Valentine's Day might be just around the corner, but lovers aren't the only ones who should consider a getaway in Virginia right now. Old Dominion is a great place for families to grab some affordable fun this winter, thanks to money-saving travel deals designed with parents in mind.
Save 30% at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg
Virginia's Kingsmill Resort & Spa (www.kingsmill.com) is set on 2,900 protected acres along the James River, in the heart of the state's "historic triangle" of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. Just minutes from Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens, the resort is a convenient jumping off spot for families who've come to visit Williamsburg, but there's plenty to do without ever going off-property. Kingsmill boasts three -- count 'em -- three championship golf courses, indoor and outdoor pools, biking and hiking trails, tennis courts, fishing, canoeing, plus a line-up of kids-only fun that includes a day camp, kids' night out, and spa treatments just for little ones.
Kingsmill has just put a tempting Early Bird special on the table: Stay for a minimum of two nights before March 15 and you can save 30% off the resort's best available rates. When we test-booked this offer on a two-night weekend stay in March for a family of two adults and two kids, we landed a nightly rate of $90 for a double room overlooking the resort. That is, in fact, 30% less than the best available rate of $129 a night for the same room category and travel dates.
Since the discounts apply across all room categories, you save even more when you upgrade. For example, you could snag a two-bedroom suite for $181 a night, 30% less than the regular price of $259.
Whale-Watching Package in Virginia Beach
Each winter, the food-rich waters of the Chesapeake Bay entice humpback and fin whales to spend time off the shoreline of Virginia Beach. An easy and increasingly popular way to catch a glimpse of these amazing creatures -- which can reach more than 50 feet long -- is to take a whale-watching cruise.
The Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau has put together a winter Whale Watching package (www.vbfun.com/visitors/articles/winterGetaway/) that includes two nights of lodging at one of 20 participating hotels, tickets for a whale-watching cruise, plus admission to the Virginia Aquarium (www.virginiaaquarium.com) and tickets to a film at its IMAX theater. Prices start at $83 per person, but can go higher depending on which hotel you choose. To find out if this package is a good deal for families, we crunched the numbers on a two-night March weekend stay for a family of two adults and two kids under 12 at the Courtyard by Marriott, one of the participating hotels.
The package includes:
- Two-night stay in a double room (worth $159/night x 2 nights = $318)
- Four tickets to two-hour whale-watching cruise (normally $28/adult x 2 + $24/child x 2 = $104)
- Four tickets to Virginia Aquarium (valued at $17/adult x 2 + $12/child x 2 = $58)
- Four tickets to IMAX film at the aquarium (worth $8.50/adult x 2 + $7.50/child x 2 = $32)
If you booked these elements on your own, you would pay $512 for a two-night stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in March. The package price works out to $97 per person, so a family of four would pay $388. This translates to a savings of almost 25%.
It's worth noting that there are plenty of variables with this offer and the savings is different for every property. For example, at the Virginia Beach Hotel & Conference Center, the differential between the package and non-package prices works out to just 12%. In addition, availability differs from hotel to hotel, so it pays to persevere to find a hotel with availability for your desired travel dates. The promo indicates that breakfast is included at some properties, but that's the case only at hotels where a complimentary breakfast is always provided.
The fine print: The promotion runs through March 12, with a minimum stay of two nights. The package must be booked and pre-paid at least three days before the stay, and there's a 72-hour cancellation policy.
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