FREE DOMESTIC SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $50

Family-Friendly Summer Vacation Ideas That Won’t Break The Bank

Posted on

Summer break is upon us, which for many of us means warm weather, hanging out at the pool, spending time outdoors with friends and family, and of course, taking a summer vacation.


But even though we’d all love a grand summer getaway, an elaborate vacation isn’t always in the cards. The costs of going on vacation - especially as a family - can start to add up pretty quickly when you start to take into consideration the transportation, lodging, food, entertainment, attraction tickets and souvenirs, to start.


Luckily, there are ways you can plan a family vacation while staying on budget. It just takes some creativity, an open mind and sometimes a little elbow grease. And at the end of the day, your family will have made summer memories to last a lifetime.


Here are our top five summer mini-vacation ideas that are budget-friendly and that your family will love:

Photo source: KOA

1. Road Trip to the Nearest Beach or Lake

Photo source: KOA

1. Road Trip to the Nearest Beach or Lake

Wherever you live, chances are that there’s a beautiful beach or lake within driving distance. So why not make a road trip out of it?


First determine what your final destination will be. And then comes the fun part - as a family, look up some fun places you want to visit along the way. Some ideas could include an amusement park, a cool theater, scenic routes (think Historic Route 66 or Pacific Coast Highway) or historical landmarks. If you have young children, you can even come up with trivia questions to keep them interested and help them learn about specific landmarks along the way. 


One great thing about taking a road trip is it’s up to you how much money you want to spend, the two biggest expenses being lodging and transportation. You can make it a one-day or a week-long adventure - you choose what’s best for you and your family! 


Pro tip: Download the Roadtrippers app, which allows you to add all of the places you want to visit. The app then creates the ideal route covering all of your destinations.

2. Hiking Day Trip

Photo source: ParentMap

2. Hiking Day Trip

Photo source: ParentMap

Kids are usually adventurous, energetic and fearless, which is perfect for our next trip idea - hiking! 


Don’t know where to start? Luckily, there’s a good amount of resources available to help you find hiking trails near where you live, such as traillink.com, alltrails.com and trails.com. 


If you’re fairly new to hiking, choose a trail that’s beginner-friendly and has interesting features, such as waterfalls or streams; this will help keep your kids engaged and enjoy the activity, not only the end goal. 


And since you’ll be no stranger to nature and wildlife on the trails, it’s also a good idea to purchase a guide on flora and fauna indigenous to your area so that you can learn and educate the kids along the way. 


Get your family’s feedback afterwards - if your family enjoyed the trail, you can start looking for longer or more technical trail routes to try - and just like that, you have a new activity that you can enjoy all summer long! 


It is important to note that everyone going hiking should have the right gear and equipment: Trail shoes or hiking boots, a water bottle, a snack or light meal, breathable moisture-wicking clothing layers, sunscreen, bug spray, small first aid kit, multi-tool or knife, navigation tool and backpack.

Photo source: PBS

3. Plan a Staycation

Photo source: PBS

3. Plan a Staycation

This is one of our favorite budget-friendly vacation ideas: The staycation. Planning a staycation allows you and your family to see your town or city in a whole new light, and you may actually be surprised by how much you learn and discover. 


A staycation can be as simple as staying at a cool hotel or Airbnb downtown, booking a historic tour and/or visiting a museum exhibit you’ve never seen. And since you don’t have to make travel plans or handle too many logistics, staycations can help you feel rejuvenated, calm and refreshed - which is how you’re supposed to feel on vacation after all! 


If you want kick your staycation up a notch, try doing something brand new or out of the ordinary. Some ideas might include having an all-day board game “Olympics” tournament, writing and filming a family movie, or going treasure hunting/geocaching. 


Pro tip: Browse deal websites such as LivingSocial or Groupon to find more deals for your staycation.

4. Backyard Camping

Photo source: Invitation Homes

4. Backyard Camping

Photo source: Invitation Homes

A vacation idea that’s inexpensive, easy to plan and that’s as close to home as you can get? That’s a winner in our books! 


Start the evening by cooking outside on the grill - or better yet, over a fire pit (just make sure your city allows it first). Delicious camping meals might include hot dogs or burgers, corn on the cob and fresh fruit. For more unique camping meal ideas, check out these foil packet meals from The Girl Who Ate Everything (think tacos, shrimp boil and nachos). And for later in the evening, the whole family can enjoy the oh-so-sticky goodness known as S’mores!


If you have young children, you’ll want to plan some activities to keep them occupied and wanting to stay outdoors. Have a campfire song sing-a-long, tell campfire stories and bring out the telescope or binoculars for some stargazing. For more camping activities, check out these genius backyard DIY ideas from BuzzFeed. 


You can even take backyard camping to the next level by inviting your neighbors and friends to join in the fun!

Photo source: Shutterstock

5. Group Photo Scavenger Hunt

Photo source: Shutterstock

5. Group Photo Scavenger Hunt

We are all familiar with the concept of a scavenger hunt, but how exactly do you organize one? For a group photo scavenger hunt, you’ll need to come up with a concept or theme, a list of things that the group needs to find and take pictures of, a location or series of locations, a mode of transportation, a time limit and prizes for the winner(s).

Some concepts or themes could be nature, animal safari, colors or supermarket shelves. Once you’ve decided on your theme, you can then develop the list of things the group needs to find. For example, if your theme is nature, you might have the group look for pine cones, a spider web or animal tracks; if your theme is animal safari, you might have the group take a trip to the zoo to find a panda, monkey or elephant.


Print out a copy of the scavenger hunt list and take it with you so you can check items off as you find them. Give your group a time limit to find all the items, and then hand out fun prizes at the end or take everyone out for ice cream!


While this particular scavenger hunt is meant to be done as a group, you could also choose to have everyone compete as individuals or divide everyone into two competing teams.


Have you tried any of these activities with your family? What other budget-friendly summer vacation ideas have worked for you?

0 comments

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing

Hello You!

Join our mailing list