This past weekend, Greg and I took the kids for a frugal weekend trip to Canada and Niagara Falls. Well, I suppose it was more than a weekend thing. We did leave on Thursday and were gone until Monday night. Still, even though our trip was short, we had a ton of fun. Fortunately, it was also cheap – partly because we’re cheap but also because of the generosity of our friends. Here’s how it went down:

First Up, Canada

We left Indiana on Thursday night and drove north toward Ontario. Even though I was bracing myself for some crazy customs experience, I didn’t find one. Getting across the border to Ontario was actually a breeze. I guess we don’t look that suspicious!

We drove halfway the first day and spent the night in London, Ontario at the TownePlace Suites. Of course, it was FREE because we used one of our free Marriott nights. In case you didn’t know, with the Marriott Rewards Premier credit card, you earn a free Category 1-4 night just for signing up. The hotel we stayed in was a Category 2, but I thought it was pretty nice. It also offered a free breakfast with omelets, a waffle station, baked goods, cereal, and fruit. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

breakfast area

Here’s what the swank breakfast area looked like. Pretty nice considering it was FREE!

The next morning, we got up and drove all the way to Brockville, Ontario to see our friends. The first night with our friends, we ate a delicious lasagna dinner, played with the kids, and did a lot of catching up! We were also able to spend the night in our friend’s guest room, which was awesome. Everyone slept great.

The next morning, we left to spend the day camping at Singleton Lake in Ontario. It was absolutely beautiful. Some of our friends have campers there, so we hung out with the kids and had a great time outdoors. One of highlights included an awesome boat ride around the water. Since I’m landlocked in Central Indiana where there are almost zero lakes, I absolutely love being on the water. (That’s probably why I love beaches so much too!)

My kids also went fishing and caught at least 15-20 small fish. It was their first time and they thought it was hilarious. After that, we made dinner and sat around a campfire. There’s nothing better than spending an entire day outdoors. Fortunately, we were able to sleep there too…which was good because there was no way we could drive anywhere! Good news for us – our friends had a fold-out couch and kitchen table that converted to beds in their camper. I don’t camp a lot so I have never seen anything like it. And even though we were on a blow-up bed, it was super comfortable!


Their camper looked kinda like this one….but the table and couch converted into beds!

Here are some more pictures from our time camping and boating with friends:

DSCF0602DSCF0617DSCF0633Onward to Niagara Falls

The next morning, we had breakfast then left for Niagara Falls. I had a $100 credit to use on my Citi Hilton Reserve Card, so I chose to use it at the Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel, which runs around $149 CAD per night.

But when we got there, I was in for a pleasant surprise. Because we belong to the Hilton HHonors program, we were upgraded to a two bedroom suite that slept six. So yea, my kids each had their own bed in an entirely separate room. Since we had been in the car with them for five hours that day, it was nice!

The Hilton at Niagara Falls also had a seriously epic pool/hot tub area with a three-story waterslide. We went there for a few hours and my kids thought it was awesome. I also thought it was awesome since we got the water park experience without having to pay for it. Here’s what the pool at the Hilton Niagara Falls looks like:

hilton_niagara_falls_fallsview_20728Here are some more of our pictures from our hotel and Niagara Falls:


My kids had their own bedroom…..


The view from our hotel room…

Here's my trying to keep my children from falling to their deaths..... (I like Niagara Falls much better from a distance....)

Here’s me trying to keep my children from falling to their deaths….. (I like Niagara Falls much better from a distance….)

How Much Did Our Trip Cost?

In total, we spent around $400 on our total 5-day trip. Here’s how it broke down:

  • Gas: $180
  • Hotel Stay at Niagara Falls: $40
  • Lunches, dinners, and drinks: $150
  • Tolls: $10
  • Parking: $20

For the most part, everything we did was frugal. The only exception was the dinner we had at Niagara Falls for my daughter’s 4th birthday. We ate at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and it was just so-so. Either way, we had a great time and would definitely do it all again. But now, it’s time to gear up for our trip to Minnesota, Las Vegas, and California next month. Stay tuned…..

Do you have any cheap trips planned this summer? Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? Did you like it?

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