Staycations Are Key to Summer Fun on a Budget

Summer is here, and for most, that means vacation time! Many people travel out of town, or even out of the country, but if you’re on a budget, indulging in a “staycation” may be just the thing for you. In case you’re wondering, a staycation is when you stay in your own city or state and take day trips to local attractions. Here in Florida, there are so many activities to choose from the possibilities are endless. And you can do it all without breaking the bank. We’ve put together a few ideas for you to get your staycation started.

Stop by the beach. Florida is known for its beaches. What would summer be without a trip to one of our sandy shorelines?  If you don’t know where to start, make a game out of it. Make a list of all the beaches in the state you want to visit and assign them a number. Put all of the numbers in a hat, shake it up and pull one out. Whichever beach was assigned that number is your next staycation spot. “Sea” you later!

Visit one of Florida’s many state or national parks. They are filled with tremendous beauty, adventures and new discoveries. Best of all— they’re affordable! Entrance fees to most Florida state and national parks are less than $10. There are about 11 national parks, 160 state parks, and a number of preservation and recreation areas for you to choose from. So you might want to do a little advance planning. Besides the awesome sights, national and state parks are an awesome place to picnic or even camp overnight. So pack up your tents, gather ingredients for s’mores and head out to enjoy nature. Click here to find a park near you!

Get discounted tickets to amusement parks. Most Orlando area theme parks have Florida resident discounts as well as promotions where you pay for one day and get in free the rest of the year! Take advantage of the Florida resident discount to enhance your staycation, and continue the fun for the rest of the year. Click here for a list of Florida resident discounts from Visit Orlando. An added bonus – as an Insight Credit Union member you get discounted tickets to Legoland. Cool, right?!

Catch up on some reading. Find a cute little park, coffee shop or bookstore and let yourself get lost in a good book. This can help with relaxation and transport your mind to another place. You can even take a book to that beach you decided to go to.

Attend a local sporting event. Whether it’s baseball, soccer, golf, bull riding or wrestling, Central Florida has plenty of sporting event options to take advantage of. Get the family out for a fun-filled evening to one of the many Florida Collegiate Summer League baseball games. If you are more of a soccer fan, be sure to check out an Orlando City soccer game! For other exciting sporting events this summer, check out the list that Visit Orlando has compiled for more details.

Visit local museums. History and art museums can be found all over Florida. They may even be a museum celebrating the history of your own city. This is a great activity for both adults and children. You can have fun and learn something all at the same time. Botanical gardens, zoos, and farms that let you pick your own fruit are also great ideas for some summertime fun, not to mention they’re a hit with the little ones.

We hope these ideas can help you maximize your staycation without maxing out your budget! Do you have a favorite staycation spot? We would love to hear more about it! Share with us in the comments below.

 

*This is an updated version of a post originally published on July 28, 2014.

Fun Things to Do This Summer in Central Florida

20-Ideas-For-Summer-Family-Fun.jpgFlorida is a vacation destination for a reason. From theme parks to beaches, we really have it all. As a local or tourist, the expense of enjoying Central Florida can really add up. So we’ve put together some fun, inexpensive activities the whole family can enjoy! You may even see us volunteering or giving out some goodies at many of these events too!

Orange County

Sports – Football! And I’m not talking about European Football, though it’s still a great sport. (Go Orlando City!) I’m talking about American Football. You might be thinking, “Football in June?” Yes! Check out the undefeated Orlando Predators Arena Football Team at the Amway Center!

4th of July – Don’t miss Fireworks at the Fountain in Downtown Orlando! Gather around Lake Eola for live music, children’s activities, food and more before the spectacular fireworks show at 9pm.

Et al ­– There is a ton of events going on all over Orange County, from Hunters Creek to Winter Park. Click each city to find local community events that will make you, your family and your wallet happy: Hunter’s Creek , Orlando, Winter Garden and Winter Park.

Seminole County

Food – If you’re like many of us here at Insight, you really enjoy food. Why not take a trip out to downtown Sanford and enjoy the Food Bazaar? You may need to bring a chair for this one, but you can also bring your dog to enjoy an evening out.

There are also plenty of Farmers Markets to check out all over Seminole, including Oviedo, Sanford or Lake Mary!

Sports – See some of the up and coming talent in baseball at a Sanford River Rats game!

Volusia County

Music & Festivals – From Daytona to DeLand, Volusia has a wide variety of events. You can enjoy the Watermelon Festival in Deland the first weekend of June or head to Daytona later in the month for the Annual Juneteenth Family Festival. You can also catch a Jazz Concert in August. Click here to learn more!

