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Four Destinations, Four Budgets


The summer is here, and you may feel the need for a family road trip. When it comes to short stays and mini vacays, the budget is always a factor. We are taking the guesswork out of the equation for these adventures and providing you with a blueprint for family fun. Get creative and modify these suggestions for your specific crew, or just trust us and have fun.


Destination Budget: $550

New Orleans, Louisiana

Venture to New Orleans, a magical city that’s only an hour’s drive, for a night away and memories that will last a lifetime. We all know and love the French Quarter, but the city has so much more to offer if you wander Uptown or to Midcity. Go for the music, the culture, the history, and the food, of course. 

To feel like a true New Orleanian, choose a home on Airbnb, and live like the locals, if only for one night. The company has plenty of accommodations to choose from in locations all across the Crescent City. You can select the price range and size of the Airbnb that’s just right for you and your family. 

Before you begin strolling through the French Quarter, stop at a nearby grocery store on your way in to load up on essentials for snacks and a meal or two. Stock up your Airbnb for the stay with your favorite treats. 

New Orleans is for eating, and the city has plenty to offer families away from the tourist traps. At The Backyard, there’s always smoked meats, local craft beers, and Louisiana beef. The atmosphere is perfect for the family, including a large backyard with a playground. For brunch in the morning, you must stop by Surrey’s Café and Juice Bar for the best breakfast of your life. Feast on a flying-saucer-sized banana pancake, shrimp and grits, or bananas foster french toast. Make sure to fit in some beignets at Café du Monde while you’re in the Big Easy. 

Triple dip at the Audubon Nature Institute, and visit the Aquarium of the Americas, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, and the Audubon Zoo. You and your family of four can enjoy ocean life and other cool animals for a combination ticket and experience all three. People watch and take family pictures in Jackson Square after you check out the sharks and gators at the Aquarium. 

Budget Tip: Be selective on souvenirs. Hold out for something you really can’t part with, because there are lots of temptations. 

Receipt
Lodging..........................................$250
Gas..................................................$18
Groceries (Snacks & Drinks)...........$25
Meals Out.......................................$70
Activities.......................................$148
Souvenirs........................................$30
Total...............................................$541


Destination Budget: $700

Toledo Bend, Louisiana

Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city to Toledo Bend where you and your kiddos can indulge in the great outdoors for a few days. Experience boating, water sports, hiking, birding, and fishing (the region is known for their bass fishing) all while at Toledo Bend Reservoir State Park. The area offers more than a thousand acres for you to explore. 

Settle in for two nights at Toledo Bend Lakeside Cottages. These cozy cottages are your home away from home for your trip, and they offer an incredible view of the lake with a boat launch nearby. Remember to bring your essentials such as food and toiletries to last you the duration of your stay. 

Entertainment is easy when it comes to staying in Toledo Bend. You can get away from distractions and finally get everyone to put their phones down and tune in to family time. Bring your family’s favorite board games and cards for some old-fashioned competition. Or, venture outdoors to soak up the sun and splash around in the water. North and South Toledo Bend State Parks offer camping, hiking, swimming, and boating along with beautiful vistas. For the kiddos wanting to sink their toes into some sand, visit Cypress Bend Park to check out the fishing jetty and pier and play on the playground equipment. If you’re up for the drive, Alligator Park is only an hour away. The five-acre park features hundreds of alligators, a feeding zoo, bird sanctuary, reptile habitat, and jungle.

After a fun day in the sun, everyone will have worked up an appetite. If you’re wanting to have a family dinner out, check out Fisherman’s Galley Restaurant for delicious seafood and meals for the children for a great price.

Budget Tip: Plan for picnics! You can save plenty of cash simply by bringing enough food to have a few picnics in the beautiful Louisiana weather.

