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.

Check out my ticket deals at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Kings
Dominion, and Water Country USA!


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.

Three Things I'll Do Next Time I Fly

After flying to 40 countries I thought I'd learned it all about air travel. But as I sat on the plane last night returning from a trip to the West coast I suddenly realized three things I'll do next time I fly.

1) Bring bleach wipes: Yep, I'd brought Wet Wipes to clean off my seat area, having learned long ago that airplane seat armrests, tray tables, and seat pockets are teeming with bacteria. But after all the funky germs we keep hearing about in the news (e.g., MRSA) and sitting there thinking how many people had probably touched that seat area since the last good scrubbing, I wish I'd brought bleach wipes. Next time.


2) Bring a little vial of "odor protector": Can't believe this has never happened to me before, but the guy next to me absolutely reeked of mold, having obviously left his clothes in the washing machine for a week. How'd you like to sit next to that for five hours? My sister-in-law likes to travel with a dab of peppermint oil or a little Vicks Vapor rub under her nose when she flies. Now I know why. So next time, I'm bringing a little vial of my favorite perfume as a little odor defense if I need it.


3) Fly Virgin: One word comes to mind after flying Virgin America for the first time. "Wow." Just "wow." They make flying fun again! Everything, from the music they play at check-in, to the friendly staff and flight attendants (who all seem to love their jobs compared to staff on other airlines who often seem basically fed-up and sometimes curt) to their hilarious and brilliant safety video, to the fact that my luggage was waiting for me in Baggage Check BEFORE I even got down there, they made me a Virgin believer!

Free Fourth of July Fireworks in Virginia

Just four days left until July 4th-- do you have your fireworks show planned yet?

On my Fourth of July Fireworks page, I'll tell you about a number of festive ways to spend your Independence Day, including fireworks shows at Colonial Williamsburg, Hampton, Virginia Beach, Yorktown, Monticello, and more.


Michie Tavern July Discount

In a continuing sign that it pays to be a Virginia resident, during the month of July, Virginians can get $4 off lunch weekdays at Charlottesville's Michie Tavern, or $2 off lunch on weekends. Coupons are good for up to four people to enjoy authentic, colonial-style fried chicken, barbeque pork, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas, stewed tomatoes, green beans, biscuits, and more. (Note: You must bring in this coupon and proof of residency.)

After lunch, you can take the tavern's self-guided tour and learn all about 18th century tavern life, from tea "bricks," how their paid to smoke pipes by the inch, why colonial baby bottles were so deadly, and the origins of the "toe-stir." Here's why a visit to Michie Tavern is the perfect way to start off your summer-- and how you can visit nearby Monticello for "free."

Last Few Days for Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg Sale

Just a few days left to take advantage of 20% off Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg with their summer sale.

Book by July 10 and use a special promo code and you'll be able to enjoy 20% off a family suite with four water passes at this amazing indoor waterpark which has been named one of the best waterparks in the US. (My kids say it's "better than Disneyland!")

Click here to get the 20% off promo code.

Save $20 on Busch Gardens Williamsburg Tickets

Just read an article that said that summer is the "worst time of the year" to get Busch Gardens Williamsburg discount tickets. Well, maybe... but I still have two great ways for you to save $14 to $20 off tickets, plus $3 off a Fun Card!

Here's all you need to know to pay less at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

And while you're at it, check out these links for getting discount tickets for Water Country USA and Kings Dominion.

Reminder: Free Bass Pro Shops Family Summer Camp

If you haven't been there yet, don'g miss Bass Pro Shops' free Summer Family Camp, a month-long celebration June 7 - July 13, offering free crafts, activities, and freebies for the whole family.

Activities are generally Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons and include free crafts, free 4x6 photos, a shooting arcade and BB shooting range, a casting challenge, and free ice cream (Saturdays only, 5 pm to 6 pm).

