When it comes to family vacations, it’s all about striking the perfect balance of fun, flexibility, and budget-friendly. That’s why I’ve come up with these budget family vacation ideas for 2021.
If you are ready to start planning your next family adventure, the following suggestions all definitely achieve this trio of vacation goals.
Budget Family Vacation Ideas
A Cruise to Alaska
My first budget family vacation is an Alaskan cruise. Alaska cruises are truly the ideal family vacation. There’s something for everyone to enjoy both onboard the ship as well as during side excursions.
Also, Alaska cruise vacations are available at a variety of times during the year, which means they can easily be planned around work and school schedules. Lastly, because cruises are all-inclusive, they can be quite attractive for a family on a budget.
To make the best of your cruise, hold a family meeting and ask everyone what they would ideally like to do. If several of you want to combine the cruise with a day or two in Seattle you can plan the cruise to go out of this city.
Also consider visiting Denali National Park for nature highlights, including glaciers and wildlife sightings.
A Visit to Hershey, Pennsylvania
Chocolate-loving families will be sure to enjoy a budget family vacation to a town that is entirely dedicated to this sweet treat. You can spend a day or two at the historic amusement park Hersheypark with its dozens of rides and a water park and, if you like, you can camp there as well.
There is also Hershey’s Chocolate World with its plethora of sweets, a trip to Hershey Gardens, and when you are ready for a break from all of that chocolate, an excursion to ZooAmerica is a great option.
Hershey Lodge offers shuttles to the park and Chocolate World and they often run specials where kids can stay, play and eat for free, which can easily add up to some solid savings.
A Road Trip with a Stop for Everyone
A perfect budget family vacation is a road trip! If your kids are older and/or don’t mind riding in the car, a family road trip can be a great option that is affordable and easily planned.
You can look at a map together and choose a route that starts from your home and takes you to some neighboring states. Or you could also fly to another part of the country, rent a van and go from there. Many airlines are running really great sales on fares so this can still be a budget-friendly option.
Looking for inspiration? You could drive through the Southwest and check out the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and all that the Phoenix area has to offer. Or head to New England for a combo of history and colorful leaves.
The only caveat to this trip is that each family member gets to choose something meaningful to him or her to experience along the way; this will make those hours in the car a lot more bearable.
If a road trip is your plan, check out my road trip planner, winter road trip ideas, and road trip tips so the whole family can be comfortable and safe.
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer an opportunity to admire nature’s beauty at its best. And of course, it offers a lot for the budget family vacation.
Imagine the feel of the wind in your hair and sand between your toes while taking a casual stroll on the beach. Or trekking through lush pine forests to sit by a lake for a makeshift family lunch.
Spread over 6,500 acres of land, Gulf State Park is a family-friendly tourist destination that fosters an abundance of wildlife and protected species of flora. With an $85 million dollar infusion, the State Park has elevated its standards to provide modern facilities and sightseeing avenues to keep visitors entertained and at ease.
Branson offers a truly memorable budget family vacation experience. With various attractions and activities for adults and kids alike along the Country Boulevard of Missouri Highway 76, the family will enjoy experiences like toy museums, high-rise go-kart tracks, aquariums, and theaters.
If you have plenty of time, you can drive off to Silver Dollar City, which is a theme park located on the outskirts of Branson, offering various activities and sightseeing opportunities to keep the whole family entertained.
Families that don’t mind sore muscles can explore nearby hiking trails, forests, mountains, and lakes. And call it a day with a family dinner in one of the chic local restaurants.
Branson has various affordable accommodation options too, but if you want to spend a night in luxury, there are many 5 Star hotels in the area with swimming pools, spas, and other modern amenities for a premium stay.
Have a Great Time and Send a Postcard if You Can
Planning a budget family vacation does not have to involve taking out a small loan or struggling to find options that will keep everyone happy. From a fun cruise to our 49th state or a trip to a chocolate-centric town to a road trip of your creation, you can definitely plan and enjoy a family vacation you will all remember for decades. And don’t forget, if you are planning a road trip, get your vehicle serviced a week before the trip starts to avoid unexpected breakdowns down the road.