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Cheap Vacations…


My husband and I wanted to take a nice vacation this year but our debt diet prevented us from going on our annual trip to Hawaii.

These are the times when I hate the fact that I’m finally living below my means – even though it’s good for me.

But, that didn’t stop us from booking a great place just steps from the Pacific Ocean. The gentle sea breeze and the sounds of the ocean will caress us as we drift off to sleep.

How did we fit this into our budget?

Hello beach camping.

Sure I’ll have sand in my ears and hair for a week straight but… I’ll be soaking up the sunshine, grilling 97 cent chicken while spending $90 for the weeklong campsite.

As San Diegans/Californians, we are fortunate to have beach camping sites within a few hours of home. With very careful planning (6 months in advance through ReserveAmerica.com), a great California vacation can be very inexpensive. Didn’t reserve 6 months in advance? A lot of these campsites have last minute cancelations. Sometimes you can get an unclaimed campsite for the same day.

I know California isn’t the only place with good, inexpensive campsites.

Name your state and share the best cheap vacation spot. America is a BEAUTIFUL place. Let me know what your neighborhood has to offer. I want to know where to go next year!

Looking for a good California beach site? You can’t go wrong with Carlsbad State Beach, San Clemente State Beach, and Doheny State Beach. All three will put you steps from the ocean and run about $35 a night. You can put multiple tents on each site and can split the cost like we did. You can (and need to) book the sites 6 months in advance. Sign on to the Reserve America website at 7:55 am on the 1st day of the month. Example: We booked a site for a week in July on February 1st a 7:55 am. Happy camping!


  • Reply Eddie |

    It’s been almost 10 years since my wife and I have been to Hawaii, but to soothe that pain a few years ago we bought some cheap plastic palm trees, a nice little Tiki-bar sign, a handful of tiki mugs, and go out on our back deck and play Hawaiian music a few nights every summer.

    We got no trade winds, but it works ina pinch when that travel bug hits.

  • Reply Michelle H. |

    We loved camping with our kids when they were younger! They have such good memories of those times. Enjoy!

  • Reply Erica |

    Although I’m not from Pennsylvania, I went on a camping trip with my family last October at a campsite owned by Hershey Park. We had a wonderful time…the campsite has both cabins and tent sites and the staff was great. There is a shuttle bus to take you to Hershey Park (no more than 5-10 minutes away) and the campsite provided really nice activities for both children and adults alike. There was a costume contest (they had different age “divisions”, which was really nice -coincidentally, both my 6yr old daughter and I won 1st place in our respective divisions) and there was even a contest for the scariest and best site set-up (some people had AMAZING Halloween props). Overall, it was by far one of the more affordable – and relaxing – vacations I’ve taken with my family. I DEFINITELY recommend taking a trip to that campsite 🙂

  • Reply Family Man |

    I used to love camping as a kid. However I don’t see my children camping any time soon, or at least not all of them.

  • Reply Nicole |

    My family and I went camping this year as well. It was cheap and tons of fun! Hope you have a great camping trip too:)

  • Reply Mar |

    Probably a bit too far for you to make it cheaply, Beks, but Assateague Island State Park
    in Maryland is great. Camp, swim in the Atlantic Ocean, take pictures of the wild ponies (as in Misty of Chincoteague – why Maryland and Virginia have different names for their half of the islands is a mystery to me) and if you need a little more excitement, take a short ride into Ocean City, Maryland. Campsites at Assateague are $35/night and a little bit more for electric hookups.

  • Reply a.b. |

    We always loved Lawson’s Landing at Dillon Beach in Northern California. I’d still go today if we were still living in Sacramento instead of Portland, OR. It’s privately owned so it’s easier to get a spot, and it’s $157/week (uber-cheap considering the real estate in that area). To anyone, I’d check it out while you can, the environmental elite are claiming this 60 year old campground is interfering with the wetlands, and trying to close it down to the public (of course not them).

  • Reply Abigail |

    I feel for you in re: travel. My husband and I are considering moving to AZ for his health, but we need to go down and see how it does first. Not really something that can easily be tested in a one week trip. Ideally, we’d get 3-4 weeks, but that comes up horrendously pricey unless we can find someone looking for a housesitter. So we’re trying to decide how much to spend on a trip down there if we’re pretty sure we’ll need to move there. Given the cost of moving. Yargh.

    As for vacations, can’t say I’ve taken many in Washington. But I hear Ocean Shores is just gorgeous. There’s even rain forest in Washington – or so I’m told. This is how clueless I am about things.

    Sadly, my ideal (in-state) trip would be over to Spokane, WA or thereabouts and going over the border to Idaho where there’s apparently a cool amusement and water park. I’m a sucker for water parks. One day, I really hope that my husband and I can go to Ontario, where they have the continent’s largest indoor water park plus an indoor theme park. Each one of which is over an ACRE! Did I mention I’m a total geek? (Also, we spent our honeymoon in Florida going to various theme parks. It was a great time and a huge stress reliever after all the wedding hoopla.)

  • Reply Abigail |

    Okay, I feel like an idiot. Snoqualmie Falls. Very beautiful, very impressive. It’s a day trip from Seattle, really, though you can stay longer and do some hiking. Plus you can go to the cafe where, in Twin Peaks, it was declared they had “damn fine cherry pie.” (It’s even on the menu.)

So, what do you think ?