Virginia Beach Family Vacation Blog & Daily Deals!

My Virginia Beach Family Vacation Blog is your source for daily deals and breaking news on travel and ticket discounts in Virginia Beach, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, Washington, DC, and beyond.

I'll give you the latest deals-- from hotel stays for 1 cent per night, to free admission days at Virginia attractions-- as well as secrets for visiting the top spots for less.

Plus, I'll give you insider reviews of the best restaurants and free or cheap places to visit. 

To keep up-to-date on deals and reviews, sign up for my RSS feed. Go to the box on the top right of this page where it says "Subscribe to this site" and you'll see an orange RSS button. Right click on it and paste the URL into your RSS reader.


That way, you'll get instant notifications whenever I post a new deal or discount that can save you money, like the latest Kings Dominion or Busch Gardens Williamsburg promo code that could save you up to 50% on tickets!




Check out my latest Virginia Beach Family Vacation Blog deals!

Are you on Twitter? You can always check out my latest deal posts and travel news by finding me on Twitter:

@vabeachfundeals

I regularly post or retweet travel-related information, stories and photos (and deals ranging from free Chick-fil-A days and National Pancake Day) on my Twitter feed.

Ready for the latest news, ticket deals, and travel and entertainment advice for southeast Virginia? Look below:

Howl-O-Scream Haunts Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Howl-O-Scream Haunts Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Save $15 or more with these Promo Codes, Plus 2016 Hours & Dates, Dining Deals, Tours & Where to Find Coupons...

Continue reading "Howl-O-Scream Haunts Busch Gardens Williamsburg"

Eclipse Event at Virginia Living Museum

Make your viewing of the Aug. 21st eclipse even more special with a visit to the Virginia Living Museum.

From 1:30 to 4:30 pm, you'll be able to safely view the eclipse with specially-provided eclipse glasses, telescope views of the sun, plus a live webcast of the total eclipse in the Abbott Planetarium.

The viewing is included free with admission. Eclipse glasses are free while supplies last.

And don't miss the other hands-on fun you'll find at the museum, plus ticket info and more.

Last Chance for $1 Admission at Mariners Museum

Only two weeks left to take advantage of $1 admission at the Mariners Museum in Newport News.

Now through Labor Day, adults, kids, seniors, everyone can get admission to the museum for just $1.

So if you haven't visited the museum, now is the time to go as you'll see when you read my review of the Mariners Museum.

Don't miss the turret from the USS Monitor, a 360 degree movie experience on the Battle of the Ironclads, and a life-sized replica of the Monitor, as well as artifacts from the Titanic.



Upcoming Food Freebies

If you're in the mood for snagging some free or super cheap food deals in the days ahead, check these out:

- Free Slurpee "Bring your own cup day" - On Aug. 18 and 19, from 11 am to 7 pm each day, bring your own cup to 7-Eleven and you'll get a free Slurpee. It's a savings of $1.50.
- Buy One, Take One Entree at Olive Garden - For a limited time, when you buy a dine-in meal, you can get the same meal to take home for free.
- Free Red Lobster - Join their eclub and you'll get a coupon for a free appetizer or dessert.
- Free Chick-fil-A Breakfast Sandwich - Aug. 29-Sept. 30 when you download or update their app. Offer only available during breakfast hours. Must be redeemed by placing a mobile order or scanning the “My Card” QR code using the app.

For more ways to save on meals, including Kids Eat Free deals, check out my Cheap Eats page.

Limited Time Kings Dominion 50% Off Deal

Groupon has reprised its end-of-summer deal offering 50% off Kings Dominion tickets.

That's right-- you'll pay just $33.50-- 50% off the usual at-the-door price of $67. This is a limited time deal, so go to Groupon fast if you want to get the deal before it ends (type in 'Kings Dominion" in the search bar if it doesn't come up right away).

Missed the deal? Check here for more ways you can save $30 off tickets at Kings Dominion.

Free Bowling Today Only

Celebrate National Bowling Day at all AMF Kegler's locations with a free bowling game.

You can get the deal by downloading their new BowlMojis sticker pack to your iPhone.

You can also continue to take advantage of bowling deals for kids with their Summer Games pass. For $19.95 per child, kids can bowl 3 games every day for the rest of August.

To get the deal, go to www.amf.com, and for more freebies to round out your summer, check out my Free Summer Fun page.

50% Off Kings Dominion

End summer with a bang by saving 50% off Kings Dominion tickets.

Groupon is offering Kings Dominion single-day tickets for just $33.50-- that's 50% off the usual at-the-door price of $67. This is a limited time deal, so go to Groupon fast if you want to nab the deal before it ends (type in 'Kings Dominion" in the search bar if it doesn't come up right away).

If you miss that deal, I still have ways you can save $30 off tickets here.

