While it is nice to imagine a luxury trip without worrying about finances, most of us have to consider costs when making plans. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick with TV shows and video games for entertainment. With a reasonable budget in mind, we researched fun activities that are also friendly to the wallet and came up with these 13 spring activities that won’t break the bank. Add these plans into the mix to make your weekends enjoyable AND affordable.
1. Rent Kayaks or Paddleboards at Your Nearest Watersport Outfitter’s
Photo Credit: Scott K. Brown
More Information: Although prices vary depending on location, most Virginia State Parks rent out kayak, canoe, and paddleboard equipment. Here are a few other companies that have affordable rentals:
- Riverbend Park in Fairfax: Kayak rentals start at $18/2.5 hr.
- Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield: Kayak and paddleboard rentals start at $15/hr.
- Adventure Parasail & Rudee Inlet Jet Ski in Virginia Beach: Kayak rentals start at $25/hr.
2. Admire Exotic blooms at the Botanical Gardens
Photo Credit: Matt Long, @landlopers
- Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond: $14 for adults, $8 for children 3-12, children under 3 are free.
- Norfolk Botanical Gardens: $16 for adults, $14 for children and youth 3-17, children under 2 are free.
- Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna: $6 for adults, $3 for children and youth 6-17, children under 6 are free.
- Williamsburg Botanical Garden at Freedom Park: Free admission.
3. Discover the Wonders of the World at a Museum
- Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond: Adults $16, children 6-12 $13.50, preschool 3-5 $10
- Children’s Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth: Adults $11, children and youth 2-17 $10
- National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly: Free admission, parking $15
- Museum of the Middle Appalachians in Saltville: Adults $5, children 6-12 $3, children under six free
- Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville: Adults $10, children and youth 3-18 $5, free for children under three
4. Attend a Festival in Virginia
Photo Credit: Corey Pittman, @mainfocusmedia
More Information: Prices vary for each event, but many are free or less than $16.
5. Pick Tulips and Daffodils at Burnside Farms
More Information: Entry is $19 per person during the week and $21 per person during the weekends. Children under six are free. Five flowers are included with admission.
6. Take the Bikes Out on a Trail Day
Photo Credit: Preethi B. Harbuck
More Information: Free entrance to trails, although some parks may require an entrance fee.
7. Explore the Wilderness at One of Virginia’s National Parks
Photo Credit: Bill Crabtree, Jr.
More Information: #FindYourPark. Entrance fees vary, but the park service has several fee-free days during 2023.
- Shenandoah National Park: Bike and walking fee is $15 per person
- Assateague Island National Seashore: $25 per vehicle for seven day pass
- Blue Ridge Parkway: Free
- Cumberland Gap: Free
8. Play a Round of Miniature Golf
Photo Credit: April Greer
- Wilderness Presidential Resort in Spotsylvania: $2 per person.
- Mulligan’s Golf Center in Harrisonburg: Adults $7.50, children 4-12 $6, children under 4 $3 or free with paid round.
9. Learn about Interesting Animals from Around the World at the Zoo
Photo Credit: Sam Dean, @sdeanphotos
- Metro Richmond Zoo: While adult tickets are $23.95, children 2-11 are $17.95, and children under two are free.
- Virginia Zoo in Norfolk: Adults $17.95, children 2-11 $14.95, children under 2 free (for a limited time, all tickets are only $11 due to ongoing construction)
- Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke: Adults $10, children 3-11 $8, children under 2 free
- Luray Zoo: Adults 13 and up $12, children ages 3-12 $6
10. Cheer on a Local Team at a Minor League Baseball Game
Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson
- Norfolk Tides at Harbor Park– Tickets
- Fredericksburg Nationals at Pfitzner Stadium – Tickets
- Richmond Flying Squirrels at The Diamond – Tickets
- Salem Red Sox – Tickets
- Lynchburg Hillcats at City Stadium – Tickets
- Pulaski River Turtles at Calfee Park– Tickets
- Danville Braves at Legion Field – Tickets
11. Tour Virginia Caverns
Image courtesy of Luray Caverns
More Information: Here are some of the popular caverns that are less than $16:
- Gap Caverns in Ewing: Adults $8, children 5-12 are $4. No children under 5 admitted.
