If you live in my area (Birmingham, Alabama), then you’ve probably seen me on Fox 6 Good Day Alabama talking travel. Here are some of my favorite summer trips that help stretch your vacation dollars, especially for family travel.
This replica of a little Germantown offers a fun and exciting cultural experience with German food and architecture, but more than that, it offers big savings for a family vacation. Lodging is affordable (there is a unique Hampton Inn there within walking distance of the main drag, cabins, chalets and more) and my favorite family activity there is river tubing for under $10! Stroll the streets and duck in and out of one-of-a-kind gift shops, take a hike, go fishing, shoot the ‘Hooch, and enjoy getting back to nature!
Distance from Birmingham: 3 ½ hours
Located approximately 30 minutes east of Panama City, Mexico Beach is known as the Forgotten Coast. This old Florida style coastal community is only five miles long, has no stoplights, only a two-lane road, no high rises, no chain restaurants…just family togetherness. Fish off the pier, bike around town, charter a scalloping boat and just enjoy the unspoiled beaches of yesteryear. Accommodations are VERY affordable compared to neighboring seaside communities and include the El Governor Hotel, low rise condos and precious beach houses.
Distance from Birmingham: 4 ½ hours
Just off the beaten path to popular Gulf Shores is the stretch of peninsula known as Fort Morgan where fun, family resorts are hidden, such as The Beach Club. A community of its own, Beach Club, a Spectrum Property, has everything you need to park the car and enjoy your vacation without driving anywhere else! Spacious condos, adorable villas around a lake, you choose! Pools, on-site restaurants, private beach access, tennis courts, basketball courts, fitness center and an amazing full-service spa! This is an upscale property that many folks think exceeds their budget…so how about this…partner up with another family and split the cost…you’ll have plenty of space, you can stock the kitchen with groceries and eat in…but yes, you can afford this if you are careful! Some of my family’s favorite summer trips were at The Beach Club.
Distance from Birmingham: 4 ½ hours
Memphis is a great family destination with one of the best zoos around. There is also Graceland, the home of famed rock-n-roller Elvis Presley, the Peabody Ducks who make their march at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day, plenty of barbeque to sample and the Bass Pro Shop at the Pyramid with duck ponds, the tallest freestanding elevator in America, a bowling alley, and so much more! Hit the welcome center when you cross into Tennessee and grab some HOTEL COUPON booklets and you can score a great deal on a nicer hotel. I use these all the time and recently scored a Marriott with hot breakfast for $59 plus tax per night!
Distance from Birmingham: 4 hours
Currently sailing out of Mobile on 4- and 5-day itineraries to Mexico, Fantasy isn’t the largest ship in the Carnival fleet, but it has recently had a nice renovation! The kids will enjoy the fabulous Carnival WaterWorks with the Twister Slide and Splash Park and Seuss at Seas activities (a partnership between Carnival and Seuss Entertainment) while adults will love the Serenity adults only deck, the spa, multiple restaurants, casino and so much more! My husband always loves to gamble in casinos and before we go somewhere he takes a look at casino directories at https://www.boomtownbingo.com/directory
Distance from Birmingham: 3 1/2 hours
Please be sure and check out the Travel Web Series (a collaboration with Video Visions and the fabulous Phillip Pritchard) for more travel ideas for summer trips.