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Money-Saving Mama: Stay-cations can be fun too

Posted: June 11, 2013 - 9:51pm
Karen Green
Karen Green

School is out, the summer has begun and you are looking for something to do. The problem is that you don’t have the time away from work or the money to go on a long trip far away from home. Why not try a stay-cation instead. You can take some really great day trips that will not break you and you and your family can have a lot of fun.

The first place to look is in your own backyard by looking in your local area. Living in North Augusta, we are within just a few minutes from Augusta and Aiken which has so many things to see and do.

In North Augusta, you can go visit the Living History Park and wildlife viewing areas right off of Martintown Road near Interstate 20. You can visit a lot of the historical houses, the Augusta Museum of History, the Morris Museum of Art, and go on a history walk to see the sites in Augusta. There is also the Augusta Canal Boat Tour, which allows you to choose the shorter trip or a longer trip, depending on your time and wallet. Aiken also has a wonderful amount of history which includes a museum, Hopeland Gardens, historical houses and the Aiken State Park. There are always day trips to Clarks Hill, also known as Strom Thurmond Lake, with swimming, picnicking, boating and fishing available.

If you want to go a little further into Georgia, head to Washington, Ga. They have a large map of all the historical places, which is more than you can see in a day, plus the town square with great little shops to walk through. Millen, Ga. has a little known treasure called Magnolia Springs State Park. For very little money ($125) you can become a friend of the park which gets you so many things to include parking passes for free parking whenever you are there, three free nights camping stay, a free admittance for up to four people for a day at a Georgia park and many other things. If you can’t do that, just go for a day trip. They have Camp Lawton, a former Civil War camp for prisoners of war. Although it was used for a short time, there is still so much history here. There is also a great amount of wildlife viewing areas, including gators, birds, fish, turtles and more. There is also a great little museum in Millen called the Old Freight Depot Museum. There are so many artifacts and pictures to see that anyone should it find interesting.

Columbia is within an hour away. There are so many things to do there. Riverbanks Zoo is a great choice to spend the day. You can pay for the day rate or for $79 you can join as a member with a family rate and go as much as you like for free. The South Carolina State Museum could make for a full day trip, along with Edventure for kids, mostly up to age 12. You can tour the State House, which I highly recommend because of everything that you can see and learn there along with some beautiful grounds to walk.

Edgefield has many treasures to find. There is the National Wild Turkey Federation where you can tour the inside museum and hands-on displays as well as an outside nature walk. There is the downtown square which has the courthouse, a lot of historic buildings and cemeteries plus Edgefield Pottery, and a great welcome center that has a lot of history of the area housed.

To start, go online to the South Carolina and the Georgia Web sites and order the vacation planner books. These books are great to find anything major that you would want to do (plus some minor things as well). While you are waiting on your books to arrive, look up areas you want to visit and see what you can find out online or get the phone number of the visitor center in that area and get them to send you any information they have to plan a day trip. When you are looking up the places you want to visit you can either find it online or call the places you will see and find out if there is a entry fee. If so, you can decide if you want to visit there or skip it this time and it will help you to budget out the money.

By taking time and planning out your stay-cation, you can spend almost no money, other than gasoline, and have a wonderful time all while building some lasting memories with your family.

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