Sometimes when you have a family (especially a young one), vacations become few and far between. There are too many other responsibilities to take care of, and more important things to do with your spare time. However, you don’t need a lot to take an unforgettable weekend trip! Treat yourself and your family to some of these family vacation ideas that don’t take much time or money, yet are bound to be a ton of fun.
1. Road Trip
Road trips are great because they can take you to so many different places. Pick a destination you’ve always wanted to see but haven’t had the time for. It could be a historic city that’s 8 hours away, or your favorite cousin who lives in the next state. Make sure you pack enough snacks and activities for the car to keep the ride going smooth. Some great snack ideas include fresh fruit, string cheese, sandwiches (think peanut butter and jelly, or honey), granola bars and cereal.
Suggestion: Drive down the Oregon coast for some beautiful views and great places to stop and eat along the way. The Pacific Northwest has a lot of beautiful drives, just make sure the roads aren’t snowy or icy when you go.
2. Visit the Beach
A trip to the beach is always fun for kids! Who doesn’t love splashing around in the great wide ocean, watching fish and playing in the sand? Just make sure to warn your kids about the dangers of going too deep into the water, keep a watchful eye on them, and reapply sunblock every hour or so. To make your beach trip even more fun, pack a cooler of snacks, some chairs and cold water to stay hydrated. You can even bring a tiny inflatable pool so your kids can splash around closer to where you set up on the sand.
Suggestion: Coronado Beach in San Diego. This beach has excellent weather all year round, vigilant lifeguards and fun activities for kids. They can go boogie boarding, play volleyball, or do the typical sandcastles-and-swim beach thing.
3. Hang Out with Family/Friends
Think of another family you love who has a son or daughter roughly the same age as your child. Is it a relative in the next town over? A childhood friend across the country? Spend the weekend hanging out with the people you love and plan fun activities together like picnicking in the park, watching movies at the drive-in theater, or having a pool party. Weekends spent bonding with friends and family are weekends well-spent.
Suggestion: Try a new restaurant together, go to the park, watch a movie or have a BBQ together.
4. Find an Amusement Park
Amusement parks are the best. The rides, the games, the carnival food, and the general atmosphere of crowds and people having fun all come together for an amazing experience. Everyone knows the wonders of Disneyland and Disney World for kids, but if they’re out of your way, there are plenty of other great amusement parks spread out around the world. Look up when your local fair or carnival is coming to your town or a town nearby.
Suggestion: Disneyland, because how could we not recommend Disneyland? You can also look up any water parks nearby with great water slides.
5. Go Camping
One word: smores. Melted, toasty marshmallows (see: pure sugar) that are just crispy enough on the outside and gooey on the inside. Campfire marshmallows and smores are what kids’ dreams are made of. Probably even some grown ups, too. In addition to the mouthwatering smores, you can also teach your kids how to build a campfire, go fishing, set up a tent and more.
Suggestion: Look for a national park nearby. If there aren’t any, there should be a local campsite that you can use. Be sure to do your research and come prepared, since not all parks allow overnight camping, and some camping sites might require a fee or special permit.