Where to go for the best cheap family vacations

Vacations don’t have to be expensive to be fun and memorable. If you’re planning to take the kids on a family trip, there are lots of cheap family vacation ideas to choose from. Try an adventure vacation in the great outdoors or head off to sunny shores for a classic beach getaway. With all these options available, you don’t even have to travel far. It’s easy to go on a mini vacation for a few days with cheap family vacation packages that let you find the perfect vacation rental that fits your budget.

Travel through time in the Outer Banks

A cheap kid-friendly vacation doesn’t need to be boring. In North Carolina’s Outer Banks, your kids can see pirate stomping grounds, go diving among shipwrecks, and puzzle out the mystery of Roanoke Island. You can also visit historic lighthouses and check out where the Wright brothers went on their historic first flight. Aside from all these historical attractions, the Outer Banks also have over 100 miles of beaches, including the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, with a huge diversity of habitats and wildlife, such as wild Spanish mustangs. Book a sunny, pet-friendly vacation home with a hot tub on your spacious deck, and enjoy the beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Boardwalk entertainment at Ocean City

The tawny beaches of Ocean City are ideal for cheap kid-friendly vacations. You can while away the days sunbathing and building sandcastles, or take the kids swimming and kayaking—there are plenty of affordable water sports and outdoor activities. However, the true jewel of this Maryland resort town is the 3-mile boardwalk, one of the best in the US. From your breezy, oceanfront cottage rental, walk straight out to the boardwalk and take your kids for a fun bike ride to the various amusement parks and arcades. Grab some of those famous Maryland crab cakes and join in one of the many free family-friendly events, including movies and beach Olympics.

Mountain adventures await in Pigeon Forge

There’s so much to do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, that it’s no wonder this Appalachian mountain town is considered one of the best cheap family vacation destinations. Your family will enjoy staying in a rustic cabin rental right by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Younger kids can explore the trails with you or just sit back and admire the spectacular scenery, while older kids will want to try ziplining or horseback riding. There are also plenty of local attractions to enjoy, including Dollywood, the Smoky Mountain Opry, and the RMS Titanic Museum. Your family also won't want to miss out on great shopping at outlet malls and at The Island in Pigeon Forge, a shopping and entertainment complex.

Something for everyone in Virginia Beach

Tons of attractions and activities make Virginia Beach the perfect destination for a cheap and fun family vacation. Even if you've got lots of family members with you, there’s something for everyone. This coastal city has a beach for every mood, from the dynamic oceanfront boardwalk with its museums, shops, and restaurants, to the tranquil Chesapeake Bay Beach, whose calm and shallow waters are great for little kids. You can also keep the entire family busy exploring Virginia Beach’s historical sites, which include museums on military aviation and the earliest English-speaking settlers. Make it easy to create happy memories with a bright vacation home rental with views from multiple rooms and access to an outdoor pool.

Explore the wonders of the Grand Canyon

One of the oldest national parks, the Grand Canyon National Park is where you’ll find the namesake canyon that's considered one of the 7 wonders of the world. The Grand Canyon is the result of millions of years of wear by the Colorado River, and it’s an unforgettable landscape with a huge range of features, from forests and waterfalls to deserts and mesas. Make the most of this trip by hiking the scenic trails and exploring the heritage sites. It's a good idea to book a cheap family vacation package, which might include a secluded and comfortable cabin rental with a spacious deck where you and the kids can sit and look at the stars.