Bookworm, I'm just going to lay it out there, at $300 for a scope / mount costco / walmart type store you are not going to use it much before you get frustrated.
Refractors are nice, once you get to a certain point, AT 72 maybe a $400 and up. Optically you best useable value would be a Dobsonian. Both are you find / you aim / you track, but the dob will be brighter, clearer, maybe even sharper, and smoother when tracking / following.
My advice, when it comes to supermarket telescopes, run away do not walk away. I'd buy a pair of decent binoculars and sit in a chair looking at the sky before I get a supermarket telescope.
My opinion, to do what you want to do with a refractor, or something you can use with ease next year is a minimum $1500. Celestron C6 / C8 for visual. AP is a different story / animal.
My opinion, a really good starter set up for viewing, if going the refractor route, a small 70 - 90MM refractor, on a CEM 26 / 28 mount with a few eyepieces and a barlow.
Remember, we all know that no hobby is cheap, unless your hobby is walking. By the way, walking is priceless.
Just my views and opinions, Joe
Luckily, instead of buying the first thing they saw at Walmart, the OP came here and got some info on better stuff in the same price range!
Not everyone has $1500 to spend on gift for someone, or themselves, or aren't willing to spend it on a hobby they are not sure they'll like. And thank god that there are usable telescopes for much less than your suggested budget. Otherwise this hobby would be dead already.