15 Affordable Summer Getaways for Families
Summer vacations don’t have to break the bank. With the right destination, the right timing and the right deal, you can feel like you won the vacation lottery.
Walt Disney World, Orlando
Like the idea of a late-summer all-inclusive Disney World vacation? For a limited time, Disney World in Orlando is letting families save big with a wildly popular but uncommonly available package that includes a free Disney Dining Plan. You can snag zero-cost meals for the whole gang when you purchase a non-discounted 5-night/6-day Magic Your Way package that includes a stay at a Disney Resort hotel and tickets with the Park Hopper option. Book through July 7 for arrivals most nights August 20 through September 29, 2018, as well as select travel windows this fall. Before you go, check out our insider tips for visiting Disney World.
Tyler Place Family Resort, Vermont
Courtesy Tyler Place Family Resort
To any parent who has mused that the term “family vacation” is an oxymoron, a visit to Tyler Place Family Resort can be nothing short of a revelation. At this beloved Vermont family camp-style resort on the shores of gorgeous Lake Champlain, kids experience a fun camp-style week of swimming, hiking, fishing, biking, raft-making, and more. Parents, meanwhile, get a tremendous vacation of their own, with oodles of time to take a yoga class, go kayaking or mountain biking, or simply nap in a hammock. Rates are lowest at the bookends of summer: Visit the week of September 1 to 8, when all-inclusive rates are up to 30 percent lower than in midsummer—or book an early-season vacation for next summer and shave up to 50 percent off peak rates.
Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock
Williamsburg wows families with theme parks and Colonial Williamsburg, an authentic 18th-century living history community that makes you feel like you just stepped into Revolutionary-era Virginia. Of the slew of money-saving packages available, the Fun in the Sun Package at the Best Western Historic Area starts at $110 a night (minimum three nights) and gives you unlimited admission to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA throughout your stay.
Santa Barbara Family Vacation Center
This beachside family camp takes place each summer on the lovely University of California Santa Barbara campus and earns raves from families for its enthusiastic counselors and the wide array of activities for kids and adults. One-week sessions at the Santa Barbara Family Vacation Center are offered during July and August at a reasonable all-inclusive price that covers meals, lodging, and a roster of activities such as hiking, mountain biking, tennis, and simply kicking back by the pool. If your family can’t spare a whole week, you can try out a four-day “mini week.”
Fort Myers Beach
Love the sand and surf? This family-friendly beach destination, located on a barrier island in sunny southwest Florida, is popular for its powdery, white sand and also for its high-quality museums, Everglades tours, manatee park and butterfly estate. VRBO home rentals in Fort Myers Beach in mid-July are going for as low as $75 per night. Be sure to avoid making these vacation rental mistakes.
Sure, it gets mighty hot in Tucson in the summer, but who cares? Pick a fantastic resort with a nice pool and you’ve got yourself a great getaway. Hotel rates plummet this time of year and steals are plentiful on deal-finding sites like Travelzoo, where you can snag $89 per night at the 4-star Omni Tucson National Resort. Or, on Groupon, grab $160 per night at the 4-star JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa. This desert city offers plenty for families to explore, from Saguaro National Park to the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway.
The continuing strength of the U.S. dollar means American travelers are still getting super value for money in Canada—consider it a 22 percent discount on everything you spend. Even hip, cosmopolitan Toronto doesn’t feel like a rip-off, thanks to a boatload of free things to do, like exploring the Distillery Historic District, strolling through St. Lawrence Market, or hanging out on the city’s honest-to-goodness beautiful beach along the shores of Lake Ontario. Culture vultures can check out the free events at Harbourfront Centre or the Canadian Opera Company’s free concert series.
Hotel rates in the Big Easy are lowest between June and August when the summer festival season is in full swing and music fills the air. Even better, you can affordably enjoy local cuisine as the best NOLA restaurants celebrate COOLinary New Orleans with prix-fixe menus throughout August. Enjoy three-course meals in some of the most famous restaurants for around $30 a person.
Paradise Point Resort & Spa, San Diego
The oh-so-lovely Paradise Point Resort & Spa, set on a private 44-acre island tucked away in San Diego’s Mission Bay, is offering a terrific promo to celebrate its 45th anniversary that’s available all summer long. With the “Stay More, Save More” offer, the longer you stay, the more you save. Save 15 percent when you stay three nights; save 20 percent and receive a $50 resort credit when you stay four nights; save 25 percent and receive a $75 resort credit.
Many travelers mistakenly assume that our nation’s capital makes for a pricey getaway destination. Book your hotel through Groupon Getaways, which offers stellar midsummer deals like this $113-a-night deal for a family of four at the Fairmont Washington DC. Now, consider that the city is absolutely chock-a-block with free world-class museums, monuments, and important historical sights. From the National Museum of American History and National Air & Space Museum to the Jefferson Memorial and Ford’s Theatre, zero-cost sightseeing as a family is worth cheering for. Find out some other places to take your kids before they fly the coop.
South Seas Island Resort, Florida
Courtesy South Seas Island Resort
Shell-strewn beaches, a laid-back vibe, flower-lined lanes, and an incredibly diverse array of wildlife—these are just a few reasons families love Sanibel and Captiva islands off the coast of southwest Florida. On Captiva Island, gorgeous South Seas Island Resort is offering a fantastic deal: Pay for three nights and get your fourth night for free. In addition, kids ages 12 and under get free breakfast and you’ll also receive a coupon book with over $250 in savings for resort restaurants, activities, golf, spa services, and more.
Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa, Austin
Just outside of Austin, the plush Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa is nirvana for families, thanks to its five-acre Crooked River Water Park with two pools, splash pad, two-story water slide, and 1,000-foot lazy river. There’s also hiking, biking, and kayaking and rafting on the Colorado River. With the “3 Day Summer” promotion, families paying for two nights between Sunday and Thursday receive a 50 percent discount on the third night of their stay. The promo begins on June 4 and runs all summer long.
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to visit the beautifully rugged Maine coast, now is your moment. Travelzoo is offering a veritable steal available most days through July 15: 40 percent off regular rates at Whitehall, an adorable, historic inn overlooking one of Maine’s most picturesque bays in one of the state’s most darling towns. Mornings begin with a breakfast of Maine-inspired small plates while old-school entertainment, including shuffleboard and cornhole, awaits outside. Prices start as low as $99 per night.
Club Med Resorts
Courtesy Club Med Resorts
Looking for a tropical getaway? With the SunSational Sale, save up to 50 percent when you book a stay at a family-friendly all-inclusive Club Med resort in Florida, Mexico, Caribbean, or West Indies. Rates start at just $115 per person, per night, and include accommodations, meals, most activities, kids clubs for ages 4 to 17, and up to $400 in airfare credit. Kids under age 4 stay free. Book by June 19, 2018.
Spain and Portugal
Even a trip to Europe can be affordable. With CostSaver, families can book a tour with just the excursions they need, with nightly accommodations, daily tours, and inter-city transportation completely taken care of. This summer, take advantage of CostSaver’s hard-to-beat prices on a 13-day Iberian Explorer tour. Start by exploring Barcelona guided by a local specialist; move on to Valencia and learn about its remarkable architecture; sample traditional tapas in Seville; venture to Lisbon; then journey through the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains back to Madrid. This epic experience costs only $1,530 per person, which translates to less than $118 per day. Read on to discover the best family travel destination in each state.