Summer Mini-Vacations: Budget-Friendly Day Trips and Short Trips for the Next Family Adventure

family bikingFor families with kids, summer can be long, and hot and – say it with us – borrrrring. Though – if you plan accordingly – you don’t have to spend a lot of time or a lot of money to create a summer full of fun family adventure. Make memories this summer and do some crucial family bonding with a “mini” vacation, perfect for families with kids.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Go Museum Hopping

If you have a budding artist in your household and live near a major metropolitan area, you can turn a weekend into a great cultural experience. Some museums offer discounts for students and kids or free admission on certain days. The Art Career Project keeps a list of must-see art museums in the U.S. – there’s sure to be one near you.

Get Your Sea Legs

Boating is a great family activity and you don’t have to go it alone. If you live near a river, you can take a guided canoeing, rafting or kayaking trip. If you live near a coast, you can jump aboard a scheduled charter or maybe charter a captained boat to turn a Saturday into a day of sun and fun. Just be sure you take the sunscreen!

Go Fishing

Fishing trips can be a wonderful family outing – even if you’ve never before fished. You can rent fishing equipment at nearby bait shops or parks. Make it educational by talking about the food chain and ecosystem in the area where you’re fishing. You might even catch dinner! To find fishing opportunities near you, visit takemefishing.org.

Take a Hike

A warm summer day provides the perfect opportunity to load the family into the car and drive to a nearby park or trail access point. You can even bring lunch and make a day of it. To hike safely, bring plenty of food and water for the whole family, take additional sunscreen and a trail map. To find a trail near you, visit localhikes.com.

… or Go Camping

Camping is an inexpensive, memorable family mini-vacation for whenever the weather permits. Because there are camping opportunities throughout the U.S., you don’t have to drive very far to find a great camping spot with family-friendly amenities like boating, bike rentals, hiking and swimming. You can save money by renting camping equipment or buying pre-owned equipment online. To find a campground near you, visit gocampingamerica.com.

Take a “Stay”cation

You don’t have to leave town to have a great mini-vacation. Stay local and enjoy everything your town has to offer. From parks and summer festivals, to summertime-only activities such as boating and mini-golf you can save money, and see your city in a whole new light.

Visit a “Tourist Destination” Near You

It doesn’t have to be ‘in season’ to visit a tourist destination in your area. In some places, ski slopes become hiking trails; in others, beach towns empty out – leaving plenty of room for the “locals” to have the run of the place. In off-season, you may even find hotel deals for locals – perfect for families who want to save a little money and have a lot of fun.

Have a favorite mini-vacation idea? Share it with us on Facebook.

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Categories: Parenting Tips
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