March is the month of expectation ... not so much of vacation
February 4, 2016 9:32 AM   Subscribe

Please help me plan a fun, inexpensive mid-Atlantic weekend getaway. In March.

I am a terrible planner so after a few hours on airbnb and homestay and state park pages I'm ready to just stay home. Please hope me make the partner's birthday special.

We're going skiing when it's still winter, and we do a lot of camping/hiking/kayaking/music-festivaling when it's spring/summer/fall. This will be the first weekend in March though, so who the heck knows what season it'll be. Mud season? What is there even to do in March?

We're in Virginia on the 81 corridor and would like to stay within ~3 hours - so into WV, NC, western MD are all ok too. DC metro/Baltimore is where we're from so it's not a destination, and Williamsburg/Fredericksburg are just so much better in other seasons. Pretty much everything is better in pretty much every other month than March in the mid-Atlantic. So I'm stuck.

Also I'm cheap. I would love a nice place with a hot tub and onsite spa but I don't have resort-type funds. We're totally ok with rustic - cabins at state parks are fancy compared to tents. But I'd so love a cold beer in a hot tub under the night sky ... does that exist for $100/night?
posted by headnsouth to Travel & Transportation around Virginia, VA (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What about Shenandoah Valley? It's really beautiful there, and it would be fun to get a cozy place with a hot tub and access to short hikes. VRBO lets you add a "hot tub" filter and search by price, and here's one example of a place I found for not much more than $100/night.
posted by cider at 9:53 AM on February 4, 2016

Where on 81 are you? Distances to certain places are a lot different depending on whether you're in Abingdon or Winchester. If you're in SWVA, maybe try Gatlinburg or Asheville.
posted by jenny76 at 10:05 AM on February 4, 2016

This might be too far out for you, but we went to the Outer Banks in early March one year and it was wonderful. Low tourist season, so the downside is some of the shops and stuff are closed - but glorious empty beaches. Obviously more scenic than actually being able to go in the water. We went hang gliding at Jockey Ridge--awesome. Weather may be hit or miss.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:12 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Deep Creek Maryland has plenty of houses to rent with hot tubs under the stars, and it's their shoulder season, so prices should be cheaper. Try both AirBnB and VRBO.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 10:18 AM on February 4, 2016

Response by poster: (Sorry I meant homeaway not homestay. Homeaway = vrbo.) Searching these sites is frustrating because rentals somehow are included in $100-max searches when they're significantly more, plus ridiculous cleaning fees. So I appreciate the links to search results but trust me, I've looked.
posted by headnsouth at 10:33 AM on February 4, 2016

The Resort at Glade Springs has in-room hot tubs and is in your budget. I know it isn't what you were after but I think something will have to give as it's a very tight budget. Otherwise, basically all of WV seems to want to charge $189 a night for anything with an outdoor hot tub. You could do 2 people for 2 nights in this Virginia treehouse for $300 including all fees... it's very cool!
posted by DarlingBri at 5:09 PM on February 4, 2016

Best answer: Berkeley Springs, WV - best kept secret in the area. Cacapon State Park is gorgeous (hidden waterfalls), and Berkeley Springs in general is a wonderful, artsy small town. I've rented huge houses there that come with a jacuzzi AND hot tub, nestled in the wilderness for much less than $200/night, and there do exist options with hot tub that are at about $100 if not less. March is a good month to get deals, there. If you are interested, memail me and I can send you links and more info.
posted by nightrecordings at 5:44 PM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Waterfront cottage on the eastern shore? It might be a good change of scenery from the mountains, and a nice mosquito-free time of year to visit wetland park areas like Blackwater Natl. Wildlife Refuge. Should be good numbers of migrating birds passing through to points north in early March.
posted by drlith at 6:59 PM on February 4, 2016

Beachfront in Florida? I know you don't want to go farther than your three mile radius but in my opinion the airfare up and down the eastern seaboard is comparable to a 3 hour drive if you do a savvy search. Spring break in Florida is notoriously filled with - well - spring breakers. But it's not the 80's anymore and I say ignore the hype and hit (north of) south Florida. Daytona Beach is warmer than Miami and early enough in March you'll miss the full party exposure. The Hawaiian Inn hotel is kitschy but it sits right alongside the Atlantic and there's an oceanfront pool deck with a fun bar. It's unbelievably affordable.
posted by evcourtexaminer at 8:11 PM on February 4, 2016

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