April 27th, 2020 | Updated on August 5th, 2021
Finding an affordable family vacation can be tricky. How do you pack the family off for a trip without breaking the bank?
Well, you’ll be glad to know that family summer vacation ideas on a budget are actually easy to find! There are so many hidden treasures that you can be sure to find something that fits your crew.
From outdoor adventure to lazy days at the beach, there are surprising alternatives to the expensive resorts or big cities dotted throughout the country.
Read on to learn about five ways you can enjoy a family vacation and stick to your budget.
1. Outdoor Adventure
Whether it’s camping, kayaking, fishing, or hiking, an outdoor family vacation can be fun and low-budget.
Check out one of the 59 national parks such as Yellowstone or Yosemite. Or find a state park such as Custer State Park in South Dakota or Tennessee’s Fall Creek Falls State Park.
At state or national parks, you can camp for a low fee each night. The facilities at most of these parks are excellent for families of all sizes and ages, too.
2. Float a River
Without having to look too far from home, you’ll probably be able to find a river that you and the family can float for a day. It’s only a short stay-cation, but a day floating the river is so relaxing it will feel like it’s much longer.
With the family in tow, you’ll want to avoid peak times of the summer and any rivers that draw too many college kids.
The kids will have a blast splashing in the river, while the parents can simply sit back and enjoy the slow, leisurely ride.
3. Visit a Small Big City
Some of America’s best, and most affordable, city vacations are not to the big, famous attractions of New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Smaller, “big” cities such as Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, San Diego, and Denver are perfect for family summer vacation ideas on a budget.
Pittsburgh has rightly gained the nickname “Kidsburgh” because it has so many family-friendly attractions. Minneapolis helps families explore a city outdoors with its many attractions.
San Diego has perfect weather all year round and its world-class zoo. Denver is the gateway to the Rockies and the home of free concerts, art festivals, museums, and more.
4. Find Your Own Beach
Avoid the big draws of Florida and Southern California to find a beach for your family summer vacation.
Some good examples of less-popular beach destinations include South Padre Island in Texas, Hilton Head in South Carolina, and the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
Look for beaches in cheaper vacation spots. You’ll get a little more seclusion for your family to build as many sandcastles and spend as much time in the water as they want.
For something a little different, you could also celebrate the joy of togetherness with a family cruise.
Most cruises stop at a variety of beach locations along the way. So you and your family get the benefit of seeing the world and finding your own beach.
5. Head to the Lake
Share a vacation rental on a lake. Join together with another family or two and you can affordably rent a wonderful lakeside cabin.
Many lake rentals come with kayaks and canoes, or even a motorboat. Your family can spend time boating, fishing, and swimming in pristine lakes throughout the country.
And at the end of the day, you can all gather around the campfire for smores and ghost stories.
Surprise Yourself with These Family Summer Vacation Ideas on a Budget
With suggestions like these, you can find family summer vacation ideas on a budget with just a little research.
Be willing to think a little outside the vacation box and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have the vacation of a lifetime.
Your kids will remember hiking in national parks, fishing on beautiful lakes, or exploring children’s museums for the rest of their lives.
We’ve got tons of great family advice on our website. Visit often for inspiration and help in being the best parents you can be.