Cheap Summer Vacation Series: Blue Ridge Parkway

If you’re looking for a beautiful vacation that will be big on memories and cheap on your wallet, then you should check out Blue Ridge Parkway. We rode a portion of it when we were outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Our friends enjoy the outdoors and they invited us to hang with them for a weekend trip.

My husband and I wanted to try something different and having a little getaway camping trip seemed like the perfect plan.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a national park that you can actually drive on. It’s 469 miles connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. It’s very scenic and as you travel, you can stop at spots, have a picnic or walk around and enjoy the views.

Looking for resources, here are two of my favorites:

As you can see in the photos, the drive was amazing and we got to stretch our legs and relax in some beautiful settings.

Where to Stay

Being so close to Asheville, you really have many options on where to stay. There are hotels, bed and breakfast, and campgrounds. You have decide what’s your style and when you’ll be heading out.

Since we went in early October to observe the leaves changing, the temperatures were still mild.  Our friends are experienced campers, so they had everything you could possibly need on the trip. The campgrounds also had hot shower facilities and laundry on site.

Here are some recommended places if you’re looking for a place to rest your head:

You can stop or start anywhere, but I really recommend being around Asheville. It’s a great sized city with plenty of nightlife and sights to see.

Not Breaking the Budget

We stayed at a small campground in Balsam. We split the campground fees with our friends. I believe it was around $24/night for a tent site with electricity and water. We slept comfortably in our tents and enjoyed our little spot by the creek. I believe cabins were available from $35-45/night, depending on size.

We bought a few items for the trip; happily, we use most of it still. My husband loves his hiking boots and we use the air mattress for out of town guests. Here’s a breakdown of what we spent:

  • Hiking Shoes (2 pairs) – $125
  • Queen size Air Mattress – $30
  • Thermals (4 pairs) – $40
  • Blanket – $15
  • Wool Socks – $7
  • Food (cooking stuff) -$30
  • Food (eating out) – $40
  • Gasoline – $50

Next time we go, most of the items won’t have to be bought again, so it’ll be much cheaper.

Thoughts on National Park Vacations

I have to say, we had an absolute blast with the camping trip. We got to recharge our batteries, see some beautiful mountains, and hang with friends. The added bonus was not having to spend a ton of money for it!  Have you explored some of our country’s wonderful parks?

This guest post is from Elle at Couple Money, helping others live on one income and have fun with the second.

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