I found out early on in our one income adventure that hotel rooms can be had for a great price online at the last minute on www.priceline.com . Often, we would take our two small children to a city in New England at the last minute for the weekend. By researching online I was also able to find great deals on restaurants, museums, and shopping.
For example, on a sample weekend trip to the Boston area, we chose to stay in Cambridge, right outside Boston. Cambridge has less traffic, better hotel deals, and free parking. Staying at a hotel in Boston has cost us an extra $20 a night for parking.
If we arrive on a Friday afternoon, we can take the children to the Boston Children's Museum for $1. It is the museums Friday special, and it is a very cool museum! I think Sean and I have as much fun there as the kids do.
On this sample trip, we lucked out and priceline assigned us a suite with a kitchenette. Not only could we prepare small meals in the hotel, but the suite gave us a separate room from the kids. Priceless! Saturday we'd spend the day in Boston, taking the subway and seeing the sights. Small cost for subway, sights were free to see... A lunch of chowder by the ocean is the perfect touch.
On Sunday morning we'd stop at Whole Foods for some breakfast and head on over to the Museum of Natural History. This is the one day of the week when admission is free. It is also a very cool museum and a big hit with the kids.
All the money we saved on our weekend vacation allowed us to splurge on fantastic desserts at Finale in Cambridge.
Don't live by Boston? I'm guessing that any city in the US has great deals like these waiting to be found. Searching online for "free in Boston" brings up lots of tips. Try it for your destination city!