Lower Cost Places to Take Your Family on Spring Break

7a4c5e9ff6574718a3e3c8317b42d07bIf you live in the Midwest or Northeast (or even the South), this winter has been a tough one.  Between the bitterly cold temperatures and the snow and ice storms, you may be like me–eager to bid winter adieu.  Sometimes the best way to do that is to leave town on a vacation.

But rather than heading to all the typical warm weather destinations with college students, consider a different locale and a flexible schedule if you want to save money.

Washington, D.C.

Surprisingly, one of the most frugal places to visit is Washington, D.C.  The average temperature in Washington, D.C. in March is 56 degrees and in April it’s 67 degrees.  Not exactly beach weather, I’ll grant you, but for those of us who’ve been surviving with below freezing temperatures, it sounds downright balmy.

In D.C., your only major expenses are likely to be hotel accommodations, food, and transportation.  Many of the tourists attractions, including museums, government sites, and monuments, are free.

If you have a flexible schedule, you could go in early April during The Cherry Blossom Festival.  According to The Travel Channel, “Free events during the 2-week-long festival in early April include cultural performances, fireworks, and a parade.  There’s no charge for the main event–the stunning trees framing the Tidal Basin and around the Washington Monument.”

Portland, OR

Portland, Oregon boast exactly the same temperatures as Washington, D. C. in March and April, but the atmosphere is completely different.  While you won’t find as many free sites to visit as you will in Washington, D.C., the city is eager to give you a discount.

TravelPortland.com has the low down on the discounts you can get if you book and stay in Portland sometime between now and March 31, 2014.  However, in general, The Portland Perks Hotel Package includes a discounted rate at a hotel, free overnight parking (a $25 a night value),  complimentary continental breakfast for two, and over 40 Portland Perks coupons.

The Portland Perks coupons are good for things like 25% off your total bill at specific restaurants and two for one meals.

Stay Off the Beaten Path

If you have your heart set on a warm weather destination, you may save money by staying off the beaten path.  For instance, if you want to vacation in Florida, why not stay in a small city outside the major city you’d like to visit?  Yes, you may have to drive to the beach during the day, but you’ll save on hotel rates and parking.  If you’re staying for a week or longer, these savings can be significant, especially if you forego a beach front hotel for a hotel 10 miles inland, away from the city.

Many of us are longing for a getaway somewhere with warmer temperatures and no snow.  If you’re flexible with your travel dates and your location, you can find a good deal on your vacation.  Who says spring break has to be spent in Mexico or Florida?  Getting out of town to a different destination can be just as fun.

What is your favorite, lower cost vacation destination?