Ideas for Family Vacations on a Budget

By: Cheryl Johnson

If cost is a factor preventing you and your family from taking a vacation, you might want to consider taking one right at home. Many of us live within reasonable distance to museums, campgrounds, historic sites, and beautiful state parks. You might be surprised at what you find in your own local area.

Do some research in your area to find free or low cost activities and sites to visit. Schedule something for each day of the week, even if it's just a park visit for a picnic. Some areas have local public beaches. Plan an outing at a local public beach, or visit historical sites. Many of these are free, educational, and fun for parents and kids.

You can even plan activities at home just as if you were at an exotic vacation spot. Have a different theme for each day.

For example:

  1. Beach day - sun tanning, volley ball, make some fancy icy drinks to sip on in the sun, have a picnic.
  2. Camp day - stay in a tent or sleeping bags under the stars, build a little fire if allowed in your area, roast marshmallows, make smores, sing campfire songs.
  3. Have a backyard fair - create booths with games like ring toss or balloon popping to win little prizes.
  4. Colonial day - dress, and live in another era! This is great fun. I thought of this one purely by accident when the electricity went out one day. The kids expressed how 'neat' it was to live like they did in the 'old days.' No lighting except candles and lanterns, no T.V. or radio, no video games or computer. This is great way to have fun as well as teach the children valuable lessons.
  5. Cultural Day - Live, celebrate, dress, and eat as you learn about different cultures. Some examples might include an Irish, Native American, or Spanish Day. This can be an opportunity for your children to gain knowledge on other cultures. Try to include some ethnic games to make it even more fun and interesting.

These themed days will take some imagination and a little work, but will be loads of fun for everyone. Half the fun will be in the creation, so let everyone pitch in. With a little imagination and creativity you can have a wonderful vacation right in your own backyard. You may even have more fun than actually being in another part of the world!

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