Believe it or not, gas price drama may actually be good news for stateside travelers looking to score deals on summer vacations. With industry analysts split over gas predictions, destinations and attractions are offering gas cards, travel packages and deals-a-plenty to attract the 80 percent of consumers who still plan to take a summer vacation despite gas prices (Orbitz, May 2011).
With flights to Europe close to $1,500, a stateside summer road trip to the “Paris of the South” could stave off staycation blues. One tank away from many destinations along the East Coast, Asheville offers budget-friendly options and cool mountain breezes as summer travel heats up.
- Free Gas: Get your tank filled for free – up to $25 of free gas per night – on your summer getaway with one of the new gas card travel packages.
- Biltmore Free for Kids: America’s Largest Home, Biltmore, is free for kids ages 9 and younger with paying adult. Starting Memorial Day weekend, youth ages 10-16 will be admitted for only $5, May 27–September 5.
- Free Events: The 2011 summer calendar is full of free entertainment, from the largest free outdoor music festival in the Southeast (Bele Chere, July 29-31) to free bluegrass and dancing under the stars (Shindig On the Green, July - Sept) to delicious days devoted to mountain honey (Sourwood Honey Festival in Black Mountain, Aug. 13-14).
- Combo Tours = Big Savings: Asheville attractions are teaming up to offer savings on popular tours and adventures. Try a riotous comedy tour (with a little history for good measure) and a zipline canopy adventure or a scenic mountain train ride that ends in whitewater fun.
- Free Splash: Leave your wallet at home for these refreshing water adventures including secret swimming holes, an interactive water fountain and a 60-foot natural water slide ($1/person).
- Go Blue Ridge Card : This multi-day, multi-attraction pass is a useful savings tool for unlimited access to more than 30 area attractions including Chimney Rock Park, white water rafting and Biltmore.
- Park & Play Attractions: Gas-free sightseeing is easy in a walkable city with more than 2,000 miles of hiking and biking trails nearby. The tourism office offers a handpicked list of fun, gas-saving Park the Car Adventures at CoolAshevilleSavings.com.
- Free Money: Ok…technically, we’re not giving away free money, but historic Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa is offering free gourmet breakfast and a $25 hotel gift card with their new summer package, “Bed, Breakfast & Bucks.”