Family Beach Vacation

Kyle and I spent last week vacationing in the Outer Banks with my parents and siblings.  My family used to rent a beach house for a week every summer, many times in the Outer Banks, but we haven’t been on this type of vacation together in over 10 years, so it was rather a blast from the past.


My parents had no expectations of financial contributions from us for this vacation, which was wonderful – this was our birthday gift from them!




My parents paid for the house (I think the cost was between 1 and 1.5 k$), which actually slept 11 so there was plenty of room.  Plus, there was a hot tub!



(Side note: The uppermost level of the house had the living and dining areas, the kitchen, and the master bed and bath.  It had a wonderful square layout, and Kyle remarked that if we had been able to find a 1BR apartment with that square footage – I estimated 800 sq. ft. – and layout we could have downsized with our current move.  If the top floor of a house could have that layout, why not an apartment?)




My parents bought most of the groceries in their home area so they could minimize trips to the grocery store in the Outer Banks.  We brought a few grocery items with us that we had available at the time that we left.  We didn’t go out for a meal even once with my family (I guess they’re superfrugal too!), but ate well (and all day long) as my brother cooked for us several times and we cobbled together the rest of our meals individually.



My contribution to the family food – flaxseed meal pizza.



Kyle and I did go out for brunch the day that we drove back to Durham as we had packed up all the remaining food the night before to prepare for my parents’ departure early in the morning.  We went to a cute, well-reviewed breakfast place and spent $22.75.




The great thing about a beach vacation is that your entertainment is built-in: the beach!  Kyle swam and boogie boarded while I read my library books in the sand.  In the evenings we played games (which we brought from home), watched Breaking Bad on Netflix (we brought out Roku with us), and attempted a puzzle (provided by the house).



The only entertainment we paid for was to visit the Wright Brothers Memorial – beautiful, educational, and thought-provoking!  Did you know the Wright Brothers were self-funded?



Kyle also bought a football and Frisbee to play with on the beach, which I’m hoping our budget leftovers from this month will cover so we don’t have to draw it from our Travel account, since we’ll be able to use them beyond this trip.




We spent $66.38 on gas on the 7 hour round trip.





Is It Worth It?


I don’t know how eager I am to take another vacation paid and planned for by my parents.  I mean, a week at the beach for $100 is an amazing deal.  I’m totally grateful for my parents’ generosity in giving us this gift, but I think Kyle’s and my next vacation should be just the two of us.  I’d like to set our own agenda and have more alone-time.  I enjoy visiting my parents in my childhood home over weekends so maybe we’ll just focus on doing that more often.  Maybe once we have kids we can take another vacation like this with them – although I hope by then we’ll be paying our own way!


How was your summer vacation? Do you vacation with your parents and if so do you pay for yourself?


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18 Responses to "Family Beach Vacation"

  1. We are leaving in 17 days and I cannot wait!

    Yes, we usually take one vacation with my parents each year. We typically split the cost of the beach house 50/50…but we are older than you guys are (32) so we are past the age of letting mom and dad pay =) When you have kids, it will be awesome to go with your parents because they can watch the kids a little bit so you guys can go have some fun. That is what we do =)
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..SaveUp: A Rewards Program that Pays You to Save

    1. Emily says:

      You aren’t that much older… We are “real adults” in every respect but this! Maybe between now and kids we’ll vacation on our own (and practice paying out own way, obviously). I like the idea of going on this type of beach vacation with my parents once we have some babies. Plus by then we’ll probably be living on opposite coasts so we won’t have as many opportunities to see them.

      1. I didn’t mean you weren’t “real adults!” I’m sorry if I came off that way. I just mean that we have kids so we are old and boring already =)

        Anyways, vacationing with parents once you have kids is awesome! My little kids (3 and 1) go to bed at 7:30 p.m. so on vacation we get to go out at night and eat dinner, go night swimming, etc. while my parents stay in with them. They are asleep anyways so it doesn’t matter and my parents hardly go anywhere on vacation!
        Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..SaveUp: A Rewards Program that Pays You to Save

        1. Emily says:

          No, sorry, I wasn’t offended by what you said at all! Just that we really could and maybe should pay our own way since we’re not dependent otherwise. But we do accept gifts, which the vacation was…

          Sounds like a nice situation for everyone!

  2. Daisy says:

    I have vacationed with my parents and I pay for myself. My mom & I like to do similar things and my stepdad & the boy do as well so it works out.
    Daisy recently posted..Giveaway, Redesign & Second Blogoversary to Add Vodka!

    1. Emily says:

      Good for you! You’re ahead of us on that part of the adultness scale.

  3. Michelle says:

    Wow sounds like a great deal! Not to bring the post down, but I can’t vacation with my family (no one gets along with my mom and my dad has passed), but I would love to have one with the boy’s family. This is something that we have all been talking about and hopefully one day it actually happens.
    Michelle recently posted..Spending, Life, Income and Food Updates…

    1. Emily says:

      We want to vacation with my husband’s parents but there hasn’t been an opportunity yet. Getting used to different families’ modes of operation is one interesting challenge in marriage.

  4. Modest Money says:

    It is pretty sweet when the parents cover most vacation expenses like that. Several years back they paid for me to go visit them while they were working in the middle east. Then they covered most of the other expenses and cooked most meals. It was quite an experience. This summer I went out and visited them at their new house and was treated to a bunch of awesome home cooked meals. They even managed to sneak some money into my bag to help cover the gas to drive there and back. Since they are quite well off I don’t feel too guilty about accepting their generosity.
    Modest Money recently posted..Vehicle Insurance – Better Safe Than Sorry

    1. Emily says:

      Sounds like lovely times! I’m a bit concerned about my parents’ financial situation, though I do think they can better afford a vacation than we can. I got my mom to start reading Total Money Makeover while at the beach!

  5. bogofdebt says:

    It looks like you had a lot of fun. I didn’t go on a vacation but we’re saving up for next year (which of course doubles as the honeymoon) so that we can go on it with it being 100% paid for. My brother did come by this summer for a quick visit which meant I got to meet his girlfriend and see my nephews. And of course, he got to meet my fiance and his family.
    bogofdebt recently posted..Spending Recap 8/13-8/19

    1. Emily says:

      Our honeymoon I think was our big (paid by us) vacation for, like, our entire PhDs. That’s so nice you got to visit with your brother! Does he live quite far away? My parents and siblings only live 4 hours from us but we hadn’t seen them since Christmas, crazily!

  6. Looks like a fun trip, but you’re right, you need some real vacation time with your husband!
    Kathleen @ Frugal Portland recently posted..Some People are Really Creative

    1. Emily says:

      We managed to steal a few moments to ourselves during the week but we also wanted to take advantage of my family being close by… Better to separate the objectives.

  7. jefferson says:

    a parent-funded vacation is the very best kind, and we have had a few like that over the years.. that really looks like a great time, emily!
    jefferson recently posted..4 Great Uses for a Savings Account

    1. Emily says:

      Well, I only took pictures of the best parts. 🙂

  8. […] The cost of our beach vacation that we reimbursed from this account was $97.13. […]

  9. […] Madison, WI that we would like to attend but we haven’t yet RSVP’d or booked tickets/lodging.  Last summer and the prior one we vacationed with my family-of-origin so it feels a bit odd to be without any […]

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