5 Low-Cost Summer Vacations

Summer is peak vacation time. While you may be itching to get away and take a break, planning a vacation, especially with children, can be stressful. How can you do it without spending a lot of money?

Here are five low-cost summer vacation ideas that will have you relaxing in no time without breaking the bank.

National Parks

There’s probably no better low-cost vacation option than taking advantage of our National Park System. Not only do they offer beautiful outdoor experiences, but many offer camping for an average of $15.00 a night.

For many kids, being in nature and learning all the processes of camping in the outdoors is a very exciting and memorable experience. It’s a great way to get away and create a full vacation experience without breaking the bank.

The National Park Service has a handy tool you can use to discover parks all over the country and plan your trip.

Ski Resorts

Many ski resorts keep their doors open during the summer to maximize the use of their resort space. Since their facilities and grounds are primarily designed for winter activities, you can often get a great deal on your stay there.

Ski resorts are located in very picturesque locations that are still beautiful in the summer. Check out some of the smaller resorts within reasonable driving distance of your home. Often times the resorts that are family owned and don’t have a big brand name have better deals.

Family Visits

Visiting family is a fantastic way to take a vacation. If you have family within a reasonable driving distance who you can stay with, you’ll save a ton on lodging costs while spending time in a different location.

Even better, your family will create traditions and bonds that lead to great memories. To make it more of a vacation, plan day trips and experiences in the area that make the time with your family unique.

You can also combine this type of trip with camping. Camp for one or two nights on your way to your family’s house to break the trip up a bit and give your kids a variety of experiences

Group Vacations

If you don’t feel like visiting family (or they live in boring locations), see if they want to vacation with you somewhere else. If you get a group together to share an Airbnb then your lodging costs will be much, much cheaper.

You can also plan something like this with your friends, especially if they have similarly aged children. You’ll have the benefit of the kids being able to entertain themselves, which allows you space to relax on your own.

Look for a spot that has a backyard and the ability to grill outdoors in order to keep your food costs low as well, while still having a great summer experience.


You may be able to get a great deal on a cruise that leaves from your area. If the idea of taking a cruise as a family vacation interests you, then it’s worth looking into.

Cruise tickets are often the cheapest when you book far in advance or somewhat last minute. The major cruise companies love to fill their rooms as early as possible, which caters to those who love to plan up to a year in advance. Use the site CruiseSheet to get a sense of pricing for the dates you’re looking at.

Additionally, several major cruise lines let kids come for free. Children age 12 and under sail for free on Royal Carribean. Some others allow kids 17 and under to sail for free or at a steep discount. Not having to pay for your children is obviously a huge money saver.

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