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I'm looking to plan a vacation for my family of 5 to Washington DC. While I want it to be...

I'm looking to plan a vacation for my family of 5 to Washington DC. While I want it to be a great learning experience, I also want my children to have fun. I really need to be mindful of financial matters and try to find the best prices. I'm looking for a vacation toward the end of the summer, perhaps in August before the kids go back to school. At the time of the trip, My children will be 14, 7, and 6. I was reading through the questions people asked previously and I realize I'm asking the same things. However, I see the dates go back a little bit and I'm not sure how much has changed with the economy and such. I'm open to any advice I can get as far as what to do when we're there, the best places (affordable) to stay, and ways to save money in the process. I'm pretty savvy when it comes to saving money, especially on food costs and such while we travel. But, I need some serious help planning this vacation! Any takers will be much appreciated! Thankyou in advance.
  • An anonymous user
     asked this on February 19, 2011 at 02:27 PM
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Thanks for your question, Kleigh. Happily, DC's still a great wallet-friendly choice, with many of the best museums and attractions still fabulously free. Of course, the city in August is both hot and busy, so you should factor that in. Try to get down to the monuments and museums on the National Mall first thing when they open to beat the worst of the heat and crowds. (Also, carry lots of water, fruit, snacks, etc. walking between points.) I'm a big fan of the zoo as you can duck into indoor exhibits for the A/C, plus they have sprinkler sprays along the pathways to cool things down a bit. Talking of water, bike rides along the Potomac are a nice way to cool off as well as explore. You can rent bikes from or Hotels are usually cheaper at the weekends; try around Capitol Hill when the pols are out of town, plus look in surrounding neighborhoods in Arlington and Alexandria. You might look at the Hilton Garden Inn in Shirlington, which has decent rates, a small pool, and is convenient to a few restaurants, a grocery store, a nearby spray park for the younger kids, and is right off I-395 (15 mins drive from downtown, bus access to Metro.) Another option, if you like camping, would be to camp at somewhere like Pohick Bay Regional Park. You're within an easy drive of the downtown attractions, plus have access to activities like wildlife-watching kayak tours and a small water park with slides. Maybe worth a shot for a 2-3-night stay? (If you don't dig camping, they also offer cabins.) Give us a shout if you have other questions. Happy to help!
  • An anonymous user
     answered this on February 22, 2011 at 01:43 PM
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