Summer vacation plans from the morning crew

We’re dong something fun this week. The morning crew is planning get-aways for you and your family. The only rule, it has to cost less than $1,000.

Johnette’s Family Vacation Plan – Shawnee Tree House
My family getaway is a camping trip….but not just any camping trip. We’re going to have electricity, ladies, so we can fix our hair. We’re going “glamping”. We’ll have a shower, a bathroom, even air conditioning! What makes it exciting though is we’ll be living in a tree house, 24 feet in the air, just like Swiss Family Robinson!

We’re going to Timber Ridge Outpost in Hardin County, Illinois where you can rent your very own tree house. The largest sleeps six people! You can pitch a tent down below for those who want to rough it!

The cost for the tree house is $165 a night during the week. $215 on weekends.

During the day we’re going to hike the Shawnee Forest. We’re about four miles from Garden of the Gods. Rim Rock is 5 miles away….as is Pounds Hollow Lake.

Here’s how it breaks down….two days in the tree house $330 in the middle of the week…$50 for gas….$100 for food: hotdogs, marshmallows, soda, chips and snacks….All the natural beauty and fresh air is absolutely free!

Mike’s Family Vacation Plan – Memphis, Tennessee
I’ve put together a weekend trip for you in a city that’s become special to me over the years, Memphis. I go there every year for St. Jude.

Our first stop is near St. Jude, and it’s paradise if you love to hunt, fish, or camp. The former Memphis Pyramid is now a giant Bass Pro Shop. This one has restaurants and a hotel — free admission, but be careful and don’t blow your budget once you get inside!

I’m going to suggest you to stay at the Double Tree in downtown Memphis because it’s walking distance from all kinds of great food and shopping. I won’t even begin to suggest a good restaurant because they’re all good. I’ve eaten literally dozens of meals in Memphis and haven’t had a bad bite yet.

The Double Tree is also directly across the street from Auto-Zone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds. Minor league baseball is great; it’s cheaper than the major leagues, and you get to see some of the St. Louis Cardinals of tomorrow before they become major leaguers.

After a fun night at the ballpark, take Mom to a Sunday brunch – after all, if she’s endured baseball and sporting goods, she deserves a break. Then check out of the hotel and head to the Memphis Zoo. It’s a world class zoo that features giant pandas Ya Ya and Le Le, just to name two of the star attractions. Hey parents, if you spend the whole afternoon at the zoo, that means you’ll have two tired & sleepy kids for a nice quiet drive back Sunday night!

I budgeted two tanks of gas at $80, and went on-line to price one-night stay at the Double Tree for $203, 4 tickets behind the Redbirds’ dugout for $103, $50 for a family of four to get in to the zoo plus $5 parking. I budgeted $250 for meals for a total of $691. That leaves $309 of our $1000 budget for the Three S’s (shopping, souvenirs, snacks) but you can always cut back in some areas. There are cheaper hotels and you can also take a blanket and sit on the outfield grass picnic area at the Redbirds’ game for $5 a person.

Finally, if baseball, panda bears and Bass Pro just aren’t for your family, Memphis has Graceland, Beale Street, the Peabody…the list goes on. Head south, have fun!

Mychaela’s Family Vacation Plan – Reelfort Lake, Tennessee

This is a three day get a way that will cost your family less than $1,000. You will start on a late Friday afternoon, you can leave home after work and probably make your first stop at a gas station.

We have set aside about $150 for gas and snacks for the road trip.  

The Famous Quake Lake has a lot to offer, including a water-front stay.  Camping for three nights will cost you about $75. That is only $25 a night.

How does $150/person sound for a family package, which includes parking and 3 days of fishing.  It also pays for an RV campsite, boat, motor, bait, gas for the boat and ice. This varies depending on which package you choose, but for some children 12 and under are free.

Do not forget about food! Mychaela set aside about $250 for groceries so you can grill and roast at your campsite.

We have set aside another $100 in case you want a treat at a local restaurant like Boyettes Dining Room, Blue Bank Fish House and The Pitt BBQ.

Since you have already paid for that family package, Saturday will be a pretty cheap day.  You can take the kids out on a boat to fish and of course you will spend time eating lunch with those hot dogs and snacks we mentioned before.

Spend the evening around the fire: telling stories, singing songs and firing up the grill for a big meal of steak and potatoes.

Before the fun ends on Sunday, spend the morning exploring the campgrounds and getting to know the people vacationing with you.

Go out on the boat for sunbathing and fishing and stop at one of those restaurants we mentioned before for lunch before you head out for the weekend.  That money is already included in the budget.

You will have to clean up your campsite before you leave, so we have set aside $10 for regular cleaning supplies.

Depending on which campsite and package you prefer, the total trip to Reelfoot Lake for three nights will cost your family about $750! For more information about Reelfoot Lake, TN, click here

Now that you have read about all three vacations, we want to know which one you think is the best. Vote for your favorite using the poll below. The winner will be announced Friday morning.

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