How We Saved $150+ on Vacation with Just a Military ID


If you’re an active duty, National Guard, or Reserves family and you’ve never heard of Blue Star Museums, drop everything RIGHT NOW and read this post. I’m not joking. This is good stuff, right here.  (And this post isn’t sponsored. I’m just really impressed with this program and its benefits!)

Easy way to save lots of money on vacations/staycations for military families!

Blue Star Museums is an amazing annual program through Blue Star Families and the National Endowment of the Arts. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day (read: all summer long), certain museums all over the United States waive their admissions fees for military families.

This summer, John and I decided to explore Virginia a little more, and Blue Star Museums really helped us stretch our budget. First, here’s what we did:

We visited Woodrow Wilson’s boyhood home and viewed his limo– the oldest working limo in America.

We spent time listening to tavern wenches explain how colonial taverns functioned at The Rising Sun Tavern.

We walked through Mary Washington’s (George Washington’s mother) gardens, saw her kitchen, and viewed her personal belongings in her house at The Mary Washington House.

We visited Hugh Mercer’s Apothecary where we learned about all kinds of herbal remedies (and not so herbal remedies, like bone saws and scarificators) used during the colonial era.

We visited James Monroe’s law office and viewed a lot of his personal effects (including chairs that match ones that are in the White House).

Tips for Using Blue Star Museums

While Blue Star Museums is officially over for the season today, make sure that you take advantage of this fantastic program next year! We learned quite a lot about the program over the summer.

Bring your ID.

Make sure that you have a form of military ID on you when you visit. Some museums will take you on your word… but some will need to verify your status.

Dependent IDs work, too.

I attended some of these museums without John with me and my dependent ID worked just fine.

Easy way to save lots of money on vacations/staycations for military families!

Always ask.

At least two of the museums we attended were not on the master list online… so make sure you ask if they’re participating (even if you don’t think they are)! Many museums also post a Blue Star Museums poster at the admissions desk, so keep your eyes peeled for that, too.

Find out what’s waived.

We’ve had a few visitors this summer and we’ve taken them to the Hugh Mercer Apothecary (because… the leeches). We were astonished when the admissions fees were waived for our entire group– not just John and me. This has happened at other Blue Star Museums as well– which is beyond generous of these institutions!

Have you used the Blue Star Museums program? If so, which museums have you attended?

Easy way to save lots of money on vacations/staycations for military families!


6 Responses

  1. I work in the museum field and this is such an underutilized and great program. Glad to hear your using it to it’s fullest and hopefully your sharing will inspire other people to use it : )

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