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Some vacations suggestions for shoestring budgets

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 20th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Summer is here, and you and your family want to take advantage of the sunny weather for some quality vacation time. Times are tough, and there isn't a lot of money for trips and recreation this year - but that doesn't mean you have to stay housebound. Here are four suggestions to stretch your vacation dollar.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Gasoline is very expensive, therefore, you should find vacation destinations that are nearby. In lieu of hopping on a plane to an island destination, try driving to a beach near you.

The East Coast features Martha's Vineyard and Virginia Beach to Hilton Head, S.C., and Miami. West Coast beaches include Huntington Beach and several near San Diego. There are also plenty of beaches to choose from along the Gulf Coast as well as in Canada, all well with regional charm and fun attractions.

Secondly, you don't have to fly overseas for fun. Explore the North American continent. Living on the East Coast and thinking about a trip to Las Vegas? Save some money and drive to Atlantic City. Other destinations with casinos include Niagara Falls, Kansas City and New Orleans. If you crave the bright lights of the big city, swap New York City for Los Angeles. For mountains, consider swapping between the Rockies and the Appalachians. You can experience similar scenery without spending as much money.

Tip number three -- Instead of taking a cruise and making several quick stops, visit two destinations for as long as you like and ride the waves while avoiding seasickness. Ferries offer a relatively cheap way to transport you, your family, your luggage and your car from one venue to the next.

Some popular ferries include the Cape May-Lewes Ferry (New Jersey to Delaware), the Rocky-Hill Glastonbury Ferry (Connecticut) and the Columbia River Ferry (Oregon to Washington). Some popular pedestrian only ferries include the Toronto Island Ferry and New Orleans Steamboat Cruise.

Lastly, instead of shelling out beaucoup bucks for a bells-and-whistles amusement park, try a regular park instead. Try visiting a state or national park for a fraction of the price. Some popular national parks include Lake Mead National Recreation Area (Arizona/Nevada), the Everglades (Florida) and the Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina/Virginia), which makes for a nice scenic route to several local attractions.

Check the calendars for your city, state or regional parks office to find out what tours and activities are available this summer. Also check to see if advance registration is required to reserve your spots.

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