For American parents of children under 18, 81% charge over $1,000 on their credit cards in order to give them a summer vacation. But family trips should be about having fun, not about worrying about the credit card debt you have to take out to fund such a vacation.

Everyone deserves to have amazing breaks, even if they don’t have much money to work with. If you need to travel on a budget, then here are 10 cheap family vacations you can take in the US.

1. Yellowstone, WY


Does your family enjoy camping? Or have you never been, and are interested in trying it out? Then Yellowstone is where you need to go to.

This national park spans over 3,471 square miles, which gives you breathtaking views no matter where you go. This family trip can be amazingly cheap if you plan ahead of time and reserve a space at the campgrounds on site. The prices range from $15 to a little over $47 per night.

You can cut down on costs even further if you go to the grocery store beforehand and stock up on food and drinks to have at the campsite. 

2. Washington, D.C.

If you live anywhere near Washington, D.C., it’s a fantastic area to bring your family to. Your kids can get great history lessons at the tons of free museums around, plus get an up-close and personal look at some of the most iconic monuments.

While you’re taking a break from all the museums and monuments, you can get an affordable meal from one of the many food trucks around. Get cheap and easy transportation through the metro or by renting bikes or electric scooters.

3. The Catskills, NY

Get away from the hustle and bustle of New York and go up to the Catskills instead. You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities, such as fishing, bumper boating, and rock climbing, as well as skiing and sledding in the winter.

While prices at nearby resorts are affordable, you can save even more if you reserve a spot at one of their campgrounds.

4. Myrtle Beach, SC

It’s always a treat to lounge around on the beach when the weather’s hot. When you get too sweaty, just get up and hop into the beautiful blue ocean!

Myrtle Beach has plenty of family-friendly attractions, such as bowling, mini-golf, and an aquarium. If you go in the summer, you can also attend free concerts at the shopping center nearby.

5. San Diego, CA

Are you located on the west coast and would like to go to an affordable beach too? Then try San Diego. This large county has the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (which is full of museums), and the USS Midway Museum.

During the daytime, you can bring the entire family to one of the many beaches along the coastline. At night, the adults can have a few drinks in Downtown San Diego in the Gaslamp Quarter.

6. Grand Canyon, AZ

Grand Canyon

This one’s another family vacation to put on your list if you like the great outdoors. At this Natural Wonder of the World, you and your loved ones can spend hours hiking in the beautiful trails.

For lodging, up to 6 people can stay at the Grand Canyon Lodge for under $200 a night, which is a steal. You can also go on mule rides; they only cost $90 for half a day and can provide a unique experience that your children are sure to remember for a lifetime.

7. Williamsburg, VA

Give your family a fun and interesting history lesson by vacationing in Williamsburg. This town used to be a colony, and there are many people here who reenact the olden days. You can take your loved ones on fun tours to learn about the area.

Nearby attractions include Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA. While admission can be expensive for a whole family, you can get combination tickets to save if you want to visit multiple attractions.

8. Branson, MO

Your kids will have plenty to do in Branson! This town has a water park, a humongous replica of the Titanic, and an old-school amusement park. Free activities include tours at the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery and swimming at Table Rock Lake.

Nearby is Independence, where there’s also plenty to see and do. Knowing where to stay can make all the difference in how much you spend on your vacation, so consider economy hotels, RV parks, and campgrounds in addition to hotels.

9. Ka’anapali Beach, HI

Hawaii doesn’t have to be an expensive trip. If you go in the off-season (January and February), you can save a significant amount on airfare.

Consider staying at the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel. All children under 17 get to stay for free in their parents’ room and they also have a complimentary kids’ program for those under 12. Plus, this hotel is located right on the gorgeous beaches of Maui.

10. Gatlinburg, TN


Vacationing in Gatlinburg on the off-season (March, April, and September) will save you a whole bundle of money. All throughout the year, they consistently have free festivals, so chances are, whichever dates you pick to visit, you’ll have something free to attend.

Nearby is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is free to enter. Here, you can go hiking and biking, as well as view their historical exhibits.

Take Cheap Family Vacations in the Future

As you can see, taking a trip doesn’t have to be expensive if you go about it smartly. While it may take a little more work and imagination, cheap family vacations are definitely feasible. So take our above tips and save big on your future family breaks!

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