Free Admission for Seniors at Virginia Zoo

Proving that there are some benefits to getting older, the Virginia Zoo is offering free admission for seniors ages 62 and up on Wednesdays during the months of August and September.

The Virginia Zoo is one of Norfolk's favorite family attractions, a perfect place to take the grandkids or just enjoy a little rest and relaxation.

Tie in your trip to the zoo with a visit to nearby Rowena's Tea Room or Baker's Crust, plus a little antiquing in Ghent, or a visit to the free Chrysler Museum to see their glass-blowing.

American Revolution Museum

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown - Revamped, Expanded, and So Worth a Visit

Continue reading "American Revolution Museum"

50% Off Nauticus and Virginia Air & Space Center

Pilot Online is offering 50% off admission to two popular Hampton Roads area museums.

Pay just $8 per admission (normally $16) for admission to Nauticus, a powerhouse, nautical-themed science center known for being a hands-on, family-friendly experience that includes lots of buttons, touch tanks, movies and the Battleship Wisconsin.

Or, you can get 50% off admission to Hampton's Virginia Air & Space Center, paying just $9.50 for access to a dozen full-size aircraft, a 3D IMAX theater, and hands-on exhibits on NASA, astronauts, rockets, physics and more.

For an additional fee, you can enjoy unique rides like a MaxFlight Simulator, the Simulated Ride Vehicle, and the historic Hampton Carousel, one of 200 antique carousels still in operation in the U.S.

These deals expire soon, so go to dailydeal.pilotonline.com.

Midsummer Fantasy Festival at Norfolk July 29

For something different this weekend break out your toga (or not) and make your way to FestEvents’ Mid-Summer Fantasy Theatre at Norfolk's Towne Point Park from 6-10 pm on July 29.

This free event will celebrate ancient Greece with visits by Apollo, Poseidon, Atlas, Achilles and others who will invite you to participate in Olympiad-style games, pretend to be a gladiator, throw a discuss, or shoot (foam) arrows.

At 8:30 pm, the Core Theatre Ensemble will present a production of Deborah Wallace’s “Niobe,” about a woman taught a tough lesson about pride by the gods.

Or, at 6:30 and 7:30, you can watch the Squonk Opera’s Cycle Sonic, which is billed as "a combination of rock music, double-decker bicycles and giant puppetry."

For more info, go to festevents.org.

Is Discount Airport Parking Worth It?

Last month, I wrote about a new way to get discount parking near Washington Dulles Airport (and 24 other major airports nationwide).

Normally, we park at the airport's outdoor, long-term parking lot for $10 a day. But by using Airport Parking Inc, we cut that cost almost in half on a recent trip to California.

But was it worth the savings? Here's my review.

Dropping off the car was a breeze, since we simply pulled up at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Herndon (located a 5-10 minute drive from the airport) and saw that they had a shuttle ready to go. After a brief stop indoors (you have to print of your parking ticket ahead of time on line and show it to the person at the deak), we handed our luggage to the shuttle driver, my hubby parked the car a short walk away, and we were off.

Totally easy way to save 40% on our parking bill!

In full disclosure, I do have to share that the shuttle ride back a week later wasn't so easy. When a friend recently asked me how the Airport Parking Inc. service was, I said "Oh, it was amazing! We didn't wait at all for the shuttle," my daughter cut in. "Mom, don't you remember? We had to wait 40 minutes for the shuttle and you had to call them a second time to make sure they were on their way."

Well, thanks to apparent grogginess and short-term memory loss from taking a sleeping pill on the flight, I have NO recollection of the delay, but my family assures me it happened.

Still, Airport Parking Inc. did save us significant money, so I'd use it again and recommend it as long as you realize that you may have to wait a bit longer for a shuttle at either end.

To use the service, go to airportparkinginc.com, select your airport, put in your travel dates, and book your parking in advance online (and don't forget to print out and bring your confirmation with you-- you can't drop off your car without it).

The service is available at two dozen major US airports including Atlanta, Chicago, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, and New York (just to name a few), plus five cruise ports.


New TSA Policy Affects All Devices Larger Than Cell Phone

If you're like me, your head is still spinning, trying to wrap your mind around the latest TSA policy.

Here's a new one announced today: Effective immediately, all electronic devices larger than a cell phone (Kindles, ipads, etc.) must be removed from carry ons and put in a separate bin when going through screening. This applies to all flights to, from, or within the US, and is in addition to existing policy which already required laptops to be removed from a carry on and placed in a separate bin.

"Wait. On our flight from LA last week, you didn't have to remove your laptop from your carry on, Honey. How come?" said my hubby when I told him about the new policy.

The answer: we were assigned to TSA PreCheck when we checked in, and TSA PreCheck passengers are not required to comply with either the old (laptops only) or new (devices larger than a cell phone) rule.

