Holding the line on the cost of summer
You’ve given up on a summer plane trip and that cross-country car drive you’ve talked about taking. What to do so your family will feel like they’ve had a vacation?
Take heart. Good deals on weekly Cape Cod house rentals are still to be had, and there are more than enough local attractions to string together a week’s worth of day trips.
With Cape cottages available for at little as $800 a week, “it’s still a pretty reasonable way to take a vacation,” said Ralph Grassia, a regional vice president with the Norwell-based Jack Conway & Co. real estate service.
Those three-figure rentals will get you a two-bedroom house off the water in a town like Yarmouth. A place close to the water in a choicer spot like Chatham or Osterville will cost $1,500 to $2,000 – but Grassia said those can be more affordable if two families share a stay at a bigger house.
While Cape rental costs are staying steady, the prices at various day-trip destinations are going up, though not always by much.
For a whale watch, Capt. John Boats in Plymouth is charging $37 for adults and $25 for youngsters under 12, with a $3 fuel surcharge on top of that. Four years ago, the fares were $29 and $17, respectively.
Admission at Plimoth Plantation and the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth have crept up as well. The family fee at Pilgrim Hall is $20 for two adults and children, and Plimoth Plantation is charging $28 for adults and $18 for children, about one-third more than a few years ago.
Plantation admission includes a visit to the Mayflower II replica ship. Family passes are available for $110.
But there’s a cheap treat for Plymouth residents. Admission is free with proof of residency, and a reduced-rate membership gives town residents a discount on tickets for vacation visitors they’re trying to get out of the house.
Admission is still cheap at the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, the South Shore’s other main historical site. Adults get in for $5, and it’s free to anyone under 16. Season passes cost $10.
The Starland amusement center in Hanover doesn’t cost much, either. For $15, youngsters can play everything from miniature golf to laser tag and drive a go-kart. Adults get in for $22, bigger kids for $18.
Starland hopes to draw families from a wider area this summer, amid higher gas and travel prices. The company is advertising special coupon deals up on the North Shore, but a supervisor said on Friday that it’s too early to tell what the response will be.
If you’re interested in giving your children an adventure without taking one yourself, summer day camps are available throughout the area.
With the typical expense of a family trip to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park now $200 or more, rooting for the Pawtucket Red Sox or Brockton Rox hardly costs pocket money.
Tickets for the AAA Pawsox at McCoy Stadium are still $6 for adults and $4 for youngsters. Box seats have edged up from $9 to $10. Add $12 to $15 for gas for the round trip and you’re still well under $100 for the whole outing.
The independent, minor-league Brockton Rox are a deal, too – $9.50 to $15 for box seats, $7.50 for reserved seating and $5 for the grandstand.
And just over the bridge and in Wareham on this side of the canal, all of the highly competitive Cape Cod Baseball League games are free. A bucket or a hat is passed for donations.
The teams also offer weeklong youth clinics, with most welcoming children as young as 5 and as old as 18.
For a registration fee of $50 or more – it depends on your child’s age and skill level – some of the best college baseball players in the country will school your son or daughter in the fine arts of hitting, fielding and throwing.
Refreshments for a local outing aren’t much more expensive than they’ve been. At the Clam Box on Quincy’s Wollaston Beach, the signature clam roll is $12.
At the Peaceful Meadows ice cream stand in Whitman, a two-scoop cone is still $4. If you’re in an adventurous mood, try the coconut chocolate almond or cappuccino chunk.
“They’re two of our best sellers,” a sales clerk said on Friday.
Lane Lambert may be reached at email@example.com.