They also offer free workshops for things like shooting and hunting, archery, bird watching, and water safety. Kids who attend will get a free pin for each workshop they go to, plus a free lanyard (while supplies last). For details, go to Bass Pro Shops' website.

And here are more ideas for free or cheap summer fun.

Free Concerts & More This Week

Why pay for entertainment when you can get it for free? If you love live entertainment, including jazz and glass-blowing demos, check out these (mostly free) events:

- Jazz Cafe at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts - It's every Thursday from 6 - 9 pm at the museum's Best Cafe, including free live jazz, food and drinks available for purchase (and of course, the museum - it's free!).
- First Fridays Wine Tasting at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (okay, it's next week!) - It's free from 5 pm to 8 pm and includes free entertainment and Happy Hour specials on beverages all evening and free half-hour gallery tours at 7 and 7:30 pm.
- Free Glass Demonstrations at Norfolk's Chrysler Museum - Tuesdays through Sundays at noon, enjoy free glass demos at their Glass Studio building. Also, on the third Thursday evenings of the month at 7 pm, they offer live music, a cash bar, and glass performance art. It's just $5 per person.

For more free or cheap entertainment in southeast Virginia, click here.

Free July 4th Fireworks in Hampton Roads

July 4th will be here before you know it. Have you decided where you're watching fireworks yet?

On my Fourth of July Fireworks page, I've just added info about a unique family fun day and fireworks event at historic Fort Monroe.

You'll also find more great local options for Independence Day fun and fireworks, both in Hampton Roads and in greater southeast Virginia.


Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg 15-20% Off

Water fun without the need for sunscreen? That's what you'll find when you take advantage of three promo codes good for 15%-20% off family suites at Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg.

You'll have the time of our life at this amazing indoor waterpark (my kids say it's "better than Disneyland") which has been named one of the best waterparks in the US.

Click here for latest promo codes.

Free Movies in the Park in Portsmouth

Here's another summer freebie for the whole family: free big-screen, evening movies in Portsmouth City Park. The series of eight movies kicks off Friday, June 20, with a showing of "Frozen" at 7 pm at the Pavilion at Cpl J.L. Williams Avenue.

Dates for the rest of the series (each on Sundays at 7 pm) are as follows:

July 6 - Planes
- July 13 - Turbo
- July 20 - The Croods
- July 27 - Rango
- August 3 - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
- August 10 - Happy Feet 2
- August 17 - Rise of the Guardians
- August 24 - Brave

Admission is free, but first-come, first-served and limited to the first 150 people. For more information, call (757) 393-8481.

And for more free (or cheap) things to do this summer, click here.

Getting Cool (for Less) at 54 Degree Luray Caverns

Yep, it'll be in the 90's again today, but if you want a break from the heat, head to Luray Caverns where it's a refreshingly cool 54 degrees year-round. And you can do it for less if you take advantage of the Luray Cavern discounts I've noted here.

Virginia Theme Park Package Deals

If you're looking for a Virginia theme park visit and want to make a night (or two) of it, check out these deals near Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Kings Dominion:

- Best Western Historic Area Williamsburg deal - Get two nights lodging (including a hot breakfast each day) and two tickets to Busch Gardens Williamsburg starting at $129 per night.


- Kings Dominion and Embassy Suites Richmond Package - Book a one or two night's stay at this hotel just 20 minutes from Kings Dominion and you'll get one or two day passes for two to Kings Dominion. The package includes breakfast daily for up to Manager's reception nightly. Packages start at $209.

Of course, if you're a local and don't needa hotel, but DO want ticket deals, I've got those for you, whether you want to go to Busch Gardens or Kings Dominion.

Free Smoothies at Tropical Smoothie Cafe June 20

In honor of National Flip Flop Day (June 20), Tropical Smoothie Cafe is offering free 24-ounce Jetty Punch smoothies from 2 pm to 7 pm. No purchase necessary, but you do have to be wearing flip flops!

Love food freebies? Check out these deals too.

