Art Meripol / Styling: Scott Martin
4 State Parks That Don't Feel Like State Parks
Love the beach? Discover this deal for only $110 a night, year-round, at Grayton Beach State Park. Grayton offers great views and clean, basic accommodations―as do all the other picks below. With beautiful parks like these, you won’t miss room service.
- Grayton Beach State Park, Florida The no-frills cabins are about a three- to five-minute walk from the white-sand beach and emerald waters. Cabins come with a queen-size bed and two twin sizes. All have a futon in the living room, a screened back porch, kitchen, gas fireplace, microwave, dishwasher, outdoor grill, and air-conditioning. The rate is $110 every day of the year. 1-800-326-3521
- Hanging Rock State Park, North Carolina Stunning views, 18 miles of trails, cascading waterfalls, a spring-fed mountain lake, and great fall color for $100 a night.
- Guntersville State Park, Alabama A four-year, $25-million renovation produced a fabulous lodge by one of the South’s largest lakes. Just $100 a night during summer.
- Indian Lodge, Texas In the heart of the Davis Mountains, the big-sky country of the South, for less than $100 a night.
How to Get a 4-BR Beach House for a 2-BR Price
The iconic Panhandle town of Seaside, Florida, can be pricey. Try this: If you only need a two-bedroom house, book a four-bedroom and then ask them to lock off the extra bedrooms you won’t be using. You will pay only the two-bedroom price, but you’ll get the full-size kitchen, porch, and living area of a larger house.
Participating Seaside Houses: Beachside Bebo, Desire, Harvest Home, Natchez, Rainbow, Salad Days, and Teachers Lounge
What it costs: Prices vary by house and season, but we found a lock-off option for $449 a night in a four-bedroom house that normally rents for $670 a night.
How to book: www.seasidefl.com (select “Vacation Rentals”)
The fine print: Not available during the summer.
Get the Ritz Experience for $89
How? Try the Iberville Suites in New Orleans, where you’ll stay at a Ritz-owned property under the same roof as the esteemed brand for less than $100. New Orleans and The Ritz go together like seersucker and a streetside trumpeter. The fit is even better when the price is this low.
Why you’ll love it: You get the same concierge service as The Ritz, plus several of the same amenities, and the good fortune of
saving a bundle. That’s because The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans is actually three properties in one. The Iberville Suites, The Ritz-Carlton, and the ultra-luxe Maison Orleans all share one roof and many of the same back-of-the-house services. You’re steps away from the best dining and nightlife in the city, and you can take advantage of the special touches that make The Ritz legendary.
What you get: The Iberville rooms are like nice rooms at a Hampton Inn―nothing fancy but comfortable. You can get The Ritz-Carlton on-call concierge for tickets, reservations, and directions; a top-notch fitness center and spa; and jazz artist Jeremy Davenport’s exclusive gig at The Ritz bar―one of the best in town.
What it costs: $89-$109 (a room at The Ritz starts at $149)
How to book: www.ibervillesuites.com or (504) 523-2400
Travel Tip: Buy a Disney non-expiration ticket now at 2009 prices and it’s good forever.