The kids are out of school and home for summer break. If a big family vacation is out of your budget, no worries. You can plan a few mini summer escapes instead and still take advantage of your well-deserved time off. Taking a day trip, weekend getaway or simply staying at a nearby venue for a short time is often doable—even on a tight budget.
In fact, the economical nature of mini vacations often allows people to treat themselves to two or three events over the course of the summer. Since the psychological “buzz” of vacation usually fades after a few weeks, these affordable and quick trips can help you stay relaxed, happy, and motivated all summer long.
If you are ready to make the most of the warm weather, here are some frugal summer vacation ideas the whole family is sure to enjoy.
Hit the (Public) Beach
If a week at a beachfront vacation hotspot isn’t affordable, don’t worry—there are plenty of alternatives. If you live near a coast, you are likely within driving range of a public beach.
In many cases, you can enter and enjoy a day by the water for a few dollars at most. In fact, many public beaches don’t charge any admission fee at all. And if you bring a picnic basket, you won’t have to purchase overpriced restaurant food.
Besides swimming and sunbathing, you may also have access to activities such as kayaking or fishing from a public pier. If you don’t live near the ocean, consider looking into nearby bodies of water.
Do a quick search and you will almost certainly find a lake, pond, or river with easy public access to enjoy for little to no cost at all. So, pack up the car, remember the sunscreen, and head to a nearby public beach for fun in the sun.
Start Day Tripping
No matter where you live, there are likely great things to do within a few hours’ drive. Find museums that are close enough to travel to early in the morning, enjoy the day, and arrive home in time for dinner.
Additionally, start checking the calendar for local and regional festivals. There may be music, arts, and other great festivals or carnivals coming to your area, so you won’t even have to drive far. Your family can attend these affordable venues together since there is typically something for everyone to enjoy.
Head to the Great Outdoors
Another way to plan a memorable yet economical mini vacation this summer is by venturing into nature. There are thousands of places across the country to camp, and most of them are very affordable. In some cases, you may be able to find land where you can camp for free.
There are also hundreds of nationwide public trails where you can hike for a few days, camping and resting along the way as you take in the beautiful scenery. All you need is some food, water, basic camping gear, and a sense of adventure to turn two or three days into a short adventure.
Play a Game
If you have a few days off, you can turn them into a challenging but fun game for the whole family. For example, you could take up geocaching, a pastime where you work in a virtual community to search for cached items, document their discovery, and place caches for other members of the community.
Alternatively, you could plan some sort of exciting adventure-type competition that takes all day for your family to complete, such as an athletic event or scavenger hunt. The winning team earns a homemade trophy and family bragging rights.
Regardless of what you do, a daylong event can be a memorable yet inexpensive small vacation for everyone.
Start Planning Your Mini Vacations Now
Mini vacations are a great way to have fun in the sun when you are on a tight budget. If you want to make the most of the warm summer days before the kids head back to school, you should start planning as soon as possible.
Do some research to find local events you might like to attend and check the calendar for nearby family activities. You may also want to scout out a beach or camping area to spend quality time with family in the great outdoors.
A bit of planning and preparation can help you make the most of your hard-earned money while creating lifelong memories with your loved ones. By taking advantage of your kid’s free time during the inviting summer months, everyone can recharge their batteries before September rolls around again.