. As a fundraiser for a local after school program, at $5 a kid, it was affordable and the money went to a good cause.

  • Take a Walk: Walking around your neighborhood at home may be less than thrilling, but in popular vacation spots there can be a lot to see right down the street. Play I Spy or collect what you find along the way for a nature walk of sorts. You might even find a gallery or boutique.
E and her cousin collecting fun finds all over our Wellfleet neighborhood while avoiding ticks via the wagon!

E and her cousin collecting fun finds all over our Wellfleet neighborhood while avoiding ticks via the wagon!

The water view right up the street from my childhood home. You too might be pleasantly surprised by what you find up the road!

The water view right up the street from my childhood home. You too might be pleasantly surprised by what you find up the road!

  • Hunt Out Unique Play Spaces: Think all playgrounds are alike? Think again if you’re in a vacation spot. This playground in Truro, MA next to the local library is not only filled with age appropriate equipment, but also beautiful artwork celebrating local culture and the natural beauty of the Cape.
Puma Park in Truro, MA. A fun play space complete with a lighthouse, life size boats and 3D murals.

Puma Park in Truro, MA. A fun play space complete with a lighthouse, life size boats and 3D murals.

  • Check Out the Local Industries: From farm country to seaside towns there are unique jobs all over that are fun and educational to watch in action. If you’re on the Cape check out the Chatham Fish Pier around noon to watch the local fishermen unload their catch.
E and I last Summer at the Chatham Fish Pier.

E and I last Summer at the Chatham Fish Pier.

Check out the Cape Cod Fishermen’s Alliance for more information.

  • Look Beyond the Shore: Nature preserves, like the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, allow for educational and affordable fun complete with hands-on activities. Look for parks and nature preserves where you’re vacationing and take an afternoon to explore while having fun learning!
The Wellfleet Audubon. Fresh and salt water habitats with hands on activities.

The Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary: Fresh and salt water habitats with hands on activities.

Here are some more ways to save on vacation:

  • Look for a cottage, condo or house with a place to cook and bring your own food from home: Food prices in vacation spots are renowned for being overpriced. Meal plan for one or two dinners and bring your own snacks for day trips.
  • Spend on unique experiences: Skip the activities you can do at home, like going out for ice cream, and opt for once in a while (or lifetime) experiences like fresh caught seafood dinners and charter boat fishing trips.
  • Keep Your Focus on Family: You’re there to spend time as a family in a special place. Enjoy the unique area and focus on time together instead of how many things you can do in a week. Some of our favorite family time has been in mom’s back yard.

Not planning on taking a trip this year? Pretend you’re a tourist and take a Stay-cation. If you’re anything like me there are more than a few activities you’ve meant to do but haven’t! Click here for more tips on traveling with little ones. 

Happy Spring and Summer Travels!

 

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