22 Best Cheap Family Vacations: Fun, Kid-Friendly Ideas!
A wide variety of vacation options are available to you, including relaxing on a beach, exploring a big city, or doing something completely different.
Furthermore, it need not be very costly.
We have compiled a list of the top budget-friendly family travel options, both in the United States and abroad, so that you and your loved ones can get away for the weekend or embark on a more extended journey together.
Choose the perfect family outing from various options, including golf and outdoor activities.
- Yellowstone, WY
Geysers in Yellowstone and other geothermal features like Grand Prismatic Spring and Mammoth Hot Springs will astound visitors of all ages to this national park.
Families can participate in free wildlife workshops and narrated boat tours while on a vacation that won’t break the bank.
Since lodging during the summer high season can be expensive, an alternative is to bring a tent or RV and spend the night under the stars as a family.
You can go hiking, fishing, and even horseback riding in Yellowstone, in addition to seeing wildlife in its natural habitat.
- Yosemite, CA
To avoid the crowds, large families may want to visit Yosemite in May or September instead of the summer.
In addition to enjoying Yosemite’s many attractions without fighting crowds, the weather should be pleasant.
Hike under a natural canopy of giant sequoia trees and stop at the picturesque waterfall for some memorable snapshots.
Camping is a popular and inexpensive option but requires advanced planning to secure a spot.
Those who choose to drive to Yosemite can also visit nearby Sequoia and King’s Canyon national parks.
- Washington, D.C.
None of the museums, monuments, parks, or residential areas in Washington, DC, charge admission.
The city’s most visited attractions are the Smithsonian museums, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Tidal Basin.
Eating snacks or lunch from a food truck, which are typically less expensive, is another option for those looking to cut costs.
You can get around Washington, DC, cheaply and conveniently by renting a bike, electric scooter, or using the metro.
Spring, summer, and fall are the optimal seasons for visiting this location.
- Outer Banks, NC
North Carolina has many beautiful beaches perfect for playing in the sand and relaxing without the hassle of crowds.
One of the historical sites you can see is the Wright Brothers National Memorial.
With Pirate Adventures of the Outer Banks, youngsters can pretend to sail the seven seas as pirates.
After a busy day, unwinding on the Duck boardwalk is just what the doctor ordered.
Spirited crabbiness is another exciting pastime option.
The best deals and significant savings are often available to those who plan and book in advance.
- Grand Canyon, AZ
One of the world’s most spectacular natural attractions, the Grand Canyon, can be seen for almost nothing.
By hiking the Bright Angel Trail or Rim Trail or driving along Desert View Drive, you can have a picnic or visit the Tusayan museum and ruin site.
You should travel to Flagstaff, Arizona, where there are more affordable dining options.
Spring and summer are popular travel seasons, so it is advisable to reserve lodgings and campsites in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach is great for families because it is inexpensive, has calm waters, and is not overrun by tourists.
Parasailing and banana boat rides are just two of the many exciting activities available.
There is something for the whole family to do at the amusement and water parks, mini-golf courses, and aquarium.
Broadway at the Beach is a shopping and entertainment complex that spans 350 acres and will keep you busy.
Concertgoers can also enjoy free performances there during the summer months.
Those with a passion for sports may enjoy attending a baseball game at Pelicans Ballpark.
- San Diego, CA
In San Diego, amusements for children are plentiful.
The world-famous San Diego Zoo can be found in Balboa Park.
Those interested in the past should not miss a visit to the USS Midway Museum.
However, there are many sandy beaches where your children can run free.
Vacation rentals are a more cost-effective alternative to hotels, especially if booked in advance.
- Destin, FL
Destin is another option, with its plethora of beaches and abundance of opportunities for fishing and other water sports.
There is something fun for everyone in the family to do on the fishing trip or boat ride.
Water sports such as parasailing and snorkeling are also available.
Take your loved ones on a relaxing stroll along the Destin Harbor Boardwalk.
Destin is less expensive than other Florida beach resort towns, so you can save money while enjoying your beach vacation.
Put your savings toward a sunset cruise on a fast racer or glass-bottom boat.
- Niagara Falls, Canada
There are a lot of waterfalls, and I mean a lot.
You’ll also learn that there’s no such thing as “too many waterfalls.”
The falls are accessible from the United States and Canada, and the current exchange rate makes a trip to either country quite reasonable.
Hotels and attractions are cheap, especially if you travel in the shoulder seasons of late spring and early fall, when you’ll also avoid the crowds and save money on your vacation.
In addition, the Dufferin Islands and Niagara Glen are great places to go hiking with the family.
Your vacation here doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
- Ocean City, MD
This Maryland seaside town’s accessible beaches and parks are the most cost-effective option for a family vacation.
Enjoy the outdoors in peace and quiet with your loved ones.
Year-round, you can take your kids to evening festivals that the whole family can enjoy.
Miniature golf is also available for a fun family outing.
It would help if you tried to find vacation rentals rather than hotels because they will be more cost-effective.
- The Catskills, NY
The Catskills in New York is a cheap getaway away from the usual holiday activities, where your kids can try new things like visiting farms and feeding the animals.
In the southeast corner of New York, you can go rock climbing, fishing, and bumper boating in the summer.
Skiing and sledding are just two of the many wintertime pursuits available.
Vacation resorts that cater to families with young children will be easily accessible.
Camping locally is a great way to cut costs if you don’t mind roughing it a bit.
