Our selection of fun family vacation spots proves that it is possible to plan an awesome summer vacation without dipping too far into the savings account. Whether your crew is looking to relax on the beach or ride the whitewater rapids, we have affordable vacation suggestions for every taste.
Mom and Dad join in the pranks and games with a nostalgic week at family sleepaway camp. A flat tuition fee for Medomak Camp covers activities and all meals in a gourmet mess hall, including a lobster feast. Morning activities for the kids might include archery or arts and crafts while adults practice yoga, get a massage or even join the kids for some craft time. In the afternoon, everyone heads to the lake for swimming, kayaking, sculling or sailing. Come nightfall, the whole family can set off on a scavenger hunt or play softball or ultimate Frisbee. Bring your own musical instrument for the evening campfire. Just leave your hair dryer at home -- the accommodations are comfy, but rustic, and there’s no need for primping anyway.
Sea Mist Oceanfront Resort
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The beauty of a Myrtle Beach vacation is that a week at a budget-friendly hotel can be had for under $1,000. Family deals at the Myrtle Beach Sea Mist include admission to the resort’s own water park as well as the Family Kingdom Amusement and Water Park just 6 blocks north of the resort. There, you’ll find 10 pools on the property, including 6 pools just for kids; the beach is just a short walk away. There’s a large playground, arcade room, mini golf and a free movie theater. What’s more, pets are permitted with advance notice and there’s a fenced-in dog run where your pup can get some exercise.
Ace Adventure Center
Oak Hill, West Virginia
Carve some family bonding time into summer with wild outdoor adventures for one set price at Ace Adventure Center. Ace boasts a prime location on the New River Gorge National River, known as the East Coast’s Grand Canyon. Children as young as 6 can join the family for a daylong white-water adventure along some easy class II and III rapids. Zip-line tours, horseback-riding, kayaking and rock-climbing are available for an extra fee. Back at base camp, there’s wild water-park fun with inflatables on the lake for no extra charge; hiking on any of the resort’s trails is free as well. Lodging ranges from rustic camping to cozy log cabins and lakeside chalets.
Maho Bay Camps
St John, US Virgin Islands
As the temperature rises in the Caribbean during the summer, airfare and hotel rates take a dip. Between May and December, Maho Bay Camps on St. John is a summer bargain for families -- kids under 16 stay free with paying adults. Embark on a modern Swiss Family Robinson adventure at this eco-resort camp with platform tents connected by a series of wooden walkways. The beach alone offers enough fun to keep the kids busy with swimming, sailing and snorkeling in the waters protected by the US Virgin Islands National Park. At the Trash to Treasures Art Center, budding artists create “green” masterpieces from recycled goods and natural elements like seashell wind chimes.
Shake up the summer routine with an urban getaway to Boston. Summer in the city is the perfect time to enjoy the harbor and outdoor parks. With no slush and snow underfoot, it’s a great time for a picnic on the Boston Commons or a stroll along the Freedom Trail. The Landmark Orchestra plays free concerts on Wednesday nights at Hatch Memorial Shell. A Go Boston card is a money-saving essential with free and discounted admission to over 70 attractions, museums and tours in the area. Take a cruise on Boston Harbor, catch a baseball game at Fenway Park or head out of town to nearby Six Flags New England and Hurricane Harbor and attractions at nearby Cape Cod.