Top Family Summer Vacation Ideas on a Budget
Looking for the Top Family Summer Vacation Ideas on a Budget? Summer is right around the corner and finding a vacation destination that is fun for the whole family and is inclusive of dining and hotel options that can accommodate groups can be challenging. Finding the perfect destination on a budget and doesn’t kill your bank account can seem nearly impossible. Picking the right location to travel during the peak summer season can make all the difference when it comes to saving money. Check out our list of destinations that offer great options to find cheap hotels, restaurant deals and coupons, and offer ample family-friendly activities and things to do with kids.
Pittsburgh offers loads of activities to keep the kids busy such as the Pittsburgh Zoo, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, and the EQT Children’s theater festival in May.
Grown-ups will be delighted with rides on the incline, inexpensive dining options, free downtown subway access, and the Andy Warhol Museum. The whole family can enjoy tickets to Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games for less than $20 each. Check out a few dozen of the 400+ bridges that are found within the city, as Pittsburgh is known as the “City of Bridges”. Downtown hotels start about $150 but slightly outside of that, you can find rooms closer to the $100 range.
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis offers plenty of free activities for the family making this one of the most budget-friendly options on our list. Some of the most favorite freebies include the St. Louis Zoo, Purina Farms where children can learn about barnyard animals and see dog agility shows, Laumeiere Sculpture Park and Museum, and splashing around the numerous splash pads in different parks around the city. Other great attractions for the family include tours of the Gateway Arch, catching a Cardinals’ game, or visiting the City Museum. Hotel prices start at about $115 per night during peak summer season.
San Diego, California
Southern California is known for its beautiful weather: sunny and 70’s almost year-round. In addition to the beach, get a City Pass that is customizable to popular attractions such as SeaWorld, LegoLand, San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, as well as attractions just outside of San Diego- Disneyland and Universal Studios. You’ll definitely want to visit Balboa Park which is actually home to the San Diego Zoo and several museums. You can expect to find lodging starting about $150 per night.
Located just north of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this Tennessee town is all about soaking up the great outdoors while on vacation. The park doesn’t charge admission, so you can get your fill of hiking, biking and historical exhibits free of charge. You can find cheap hotels that are wallet-friendly starting at about $79 per night. You can find more great things to do on your Smoky Mountain Vacation here
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
This coastal South Carolina city is a hit for adults and kids. The calm waters and sprawling beaches provide plenty of room to relax and not feel crowded. When you get bored with lounging on the sand, there are plenty of other things to do on vacation here such as the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, amusement and water parks, mini-golf, or a stroll through the aquarium. Hotels start at around $115 a night, or you can opt for camping at Huntington Beach State Park, roughly 20 minutes away, from $17 – $24 per night. If you prefer a little more comfort on your beach vacay, you can find rooms at a luxury resort starting at about $199 a night.
This is a great option for a family vacation for older children. Washington D.C. is the ideal place for an educational experience. Admission is free to the 19 museums that make up the Smithsonian Institution (including the National Zoo). The National Mall is also free and chock full of the nations most iconic national monuments and historical sites. Summer offers free outdoor movies and concerts as well as free nightly performances at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. Pass on the downtown hotels, where rates are high, and opt for those on the outskirts. You can find rates starting at about $120 a night about 20 minutes from downtown. Using the Metro to get around will save you money on lodging and parking.
Niagara Falls, New York
Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the country and boasts five main attractions for your family adventure. Aquarium of Niagara and Cave of the Winds attractions are included in a Discovery Pass ($46 for adults, $35 for ages 6 to 12, free for ages 5 and under). Enjoy breathtaking views at the Observation Tower at Prospect Point and see all three falls. Depending on the time of year, you can snag hotel deals under $100 a night on the New York side of the falls. You will need a passport if you want to cross the border into Canada. A favorable exchange rate makes the cross-over even more affordable for families.
Yellowstone National Park- Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Yellowstone National Park is the first national park in the world and is best known for Old Faithful, its geyser that shoots water more than 150 in the air. Geothermic wonders like the Grand Prismatic Spring and Mammoth Hot Springs will thrill visitors of all ages. Hotel rates are at their highest during the peak summer season, but you won’t have to worry about shelling out a pretty penny for a room if you bring your own tent or RV. A seven-day car pass is $30. Hotel rates are highest in the summer but camping fees start at $15 a night. While Yellowstone made our list, there are several great National Parks that are also great family summer vacation ideas.
Winter Park, Colorado
Just because temperatures are warmer and snow skiing is out during the summer months, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider Winter Park. Many ski resorts, including Winter Park, offer incredible bargains during the offseason. You can easily find rooms around the $80-$150 per night range. Summer months at Winter Park offer plenty of outdoor family fun: hiking, biking, horseback riding, rafting, and zip lining. Catch free local concerts on Thursday nights at Hideaway Park. Nearby Snow Mountain Ranch has a summer tubing hill, miniature golf, swimming, and rock climbing.
With summer almost here, we hope this gives you a couple of ideas for your family summer vacation on a budget. MySitti knows how frustrating it is to balance finding cheap hotels, restaurant deals, and plenty of things to do with the kids. Let this summer be filled with fun and memories from national monuments to children’s museums to outdoor adventures.