Virginia Beach Attractions, Discounts and Free Deals

Best Virginia Beach Attractions, Free or Cheap Sights, Discount Ticket Deals for Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, Richmond, Washington, DC, and Beyond.

Continue reading "Virginia Beach Attractions, Discounts and Free Deals"

Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond

Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond - Take a fascinating walk through Civil War history - three presidents, one pyramid, and a strange black dog...

Continue reading "Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond"

Cheap Eats Tips...or How to Eat Well for Less

Cheap Eats Tips - Kids Eat Free Deals, How to Eat Well for Less-- $25 Dining Certificates for $3, 90% off promo codes, and More...

Continue reading "Cheap Eats Tips...or How to Eat Well for Less"

AMF Summer Bowling Deals for the Whole Family

A few weeks ago, I told you about AMF's "Summer Games" deal, which allows kids 15 and under to bowl up to three free games daily (Monday to Friday until 5 pm) all summer long.

But what about Mom and Dad? Now they're offering an adult pass for $34.95, which lets adults bowl up to three free games per day all summer long (shoe rental included). What a great way to bond with the kids (and tire them out!).

For details, go to https://summergames.amf.com/

And if you're looking for more family-friendly things to do this summer (many of them free), go to my Free Summer Fun page.

Entertainment Books: Buy One, Get One for $5.99

It's one of my favorite times of year-- when Entertainment Book prices stop dropping like squirrels from a freshly-greased pole.

Buy a 2014 Entertainment Book for $9.99 and you can get a second book for just $5.99 (free shipping too!). You can easily pay for both books with one or two coupons. Why have two books? Well, you could give the second one as a great gift for a friend. Or, buy the second book in a city you plan to visit this summer.

Whatever you decide, you'll be able to use your book through the end of the year to save hundreds on attractions, dining, travel and more. For details, go to my Entertainment Book page.

Colonial Williamsburg Summer Deals

Colonial Williamsburg just came out with all new summer deals sure to help you save money in the Historic Area. They include:

- Bounce Package - Combines the Historic Area with Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA
- Revolutionary Experience Package (includes daily breakfast and accommodations, length of stay tickets to Colonial Williamsburg and its museums, a refillable mug, and entry to Revolutionary City events.)
- Kids Stay, Play, and Eat Free Package
- Williamsburg Flex Package (includes lodging and free length of stay tickets to Colonial Williamsburg and its museums, Revolutionary City, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Water Country USA, Yorktown Battlefield, Historic Jamestowne, Yorktown Victory Center, and Jamestown Settlement.

Here's all the details on these packages.

But if you really want to go on the cheap, check out my Colonial Williamsburg Secrets page.

Last Two Days for Water Country USA $20 Off Deal!

Want to save $20 on Water Country USA tickets? Act fast: You only have two days left to take advantage of their 30th Anniversary sale to get tickets for only $30 each. The deal ends June 15 (hmm, what a great Father's Day gift).

Of course, if you miss that deal, I have more ways to save at the park, including how to get $3 off their Summer Sizzler pass that lets you visit all season long for one price!

Here's how to get these deals.

Colonial Williamsburg - How to See it For Less

See Colonial Williamsburg for Less: Getting in for "Free," Summer Admission Deals, Virginia Residents & Military Discounts, Money-Saving Package Deals, Top 5 Sights, and Busch Gardens Packages...

Continue reading "Colonial Williamsburg - How to See it For Less"

Freebies for Father's Day

I keep coming across freebies for Father's Day which are sure to make dad happy. Check these out:

- Free admission for dads June 15 (when accompanied by a child) at James Madison's Montpelier
- Free admission for dads June 15 (when accompanied by a child) at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest
- Free admission to Nauticus (not just for dads!) on June 14

Plus, check out these freebies and deals for the Richmond area thanks to RVA on the Cheap.