- Gatlinburg, TN
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, just north of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is great to spend a vacation without breaking the bank.
The park’s free admission makes it ideal for various recreational pursuits.
For no money, you can enjoy various outdoor activities and educational and cultural attractions.
Even better, there are countless free music, art, and nature festivals to choose from throughout the year.
More savings can be had on lodging costs if you plan your trip for March, April, or September.
- Branson, MO
Branson, Missouri, has the stunning Ozark Mountains as its backdrop.
Plus, it’s a great deal and loads of fun!
A water park, a full-size replica of the Titanic, and a fun amusement park themed after the 19th century.
Both Table Rock Lake and the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery are free to visit.
Several restaurants here offer buffets and barbecues that won’t put a strain on your family’s finances.
- Chicago, IL
Do your lovely children’s mouths water at the mere mention of deep-dish pizza or piled-high hot dogs?
Take them to Chicago and spoil them with all their favorite dishes.
Yet there is more to Chicago than just its cuisine.
Free activities include park time, boat tours of notable buildings, and museum visits.
A trip to Wrigley Field is a must if baseball is a favorite past time in your household.
If you want to stay in a nice hotel without breaking the bank, the shoulder seasons of spring and fall are the best bet.
- South Padre Island, TX
There are many low-cost and kid-friendly things to do on South Padre Island.
The island maintains a comfortable temperature throughout most of the year, making it possible to travel there whenever you like.
Kids can go for a swim, see turtle feedings at Sea Turtle, Inc., or learn about marine life at the Dolphin Research & Sealife Nature Center.
This is a free haven for birdwatchers and other nature enthusiasts.
Going to the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center with a pair of binoculars is all required.
Try to avoid the madness that is March if you value solitude.
- Adirondacks, NY
The Adirondacks have a wide variety of activities for nature lovers to enjoy.
The family’s fun winter activities include skiing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding.
You can go whitewater rafting, fishing, mountain biking, and hiking in the spring and summer.
Visit the Olympic museums and sports complexes in Lake Placid with your child to educate them on the Olympic movement’s rich history and take advantage of discounts available through the Olympic Sites Passport.
Discounts are also available on a variety of other events.
It’s possible that renting a house or apartment will be less expensive than staying in a hotel.
- Williamsburg, VA
Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia is a great vacation spot if you’re on a budget.
For history buffs, the town is a dream, with a variety of tours (from ghost walks to carriage rides) that transport them to another era and introduce them to the town’s historical inhabitants.
The proximity to Water Country USA and Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a central selling point for families with young children.
Park admission can get pricey, so it’s wise to look into package deals.
Vacation in the off-season (fall, winter, and early spring) saves money on hotel costs.
- Hilton Head, SC
Hilton Head is a barrier island in South Carolina where you can book affordable family vacation packages at local resorts so that the adults in your group can enjoy a round of golf and the vast, clean beaches without breaking the bank.
There is no cost to visit the wildlife-filled hammocks of Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge.
You can go on a bike ride or stroll around the area.
Live music and other events are provided gratis at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina.
You can also go on a kayaking adventure or enjoy peaceful fishing on the island.
- Denver, CO
Anyone can find a variety of activities to enjoy in Denver.
Festivals, concerts, and museums will appeal to those who appreciate the arts.
Then some strolls are suitable for the whole family.
Some of the best Italian and classic American cuisine can be found at budget-friendly restaurants and a wide variety of other cuisines.
The parks are great places to take a stroll or relax.
The Denver Zoo is a great place to take the kids because it is home to more than four thousand animals.
Children will also enjoy the park’s carousel and the circling train ride.
The 4D cinema will provide them with an excellent time.
The best time to find deals is in the spring or fall.
- Bar Harbor, ME
In Bar Harbor, tourists have their pick of many exciting activities.
The clear, calm waters of Echo Lake’s freshwater beach are perfect for introducing the young ones to something new.
Explore the “Museum in the Streets” or get some exercise on one of the many nearby trails for walking, hiking, or biking.
Acadia National Park’s stunning coastline and rugged terrain make it a popular tourist destination.
The kids in the family are sure to enjoy the free popcorn and family-friendly films that will be shown at Agamont Park every Wednesday from July 17 to August 21.
- Winter Park, CO
The summertime in Winter Park is just as enjoyable as the wintertime.
Additionally, the Winter Park Resort offers summer discounts that make it affordable for any budget.
Hiking, biking, horseback riding, rafting, zip-lining, and the longest alpine slide in Colorado are all available here, making it an excellent destination for families.
The Snow Mountain Ranch is home to the only summer tubing hill in the country.
Miniature golf is another option.
As for extracurriculars, there’s swimming and both indoor and outdoor climbing walls.
The summer at Hideaway Park is filled with free concerts and other events.
- Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh is commonly referred to as “Kidsburgh,” and not without reason.
Children of all ages can find something to love in Pittsburgh, from the city’s zoo to the Children’s Museum.
In addition, there is a 10-day Grand Prix in the summer where you can see classic cars.
For a taste of the city, try one of the many walking tours available, or take advantage of the free rides available on the subway lines that run through the center of downtown and the Golden Triangle.
Indulge in a tasty meal for less than $10.
The Great Allegheny Passage is a 150-mile trail that cyclists can take to take in breathtaking views as they traverse bridges and tunnels.
Because of all of the above, this is one of our top picks for low-cost family vacations.