The kids have just about all finished the school year; summer break is here. If you want to take a break this summer, but cannot afford a serious vacation, no worries. Plan a mini-vacation instead. Taking a day trip, or otherwise staying at a nearby venue for a short time, is often doable on even the tiniest budget. In fact, the economical nature of mini-vacations often allows people to take two or three of them over the course of the summer. Since the psychological “buzz” of a vacation tends to fade after a few weeks, these affordable mini-vacations can help you stay happy and motivated all summer long. If you’re ready to make the most of the next few months, here are some cheap mini-vacations that the whole family is sure to enjoy.
Hit the (Public) Beach
If a week at some beachfront vacation hotspot isn’t in your budget, don’t worry, as there are plenty of alternatives. If you live close to a coast, chances are strong that you’re within driving range of a great public beach. In many cases, you can enter and enjoy a day at a nearby beach for a few dollars at most. In fact, many public beaches don’t charge any admission fee at all. Besides swimming and sunbathing, you may be able to enjoy activities such as kayaking or fishing from a public pier. If you don’t live near the coast, you’re still not out of luck. If you do a quick search, you almost certainly find a lake, pond, or river with easy public access to enjoy for a day at little to no cost at all. So, pack up the car and head to a nearby public beach for a great and cheap mini-vacation.
Start Day Tripping
There are surely great things to do within a few hours’ drive of wherever you live in the country, so start looking for some good places to visit. Find a few museums that are close enough to travel to them early in the morning, enjoy the day, and get 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. You family can attend these affordable venues to make the most of the summer. In many cases, your town or city may host events such as these, so you may not even have to drive far to enjoy a day. Start checking the event calendar, and figure out all the day trips your family can turn into cheap mini-vacations this summer.
Head to the Great Outdoors
Another way to have a memorable yet economical mini-vacation this summer is by heading to the woods. 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 free. There are also hundreds of public trails across the country 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 basic camping gear and a sense of adventure to turn two or three days into a short getaway that everyone is sure to remember for a long time.
Play a Game
Another way to have a cheap summer mini-vacation is to turn a few free days into a challenging but fun game that the entire family can enjoy. For example, your family could consider taking 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, with the winning team earning a homemade trophy and family bragging rights. Regardless of how you do it, a daylong event can be a fun yet cheap mini-vacation that the whole family will enjoy and remember for many summers to come.
Start Planning Your Cheap Summer Mini-vacations Now
Mini-vacations are a great way to make the most of your summer when you’re on a tight budget. If you want to make the most of the days before the kids head back to school, start planning now. Do some online searches to find events you might like to attend, and check the calendar for nearby events. You may want to scout out a beach or camping area if you have an opportunity, too. A little bit of planning and preparation will help you make the most of your hard-earned money, and your entire family will be able to enjoy those mini-vacations all summer long.