Top 10 destinations for families on a budget

Finding a great family vacation that fits in your budget is tough. Yet, many spots in the U.S. are affordable and perfect for families. They offer fun activities without the high costs.

Our list is based on what travelers have said. It shows top spots for cheap, family fun. These places have everything from outdoor excitement to relaxing times at the beach. Plus, you can discover new cultures without spending a lot.

Key Takeaways:

  • Many affordable spots in the U.S. make for budget-friendly family vacations.
  • These places have lots of activities and things for families to do.
  • Whether it’s national parks or beaches, there’s something for every family.
  • Choosing low-priced places to stay and planning well can make your trip special.
  • Visiting these places is a fun way for families to share memorable moments together.

Yellowstone National Park

Looking for an unforgettable family vacation that won’t break the bank? Yellowstone National Park is the perfect choice! It offers stunning geysers, lush hot springs, and tons of fun activities for all ages. It’s a top pick for budget-conscious families.

Discover the park’s geothermal beauty, including the reliable Old Faithful geyser. Don’t miss the Grand Prismatic Spring, with its dazzling colors. These sights will leave your family with lasting memories.

For the active family, Yellowstone is a dream. You can bike through the park, keeping an eye out for wild animals. Or, go on a horseback ride to really take in the stunning views. It’s perfect for those who love the outdoors.

Yellowstone National Park

The park is also affordable, perfect for saving money on your family trip. Entrance fees are fair, giving you access to the park’s natural wonders. There are also budget-friendly camping options. You can really connect with nature here.

Family-Friendly Activities

At Yellowstone, there’s something for everyone, young or old. Go on a thrilling wildlife safari to see bison and bears in their natural home. Take a hike on beautiful trails and enjoy a picnic with the family. It’s a great way to spend quality time together.

“Yellowstone National Park is an amazing destination for families. The park’s natural wonders and affordable options make it an unforgettable experience for everyone.”

Lear about Yellowstone’s history and nature at the visitor centers and ranger programs. It’s fun and educational, perfect for kids. It helps everyone value the park’s special environment more.

Camping Options

If you want to truly experience Yellowstone, consider camping. There are spots for tents or RVs. Sleeping under the stars, listening to nature, is an unbeatable experience.

Camping Option Facilities Cost per Night
Mammoth Campground Toilets, Drinking Water $20
Canyon Campground Toilets, Showers, Drinking Water $33
Grant Village Campground Toilets, Showers, Drinking Water $31

When you plan your trip, remember to book your campsite early. Yellowstone can get very busy, especially in summer. Secure your space and get ready for some great family time around the campfire.

Yellowstone National Park is an amazing spot for affordable family vacations. It’s full of fun and adventure, with lots of camping choices. Prepare for an unforgettable journey in this famous park.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a top spot for families wanting fun and cheap trips outdoors. It’s in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. This stunning park is known for its activities that fit any age and interest.

The park’s many hiking trails are a big draw. You’ll find trails perfect for both experts and new hikers. With paths like the famous Half Dome and the easy Lower Yosemite Falls, you can see beautiful landscapes and waterfalls.

If you love camping, Yosemite is perfect. There are places for tents, RVs, and cabins, all at different costs. Camping lets you dive into nature and see the park’s quiet beauty without spending a lot.

Yosemite offers more than hiking and camping. You can climb mountains, ride horses, or fish in its waters. Enjoy a drive to see amazing views. And, don’t forget your camera to save Yosemite’s breathtaking scenes.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is perfect for families wanting affordable fun outdoors. It offers diverse trails, camping, and many more activities. See the greatness of this famous park and make memories with your family.

Wisconsin Dells

Welcome to Wisconsin Dells, the “Water Park Capital of the World”! It’s an amazing place with many fun things to do. If you love excitement or just want to relax by the water, this is the place for you.

The water parks here are world-famous. They have slides, rivers to float in, and pools with waves. Everyone can have a great time at places like Kalahari Resort, Noah’s Ark Waterpark, or Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park.

Kayaking at Mirror Lake State Park is perfect for nature lovers. It’s a calm lake where you can spend a peaceful day. Kayaking here is great for both beginners and those who are more experienced.

