Thursday, August 25, 2011

Budget Labor Day weekend ideas for East Tennessee


Are gas prices and economy woes making you rethink your Labor Day travel plans? Before you watch your vacation go up in smoke consider these budget travel tips. I've found them to be helpful through the years. Maybe you will too?

One of the best budget Labor Day trips that we took was only a short drive from home. We stayed overnight at a budget hotel, packed a cooler of drinks and sandwiches to take to a state park and came home the next day. It wasn't a long break but it was a great stress reducer.

Tennessee is filled with state parks and a few national parks. These are perfect for budget travel over Labor Day. Go early in the day to claim your spot. Kids (or adults) can dip their toes in a stream and the family can picnic on the bank. The Smoky Mountains are filled with these opportunities.

Dollywood may not cost as much as you might think. Their buffet restaurants are the best deals in the park. Families can eat for about the same price as for any buffet outside of the park. Their 'go after 3pm and get the next day free' plan helps make it affordable. Instead of loading up on soda ask for free cups of ice water from vendors. Add a flavoring packet from home and you are all set for budget Labor Day weekend travel.


Fishing and boating on East Tennessee lakes is a time tested tradition in these parts. Gear and a fishing license is a must. Chickamauga Dam in Chattanooga and some other TVA locations have a free lakefront beach. View the TVA website to find the location closest to you.

The Knoxville Museum of Art, World's Fair Park and Market Square Mall and the Old City have no admission fees. One Labor Day budget travel idea would be to see the museum, visit the fountains and veterans memorial in World's Fair Park. Then, go back home or to your hotel to clean up before heading to Market Square Mall or the Old City on Jackson Avenue.

Got more ideas for Labor Day budget travel around Knoxville? Leave them for others in the comments section below.