The Best Places for Family-Friendly Vacations on a Budget

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Who among us isn’t nursing an intense jones for a rejuvenating vacation? After the two-plus years we’ve experienced, a well-earned respite — an idyllic beach weekend or a scenic mountain hideaway — is what we need and deserve. True, a family-friendly vacation on a budget requires more than wishful thinking, but planning a vacation is much easier than it used to be. Daydreams of island getaways don’t have to be short-circuited by lack of time, cost, and budget constraints. Enjoy travel tips that take you beyond surface curiosity and Insta-perfect snaps with great experiences that won’t break the bank with the following ideas. 

The National Parks

Roll down the windows of your RV or rental and let in the unadulterated, sun-on-your-face thrill of wide-open spaces, fresh air, and panoramic flora offered by America’s majestic national parks. Each season holds its innumerable charms. Most are open throughout the year with reasonably priced multi-day passes and camping packages that won’t break your budget. 

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park, for instance, is a nature lover’s Eden of plants and flowers — offering everything from exploring caves to hiking to snowshoeing. The majestic Sequoia National Park, America's second national park and home to several of the tallest trees in the world, offers stunning views of towering trees and a wilderness experience that is breathtaking and humbling. Enjoy a scenic drive 80 miles east of Fresno, California, through the southern Sierra Nevada Mountain range to get there. Established in 1890 to prevent the obliteration of the majestic trees through logging, Sequoia now links to the adjacent Kings Canyon National Park. It includes the General Sherman Tree, considered the world's largest tree, reaching 275 feet tall.

Grand Canyon National Park

Officially designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Grand Canyon National Park is a chasm of red and orange grandeur that offers unparalleled wonder. Located in northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon spans approximately 18 miles in width, is a mile deep, and is a natural wonder. About 6 million visitors each year are amazed by this national treasure. To avoid the crowds, trek the North Rim for backwoods camping and hiking before heading to the well-worn Bright Angel Trail.

Glacier National Park

Aptly titled the Crown of the Continent, Glacier National Park unfolds across more than one million acres. Glacier-carved mountain peaks, towering cedars, sweeping vistas that roll toward the Canadian border; diverse wildlife, 700 lakes, and numerous waterfalls showcase nature at her most dazzling. Families can backpack, cycle, or hike more than 700 miles of trails on the mountainous Going-to-the-Sun Road and enjoy camping by picturesque Hidden Lake.

Multi-Island Beach Fun in the Sun

British Virgin Islands

Barefoot minimalists on a budget can romp through the stunning islands of the British Virgin Island without spending a fortune. Grab a bottle of the BVI’s exquisite rums and head to the turquoise bays and hidden coves of Tortola and Virgin Gorda or the valleys of St. Thomas — that were once havens for pirates — for your own Treasure Island adventures. Add island hopping to the mix using the daily local ferry service to explore local beaches and cuisine.

Bundle and Save Resort Packages

Rui Resorts offers family- and budget-friendly hotel deals to exotic locales in the Caribbean: Aruba, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. JetBlue Vacations offers affordable travel opportunities such as Jet Away Sale packages that let travelers take advantage of special promotions and select destinations and dates to save money. Summertime in the Caribbean is off-season, so rates are cheaper. Be sure to plug into search engines such as Kayak for special deals.

Tags: Adventure, Family, Travel

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Written By

Denise Campbell Laidler

Denise Campbell Laidler is an international communication consultant, content strategist and travel and culture writer. See Full Bio

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