It's high tech, yet full of history; metropolitan, but just a stone's throw from nature. In short, Huntsville, Alabama is an ideal family vacation destination! Read on for three budget-friendly tips.
1. There's nothing better than a scavenger hunt to get acquainted with a new place (and it's a great way to maintain the fun throughout the day, too). Brand new this year to Huntsville, the Lucky Duck Scavenger Hunt will have your little explorers on extra-alert as you make your way through Huntsville, eyes peeled for twelve bronze ducks. They're hidden at various venues throughout the town: pick up a sheet of clues at the Huntsville/Madison Country Visitor Center (or print it out beforehand).
2. Summer travel means the opportunity to take advantage of towns' offerings of concerts, street fairs, outdoor movies, etc., many of them free! It looks like Huntsville has a great summer lined up: check out About.com's round-up of free kid-friendly events, including free movies, weekly open-air concerts, and free museum admission. Visitor centers and town libraries are also great places to check for upcoming community shows and events.
3. Alabama's oldest hardware store, the Harrison Brothers Hardware Store, was operated by the Harrison family from 1879 until 1983, when it was taken over by the Historic Huntsville Foundation. Today, part store and part museum, it's a magical place to wander: old-fashioned tools, household goods, and other smaller trinkets line the store and climb the walls - good thing the hand-operated rope ladder is still in working order! Be sure to let the kids pick out some old-fashioned penny candy on the way out.
Accommodation tip: The Best Western Plus Rocket City Inn and Suites will put you in an ideal location to explore the city - and yes, there's a waffle station at breakfast!