Lake County

Sports – The Villages has a new soccer team, the Villages Soccer Club! If you’re looking for a great time, come join us at a game!  If baseball is more your style, check out a Leesburg Lightning game.

Summer Nights – The City of Leesburg is putting on a series of events called Lake Front Nights that features gourmet food trucks and live bands right on Ski Beach! This series begins in June and ends in September. You can also catch a movie and delicious food at the monthly Food & Flick nights in downtown Leesburg! Click here for even more summer events in Lake County!

National Night Out in Clermont is this August! This community-building campaign promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live. It’s a great event and everything is FREE!

Fun in the Sun – Are you into classic cars? Check out the monthly Classic Car Show in Eustis! You can also enjoy the monthly Street Party!

Marion County

Music & Festivals Ocala may be horse country, but they definitely know how to throw a festival. If you prefer two wheels with your engine, check out the Ocala Bike Fest! There are also a few upcoming concerts that you can enjoy for very a reasonable price.

Citrus County

Music & Festivals Blues & Brews on the Bay and the Pine Street Jam Parrot Head Party. Need I say more?

Hernando County

Summer Nights – Imagine being under the stars, surrounded by oak trees, sitting in a lawn chair, eating home cooked meals and listening to music, stories, and poems by the locals. Music Under the Oaks at The Farm is an awesome put luck and open mic night you don’t want to miss!

If you’re feeling brave, you can also check out the Ghost Tours!

 

 

 

Summer Safety Tips

The kids are out of school and summer is in full swing…it’s the perfect time to relax and have some fun! Just because you are enjoying some downtime doesn’t mean you can let your guard down when it comes to safety. In fact, summer brings its own unique Safe Summersafety challenges that require a little extra effort and awareness. So here are a few tips and tricks to consider to keep you safe this summer. You’ve probably heard all of these ideas before, but when it comes to safety, a reminder never hurts!

Water Safety
Florida routinely ranks among the states with the highest unintentional drowning rates so water safety is essential. Make sure you are taking every safety precaution, especially if you have a pool. You can get more information by visiting www.waterprooffl.com, a Florida Department of Health injury prevention initiative.

Most importantly, never leave children unattended near any source of water. Consider swimming lessons and water safety lessons for all children. Even very young children can be taught how to flip onto their back and float if they get submerged. Also consider learning CPR in case an emergency does occur.

Outdoor Safety
Even if you aren’t in the water, being outdoors brings some safety concerns. The sun’s rays can be very damaging to exposed skin so be sure to apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 when you are going outdoors. Re-apply sunscreen every two hours and immediately after swimming, toweling off or sweating a great deal.

And don’t forget the bug spray! Insects can carry diseases and can cause some nasty bites so use insect repellent to protect your skin outdoors.

Vacation Safety
Many of us take a vacation during the summer. While it is important to plan for our personal safety while we travel, it is also important to remember to keep our home safe while we are away. Doing things like having your mail held, stopping the newspaper delivery, and having someone do the landscaping chores will make your home have that “lived-in” look. You may also consider having someone you trust stay in your home or stop by regularly to check on things for you.

Another important consideration is to be low-key about your trip until you return. If you broadcast on social media or tell everyone about your plans, this information could end up in the wrong hands and put your home’s security at risk.

Money Safety
If you are going on vacation, you need to protect your money. Before you go, call the credit union and let us know if you will be out of the country to help prevent issues using your debit or credit card while you are away.

Although it’s impossible to prevent all safety issues, using these tips can help your family have a safer, more enjoyable summer vacation!

Cool Ways to Beat the Heat

Rubber DuckyWith temperatures reaching 90˚F and above this summer, it’s important to stay cool. Spending even a few minutes outside can leave you feeling sweaty and miserable. That’s why we’ve come up with a few activities that you can do outdoors while still keeping your cool.

Some Floridians have the convenience of having a pool in their backyard while others don’t. Many areas have a city or county pool that the public can access for free or a small fee. This offers a great place to go and cool off while under the watchful eye of a trained lifeguard. Oftentimes these activity centers offer special classes and programs for both children and adults. To find out if there is a pool near you, contact your local city or county office.

Tired of the pool? How about organizing a neighborhood car wash for a local charity? This is a great way to get your neighbors together to do something productive for your community. While you are socializing and washing cars, you are also keeping your cool and raising money for a good cause. This can create a sense of togetherness while teaching the importance of giving.

Do you have children on summer vacation that love to get outside? Try activities like water balloon dodgeball, slip ‘n slides or squirt gun battles. Supplies for these activities are generally inexpensive and can keep the family occupied for hours.

