vacation Tale – Seven nights on the Cape for less than a Grand

The instant my daughter became a college student, I became poor. Not that I was rich before, but the point is, last summer I was determined to find a way for my  family (pups included) to spend a week on the Cape for less than what I pay for my daughter’s college tuition each month.

Well, I did it -and you can too. Here’s how:

Research a location: At the time, my kids ranged in age from 8-19, so I needed a spot with suitable activities for all. My girls, my older two wanted to shop and sun bath. Boys love the beach, but also need action. Mom? Well I needed to walk every day, and drive as little as possible. The perfect destination? Wood’s Hole: Beaches, Biking, Shopping (in both Wood’s Hole and nearby Falmouth), Acres of wooded Hiking Trails, Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, and the Aquarium all within minutes.

Forget Luxury: Cape beach houses or hotels command big bucks. So I thought small. I looked for a simple place that was both kid and dog friendly, as well as very close to the beach and town (a must for us). We settled on simple a two bedroom, with a small Living Room, and big (albeit slightly scary) Kitchen. Five hundred bucks got us seven nights. A boy’s room and girl’s room was all we needed.

Dine-In: I packed food and cooked most of our meals so we could avoid expensive dining. We chose 2 evenings to eat out and that was more than enough.

Nix the knickknacks: Why buy a bunch of trinkets that will soon be forgotten at home in the toy box? Instead the kids searched for treasures marking each spot we visited: shells, sea-glass, a coin, a unique piece of wood. I gave them $20 a piece to spend as they pleased, and they were very “selective” with their purchases – Candy, candy, CANDY!

Sneak on the Beach: Unless you feel the need to hit the beach with the rest of the crowd at 9AM, why not go later? We opted to spend about 3 hours there every afternoon. The benefit? Aside from more space, since the “beach-guards” are usually off by then, it costs nothing to roll on in.

Find Cheap Treats: While we did indulge in the expensive local ice cream shop one evening, we found the 79 cent Slushies at the local 7-11 just as refreshing.

Hike and Bike: I ensured our spot was super close to biking and hiking trails for the family to hit every AM. A great way to start the day, and tire out the pups. Our most frequented place was 325 acres of trails -and we even found a really cool rope swing which provided hours of fun.

Free is Key: I checked the local Cape guides for free entertainment including bands that might be in town in the evenings -and our fav – the Aquarium

Bag of Fun: Guess what? Sometimes it rains on the Cape so I made sure to bring toys for downtime or potential rainstorms.

Pack the PCs: This allowed each age and interest group to wind down with movies every eve.

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