Ideas for Inexpensive Family Vacations

Inexpensive Family Vacations #1:

If you are looking for a family vacation idea that won’t break the budget, then you should consider Dover, Delaware.

The Delaware’s Capital Region offers several free museums and historic sites, tax-free shopping and dining, and it’s "less than a tank-full away" for many families if the Mid-Atlantic Region. You can skip the air fare.

Here are just a few of the Delaware’s Capital Region free or low-cost things to do.

  • Air Mobility Command Museum has dozens of vintage aircraft including restored WWII B-17 Bomber. You can see aircraft movies in the theater or experience being a pilot in the flight simulators.
  • Delaware State House Museum is part of Dover’s historic district called The Green. It was built in 1792 which makes it one of the oldest state houses in the U.S. This is a great place to explore our country’s past. Don’t miss the life size portrait of George Washington.
  • Delaware State Police Museum explore the history of the State Police an includes displays of antique cars and motorcycles.
  • Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is an excellent place to view wildlife in their natural settings. You can have fun brird watching, take some great photos. The wildlife refuge has a tour route marked with numbered signs so that you can drive tour all the key spots.
  • Killens Pond State Park is a place to camp out and enjoy some hiking, fishing and canoeing.
  • Amish Country is west of Dover and is a great place to take a scenic drive.

Inexpensive Family Vacations #2:

By Shel Horowitz - author of the eBook "The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook" available through Join a homestay organization.

We've been members of Servas for over 25 years, pay a small annual membership fee, and then stay in private homes; at no cost (we usually bring a small gift).

Not only is it a great budget stretcher, it's a much more interesting way to visit a place, and sometimes long-term friendships can form. In Servas, you can be a traveler, a host, or both--and the host can always say no if it's not a good time.

Servas was set up to break down barriers across cultures. We go through the host book and contact a mix of people who seem to be like us or very different

Inexpensive Family Vacations #3:

Independence, Missouri, is a vacation destination that will give budget-minded families a lot of fun for their holiday buck. The cost of living here in Independence is lower than most places in the country.

This translates into savings on vacation food, lodging, gas and attraction fees. There is a lot to see and do in historic Independence. Here are a few things in Independence that are free or low-cost.

  • Log Courthouse circa 1827.
  • Bass Pro Outdoor World; Play on the playground, rock climbing wall or the laser shooting gallery. Enjoy the fresh air on the outdoor trails. Relax on the pavilion by the lake. Inside there are wildlife displays and aquarium.
  • Chicago and Alton Depot; This was originally built in 1879. Since restored, it's now the oldest two story depot in Missouri. The Depot is a mini museum of period antiques, railroad equipment and memorabilia.
  • Community of Christ Temple; This is more than just a temple. It houses a artwork, 1600 seat sanctuary, museum, bookstore and two theaters. The kid's will also enjoy the Children’s Peace Pavilion. This is a free interactive museum with hands-on kids activities and exhibits.
  • Historic Independence Square, Lexington and Main. Charming historic downtown area offering antique shops, charming shops and restaurants.
  • Independence Center; Excellent shopping area with an indoor play area for the kids plus an old-fashion carousal. shopping.
  • Mormon Visitors Center; Focuses on Mormon history using video, interactive displays and dioramas.
  • Pioneer Spring Cabin; Showcases life in a log cabin in the 1800s.
  • Skate Park at Hill Park; Fun time for kids into skaeboarding.
  • Spraygrounds; Kid fun - cool off with water spraying fun.
  • Walking Trails: Three walking trails based on various local themes.

Inexpensive Family Vacations #4:

Contributed by Stephanie Moreland - Every year, my mom, brother, and I take a vacation somewhere different. We live in Houston, so we’ll do anything to get away from the heat of the summer. Last year, we spent three weeks in the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver.

We went to Olympia National Park, Mount Rainier, Seattle, Mount St. Helens, Vancouver, etc. But that was a pricey trip, so this year we are scaling down our efforts.

Our plan for this summer is to fly to Denver (round trip flights from Houston to Denver can be picked up very cheap), rent a car, and take a classic American road-trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. We will stay in smaller motel-like properties, tent-cabins, or possibly just camping.

We are also a huge National and State Park family. Where else can you get so much entertainment for so little money? We also love to get outdoors, hike, and enjoy the cool, crisp weather. Since we live in Houston (a very non-pedestrian friendly city), we prefer to take vacations that involve stretching our legs----and our dollars a bit.

Inexpensive Family Vacations #5:

Contributed by Robert Todd Felton author of "Walking Boston: 36 Tours Through Beantown's Cobblestone Streets, Historic Districts, Ivory Towers and New Waterfront".

Beyond Boston’s well-known Freedom Trail are a variety of great walks and routes for a family ramble – a great way to spend an afternoon in the city without spending much money.

In Walking Boston, I profile 34 short walks in the Boston area that are a mix of the familiar and new finds. One of my favorites is a tour of the best playgrounds and ice-cream stores of Jamaica Plain – that one was suggested to me by a friend and her seven-year old.

Also, the tours around Fenway Park, MIT, and the recently redone Children's Museum (with discounted admission on Friday nights) are wonderful for inexpensive family vacations with kids of all ages and virtually free.

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