Table of Contents
Budget-Friendly Destinations for Family Vacations:
Where to Go and Why
Family vacations can be expensive, but they don’t have to break the bank. With some planning and flexibility, you can find affordable destinations that offer fun activities the whole family can enjoy. Here are seven budget-friendly locations to consider for your next family getaway.
** This is a collaborative post
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
For a beach vacation on a budget, you can’t beat Myrtle Beach. There are miles of sandy shoreline and plenty of affordable hotels and condos to choose from. Enjoy the beach and ocean all day, then hit the boardwalk at night for carnival rides, games, and food. See if any resorts offer packages with discount tickets to attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
The stunning beaches and clear waters of Mexico’s Riviera Maya attract families looking for an affordable all-inclusive. With meals, drinks, and activities included, you can enjoy time together without constantly paying out of pocket. Take a day trip to explore nearby Mayan ruins or adventure parks. At night, catch entertainment shows put on at your resort. With Southwestern Airlines offering competitive rates into Cancun, the Riviera Maya is a budget-friendly beach destination.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This massive national park straddling the border of North Carolina and Tennessee offers endless opportunities for affordable outdoor family fun. From hiking and fishing to horseback riding and camping, there are activities for all ages. Entry to the park is free, and lodging options include budget-friendly campgrounds, cabins, and motels in surrounding towns like Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Keep costs down by packing picnic lunches and your own camping gear.
The history and monuments of the nation’s capital make it a can’t-miss vacation, even on a budget. Many of the iconic sites like the Lincoln Memorial, Smithsonian Museums, and National Zoo are free to visit. For more affordable lodging, look at the outskirts of downtown or consider a short-term rental apartment. To save on food, hit up the local farmers markets and cook some meals in your kitchen. The Metro makes it easy to get around.
Costa Rica offers families adventure and nature on a budget. Skip the expensive resorts and book a vacation rental instead. Spend your days exploring lush rainforests, relaxing on breathtaking beaches, and spotting wildlife like monkeys and sloths. Many outdoor activities, like hiking through national parks, are free. For exciting excursions like zip-lining or river rafting, look for group packages or family discounts. And with direct flights into Liberia, getting to Costa Rica is surprisingly affordable.
Denver is a fun and scenic city with plenty of free and low-cost attractions. Start by strolling or biking the miles of trails around the city, or head to City Park for paddle boating and a free zoo visit. Go for a hike in the Rocky Mountains or walk around hip neighborhoods like RiNo, filled with street art. Save money on accommodations and food by booking a rental with a kitchen just outside downtown. And take advantage of Denver’s free days at top museums and other cultural institutions.
It may be one of the most impressive natural wonders in North America, but you don’t have to pay a fortune to see Niagara Falls with your family. There are fabulous views for free from several public parks. For the thrill rides and boat tours, look for combo discount passes. Nearby, explore free activities like walking nature trails and playing at lakeside beaches. Choose from campgrounds, motels, B&Bs, and rental vacation homes to find accommodation that fits your budget. Check out Going.com and use their price tracker to get the best rates on flights into Buffalo.
With flexible planning, discounts, and sticking to free attractions, these destinations all offer affordable and memorable family vacations. Wherever you decide to go, the time together making lasting memories will be priceless.