Receipt
Lodging..............................$350
Gas......................................$55
Groceries.............................$100
Meals Out............................$80
Activities................................$72
Total......................................$657


Destination Budget: $1,000

Houston, Texas

Go west to the urban mecca of Houston for a weekend of shopping and baseball. This massive city has much to offer a family of four and is incredibly accessible. Make it an H-Town weekend that won’t break the bank and that everyone will remember fondly. 

Stay for two comfortable nights in the chic, modern boutique Hotel Ylem. This unique hotel in Houston was built on the foundations of art, philanthropy and hospitality. Enjoy a relaxing and soothing atmosphere after a long day exploring the beautiful city of Houston. 

You may want to include a meal on the way in case the kids get hungry earlier than you planned. On your way to your hotel, stop and pick up some snacks for the fam so you can be satisfied during the weekend between delicious meals out on the town. 

Houston is a bustling metropolis and a hub of quality eateries that will delight every member of the family. While in Texas, it’s imperative that you feast on traditional Mexican cuisine, and Las Ventanas is highly recommended as the place you must try. For a fun family lunch or dinner, locate one of the several Barnaby’s Cafes sprinkled throughout the city and taste their mouth watering Americana fare. On your way out of town, choose Snooze, An A.M. Eatery, for your brunch extravaganza. There are so many fantastic spots to grub in the city, you really can’t go wrong.

For a weekend to remember, purchase tickets for the World Series Champions Houston Astros and watch them play at Minute Maid Park. There’s nothing like a day at the ballpark for a family. For another type of competition, shop til you drop at the Galleria Houston. While at the Galleria, strap on some ice skates and cool down at the rink. It doesn’t matter if it’s sweltering outside, it’s always chill on the ice. Squeeze in some educational moments at the magnificent Houston Museum of Natural Science, and see your kids marvel at the breathtaking exhibits. 

Budget Tip: Capture some family photos for free in front of the Water Wall.

Receipt
Lodging...................................$255
Gas...........................................$56
Groceries.................................$50
Meals Out.................................$200
Activities...................................$140
    Astros Tickets    $80
    Ice Skating        $60
Souvenirs (Galleria Swag)..........$200
Total............................................$901


Destination Budget: $2,000 

Orange Beach, Alabama 

Soak up the sun, sink your toes into the sand, and lather on plenty of sunscreen for this three-night stay in Orange Beach. Brett/Robinson condos offer a variety of amenities that put you right in the middle of all of the action.

For a little luxury and privacy, settle in at Phoenix on the Bay. Featuring a lazy river, indoor and outdoor pools, a private marina, boat launch, putting green, and tennis courts, you may never want to leave your condo once you arrive. For a family of four, booking a two bedroom, two bath condo is the perfect amount of space for your visit.

Before you begin floating down the lazy river, stop at a nearby grocery store on your way in to load up on essentials for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; toiletries for the condo; and paper products including utensils and paper towels, just in case you run out or the condo doesn’t provide them for you. 

If you prefer to have a family meal out, restaurants such as The Hangout, Flipdaddy’s, and Moe’s BBQ are a few local favorites. At The Hangout, there’s always live music to enjoy and a funny competition going on while guests enjoy their meals. There’s even a wishing wall where you can write down a wish on a slip of paper and then place the paper into the wall to hopefully have your wish granted. At Flipdaddy’s, you and the kiddos can play a few rounds of cornhole before indulging in Flipdaddy’s delicious burgers.

And it just wouldn’t be a trip without souvenirs. There are several shops along Perdido Beach Boulevard where you can load up on cool beach attire. Or, you can even get a hermit crab with a decorative shell. Before you head home, be sure to pose for some Insta-worthy photos in front of their bright and colorful walls.

Budget Tip: According to Brett/Robinson, the best time to save in summer is around June 1-13 and August 4-17.

Receipt
Lodging...................................$1,269
Gas.............................................$60
Groceries...................................$250
Meals Out...................................$250
Souvenirs..................................$100
Total.........................................$1,929

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01 Jun 2018


By BRPM Staff

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