Family-Friendly Accommodations

Wisconsin Dells has lots of affordable places to stay. There are resorts with pools, minigolf, and places to eat. These places make sure families have everything they need for a fun vacation.

Resort Name Price Range Key Amenities
Great Wolf Lodge $ Indoor water park, arcade, themed rooms
Kalahari Resort $$ Indoor and outdoor water parks, spa, golf course
Chula Vista Resort $$ Indoor and outdoor water parks, golf course, spa

The table shows you can find resorts for any budget. Staying at these places means you get to enjoy all of Wisconsin Dells. This includes the water parks, beautiful nature, and comfortable places to stay.

If you want an affordable family vacation full of water park fun, Wisconsin Dells is a great choice. It has everything you need for a memorable family trip.

Wisconsin Dells Water Park

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park is truly awe-inspiring. It’s both affordable and breathtaking for families. You’ll find landscapes that take your breath away and activities perfect for a family adventure.

Unforgettable Hiking Trails

The Grand Canyon is famous for its vast network of hiking trails. Everyone, from beginners to experts, will find a trail they love. You can see the canyon’s beauty up close on trails like Bright Angel and Rim. It’s a chance to make memories with your family while you explore.

Affordable Dining Options

After a day of exploration, you’ll probably be hungry. Luckily, dining doesn’t have to be expensive here. The park has affordable options for meals. Choose from quick cafes to family-friendly restaurants that fit your budget.

Visiting the Grand Canyon is popular, especially in peak times. It’s smart to book tickets, hotels, and campsites early. This will help you enjoy a hassle-free vacation with your family.

Activity Estimated Cost
Hiking the Bright Angel Trail Free
Family-friendly restaurant meal $15 – $30 per person
Full-day mule trip $144 – $1432 per person*
Camping $18 – $50 per night*

*Prices differ due to the length of the trip, the type of accommodation, and what’s included.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is a top pick for families watching their wallet. It boasts free museums, iconic monuments, and places fit for all ages.

Explore the Rich Cultural Heritage

Begin your journey by checking out famous museums. Places like the National Air and Space Museum and National Museum of Natural History are a must. Plus, entry is free, letting families soak up history and science without cost.

free museums

Marvel at Iconic Monuments

You can’t pass up seeing D.C.’s unforgettable monuments. Walking the National Mall, you’ll find the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. They’re perfect for family photos and making memories.

Family-Friendly Attractions

Another spot to hit is the National Zoo. It’s great for kids to see cool animals and learn about helping nature. The National Children’s Museum brings fun and learning together with its interactive zones.

“Washington, D.C. offers a plethora of engaging activities and attractions for families, without putting a strain on the budget.” – Travel Expert

Budget-Friendly Eats

When you’re hungry, go for the affordable eats from food trucks. They serve up everything from tacos to burgers. You can have a picnic in a park or munch while you explore.

In Washington, D.C., your family will have a blast without overspending. The city’s free museums, famous landmarks, and welcoming attractions make it a trip to remember. Plus, there’s plenty of good food that won’t drain your wallet.

Outer Banks

The Outer Banks is a special place on the North Carolina coast. It’s perfect for families looking to relax and have fun. This area is known for its quiet beaches, interesting historical sites, and activities for everyone to enjoy.

Its beautiful, open beaches are a big draw. Here, families can have their space to play, relax, and enjoy the sun. The lack of crowds makes it a perfect place for spending quality time with loved ones, stress-free.

If you love history, you’ll find much to explore here. The Wright Brothers National Memorial is one spot you can’t miss. It tells the story of how the Wright brothers made their incredible first flight. These sites are not just educational; they’re also great for bringing families closer.

“The Outer Banks is a perfect blend of tranquility and adventure. The uncrowded beaches and historical sites create a unique backdrop for memorable family moments.” – Michelle Johnson, frequent visitor

The Outer Banks also offers many family activities. You can stroll along Duck’s boardwalk, lined with cute shops and places to eat. Or you could go on a thrilling ghost crab hunt, a hit with kids. There’s something here for every family member to enjoy.

