Spring is here and I am grateful for nice weather but I am still desperate for a vacation! However this year will be a budget vacation kind of year; with a daughter turning sixteen soon it means we will be buying a car and then college is not far behind. We have a family of six so budget is the name of the game in this house, and since I am a vacation lover I have this covered!
A quick search of “budget friendly family vacations” online and you will find articles about “the top budget friendly vacation spots”, I clicked and found a list of great places like Croatia, Poland, Morocco, and Turkey. Although I’d love to go airfare for six is not budget friendly. Other articles suggest “budget friendly resorts” and, well, they lost me at resorts.
Here is a quick list of my tried and true, budget and family friendly vacation ideas and why I love them. Three different price ranges, drive-able locations, and activities for all ages make these adaptable for all families. Pick your favorite, tailor it for your family, and have a great time.
There is nothing better than the cool mountain air in August when you are done with the Oklahoma heat and there is nothing cheaper than a camping vacation. Don’t cringe on me now, I was never a huge outdoor girl before our first trip but there are so many reasons to like camping.
Cost: Under $1000 or less depending on distance
Why I love it: No schedules, no phones, no souvenirs, plenty of room to roam, no one cares what you wear
My favorite place: Moraine Park in Rocky Mountain National Park just outside of Estes Park, CO. about a 12 hour drive, campsites run about $26 in the summer
Things to do: Great trails, lakes, fishing, JR Ranger Programs, campfires, picnics, beautiful views, horseback riding
Tips: Pack in totes, book a room at the YMCA for the day you pack up camp, get a campsite on the outside of the loops for great views. Borrow camping equipment from friends. Stop on the drive to white water raft with the kids, it is so much fun, my youngest must have been 6 when we went.
2. Lake Trip
My kids adore going to the lake, any lake, and I used to as a kid too so it is definitely something I wanted to share with them. While some of you may go to the lake a lot we do not, but we have taken several lake vacations ranging from long weekends to week long trips. Twice we have shared a large lake home with two other families which significantly cuts the costs, and the same as with camping, in a home you have the ability to cook and eat out less which saves a lot of money and frustration if you have little ones.
Cost: $2000 or less for a week
Why I love it: it brings back memories, I love being near the water, my kids love the water
My favorite place: Lake of the Ozarks because that is where i grew up going, Broken Bow because there is so much to do and it is so much closer
Things to do: rent a boat for a day or half and day, fish, swim, paddle boards, paddle boats, visit local shops
Tips: if you have small kids look for a cabin with a flat lot so they can play outside, for older kids spend more on the boat and less on lodging. Boats will come with life jackets and sometimes a tube, don’t forget to borrow items from friends.
3. Beach Trip
My favorite! A beach trip may seem pricey due to lodging but that is the most expensive thing, sand and sun are free, and they always end up our cheapest vacations. If you still have young kids that can miss school go in May when rates are cheaper between spring break and summer break. The beach may seem far away but it is so worth is especially if you choose a nice sand beach.
Cost: $3000 or less for seven days plus two travel days
Why I love it: I can relax, the sea feeds my soul, the kids are peaceful and exhausted, phones stay inside out of the sand
My favorite place: Ugh I almost can’t bring myself to tell you- shh! Inlet Beach, FL
Things to do: swim, build sand castles, play football in the sand, catch crabs at dusk, walk, search for shells, visit the awesome (expensive) nearby towns for ice cream, read! That is it I am booking my place now!
Tips: The best thing I ever did was find a house where I can walk out the door into the sand! It makes it easy for bathroom trips and snacks, and nap time! Order a chair service that comes by every morning and puts up your beach chairs and umbrella.
I hope you carve out a little vacation this year, we all need to unwind and recharge!