On a related note, if you've traveled this year you may have noticed that you were selected for TSA PreCheck even though you haven't paid the $85 fee for the privilege of shorter lines and fewer inconveniences like having to remove your shoes going through security.

According to the TSA, "Some passengers are vetted, risk-assessed, and allowed to pass through expedited screening on a flight-by-flight basis."

In fact, we were selected to receive TSA PreCheck status four times within a month this summer. The first was when my hubby and I traveled to Alaska, and the second was when we traveled with our kids to California. On all four flights, we got the "TSA PreCheck" status listed on our boarding passes when we checked in.

How come? Maybe we've just traveled enough, or maybe TSA is still far short of their stated goal to get 25 million passengers to pay for the privilege of PreCheck by 2019.

Either way, I'm not complaining.

1/2 Price Cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory July 30

In honor of National Cheesecake Day, Cheesecake Factory is offering 1/2 off all cheesecake at participating locations.

You can also try their newest cheesecake, Toasted Marshmallow S'Mores Galore, which features Hershey's Chocolate Cheesecake topped with chocolate ganache, and topped with marshmallow's, graham crackers and whipped cream.

Free Summer Shuttle to Buckroe Beach

There's a new, free way to get to your favorite beach in Virginia Beach: free beach shuttle service at Buckroe Beach. To take advantage of it, park your car at the Buckroe Community Garden and catch a ride to the beach without having to worry about finding an elusive parking spot.

Buckroe Beach, which borders the Chesapeake Bay, boasts eight acres of sandy beach, a walking and bike path, a kids playground, and picnic shelters, as well as on-duty lifeguards Memorial Day through Labor Day.

In the summer, visitors can also take advantage of the Sunday night "Groovin' by the Bay" concerts, as well as the Tuesday night POMOCO Family Movie Series.

Review site Yelp rates Buckroe Beach as one of the top 6 beaches in Virginia Beach. It is located at 100 S. 1st Street in Virginia Beach.

One thing to keep in mind, the beach does not allow pets May 15-Sept. 15.

Today's Travel Deals

We're at the mid-way point of summer, so if you're still making summer travel plans, here are some travel deals you may want to consider:

- $15 cash back on package bookings of $200 or more at Hotwire.com
- $35 off $350 when you stay 2+ nights through Expedia.com. Use code HOTEL35. Expires 7/25.
- Get 50% off plus 10% off bookings at Hotels.com when you use code RMN717.
- Save on Virginia Beach hotels through these HotelCoupons.com deals.
- Get 3 hours of fun at Virginia Beach Motor World for $25 - go to dailydeal.pilotonline.com and enter "Motor World" in the search bar.

BOGO Deal at Chipotle

Okay, this has got to be one of the weirdest ways to get a freebie, but if it means free Chipotle, then it's worth it!

Just go to this link and create your favorite Chipotle entree online, then listen to some funky music while it "builds" your entree. (Tip: If you open another window on your computer it will stop the process until you've listened to the whole thing.)

Put in your name and cell number and you'll get a text with your buy-one-get-one-free coupon.

The coupon expires August 31.

30% Off Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg

Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg is having a 30% off flash sale which expires at 5 pm on Thursday, July 20.

Make a booking by that time for stays through October 31 and you'll get up to 30% off their best available rate. You may need to enter an offer code, which is "MYS103130" to get the deal.

One plus is that you usually don't get a discount this big unless you book a two-night stay, but this deal lets you get the discount on a single-night stay.

Even if you miss this discount, here's another way to get 30% off a two-day stay at Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg.

Latest Food Deals and Freebies

If you're in the mood for snagging some free or super cheap food deals today and tomorrow, check these out:

- IHOP Short Stack for $.59 - July 18 only - Today from 7 am to 7 pm, grab this deal on buttermilk pancakes to celebrate their anniversary.
- National Hot Dog Day - Onl July 19, a number of places are offering hot dog deals, including the following: $1 hot dogs at Sonic; $.79 grilled dogs at Burger King (all July); Love's Travel Stops (get a free hot dog with the coupon on their Facebook page).
- Free lollipop at See's Candies on July 19

Extra 20% Off Groupon Deals

Use the code "TODAY" at Groupon and you could score 20% off up to three local deals and 10% off up to three getaway deals.

Local deals include discounts on things you might not normally splurge on, such as massages, the Colonial Escape Room at Williamsburg, lighthouse tickets at Fort Story, and even housecleaning so you have more time for summer fun.

Getaway deals include packages on spots like a family-friendly resort in Myrtle Beach, Niagara Falls, Puerto Rico, and a 9- or 11-day tour of Greece including airfare.

You can shop the deals by going to Groupon and using the code "TODAY" at checkout.

For more discount and coupon sites that can save you hundreds of dollars a year, check out my updated Deals page.