Not free, but a deal:

- Save 15% on a Spirit of Norfolk Father's Day cruise when you use the code "DAD15"
-Dad rides free with any paid ticket to Segway of Richmond when you purchase it by June 15.
- Kings Dominion season pass holders can purchase up to six tickets for friends (including dads) for $15.99 on June 15

Poplar Forest Free for Dads on Father's Day

Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest is offering free admission to dads (when accompanied by a daughter or son) on Father's Day, June 15.

Besides being the first octagon-shaped house in America, Poplar Forest is perhaps best-known for being the "secret hideaway" Jefferson retreated to when the British tried to nab him at Monticello during the Revolutionary War.

The house will also offer free admission on Smithsonian Day, September 27 (Go to http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/ to find and print your ticket). It also offers free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Richmond Shakespeare Festival Discounts

Attend the Richmond Shakespeare Festival's performance of "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" on June 12 or 13 and you'll get $5 off the regular admission price (you'll pay $25 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students).

Regular performances are "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," June 12-July 6and "Richard III" on July 10-August 3. Performances are Thursdays-Sundays at 7:30 pm at Richmond's Agecroft Hall.

For details, go to Henley Street Theatre.

Free Concerts, Jazz, and Glass Demos

If you love classical music, jazz, or other live entertainment, check out these wonderful (mostly free) events:

- Jazz Cafe at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts - Every Thursday from 6 - 9 pm at the museum's Best Cafe, enjoy free live jazz. Food and drinks are available for purchase (and don't miss the museum - it's free!).
- Second Fridays Wine Tasting at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts - It's free from 6 pm to 8 pm. On First Fridays from 5 pm to 8 pm, they offer free entertainment and Happy Hour specials on beverages all evening and free half-hour gallery tours at 7 and 7:30 pm.
- "Flowers After Five" at Lewis Ginter - The second Thursdays of each month at 5 pm (June through August), enjoy free live music (plus family activities and Water Play) at Richmond's Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. Free with admission to the Gardens. For details, go to www.lewisginter.org.
- Free Glass Demonstrations at Norfolk's Chrysler Museum - Tuesdays through Sundays at noon, enjoy free glass demos at their Glass Studio building. Also, on the third Thursday evenings of the month at 7 pm, they offer live music, a cash bar, and glass performance art. It's just $5 per person.

For more free or cheap entertainment in southeast Virginia, click here.

Recent Articles

  1. Three Things I'll Do Next Time I Fly

    Jul 20, 14 09:40 PM

    After flying to 40 countries I thought I'd learned it all about air travel. But as I sat on the plane last night returning from a trip to the West coast I suddenly realized three things I'll do next time I fly. 1) Bring bleach wipes: Yep, I'd brought Wet Wipes to clean off my seat area, having learned long ago that airplane seat armrests, tray tables, and seat pockets are teeming with bacteria. But after all the funky germs we keep hearing about in the news (e.g., MRSA) and sitting there thinking how many people had probably touched that seat area since the last good scrubbing, I wish I'd brought bleach wipes. Next time.
    2) Bring a little vial of "odor protector": Can't believe this has never happened to me before, but the guy next to me absolutely reeked of mold, having obviously left his clothes in the washing machine for a week. How'd you like to sit next to that for five hours? My sister-in-law likes to travel with a dab of peppermint oil or a little Vicks Vapor rub under her nose when she flies. Now I know why. So next time, I'm bringing a little vial of my favorite perfume as a little odor defense if I need it.
    3) Fly Virgin: One word comes to mind after flying Virgin America for the first time. "Wow." Just "wow." They make flying fun again! Everything, from the music they play at check-in, to the friendly staff and flight attendants (who all seem to love their jobs compared to staff on other airlines who often seem basically fed-up and sometimes curt) to their hilarious and brilliant safety video, to the fact that my luggage was waiting for me in Baggage Check BEFORE I even got down there, they made me a Virgin believer!

