Let Uncle Walt’s Insider and the Arizona Office of Tourism help you to have the inexpensive California vacation of your dreams!
So you want to take the family to California, but don’t have Hollywood-level celebrity cash in your bank account? Fear not! These money-saving tips from the travel experts at Uncle Walt’s Insider (with lots of advice and input from the Arizona Office of Tourism) will have you enjoying California’s “lifestyles of the rich and famous” on the “budget of a Denny’s parking lot attendant”! All it takes is a little creativity and a lot of outright lying to your family.
7. Driving to California? Stop short!
This is especially effective when your kids are little, and maybe they’ve never been to California before. Just pull over in Arizona somewhere and tell them you made it! There are a lot of great roadside attractions in Arizona that your kids will love. They’ll never know the difference!
6. Wine country paradise
Ah, the rolling hills of the Napa Valley, with vineyards stretching out in the mist. It’s a big draw for wine connoisseurs and lushes alike. But it’s also in, you know, California, and that can get expensive. Since you’re already in Arizona (see tip #7 above), why not check out our own great wine country? It only takes a quick look at the website of your friends at the Arizona Office of Tourism to find all sorts of Arizona wine country tours and events!
5. Setting your sights on the mountains of Yosemite? Flagstaff is cheaper.
Yeah, sure, Yosemite is gorgeous. We’ve seen pictures. But you know who else has mountains? Arizona! Flagstaff is a mountain town, folks! And you’re not going to find the Grand freakin’ Canyon in California, either.
4. San Francisco is great, but…
If you want to save money, San Francisco is really, really pricey. But no worries — they’re not the only place with a famous bridge! Arizona has this guy that paid to bring the London Bridge over from, uh, London, and rebuilt it right here! No, it doesn’t really look anything like the Golden Gate Bridge, but you could always visit it at night, or tell the kids the towers were being taken down for maintenance.
3. Hollywood is just plain weird
Have you even been to Hollywood??? Okay, stupid question, because if you’d ever been before, you certainly wouldn’t want to go again. Yeah, it looks glamorous, but the actual Hollywood Boulevard is just wall-to-wall crazy people. You’re much better off just enjoying it from a safe distance using Google Street View, and then going to see a movie at your local theater. (Or you can always enjoy one of the many popular film festivals in Arizona instead!)
2. Alternatives to the ocean
Maybe you’ve promised the kids a week on the beach at Malibu, or perhaps you and your spouse are longing for a romantic evening watching the sun set over the Pacific. Meh. We’ve seen it. It’s just a bunch of water. And it smells like fish. Hey, did you know the sun sets in Arizona, too? And we have lots more sand than Malibu ever dreamed of.
1. Disneyland on a dime
You know, there is so much hype over how cool Disney parks are, but we… we…. Aw, forget it, we’ve got nothing. Disney parks are amazing, and even we can’t pretend that Arizona has anything that compares to Walt Disney’s own Magic Kingdom. But a Disneyland vacation can be expensive, and there’s not much you can do to change that… so why not save up for your Disneyland vacation by using the tips in this article in the meantime?
We at Uncle Walt’s Insider hope this advice will help you to have the west coast vacation you’ve always wanted! Find more great California travel tips at VisitArizona.com.
Will you be traveling to Arizona for your California vacation this year? Let us know!
Cover photo of the California Sonora Desert, totally in California, just outside Tucson, by Cindy Devin [CC BY 2.0] via Flikr.