The 4th of July is just around the corner, but there’s still time to plan an epic holiday that your family will be talking about for years. Even if money is tight, miles and points can save the day to ensure your weekend getaway fits into the budget. Here are six last-minute 4th of July getaways you can still book on points.
Fireworks in Our Nation’s Capital
The most patriotic place to watch fireworks has to be Washington, DC. You’re surrounded by incredible history. Best of all, so many of the popular attractions, like the Smithsonian and the monuments, that families love are free to enjoy. If you’re looking for suggestions, Mommy Points offers excellent tips for visiting DC during the 4th of July.
Normally, hotel rates can be high in the city. However, people who are in DC when Congress is in session are gone during the holidays, which can make hotel prices more reasonable.
For example, you can book the Grand Hyatt Washington for only 15,000 World of Hyatt points on the 4th of July. This is a huge savings over the $460 per night plus tax that you would pay using cash. And card holders can use the annual Category 1–4 free night certificate from the World Of Hyatt Credit Card. (Grand Hyatt Washington is a Category 4 property.)
Soak up the Caribbean Sun
With the holiday less than four weeks away, applying for a passport for your family is challenging (although not impossible). The good news is that there are Caribbean islands that families can visit that don’t require one.
Puerto Rico and St. Thomas are US territories that you can travel to using a driver’s license or state identification card. And the beaches and hotels are every bit as good as the Caribbean islands that you need a passport to visit. Your children will be building sand castles and splashing in the waves in no time.
In Puerto Rico, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Juan offers great rates for points or cash. You can’t go wrong with cash rates starting at $173 or 60,000 Hilton Honors points per night. The property is located in the Condado tourist district, which makes it easy for families to explore the city without venturing too far away from the hotel.
And remember that the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status so your family will enjoy space-available upgrades and free breakfast each morning.
You do not need to get on an airplane to go on vacation. There are plenty of amazing resorts throughout the US where your family can enjoy many activities and even be pampered. One of our favorites is the Hyatt Lost Pines. Since it’s about 30 minutes from Austin, you could even combine a relaxing resort vacation with a city flair.
This property features a 1,000-foot lazy river that is well shaded for the Texas summer. There is also a two-story waterslide, a small splash pad, an activity pool and a sandy zero-entry beach area for the little ones. Here you’ll find a kids’ club, plenty of daytime and evening activities and just overall fun. Or, if you’ve already been to this resort and want to try something new, you can always check out the Hyatt Hill Country Resort (15,000 World of Hyatt points per night).
During the 4th of July weekend, this property requires a two-night minimum but rooms are still available. Although rates are pushing $400 per night, you can still book a hotel room for 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night (and you will not have to pay the resort fees either when using points).
Shred the Ski Slopes in Mammoth Mountain
Skiing and summertime usually don’t mix, but when the West Coast receives a lot of winter snow, Mammoth Mountain stays open until at least 4th of July. I’ve snowboarded at Mammoth several times and it is one of my favorite mountains.
Mammoth was actually where my son, Timothy, learned how to snowboard. The powder is great and there are ski runs for all skill levels.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many major hotel brands in Mammoth to choose from. In this situation, you are better off booking a room using the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. When you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents toward any hotel.
I found the Sierra Nevada Resort & Spa, a family-friendly hotel, available on the 4th of July for only $185 or 12,333 Chase Ultimate Reward points per night.
On a side note, you can also book your ski or snowboard rentals through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
Theme-Park Rides and Fireworks
All across America, theme parks are designed to thrill and excite families of all ages. Major theme parks like Disney and Universal Studios are available in California and Florida, but there are also lesser known theme parks in the heartland of the US. Examples include Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana.
For many families, these destinations are easier to get to and are a more affordable option than the major theme parks. Cedar Point is one of my favorites because of their amazing roller coasters. If your kids are at least 52″ tall, I highly recommend Top Thrill Dragster.
If you’d like to visit Cedar Point, I recommend that your family stay at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Sandusky. You can book a room for 40,000 IHG Rewards Club points or $219 per night. The hotel has an indoor pool to beat the summer heat and the entire family can enjoy complimentary breakfast each morning.
Cardholders of the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card receive automatic Platinum status and earn an additional 10x points per dollar spent at IHG hotels. Plus, you’ll get your 4th night free when redeeming points for your stay if you’re a card holder. You can receive your free night certificate at this property since the cap is 40,000 points a night.
Indoor Water Parks
Although summertime was made for splashing, not all of us are ready to be out in the sun all day. That’s one of the reasons I love visiting indoor waterparks with my family. We can play all day without worrying about reapplying sunscreen every 90 minutes. (Here are TPG‘s favorite Midwest waterparks, Walt Disney World waterparks, waterparks at Orlando hotels and in Cape Cod)
Great Wolf Lodge is one of the most popular indoor water parks for families. It offers 18 locations throughout the US and admission to the waterpark is included in your room rate. If your budget allows, there are other activities for the kids in addition to the basics. You can go on an adventure with MagiQuest, drop some coins in the arcade or bowl a strike at Ten Paw Alley.
When you sign up for its email newsletter, you’ll receive promo codes on a regular basis that offer big savings. With the current summer promotion, you can save 30% to 50%, depending on the number of nights you stay.
I used the promo code “SUMMERFN” to save 30% off one night at the Atlanta location. Although Great Wolf Lodge isn’t part of other hotel loyalty programs, you can use points earned from the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to erase your travel purchases.
Airlines and hotels tend to raise their cash rates around the holidays to profit from increased demand. In many cases, travelers using miles and points won’t experience the same price inflation. Booking your 4th of July vacation using travel rewards is a great way to beat the price increases and save a lot of money.
Featured photo by AdamParent / Getty Images.