The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

Family Vacations on a Budget

July 31, 2017

mother and son in backyardIsn’t it funny how the entire concept of summer vacation tends to change when you’re the one who has to plan – and pay – for it?

School’s out, your kids want to do something fun, and so do you. If you believe the hype, it seems like the best opportunities cost too much money or involve travel—another luxury. Don’t worry, it’s easy to find tons of fantastic adventures that are affordable, and right in your own backyard.

Here are five suggestions that can help you spend quality time with your kids this summer without breaking the bank.

Family Vacation Ideas on a Budget

  • Museums. They’re everywhere, celebrating everything from art to food to history, and are truly some of the most intriguing and often-overlooked options for family fun. Most tend to be free or affordable. Museums can be perfect for a day trip or evening adventure – a destination where you and your kids can bond, have a blast, and learn something!
  • Camping. You don’t need boats or planes to find the great outdoors. It’s easy to visit well-known state or national parks in your area, or put your explorer’s cap on and discover new destinations. Whether your family is into hiking, fishing, or just spending time outdoors in the fresh air, camping is a healthier choice than logging time in front of the TV or computer. Best of all, most local parks or nature centers have free or budget-friendly learning activities. Pack a picnic lunch, bring plenty of water, and get “into the wild.”
  • Libraries. You may have memories of being “shushed” in libraries as a child. But these days, libraries are some of the best-kept secrets for summer fun. Enjoy an air-conditioned haven on a humid day, and take full advantage of the free readings, movies and, in some cases, pajama sleepovers. Check your local library’s website events page to see what you’ve been missing!
  • Petting Zoos. Kids love to interact with and touch some of the animals they’ve no doubt read about or seen on TV. And you don’t have to worry about lions attacking you. Win-win! These Petting zoos are truly hands-on, and offer tame excitement and priceless educational opportunities.
  • State Audubon Societies. These state programs and nature centers are dedicated to animal education. Go to and find the closest location to you. Your entire family can become one with nature and it may introduce your children to new ways of looking at our furry and feathered friends.

These are just a handful of suggestions, but the key takeaway is that it’s not only possible, but sometimes preferable to explore some nearby gems. Family vacations don’t have to be in another country or even a another zip code. Fun memories and brand new family traditions definitely can be built on a budget!

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