Put on your Louisiana Road Trip Vacation Pants

From a recent road trip around the Sabine Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana – 2016

In honor of my little sister moving to Louisiana, I am writing this post about taking an amazing Louisiana road trip for, as always, DIRT CHEAP.  We found some unbelievably reasonable airfare from California on Google Flights, and just had to plan a little road trip loop around mostly Louisiana and Mississippi.  We went in March, but we came back in August and checked out Northern Louisiana as well.   Get ready for some amazing Louisiana (with some Mississippi on the side) style adventures.  Here we go.

Continue reading

Put on Your Hot Springs, Arkansas Vacation Pants

13996301_10207167808298469_7710261437788041950_o

At the official Hot Springs National Park entrance in Hot Springs, Arkansas. August -2016

In August we flew to Northern Texas because my baby brother got married.  My husband reminded me that I had never been to Arkansas, so we had to plan a little road trip out of Texas while we were out there.  We wound up in Hot Springs, Arkansas for a four night trip, and let’s just say, this place was made to be blogged about.  Hot Springs, Arkansas is the home of Hot Springs National Park and it is exactly what it sounds like.  People at the turn of the century flocked to Hot Springs to take advantage of all the bath houses that sprouted up in the town due to the natural hot springs in the area.  Well, eight of the original buildings remain standing today, and two of them are still working bath houses.  Read on to find out how you can plan an amazing adventure to this fantastic place.
Continue reading

Put on your Treehouse Hotel Vacation Pants

Out ‘n About Treesort located in Talkilma, Oregon. -2011

The Vacation Pants family goes on a unique trip to Medford Oregon.  Included in this budget friendly trip are stays in a treehouse resort, beach hikes, Star Wars filming locations and, good food.


Trip Overview
This is probably the trip that I get asked about the most.  Interestingly enough we took this trip in March of 2011, right after I had our second child, Luke.  He was only five months old at the time.  It was our first BIG trip as a new family of four.  I was working part-time and we had very little money.  We got some money back from our tax refund (a great way to take a trip) and we wanted to use the money to go somewhere far, but cheap.  Using Google Flights, we found the cheapest possible place to fly during our time off. (This is how we plan a lot of our trips.  More on that later). In this case, a flight to the town of Medford, Oregon popped up for $138 round trip, including all taxes and fees.  We knew nothing about the area, but we were intrigued.  With airfare that cheap, we could take a week long trip for less than our tax refund. So we looked to see what there is to do in and around Medford, Oregon.  That is when we found the Out ‘n About Treesort in Talkilma.  The treesort is located about an hour outside of Medford.  We were amazed that we could stay in a real treehouse, so that sold the trip for us.  We ended up renting a car and doing a little road trip around Southern Oregon and Northern California that I will go in to great detail about.

Trip Itinerary

Overall this was a 6 day, 5 night trip.  The cheapest days to fly are usually Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  So often this determines the length of our trip.


Day 1: Flew from Los Angeles, CA to Medford, OR.  We stayed at a local motel in Grants Pass.

Day 2:  Traveled to Talikma, Oregon to stay at the Out ‘n About Treesort.
Day 3: Traveled to Crescent City, CA to stay at the Curly Redwood Lodge
Day 4/5: Crescent City, CA
Day 6: Traveled back to Medford, OR to depart from the airport to return home.

Google Map It – Click a link for a map to the round trip road trip we took from the Medford, OR airport.


Trip Budget


Remember we go places that are cheap at the time of our vacation.  Prices will vary, but this is what we paid at the time in March of 2011.


  • Airfare – $138 per person, round trip, from Los Angles, CA to Medford, OR.  We booked the airfare through Allegiant Airlines.
  • Rental Car – $203 dollars for whole trip.  It was an Avis Rental Car that we booked on priceline.com.  It was the lowest published price at the time.  We booked an economy car with unlimited mileage.  They did not have free additional drivers at Avis, so I joined their rewards program for free, and one of the perks is a free additional driver, so both my husband and I were able to drive the car.
MVP (My Vacations Pants) Trip Tip: Find out what works best for you and your family BEFORE leaving on your trip. It is easy to get stressed when traveling, especially with small children.  My husband, Phil and I have roles on our vacation that we very much stick to.  For example, I do all the clothes packing for out trips, but Phil brings in all the luggage when we get to a hotel.  Phil does most of the driving on road trips, I navigate on google maps, and use my Trip Advisor app to find good places to eat. Also, if we are all cozy in a hotel room, I run out and get us some food in the rental car.  That’s why I sign up for additional driver.  This is what works for us, what works for you?
  • Gas – You can estimate how much gas you are going to use on a trip by using https://www.fueleconomy.gov/.  All you do is put in your itinerary in the map section.  Put what kind of car you will be driving and the website will give you a pretty amazing estimate of how much money you will be spending on the gas.  For the entire trip, driving an economy car, it will be about $14.70.  I am going to round up to $25.00 for the cost of side trips, and then you have to fill up the tank before you return it to the rental car place, so I calculate for this amazing road trip it will cost about $50 for the entire trip.  
MVP Trip Tip: Don’t prepay for your gas at the rental car place.  It is usually way more expensive than gas you can get right outside of the airport.  
  • Hotel – $307 for a five night trip.  The most expensive lodging is obviously the Treesort.  Also note, that since we went in March (summer months are their more expensive months) the Treesort was way more affordable.  
  • Activities – 
    • Jedidiah Smith State Park – $8
    • Ocean World – $12.95 a person, but kids under 3 get in free, so our kids were free at the time.  Children ages 3-11 are $7.95 a person.  
    • Bowling – We spent about $25 for shoe rentals for three, and two games of bowling.  Go midday during a weekday for the best deals.  
Trip Grand Total – $1041 – This total is based on 2 adults, one child, and one infant in your travel party.


