When you need to recharge your batteries and carve out some time with your family but you don't have the funds or time to take a week-long vacation, a family weekend getaway is the answer. By sticking close to home and focusing on affordable (or free) activities, families can reconnect by having a relaxing or adventurous weekend together.
Hotels and restaurants make up a sizable portion of a vacation budget. Camping eliminates both of these high-ticket items. Take your own camping gear to spend quality time with the kids. Travel to a nearby campsite or use your own backyard while warming up smores. Tell scary stories around the campfire. If you are camping near a pond, give the kids the opportunity to fish for their own food.
To the Water
Water adds a refreshing element to a vacation and is often available for free or at a low cost. Visit a local lake and rent jet skis, kayaks or a small fishing boat. Younger kids and teens can have a blast at a local water park. A beach destination complete with sand castles, wading in the ocean or lake and burying each other in sand may create the best memories for kids and adults alike. For adventure seekers in the South, a nearby swamp or gator beach offers kids a chance to spot alligators.
You don't have to fly thousands of miles to have a memorable vacation. Use your family vacation to explore your own area or a town near your home. For example, a local festival or carnival provides a little culture for your inquisitive kids. A wildlife sanctuary lets kids observe animals in their habitat or an animal safari can let kids spot various animals close-up. If it is at your disposal, take advantage of natural water slides, minor league sporting events, dude ranches, snorkeling opportunities or a ride on a pirate ship replica.
The Great Outdoors
When you rely on nature for entertainment, you can avoid the hefty prices that correspond with concerts, shows and other expensive indoor venues. National parks provide scenic views and plenty of space for the younger members of the family to explore. Depending on the season, you may even be able to ski for cheap at these locales. Rock climbing and scouting out natural hot springs provide amusement and adventure for the whole family. If you have kids that appreciate mysteries and the thought of hidden treasure, visit an area that has caves that they can explore.