Outer Banks Image

For a great Outer Banks trip, book your stay early. This means you’ll have more choices and might save on where you stay. You can pick from small beach houses to large vacation homes. This will be your home away from home as you relax and enjoy your time.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is in Wyoming, a place that will take your breath away. It is filled with mountains, lakes so clear they sparkle, and animals of all kinds. This makes it the perfect place for a family adventure.

It’s known for its easy and beautiful trails for all ages. You can walk around Jenny Lake or take a tougher hike to Hidden Falls. Everyone finds a trail they love here.

The park is also great for scenic drives. roads like Teton Park and Signal Mountain Summit show off amazing views. It’s a perfect way to see the park’s beauty with the family.

“Grand Teton National Park offers a range of outdoor activities suitable for families. From swimming and kayaking to hiking and scenic drives, there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained.”

Do you enjoy being in the water? The park’s lakes and rivers are perfect for swimming and boating. Jackson Lake and Jenny Lake are ideal spots for a fun day on the water.

What’s even better? The entrance fees are not too high. A small fee lets your whole car in for a week. This means you won’t spend too much to have fun here.

Outdoor Activities Family-Friendly Hiking Trails Scenic Drives Affordable Entrance Fees
Swimming Taggart Lake Loop Teton Park Road Reasonable
Kayaking Lakeshore Trail Signal Mountain Summit Road Affordable
Hiking Hidden Falls Family-Friendly

Grand Teton National Park blends adventure, beauty, and family-friendliness perfectly. With so many things to do, like trails and drives, and its fair prices, it offers memories for all.

Grand Teton National Park


Close to the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is great for a cheap family trip. It’s filled with beautiful views and lots of fun outdoor stuff. There is something for everyone to enjoy.

Gatlinburg is near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Families can take on beautiful hikes and see many animals. The park has trails for all, making it a fun adventure for the whole family.

Gatlinburg also offers many activities beyond walking. Families can ride horses, float down the river, or raft in the rapids. There’s so much to do, promising an exciting time for all.

Looking for fun kids’ stuff? Gatlinburg has it. The town has theme parks, mini-golf, and go-karts to delight your children. Also, enjoy walking downtown, where you’ll find neat shops and tasty food.

You can stay in Gatlinburg’s cabins or budget-friendly hotels. There’s a place for everyone, keeping comfort and price in mind.

“Gatlinburg mixes beauty with activities for families. It’s affordable, making it perfect for those on a budget.”

Getting around Gatlinburg is easy with the free trolley. It’s a great way to move without spending on parking. This makes your trip even more budget-friendly.

With its beauty, activities, and cheap stays, Gatlinburg is a top pick for a family vacation they’ll never forget.

Great Smoky Mountains

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, on the border of New York and Ontario, is perfect for families on a budget. There are many affordable hotels and fun things to see and do. This makes it a great place for a memorable family trip that doesn’t cost too much.

You can get close to the falls by taking a boat tour. Or you can visit the observation decks. The thundering sound and the mist will fill you with wonder. It’s an experience that kids and adults will both love.

If you love the outdoors, there’s plenty to do. Families will enjoy hiking at the stunning Dufferin Islands. Or visit Niagara Glen for beautiful hikes and amazing natural views.

Niagara Falls

The exchange rate makes the Canadian side even more inviting for budget travelers. Canada offers cheaper accommodations, food, and fun. This means you can get more out of your vacation savings.

Niagara Falls is an amazing place to visit. It’s famous for its beautiful waterfalls, outdoor fun, and budget-friendly options. It’s a top choice for a family getaway that’s both affordable and fun.

Myrtle Beach

Looking for a friendly beach spot that’s affordable? Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is your answer. It’s budget-friendly with lots to do for everyone.

Myrtle Beach has 60 miles of sand. You can relax, play, or take in the sun here. It’s great for walks, building sandcastles, and swimming – all for free.

This place is perfect for families. There are parks and mini-golf for fun days out. Enjoy rides at Family Kingdom or challenge each other in mini-golf.

“Myrtle Beach offers affordable accommodations and a range of activities for all ages.”

