For a long period of time you’ve done a good job saving and putting money into your 401(k), so now it’s time to reward you and your family by going on a trip. However, you’re probably not ready to spend thousands of dollars on a dream vacation. Instead, it’s a good idea to go on an inexpensive weekend getaway. Luckily for you, I know just the place.
This past summer my family and I went on a road trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee and I was pleasantly surprised on how wonderful it was. Not only was there so much for my family and me to do there, but everything was so cheap. With wonderful indoor playgrounds, a fantastic aquarium, and scenic mountains, Chattanooga is a great place to be and is very accessible by car for a large portion of those living in the United States.
Below are six of the best reasons that Chattanooga is perfect for your family’s next weekend getaway on a budget.
One of Chattanooga’s best attractions is the Tennessee Aquarium. This top notch aquarium is a place where you and your family could spend an entire day seeing some spectacular creatures that are found in North America such as river otters, giant catfish, and many others.
For an additional $8 per ticket, you and your family can also enjoy the aquarium’s IMAX 3D theater, where you can be visually immersed in dangerous animal habitats such as the deep ocean and the African plains from the safety of your seat.
No matter what you and kids decide to do at the Tennessee Aquarium, you’re sure to have a great time, while learning a lot about animals from all over the world.
Good Dog and Clumpies are within walking distance of each other, which makes them a perfect combination great for when you and your family want to eat out. Good Dog is a gourmet hot dog restaurant, which includes several interesting and delicious takes on the hot dog. After that you can walk over to Clumpies for desert, where you can get handmade ice cream created with the finest ingredients.
Community pie makes their own pizza, beer, and ice cream, making this a great place for both you and your kids to enjoy a meal. They also sell pizza buy the slice, so anyone with picky tastebuds doesn’t have to compromise on their favorite toppings.
In my opinion, there’s no better free activity than going on a beautiful hike with your family, and Chattanooga provides many of such opportunities.
For a great family hike, check out Stringer’s Ridge. This is a trail with beautiful views of the outdoors that is also a smooth and easy walk for children. Several views from the trail overlook the city of Chattanooga and your family can drive to different points on the trail, allowing you to start and stop hiking wherever you please.
If you are looking for a great view and an even easier hike, drive up to Signal Point on Signal Mountain. Here, you can drive right up to the top of a hill and walk a few hundred feet down to one of the most spectacular mountain views you will ever see.
Both Stringer’s Ridge and Signal Point are great options for taking your kids outdoors in Chattanooga. However, there are several other great hiking trails. So when visiting Chattanooga, well free to ask around if you and your family are looking for a hike that’s a little bit more difficult.
Coolidge Park has several fun activities for kids to do such as a water fountain that the kids can play in, a carousel, and a rock wall under the bridge. In the summer, the park also shows a free movie on a giant blow up screen.
There’s not as many activities in Renaissance Park, however it is dog-friendly and has several great spots for grilling right off of the Tennessee River. This makes it a great place to grill up some food for the family for a cheap lunch or dinner.
Chattanooga has a rich locomotive history, and to preserve this history there are several train activities including museums, hotels, and of course, train rides.
You can start your day out by staying at the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel, which is a train-themed hotel in the heart of the city. There’s also a train museum and real train rides that will take you to adjoining towns.
Lastly, to see some more beautiful views, you can take a railcar down Lookout Mountain with the Incline Railway. For a little bit of extra money, you can purchase a ticket to the railway that also includes local attractions such as Rock City and Ruby Falls.
There are also a lot of physical activities to do indoors in Chattanooga, such as rock walls, jungle gyms, and trampoline rooms.
High Point Climbing and Fitness has two locations in Chattanooga, one downtown and one in Riverside. This fitness center includes climbing classes for all ages and skill levels, so you and your family will be able to enjoy themselves no matter how experienced of a climber you all are.
Superfly is a center for “air extreme sports” that’s also located in Chattanooga. Here, you and your kids can enjoy their several trampoline rooms and try to complete their challenging ropes course.
With all of the great things to do in Chattanooga, I hope that you check it out, so that you can give your family a small break from its usual routine. Because remember, it’s important to focus on enjoying yourselves a little bit, and then you can go back to focusing on when you can retire.