Seven Fun Inexpensive Vacation Ideas Without Leaving Town

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With people trying to get back on their financial feet after Covid and with gas prices the way they are as we go into summer, a lot of us are likely wondering how we can afford a summer vacation. Yet, we still need that time off from work and from the routine of our day-to-day stressors. Here are some money-saving vacation ideas. Happy vacation!

There are bodies of water everywhere. What’s the one you enjoy most where you live? Pack up the towels, chairs, and a few snacks for the day.  Whether you visit a lake, beach, or a quiet mountain stream, there's plenty of enjoyment to be had. Don’t forget to stop off for ice cream on the way home.

Spend the day hiking. No area is without trails—usually classified from easy to difficult so you can choose whatever best suits your family. Preferably find a trail you have not been to before and be ready to accept the new views and the unique natural habitat you are seeing. You can even download an app on your phone that will identify the plants and animals you see along the way. Or maybe, instead of hiking, your family would rather bike a trail.

Visit the nearest zoo, animal farm, aquarium, or safari. Usually bigger towns and cities have ones large enough that seeing everything will fill the day or at least the entire morning or afternoon. 

Visit nearby historical sites. History has been made wherever you live, but sometimes we are completely unaware. Before you go, research online the place, the people who were involved, and the particular things that happened there. Then what you see and learn at the place will impact you all the more.

Whether you like art, sports, science, or history, find the museum that interests you most. Maybe you will have to travel a couple hours to get to the one you choose, but spending the day there will be worth the travel time.

Plan special meals. Most of the above excursions will mean you will be away from home for a meal or two. Plan a picnic—especially for the swimming or hiking days. Another fun vacation meal would be to let the kids make your kitchen and dining room into a mini restaurant by planning the menu, preparing the food, serving it, and cleaning up. Finally, make sure that you eat one meal out, letting your family vote on the restaurant.

Since nights will be spent at home, it’s important to make those nights something out of the ordinary. Try camping overnight in the back yard, building a fire, making s’mores and cooking breakfast over the coals. Movie nights are always fun, too. You can do a movie marathon with popcorn and healthy snacks, using pillows and blankets to spread out on the floor of the family room. One last idea—board game night. Play team against team, or maybe even make it into a tournament, until there is a clear winner who is rewarded with a goofy prize!

Depending on what you choose for day or night activities, you might want to extend the time spent doing one or two for an extra day or evening. Feel free to throw in your own ideas as well. That’s what’s great about deciding what you are going to do ahead of time. Be sure to take the usual photos on this family vacation, capturing all the fun moments. It’s probably going to be a favorite—long remembered by everyone!