5 Cheap Summer Trips to Take with the Family

One of the best things about vacationing with kids is that you get to spend time with them and create memories that last a lifetime. However, the bill for a vacation can be daunting, especially if you have a big family.

Before you begin looking at European destinations, look at home first. A good way to shave dollars off a vacation price is to choose a place that’s closer to home. The kids are probably looking for a fun time with you and that makes a long and far trip unnecessary.

The U.S. is host to a whopping 59 beautiful national parks and dozens of major cities, each with a culture of its own. Here are five cheap destinations you’ll love:

Scotts Mills, Oregon

Oregon has some of the best deals to be had when it comes to eating and staying cheap. Camp Dakota is a low-priced resort that the whole family can enjoy. Large families will appreciate that you can stay in a huge yurt that sleeps ten people for $75 per day, as of 2017. It’s pet-friendly, and the yurts come with table games like pool, air hockey, and ping-pong. There’s a fantastic barbecue and seating area at each yurt too.

It’s the activities that make Camp Dakota even more fun. They offer paintball, rock climbing, zip-lines, and more. Activities can come packaged in an all-inclusive deal. Check their website for details. It’s a trip everyone is bound to enjoy.

Carlsbad Caverns

Nestled in the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico is an amazing group of 119 caves called the Carlsbad Caverns. It’s a perfect time for the family to learn about geology and bats.

Prices are very reasonable since children under 15 can get in free. Adult admission is $10, but the park has a few fee-free days where everyone can enter free. The free dates are August 25, September 30, and November 11-12 for 2017.

What makes the Carlsbad Caverns trip a steal is that there is free public use land not too far from the caves where you can bring an RV or pitch a tent. Services are limited, but it’s free. Go to the Free Campsites Website for details on how to locate this and other free campsites.

One word of caution, the caverns and New Mexico can get to over 100 degrees in the summer, so go prepared.


This one sort of applies to any trip because it isn’t really a destination. How else can you get travel and overnight accommodations all in one deal? Traveling on the Amtrak is one of the best ways to see America because it goes places that cars don’t. The sites are breath-taking, and your road trip is more relaxing when you don’t have to drive.

The cheapest way to travel by Amtrak is to get a 15, 30, or 45-day pass to travel everywhere Amtrak goes. You can get on and off the train and enjoy each city on foot. A 15-day pass is $459, making a trip around the U.S. very affordable, considering you can sleep on the train.

Two children under 12 years old can ride half-price and one child under two years old can travel free. Find pass details at Amtrak.

Great Smokey Mountains

The Great Smokey Mountains stretch over the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. Millions of people come to visit the lush landscape to hike trails, see bountiful waterfalls, and witness historic cabins.

The Great Smokey Mountain National Park is one of the only free national parks in the United States. Camping in the backcountry and front country is very reasonable, ranging from $14 to $23 per night.

You can rent a hotel in close-by Gatlinburg, TN or Pigeon Forge, TN, but Adventure Bound Camping Resorts has cheap cabin deals for under $100 per night for a family of four. The resort also has fun activities for the kids.

The Smokies is bound to be a fun, adventure-filled vacation with prices that don’t disappoint.

Las Vegas

If you think Las Vegas is only for gamblers, think again. The city is brimming with things to do for kids, and hotels are cheap if you look for deals.

Circus Circus is a family favorite and has an amusement park, entertainment, and inexpensive buffets. Prices start at only $29 per night. There are other cheap hotels in the area too.

Las Vegas has tons of free activities, including the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat, the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, and the Mirage Volcano.


If you do your research and budget your vacation well, you can afford to go to amazing places with the family over the summer.

Now it’s your turn. What are some cheap and favorite family trips you’ve taken?

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