Remember to drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen thoroughly while you are enjoying the sun. Stay cool, Insight!

Fun Things to Do This Summer in Central Florida

Summer is here and whether you live here or are just visiting, there’s plenty to do in Florida that won’t break your budget! Below you will find great options that can be enjoyed solo, as a couple or with the family. Get out in Central Florida and explore your options!

Water and Food!
I’m sure you know Florida has some of the summerbest beaches in the world, but what’s local? We have some pretty spectacular beaches close enough to go for the day. Check out Clearwater and Daytona! Trying to stay away from the extra large crowds? Try Cedar Key or Cocoa Beach! Make a day of it and pack a cooler of goodies to cut cost on food.

Would you rather eat by a lake than drive to the beach? Lake and Marion County have a couple of sweet lake eats for you. Check out the “Florisiana” menu at Eaton’s Beach Sandbar and Grill in Weirsdale, where you can eat on the 1700 square foot wrap around porch or walk on the shore to the docks. There’s even a roped-off area for the kids to swim. If you’re looking to relax, it has great sunset views and live music. Alternatively, you can head over to Gator’s Dockside in Leesburg, where you are sure to spy a gator in the water off the docks! It’s a great spot to bring your friends and enjoy a night of great eats and good times. If you’re local and a boater, stop by via the lake! Both spots have slips for their patrons.

Sports Fans, Stop Here!
We have some incredible seasonal sports leagues that fire it up in the summer! Check out the Florida Summer Collegiate League, our very own Central Florida wood-bat league that draws talent from all over the country. With six teams, you are bound to find a game to see near you. Best part? They are so reasonably priced that you can probably take the whole family and eat for less than tickets to the movies!

Want to see some of the rising stars in soccer? Check out the PDL’s Ocala Stampede! Take a trip over to Ocala and check out the team with three Southeast Division Championships and one Southern Conference Championship under their belt. Last year they were a National Semi-Finalist. Who knows, this year you may see the National Champs in Ocala! If you’re closer to Orlando, you can’t miss seeing the Orlando City Soccer Club.

Flora and Fauna
We have some unbelievable parks in Central Florida that are either free or really affordable. Look up Kelly Park/Rock Springs or Wekiwa Springs in Apopka, or Harry P Leu Gardens in Orlando. You’ll see some fantastic wildlife and beautiful nature preserves.

Sip, See and Shop
For those of you looking for drinks, art, films or window shopping, Central Florida has some great options to choose from. Check out Orlando Brewing Company, Artegon Marketplace or the Grand Bohemian Gallery in Orlando. Looking to relax in a park with a movie? Enzian Theater/Eden Bar in Maitland is the perfect spot! FleaWorld (one of the leading flea markets in the U.S.) in Sanford is great for shopping and people watching. Of course, Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards in Clermont is always neat to see. There are also plenty of local museums to check out in our area!

There’s plenty to do in Central Florida! Take your pick and let us know in the comments below – Where do you plan to go? Have you ever been to any of these places? What did you think?

School Is Out! Are You Ready?

Summertime for teachers means a break from students, lesson plans and homework. But it can also mean a break in their paycheck. Some educators have their paychecks broken down into smaller amounts so they get paidGroup-Teacher-Student-000034003840-IS equally throughout the year. Others are not able to take advantage of that same program. When paychecks stop, there are many ways to make sure you are prepared for this change. Here are a few ways you can help bridge that gap in you budget.

Get a Summer Job
It might not sound glamorous at first, but how about trying something outside of the box? Many lifeguard positions are summer only, and who doesn’t want to work on their tan while getting a paycheck. If lifeguarding isn’t for you, tutoring or babysitting are two other great summertime jobs. There are a number of options to help get you through the summer with some extra change in your pocket and maintain a productive lifestyle.

Summer Savings/12 Month Pay Accounts
Many financial institutions offer promotions specifically for school staff. At Insight, qualified educators and school employees can receive up to $2,000 – up to the amount of your most recent net paycheck – and it’s paid back in just 12 months with no interest. These accounts can keep you afloat while your summertime funds dry up.

Good Ol’ Fashioned Frugality
Many school employees find themselves paying their summertime bills and then relying on the few remaining dollars to make it through. This method may work, but it doesn’t leave you much room for the unexpected. Even something like a clogged toilet can become a big deal when your next paycheck is 2 months away.

Whatever your method, you should always take a moment to evaluate your means of budgeting. No one is perfect and you may consider one of the other options for a summer to see how it works.