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10 summer bargains for frugal families

Taking the kids doesn't have to mean breaking the bank. We've rounded up 10 summer bargains for families who want to get away for some quality time.
Humpback whales at the mouth of Glacier Bay, Alaska.
Humpback whales at the mouth of Glacier Bay, Alaska.National Park Service / AP file
/ Source: Independent Traveler

Taking the kids doesn't have to mean breaking the bank. We've rounded up 10 summer bargains for families who want to get away for some quality time.

The Casa del Mar Inn & Suites at Vilano Beach in St. Augustine, Fla., is pampering their family guests with a package of fun during the months of June, July and August when they stay a minimum of two nights (Sunday through Thursday only).

The Casa del Mar Inn & Suites is on a barrier island just eight minutes across the Intracoastal Waterway from St. Augustine and 20 minutes from Ponte Vedra Beach.

The package includes:

  • Accommodations in a standard room with two queen beds
  • Historic tour aboard the St. Augustine Sightseeing Train (three-day pass)
  • Admission to the Old Florida Museum
  • Complimentary full breakfast buffet
  • $50 gasoline voucher

This is the year to take the long-awaited family vacation to Walt Disney World. For $1,500, a family of four can enjoy six nights' hotel accommodations at a Disney Value Resort and theme park tickets.

Pair this package up with one of our many airfare bargains and you and your family will be on your way to making great memories at Disney World. The price is based on two adults, one junior and one child occupying one standard room.

This deal from Sunburst Vacations lets your kids come along for free and stay at the all-inclusive Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach. Located on 26 tropical acres with a 1,200-foot stretch of gently sloping white sand beach, this resort puts the emphasis on fun, with a host of activities and entertainment to please just about everyone. A wide choice of water sports, a large swimming pool with a spacious sundeck, and tennis courts will fill the days. Live entertainment and the disco will make the nights sizzle. And for a limited time, you don't have to think twice about bringing the kids along.

Beaches is offering its fourth annual "Single Parent Friendly" promotion for stays through the end of May and from August 18 to October 31, 2006. Throughout the promotion, Beaches will waive the single supplement (up to $180 per night) for single parents traveling with children and will put on single-parent-friendly activities. These include receptions and kids' movie nights to allow parents to spend one-on-one time with their children during the day and partake in adult conversation and fellowship at night.

United Vacations is bringing the beach closer to your family by taking 50 percent off kids' airfare when you book a vacation, including flight and hotel, to Mexico or Jamaica.

For each adult on the reservation, you will qualify for a 50 percent rebate on one child's flight. Complete the Kids' Airfare Rebate form and send it in to United Vacations within 30 days of your return. Rebates will be issued in the form of your original payment method (credit card or check) approximately four to six weeks later.

The Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston is a 400-room luxury hotel located on the banks of the Charles River offering spectacular views of the Boston skyline. The "Summerfest" package starts at $169 per night and includes the following:

  • Complimentary bicycles
  • Free scenic boat rides
  • Complimentary use of the health club
  • Courtesy van service to shopping areas and historic sites
  • Discounts on double-decker bus tours of the city
  • Free ice cream from the hotel's outdoor ice cream cart every afternoon

Enjoy a four-day, three-night stay in the quaint seaside village of Kennebunkport at the Maine Stay Inn from just $597. Maine is a long-time favorite family getaway full of New England charm.

This package includes:

  • Three nights' lodging in one of the Maine Stay Inn's charming English Country Cottage Suites
  • Daily maid service
  • A full New England breakfast delivered to your door each morning in a wicker basket
  • Tickets to climb aboard the In Town Trolley for a narrated tour of Kennebunkport's major attractions
  • Daily beach pass, beach chairs, towels, umbrella and a bucket of beach toys for the kids
  • Afternoon tea time, cooling drinks and sweet desserts

The Queen Mary, once a mighty cruise vessel, has been transformed into a permanently docked floating hotel. The ship is renowned as a hot spot for paranormal activity, with countless reported ghost encounters over the past 70 years.

Kids will love hearing the ghost stories and exploring this historic ship -- and the Queen Mary "Family Package" makes it a breeze to book your stay. The rate is for two adults and up to two children and includes:

  • Accommodations in a first class family stateroom
  • Breakfast in the Promenade Cafe
  • Tour of the Titanic exhibits
  • Guided tours

Treat your family to a memorable vacation by the beach from $179 per night with this "Do the Zoo" Santa Barbara family getaway package from the Hotel Marmonte. Enjoy four tickets to the zoo, dining credit at the hotel restaurant and a disposable camera.

Available throughout the year, this special includes:

  • Deluxe accommodations, with two queen-sized beds
  • Four tickets to the Santa Barbara Zoo, for two adults and two children
  • $30 dining credit for use at Bistro Eleven Eleven or for in-room dining
  • Disposable camera to capture memories
  • Complimentary stuffed animals

Bring the kids and experience Alaska in luxury onboard RSSC's Seven Seas Mariner, sailing seven nights from Vancouver to Whittier. Children must sail as third or fourth passenger. Kids can enjoy Club Mariner, an educational program where they'll learn about whales, glaciers, icebergs, dolphins and eagles.

Rates start at $2,996.50 per person for the first and second passengers, and include a $300 shipboard credit per cabin. The ship sails weekly from May 20 through September 13, 2006 on an itinerary that includes scenic cruising along the Inside Passage and Hubbard Glacier, as well as calls in Ketchikan, Skagway and Sitka.