MVP Trip Tip:  I don’t include food in our trip budgets because you have to eat every day anyway.  Food should already be in your budget at home.  You may spend more on eating out on vacation, but you can also go to a local grocery store and brown bag it.  We do a combination of both on our trips and we wind up spending close to what we spend at home for a week.


Trip Lodging


  • Buona Sera Inn, located in Grants Pass, Oregon.  This was cute little motel with uniquely decorated rooms.  We thought it was perfect for a one night stay.  What makes it special: It has beautiful murals painted around the hotel and cute rooms that are all decorated in their own unique theme.  I can’t remember what we paid for it, but you can book a room through their website for $52 a night right now.  Don’t forget about these independently run inns and motels.  Many of them are hidden, affordable gems. 
  • Out ‘n About Treesort, located in Talkima, Oregon.  We stayed in the Treezebo.  This was truly a unique and memorable experience.  You had to take a series of rope bridges and staircases to your room 45 feet above the ground.  You can then use a pulley system to lift your luggage to your room.  The room has a sink and a toilet, but showers are down on the ground in a shower house.  There are some treehouse rooms that do have a private shower, but they cost a lot more.  What makes it special:  You are staying in an actual treehouse for goodness sakes!  It is like a Swiss Family Tree House dream come true.  They also have several activities at the treesort like a swimming hole, ropes course, giant swings, fire pit, etc.  Fun for the whole family.  We only stayed one night because the place books up far in advance, so we got a last minute room there.  We paid $125 for the one night.
     
     
  • Curly Redwood Lodge located in Crescent City, California.  Their website links do not work, so you have to call to book a room.  At the time we called and they gave us a large room with two queen beds for $65 a night. Here is a tip: if you cannot book online because they don’t have those capabilities, you can often get some killer deals.  What makes it special:  It is right across the street from the harbor. All of the wood in the hotel was made from one huge curly redwood tree that produced over 57,000 feet of lumber.  It’s a marvel to be seen.  





Trip Activities


  • The treehouse resort has built in activities that are included in your stay.  We explored the grounds and found a ropes course, a swimming hole (it is closed in the winter, or at least too cold to go in), trails to hike around, rope bridges and swings, a net play area, a campfire etc. 



  • Tsunami Lanes – We went bowling.  Bumper bowling is especially fun on a rainy evening.  
  • Beachfront Park – Amazing park with fort like structures and super amazing swings for young children.  THIS PARK WAS FREE!!!

  • Ocean World – It was very small aquarium in Crescent City, but fun for our young children.  They have a touch tank and a seal show.  




     


  • Crescent Beach – We walked on the beach and had a blast.  It was a beautiful walk.  





  • Jedidiah Smith Redwood State Park – We went here and it was like driving through the Ewok planet in Return of the Jedi.  Why?  Because this area is where those scenes in the movie were shot!  Gorgeous foliage and beautiful, huge, and ancient redwood trees.  It cost $8 for our whole vehicle to drive through the park.  



Trip Eats


  • Chart Room Marina and Restaurant – This was our splurge for the trip.  The restaurant is situated right on the water and it was right across the street from the hotel.  The food was good, but pricey, but we know you’re paying for waterfront dining as well.  Kid Friendly:  YES. They brought Audrey a jar of crayons and some coloring pages.  
  • Wild River and Brewing Company – We knew this was a local hangout as soon as we walked in.  The pizza was good and I didn’t get any weird stares from breastfeeding my son in public.  They also had a fun little hike right in the parking lot, so that was cool too.  


Overall this was a fantastic trip that you will not regret taking with your young family.  I mean, come on, don’t you want to be one of the few people that has stayed in a treehouse hotel?  People asked us all throughout the trip why we would fly to Medford, Oregon on vacation,  but you can see from these pictures that it was a world class trip in an unexpected location.  It is a testament to the fact that there is adventure everywhere, you just have to look for it.
This was also an important trip for our little family because I wanted my kiddos to be trained at a young age on traveling and adventuring.  Now my kids are 7 and 5 years old and they have been to many cool places.  They love hotels and they love traveling.  I think it all comes back to this trip that I took my 2 year old and my 5 month old on.  It was a fantastic introduction.  


Follow My Vacation Pants on:


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/myvacationpants/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/myvacationpants/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/myvacationpants

Trip Links

http://www.tripadvisor.com/members/Vecchio7
https://www.allegiantair.com/
http://treehouses.com/joomla/index.php/treesort
https://www.google.com/flights/