Groupon, Living Social, and Other Amazing Deal Sites!

How Groupon, Living Social, and Other Amazing Deal Sites Can Save Money on Food, Hotels, Spas, Movie Tickets, and Stuff You Want...

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How to Avoid Being Scammed on Rental Car Gas

So I just returned from a week in California, and after renting a car, I learned a thing or two I thought I'd share that can keep you from being scammed on rental car gas.

First, skip the pre-paid gas option at the rental car counter. According to Neil Abrams of the Abrams Consulting Group, which tracks the rental car industry, you'll not only probably pay more than the going rate for gas, you'll have to pay for a full tank of gas, even though “anything that’s left in the fuel tank that you bought is non-refundable if you opted to prepay for gas.”

A second way to avoid getting scammed is to find the cheapest place near the rental car agency to gas up when you return it. On our recent trip, we killed some time in L.A. before our red eye flight by having dinner at the Farmer's Market, a 30-minute drive from the airport.

Great dinner...great gas scam. When we left the Farmer's Market, we gassed up at a gas station just six blocks from the Market since we wanted to make sure we'd find a gas station on our way to the rental car agency.

Big mistake! We paid a whopping $4.69 per gallon for regular, which seemed outrageous enough compared to the $1.99 per gallon we'd pay at home in Virginia.

But it got worse. After driving another five blocks away, we saw another gas station advertising gas for $3.30 a gallon, a $1.39 less!

Moral of the story? Be aware that gas prices can spike like crazy in high income tourist areas. And by all means, check out an app like GasBuddy before filling up. It will direct you to the lowest gas prices in your area.

50% Off Berkeley Plantation Tour

Here's a Groupon deal I highly recommend taking advantage of: The deal site is offering 50% off admission to historic Berkeley Plantation, home of two US presidents and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the estate where the famous military song "Taps" was written.

Thanks to this deal at Groupon, you'll be able to buy two admissions for the price of one, paying just $12 for a tour for two led by witty costumed interpreters sharing fascinating historical stories, as well as a stroll through the estate's beautiful grounds overlooking the river.

If you want to turn it into a full day, here's my recommended James River Plantation itinerary, complete with a visit to nearby Shirley Plantation and lunch at a local winery.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Summer Nights Series

In July and August, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is offering its Summer Nights Series, featuring special live music and their new Coke Zone.

In addition, you can purchase unique foods from special kiosks featuring foods inspired by Virginia, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. Choose from foods like fried green tomatoes, jerk chicken sliders, spam musubi, and Canadian bacon on a stick, and unique drinks like Bahama Mamas, frozen beer, shark bites, and strawberry daiquiries.

Contemporary artists performing in the Royal Palace Theatre (free with park admission) including the following:

July 15 - Josh Turner
July 22 - Jeremy Camp & Rend Collective
July 29 - Mercy Me
Aug. 5 - 38 Special
Aug. 12 - Kool & the Gang
Aug. 19 - Lifehouse & Switchfoot
Aug. 26 - Ne-Yo

For more on Busch Gardens events for 2017, click here.

And remember, it's not too late to take advantage of Busch Gardens Williamsburg's latest Fun Card deal: Save up to $30 while you enjoying unlimited admission.

Jamestown Settlement Deals...Plus Most Shocking Fact

Jamestown Settlement Discount Tickets & Free Admission, Homeschool Days, and Facts for Planning Your Visit...Plus the One Thing That Shocked Me Most...

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Recent Articles

  1. Howl-O-Scream Haunts Busch Gardens Williamsburg

    Aug 20, 17 07:39 PM

    Howl-O-Scream Haunts Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Save $15 or more with these Promo Codes, Plus 2016 Hours & Dates, Dining Deals, Tours & Where to Find Coupons...

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  2. Eclipse Event at Virginia Living Museum

    Aug 14, 17 09:32 PM

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  3. Last Chance for $1 Admission at Mariners Museum

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Recent Articles

  1. Howl-O-Scream Haunts Busch Gardens Williamsburg

    Aug 20, 17 07:39 PM

    Howl-O-Scream Haunts Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Save $15 or more with these Promo Codes, Plus 2016 Hours & Dates, Dining Deals, Tours & Where to Find Coupons...

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  2. Eclipse Event at Virginia Living Museum

    Aug 14, 17 09:32 PM

    Make your viewing of the Aug. 21st eclipse even more special with a visit to the Virginia Living Museum. From 1:30 to 4:30 pm, you'll be able to safely view the eclipse with specially-provided eclipse…

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    Aug 14, 17 09:08 PM

    Only two weeks left to take advantage of $1 admission at the Mariners Museum in Newport News. Now through Labor Day, adults, kids, seniors, everyone can get admission to the museum for just $1. So if…

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Daily Deals & Discounts!