Low-cost vacation ideas for families with preschoolers

by Catie Smith on May 4, 2017

Happy kids travel by the car.jpegAs spring turns into summer, we're all thinking about vacation. Taking a week or two off can be a great way to relax together as a family.

If money is tight, however, vacation can be more frustrating than relaxing. Today we'll consider several ideas for kid-friendly, family vacations.

Four low-cost vacation ideas for families with preschoolers

1. Plan a Great Staycation

I'm always amazed at how much Charlotte has to offer! The problem is, we almost never take advantage of it. Whenever we do have some time to vacation, we always travel somewhere.

The cheapest way to have a great vacation is to explore around home. Plan a campout in the backyard, a day at the zoo, a local farm a day at the children's museum, or a day at Discovery Place KIDS.

2. Go to Washington D.C.

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Our nation's capital is home to countless museums and activities—many of which are free. Many of these are kid-friendly. Websites like www.kidfriendlydc.com compile a variety of free or inexpensive kid-friendly activities in the D.C. area.

Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Beauvoir School Playground—This amazing playground is open to the public when school is not in session. And admission is free!
  • Huntley Meadows Park—Explore the natural wet lowlands along the Potomac River full of natural wildlife. Generally open dawn to dusk. Admission is free!
  • The Puppet Co.—Enjoy a fun puppet show together as a family.
  • Tudor Place—This historic Georgetown site teaches children about the world around them through songs, stories, crafts, and movement. Admission is $5/child (adults free).

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3. Visit a National Park

You can stay in North Carolina and enjoy some amazing parks. The National Park Services provides a full list here. From wooded trails to ocean fronts, national parks provide very inexpensive getaways that are fun for the whole family.

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4. Rent Someone's Home

Housing is typically the most expensive part of any vacation. Instead of renting a hotel, consider renting someone's home or apartment through sites like Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, and Flipkey.

It may seem odd to rent someone's home, but this market has been around for a long time now and has a lot of advantages to traditional lodging. Just pay close attention to customer reviews to find the ideal vacation rental.

Bonus: US News Best Affordable Family Vacations


For the top US family vacation sites, check out the US News website.

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