    Read More

  2. Free Fourth of July Fireworks in Virginia

    Jul 01, 14 03:36 PM

    Just four days left until July 4th-- do you have your fireworks show planned yet? On my Fourth of July Fireworks page, I'll tell you about a number of festive ways to spend your Independence Day, including fireworks shows at Colonial Williamsburg, Hampton, Virginia Beach, Yorktown, Monticello, and more.


    Read More

  3. Michie Tavern July Discount

    Jul 01, 14 02:51 PM

    In a continuing sign that it pays to be a Virginia resident, during the month of July, Virginians can get $4 off lunch weekdays at Charlottesville's Michie Tavern, or $2 off lunch on weekends. Coupons are good for up to four people to enjoy authentic, colonial-style fried chicken, barbeque pork, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas, stewed tomatoes, green beans, biscuits, and more. (Note: You must bring in this coupon and proof of residency.) After lunch, you can take the tavern's self-guided tour and learn all about 18th century tavern life, from tea "bricks," how their paid to smoke pipes by the inch, why colonial baby bottles were so deadly, and the origins of the "toe-stir." Here's why a visit to Michie Tavern is the perfect way to start off your summer-- and how you can visit nearby Monticello for "free."

    Read More

Recent Articles

  1. Three Things I'll Do Next Time I Fly

    Jul 20, 14 09:40 PM

    After flying to 40 countries I thought I'd learned it all about air travel. But as I sat on the plane last night returning from a trip to the West coast I suddenly realized three things I'll do next time I fly. 1) Bring bleach wipes: Yep, I'd brought Wet Wipes to clean off my seat area, having learned long ago that airplane seat armrests, tray tables, and seat pockets are teeming with bacteria. But after all the funky germs we keep hearing about in the news (e.g., MRSA) and sitting there thinking how many people had probably touched that seat area since the last good scrubbing, I wish I'd brought bleach wipes. Next time.
    2) Bring a little vial of "odor protector": Can't believe this has never happened to me before, but the guy next to me absolutely reeked of mold, having obviously left his clothes in the washing machine for a week. How'd you like to sit next to that for five hours? My sister-in-law likes to travel with a dab of peppermint oil or a little Vicks Vapor rub under her nose when she flies. Now I know why. So next time, I'm bringing a little vial of my favorite perfume as a little odor defense if I need it.
    3) Fly Virgin: One word comes to mind after flying Virgin America for the first time. "Wow." Just "wow." They make flying fun again! Everything, from the music they play at check-in, to the friendly staff and flight attendants (who all seem to love their jobs compared to staff on other airlines who often seem basically fed-up and sometimes curt) to their hilarious and brilliant safety video, to the fact that my luggage was waiting for me in Baggage Check BEFORE I even got down there, they made me a Virgin believer!

    Read More

  2. Free Fourth of July Fireworks in Virginia

    Jul 01, 14 03:36 PM

    Just four days left until July 4th-- do you have your fireworks show planned yet? On my Fourth of July Fireworks page, I'll tell you about a number of festive ways to spend your Independence Day, including fireworks shows at Colonial Williamsburg, Hampton, Virginia Beach, Yorktown, Monticello, and more.


    Read More

  3. Michie Tavern July Discount

    Jul 01, 14 02:51 PM

    In a continuing sign that it pays to be a Virginia resident, during the month of July, Virginians can get $4 off lunch weekdays at Charlottesville's Michie Tavern, or $2 off lunch on weekends. Coupons are good for up to four people to enjoy authentic, colonial-style fried chicken, barbeque pork, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas, stewed tomatoes, green beans, biscuits, and more. (Note: You must bring in this coupon and proof of residency.) After lunch, you can take the tavern's self-guided tour and learn all about 18th century tavern life, from tea "bricks," how their paid to smoke pipes by the inch, why colonial baby bottles were so deadly, and the origins of the "toe-stir." Here's why a visit to Michie Tavern is the perfect way to start off your summer-- and how you can visit nearby Monticello for "free."

    Read More

Daily Deals & Discounts!