On the East Coast we have so many choices to enjoy the beauty of our world I know it makes West Coast folks jealous. :-D
Actually, our visits to the great states of California and Washington State have me convinced that the old Beach Boys song is true. Cause I have two nieces who live there.. west coast I mean.
But, nothing beats the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains in the fall. The Appalachian trail is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. One of the few places to still go for free, it's a great place to take the kids and the dog to enjoy a beautiful fall day.
Hubby and I would load up a backpack with snacks and drinks to go and spend a day walking on the local trails to discover the beauty our area holds.
To this day, we take a hike at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary every year to recharge. There is a nominal fee to check out the local raptors on top of the mountain. Last year we had our first glimpse of the majestic bald eagle in flight.
Wonder what we'll see this year?
Skiing in the Poconos is one of the most romantic places hubby and I have been. A mutual friend had an A line cabin there where we spent hours skiing and tobogganing down the hills of snow packed ski slopes. On top of the mountain under clear starry nights, how could I not fall in love with the man of my dreams?
If you don't have the money for skiis or a lift ticket just take a walk under the stars on a clear winter night then bundle up with a mug of cocoa near a fire to talk about your hopes and dreams together. Or take your sled and go sledding instead.
One of the things I love about the East Coast is the close vicinity to culture available in Philadelphia and New York. When it's too nice to visit a museum or restaurant in the city, the mountains are an hour drive north and the beaches are only two and a half hours heading south.
Go to Washington D.C. and check out the museums there. The last time we went we watched a parade to honor the military folks who served in Desert Storm.
Avalon New Jersey is one of the nicest family places to visit for your money. Every year my folks hosted a family reunion for a week here and we spent hours with the kids while they were little playing on the beach. My family is known for our foodie extravaganzas. To save money we would buy the fresh local produce, fish, and barbecue or bring prepared food from home.
My mom is famous for buying non perishables in bulk for the time we enjoyed there like paper goods, canned goods, breakfast foods and the linens and towels we went through.
I know my kids will have fond memories of those days with their families for years to come. Hopefully, they will be able to share the same kind of memories with their own families as well.
Not to be outdone by the east coast our trips west also took us to places that were fun to tour. Hubby's job also provided us vacations on a budget through frequent flier miles and short stays on the West Coast while he worked on projects there.
One of our all time favorite places to visit is the San Francisco area. Our girls will little bits when we visited there. We would park at the pier and enjoy the sights for free. There we could grab some sourdough bread sandwiches or munch on ghiradelli chocolate entertained by outdoor performers, sunbathing sea lions, and the sights of the golden gate bridge and Alcatraz.
If you have a little extra you can take a double decker bus for an open city tour or, I think, take a walk through Alacatraz.
Don't tell anyone but if you go to Carmel or Monterey you might find yourself eating lunch next to someone "famous". Well we did.
Okay folks. I'm heading back east cause well I have too. Back east(ish) to the beautiful state of Tennessee where you can find the majesty of the Smoky mountains. Where real corn cob smoking locals settin' on their porches, Dollywood, Gatlinburg exist.
Where you can drive to the top of the Smokies to watch the fireworks going off BELOW you. Well, this trip might not seem too cheap. Except for the price of a hotel room for one night in NYC, you can get a cabin that has three floors of floor to ceiling glass and three floors with enough room to sleep 8-10 people. C'mon just load up the truck and drive to Tennessee.
If you don't have two pennies to scrape together right now, you can always save and wait for good deals for your dream vacation...or drive to your local park. A great vacation doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. The best vacations are with family.