On Summer Vacation I…

family vacationsGuess what? I am so excited about my new series of posts that I will be writing over the next few months! After the realization that a Disney World summer vacation, aka The Holy Grail of all Family vacations, was out of reach for our family without taking a ton of financial shortcuts during the trip… I began researching other vacation options. It was then that I also realized that so many other parents are in our exact same position of wanting to take a fantastic vacation with their families. For us, Disney is out of reach without taking all of the extreme shortcuts featured in many money-saving blogs or saving up for two-plus years. Making special memories frequently appeals to me, big time. Saving money however I can is a way of life for us, especially with a larger than average-sized family, but I don’t believe in going on vacation to save money. Comstantly cutting corners while on a trip can be stressful and disheartening while seeing other families vacationing alongside yours are living it up to the fullest.

My husband and I decided that several factors were important in selecting an affordable, but major summer vacation for all six us: it must be within a driving distance of a few hours, it must not require a huge amount of money ($1500 or less for everything) and should have at least some of the same exciting elements of a Disney vacation. My research pleasantly surprised me! I found several great options within the SouthEast that met this criteria… I couldn’t wait to get started on selecting one for us to take! Although the places we will be visiting and that I will be writing about have partnered with me by either hugely discounting our expenses or trading them in exchange for my reviewing them, they are vacations I originally researched and selected for us to take, and would be possible for us to still afford even without these discounts. In the interest of accurately representing their affordability, I will be listing the exact costs of all activities we enjoy.

Our first trip will be to the Atlanta, Georgia area, which is about a 3 hours drive from our home. This upcoming weekend we will be exploring all that Stone Mountain Park has to offer for a summer vacation… The large amount of amazing attractions within the Park are surprising to me, because I had always thought of it as being a beautiful place to go camping… And unfortunately, my husband has zero interest in taking a camping vacation. SMP rivals a theme park in the number of exciting activities to enjoy… In addition to the world-famous laserlight show that takes place on the side of the actual mountain. I’m trying to get up enough nerve to do their famous Ropes Course. We will be staying overnight at the Evergreen Resort by Marriott,which is on actual Stone Mountain Park grounds, and enjoying all of the cool amenities they have to offer. Not only does staying inside the park have tons of perks, but the Evergreen Resort also has fantastic things to do in it’s own right. My kids are thrilled about its amazing pool and life-sized chess game.

In edition to our adventures at Stone Mountain Park, we will also be journeying to Medieval Times, Dinner and Tournament for an evening of fun and amazing food. Several friends have recommended Medieval Times to us, and after their raving reviews, I decided to research them for the purpose of including them on our fantastic Atlanta trip. My boys are thrilled to watch the Knights do battle while we eat, my oldest daughter can’t wait to watch the falcon fly, and my youngest daughter keeps talking about the horses she sees in the pictures on the MT website. It will certainly be a memorable experience for us.

After taking the trip this upcoming weekend, I will be writing in depth reviews about our experiences and including pictures so that you, my awesome readers, will be able to see exactly what our vacation was like… And I promise to report the experiences fairly and accurately, no matter how Good or Bad that may be. There will be a number of variables unique to our vacation, namely our kids’ behavior (that’s ALWAYS a crapshoot) and the weather, but my accurate repairs of those factors will show how a real family experiences the vacation. Can’t wait to take the trip and report back!

Do you have any recommendations for us when we visit these places? I’d LOVE to hear about them!

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