Summer Vacations! (Money magazine)

Traveling with the kids in tow this summer? Skip the all-inclusive and try a DIY vacation.
I put together itineraries for the most popular types of family trips—beach
getaways, road trips, and urban escapes—for Money magazine.

A covered bridge in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. 

A covered bridge in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. 

In this article I wrote for Money magazine, you'll find family friendly itineraries as well as savings tips for destinations like Cape Cod, Oregon, and Vail, Colorado. Scroll on for story excerpts, as well as a link to the piece. 

Cape Cod

The boardwalk on Grey's Beach, Cape Cod. 

The boardwalk on Grey's Beach, Cape Cod. 

"Many of the Cape’s stretches of sand, such as Mayflower Beach—loved by families for its tidal flats teeming with sea life and amenities such as bathrooms and picnic tables—have parking charges ($25). Save $5 when you head there on weekdays."


The Windy City is clean, easy to navigate, and O'Hare ranks in the top five least expensive cities in which to fly. Chicago is also brimming with kid-friendly activities that range from cheap to completely gratis.

The glass balconies at the  Skydeck , overlooking downtown Chicago. 

The glass balconies at the Skydeck, overlooking downtown Chicago. 

"Summer is peak season in Chicago, but July and August hotel rates average $137, 11% less than in June, according to data-analytics firm STR, and 24% less than in other kid-friendly cities such as Boston."


If you’re a Mickey fan, you’ve probably heard the news: Disney has moved to a dynamic pricing model a few years back, meaning they’ve jacked up prices on one-day tickets, that also change day to day. You can still strategize, and see what else Orlando has on tap.

Disney World's  Slinky Dog Dash ride at the new Toy Story Land.

Disney World's Slinky Dog Dash ride at the new Toy Story Land.

"The most expensive months at Walt Disney World are June and July, when a one-day ticket costs $114. Hold off until July 24 and the price drops to $102; by Aug. 22 you’ll pay $97. For the best deal, buy multiday tickets, says Don Munsil of the website Munsil recommends a five-day pass ($68 a day, adults; $64, kids ages 3 to 9) that covers Disney’s four parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom."


Prices might seem out of reach in this ritzy destination during the ski season, when hotel rates average at $354 (December through March), according to STR. Those averages drop 47% percent—to $190 a night—during the summer months, though, and activities are just as plentiful.

Hiking in Vail. 

Hiking in Vail. 

"Vail Mountain itself features dozens of hiking trails. One favorite: the 3.2-mile Berry Picker, which snakes through aspens and columbines and offers views of Vail Village and, from the top of the hike, Mount of the Holy Cross. “You can hike it with the kiddos and take the gondola down,” says local blogger Kim Fuller. Refuel with Blue Moose Pizza’s chicken-and-Gouda cowboy pie (large, $24). “It’s near a playground and mini-golf course, which keeps the kids entertained,” says David O. Williams, editor of"


Vintages Trailer Resort in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. 

Vintages Trailer Resort in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. 

With the Pacific Ocean and the foothills of Oregon’s tallest mountain just 150 miles apart, the Beaver State is an unbeatable destination for a road trip. From Portland, head east on highway 84 and road 26 to Mount Hood, followed by the scenic 211 to the Willamette Valley. From there, go west to catch the coastal 101 up to Seaside before looping back to the capital city. 

"Where to stay: Mt. Hood Rentals ( lists family condos for $200 a night. In the Willamette Valley, plan an overnight at the Vintages Trailer Resort ( near McMinnville, where outfitted Airstreams that sleep four start at $122. In Seaside, stay six blocks from the Pacific at the new River Inn, which has a pool and s’more-ready fire pits ($99,"

Read the full article in Money magazine here. Where are you traveling this summer? Let me know below!