- Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 July 2013 10:43
- Published on Wednesday, 03 July 2013 10:43
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When my nephews were visiting we wanted to do something with them that would be outdoors and different. Generally we fish often, or hunt or shoot, but this time we were going to expand things a bit, yet we did not want to do something we could not afford. When you have four kids in tow and not much money in the bank or your pocket, that can be a tricky thing to try to do.
The kids were energetic the first day and since I did not feel up for a long drive out of town as I had been out of town a lot lately, we chose to go to Caledon State Park. They wanted to go to the river, play on the beach and ride bikes. The trails that were approved for bike riding at Caledon were perfect for this and guaranteed that we would get our exercise as well. You can ride several miles on trails that are fairly smooth, yet hilly in some spots and offer rest points along the way. We rode straight down to the river and stopped there. The kids played on the beach and I sprawled out on the observation deck and rested while enjoying the briny air. Fortunately for us, we chose a very overcast day which kept the temperatures down. I also timed the trip to occur after a hearty breakfast but before lunch. This was the perfect half day trip. By the time we rode out of Caledon and to the truck, we were ready for lunch which we ate at home. The total cost for the trip was $3 for parking since we took our own water. I did not figure in the cost of fuel to drive to Caledon.
Caledon offers some neat activities for kids throughout the rest of the summer. Those include sunset kayak tours Jul. 13, 27, Aug. 2, 10, 24, 31 and Sep. 7. Moonlight kayak trips are also available twice a month through September. A fossil find trip is available four more times this year, Marsh Mania, 1 Fish 2 Fish, Geocaching, Owl Hayrides, Hummingbirds and Butterflies, Wilderness Survival Skills, hiking stick crafting, birding while biking through the park, eagle tours, star parties on the lawn and many other events are going on throughout the rest of the summer at Caledon. Reservations can be made by calling the park at (540) 663-3861. You can also go to the park to see the brochures, or go online at www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/events.html
On another day we chose to give Westmoreland State Park a try. This time we hitched up the old boat and stopped in Oak Grove for fuel and snacks. I knew this trip would be a bit more expensive, but I was keeping tabs on how much it was going to cost us to truly enjoy the half day of fun on the water. We had a big breakfast at home and then headed down the road. Our stop at the Shell station at Oak Grove cost us $43. That included Gatorades, several snacks and some fuel for the boat and for the truck to cover our trip. There were six of us.
Once we entered the park we paid another $6 to cover parking and the boat ramp and we were set. For less than $50 all of us drove to Westmoreland State Park, had plenty to hydrate ourselves with, plenty of snacks (we did not finish the snacks until later that evening) and enjoyed the river, looking for shark’s teeth, took a boat ride, and did a little fishing too.
We let the kids play ‘keep away’ with an old Nerf football in the water while I relaxed on the beach with my wife.
They found a few shark’s teeth, some shells, chased some crabs, watched an eagle snatch a fish out of the water and played in the sun until they grew tired. When we pulled up the anchor and headed back to the ramp just after lunch they were content. It was a good day for all of us and cost about what one Kings Dominion ticket would cost and yet six of us had a good time. Westmoreland State Park has a swimming pool, cabins to rent, a beach, fishing pier, freshwater pond to fish in and of course hiking trails to enjoy. There is also a camp store on site. If you are looking for inexpensive, outdoors and educational activities to do with your family I heartily encourage a trip to our local state parks.