There’s a stay for any budget at Myrtle Beach. Options include cheap hotels, beach condos, and big vacation homes. Many places have pools, dine-in places, and easy beach access.

Attractions in Myrtle Beach

  • Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach
  • Brookgreen Gardens
  • Broadway at the Beach
  • Myrtle Waves Water Park

Want to relax on the beach or have fun at parks? Myrtle Beach is perfect. It offers cheap stays and lots of activities. Your family will love it here.

Myrtle Beach Accommodations Comparison Table

Accommodation Type Features Starting Price per Night
Beachfront Hotel Direct beach access, swimming pool, on-site restaurant $80
Cozy Condo Kitchenette, ocean views, balcony $120
Spacious Vacation Rental Multiple bedrooms, full kitchen, private pool $200

Visit Myrtle Beach for a beautiful, affordable family vacation. It’s a great spot for fun and relaxation.


Planning a family vacation on a budget is easier than it seems. Many inexpensive destinations are available across the U.S. Families can have great trips without spending too much money. You can visit national parks or relax on the beach.

Think about what your family enjoys when choosing a place. Some places like Yellowstone and Yosemite have fun outdoor activities for little cost. Cities like Washington, D.C. have free museums and important sites to see. Myrtle Beach and the Outer Banks have cheap places to stay and many family things to do.

Choosing the right place and planning well can make a great trip for less. So, gather your family and get ready to visit these top 10 affordable destinations for families. You’re sure to make unforgettable memories. Affordable family vacations are just around the corner!


Why is Yellowstone National Park a great destination for a cheap family vacation?

Yellowstone National Park is great for families on a budget. It has low entrance fees and cheap camping. The park also has fun activities like biking and horseback riding.

What activities can families enjoy at Yosemite National Park?

Families at Yosemite can try hiking, see waterfalls, and view giant trees. There are also campgrounds for those who want to save on stay costs.

What makes Wisconsin Dells a popular choice for a family vacation?

Wisconsin Dells is the “Water Park Capital of the World.” It offers many affordable activities for families. This includes water parks and kayaking at Mirror Lake.Staying at resorts in Wisconsin Dells is also cheap.

Why is the Grand Canyon a recommended destination for families on a budget?

The Grand Canyon is not just breathtaking, it’s also budget-friendly. Families can hike and find affordable food nearby. Just remember to book early because it’s very popular.

What family-friendly attractions can be found in Washington, D.C.?

Washington, D.C. is perfect for families watching their spending. It has free museums, famous sights, and places to rent bikes. Affordable food from food trucks is also an option.

What can families do at the Outer Banks?

The Outer Banks has quiet beaches and historic places like the Wright Brothers Memorial. Families can walk on the boardwalk in Duck or try ghost crabbing. Pre-booking places to stay helps save money.

What outdoor activities are available at Grand Teton National Park?

Grand Teton National Park has lots of outdoor fun for families. They can swim, hike, and go on scenic drives. The entrance fee covers the whole car for a week, making it affordable for families on a budget.

What makes Gatlinburg a family-friendly destination?

Gatlinburg is a top spot at the Great Smoky Mountains for outdoor fun. Families can hike, see wildlife, and enjoy mini-golf. It’s easy on the wallet with cheap stays and a free trolley.

What makes Niagara Falls an attractive destination for families?

Niagara Falls has inexpensive hotels and family attractions. With a good exchange rate nearby, the Canadian side is even better for the budget. Families can hike, explore parks, and see the falls up close.

What can families do in Myrtle Beach?

Myrtle Beach is a pocket-friendly spot with lots to do. It has a long beach, parks, mini-golf, and an aquarium. Families can pick from many affordable places to stay.

How can families plan a budget-friendly vacation?

To plan a frugal vacation, choose affordable spots with great activities and places to stay. National parks, beaches, and cities like Washington, D.C. are good options for families. Booking early and finding free activities can also cut costs.

Can families find low-cost options for transportation and dining?

Yes, families can spend less on getting around by biking, using buses, or hopping on free shuttles like in Gatlinburg. For eating, trying local food trucks and cheap restaurants is a smart choice.
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