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Five Affordable Summer Family Adventures

This blog post was updated on May 10, 2018.

As any parent/caregiver will tell you, summer travel with the kids can get expensive pretty fast. But it doesn’t have to, especially if you have a plan and a budget in place. We’re here to help with five suggestions for affordable family adventures. Tell the kids to pack their bags and read on!

Yosemite National Park, California


There’s nothing like an iconic national park to inspire and delight kids of all ages. The closest airport to fly into to begin your Yosemite adventure is Fresno. Your little ones will be awed by majestic waterfalls, towering Sequoias, and stunning rock formations. Adults will be delighted by the small entry fee and budget-friendly accommodations (campgrounds and motels) in Yosemite Valley. There are various types of hiking paths throughout the park that offer fun for the whole family. I don’t know about you, but that makes Yosemite a win-win!

Baja, Mexico


Give the kids a chance to practice their Spanish over the summer! Once you get past touristy Tijuana, the Baja peninsula offers plenty of beaches and wide open spaces. The peninsula is full of government-run hotels and campgrounds where you can stay on the cheap as you and the kids explore this stunning agricultural region. If you prefer a little more action, stay in Rosarito (a former fishing village turned tourist resort town). La Paz and Los Cabos, two of the biggest resort areas, offer great family packages in the summer months. It’s relatively easy to fly right into Baja, or you can always fly into San Diego and drive over the border via the transpeninsular highway.

The Badlands, South Dakota


South Dakota’s Badlands provides a lot of bang for your family vacation buck. The kids will get a kick out of visiting Mount Rushmore as well as exploring nearby caves. Young archaeologists can even join a “dig” at the site where over 50 mammoths were trapped over 25,000 years ago. Other options include hiking, panning for gold, or joining up with a junior naturalist program.

Destin, Florida


Located in the Florida panhandle, Destin is a decidedly family-friendly spot. From sandy beaches to fishing to aquariums, there are plenty of activities to keep young travelers busy and smiling. Affordable eats from crab shacks and local diners keep everyone fed and happy. Affordable accommodations range from summertime resort deals to independently owned guest houses and motels.

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia


Take a trip back in time and explore the fascinating history of Colonial Williamsburg. Kids will also enjoy the nearby Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. If you’re planning on hitting several sites, it’s worth purchasing a combo pass for reduced admission to attractions. It’s free to ride the historic Jamestown Ferry, which will allow you to see the shoreline from the James River. Accommodations around Colonial Williamsburg tend to be affordable, even in the summer months. There are also a variety of family-friendly eateries that will give you your money’s worth.

Have you taken a budget family vacation that everyone enjoyed? Where did you go and what are your recommendations? Let us know in the comments section!


RELATED: Want to travel with your tiny tot this summer? Don’t break a sweat … or a blood vessel – here’s our guide on how you can hit the road when traveling with your first child!




About the author

Jen Westmoreland Bouchard

An insatiable foodie, art collector, and international literature aficionado, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. For the past fifteen years, I have written about my adventures for various travel and literary publications. I am the owner of Lucidité Writing ( and Bouchard Design Co. (

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