- Dixie Caverns in Salem: Adults 13 and over $14, children 5-12 $6, children under 5 are free.
- Endless Caverns: Adults 13 and over $25/tour, children 4-12 $14, 3 and under free
12. Take in a Scenic Sunset from a Lighthouse
Photo Credit: Chad Williams, @echadwilliams
- Cape Henry Lighthouse in Fort Story: Adults $14, student ticket $8
- Assateague Lighthouse: Free but donations recommended
13. Learn About Virginia’s Rich History
Photo Credit: Skylar Arias Adventures, @skylar_arias_adventures
More Information: Find all historic sites in Virginia, or visit a few of the popular destinations:
- Monticello: Gardens and Grounds are free to tour, house tours start at $10 for children and $32 for adults
- Patrick Henry’s Red Hill: Adults $8, students 6-17 $4, children five and under are free
- Jamestown: Adults 13 and up are $18, youth 6-12 $9, five and under free
- American Revolution Museum at Yorktown: Adults 13 and up $18, youth 6-12 $9
Although this is a good start, there are plenty of other inexpensive activities throughout the state that work with any budget. Tell us what your economical ideas are for spring fun in Virginia!
Updated phone number for alpaca tours at Smith Mountain Lake Farm, Morewood Rd., Hardy., VA. Reservations call 860-307-2143. Alpaca farm tours every day!
The price is for several museums plus the tree maze and the tour of the largest caverns. If you take a picnic lunch you can make it a nice day trip. If you have a fishing license there are two ponds for fishing .
Add Alpaca Farm Tours at Smith Mountain Lake Alpaca Farm! Located on Morewood rd, Hardy,VA Tours are daily! Call 540-719-0281 for your reservation to learn, hug, hold, and get your photos taken with over 50 alpacas! All ages, and large groups welcome.
Henricus Historical Park in Chesterfield County will take you back to the 17th centurywith costumed interpreters, re-created buildings, goats, pigs and chickens. $9 for adults and $7 for children. Also enjoy the 4.5 walking path and fishing docks for free.
Did you forget about the Roanoke area? I see only 3 options, if you count the BRP. Salem has a minor league baseball team, with tickets between $8-15. You can rent kayaks on Carvins Cove for $7-15 dollars for 1-2 hours, plus a $3 parking fee. Taubman Art museum is mostly free, and the Transportation Museum has admission for just $10. All of the Center In The Square museums are under $20/person as well for all day admission. Plus there’s multiple disc golf courses all over, ranging from free to well under $10.
thanks sooo much……great suggestions !!!
Just wanted to say thanks, I bought a new home in Front Royal by D.R. Horton and I love it, however, i wanted to go light on my wallet for a few months and this list was a life saver. thanks so much. and the comments are awesome.
Go to Luray! The most impressive caverns, a small nonprofit zoo (all rescue animals), festivals along the 2-mile scenic Greenway (even fishing contests for kids), bike races….. a small walkable town that is the way small towns were meant to be… friendly, convenient, accessible, beautiful
Did you catch the inexpensive part. Luray Caverns price is ridiculous.
^Exactly why they’re not on the list. I live 45 minutes from Luray Caverns and don’t go because of the price tag.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE FOR HANDYCAPPED WHEEL CHAIR
Petersburg has a baseball team – Petersburg Generals – play out by Richard Bland, tickets only about $4.00 . Nice little stadium.
Petersburg Generals are not playing in 2017. They were a member of the Coastal Plain League, a summer collegiate league that does not start playing until May 30 – not exactly Spring. Many Virginia towns have summer league teams, between the Coastal Plain League and the Valley Baseball League.