Many schools give the kids a fall break and it’s the perfect time for a quick getaway. You probably don’t want to dip into your Christmas money, and you don’t want to break that piggy bank. Here are 5 fun ideas for family vacations on a budget — and a few free things you can do too!
See a Natural Wonder
The Grand Canyon tops many budget travel lists for a good reason. You can pay just $30 to get into the park and see one of the most amazing sites in the world. Fall is considered the off-season for the area so you can likely score a cheap hotel room. Be sure to check out a hotel booking website for the best deals. If you’re up for a big adventure, save money by camping. Some campgrounds charge as little as $15. Plus, if you have to fly there, you don’t have to worry about a rental car. The National Park Service has a free shuttle service that will take you to the south rim of the canyon.
If you like the idea of getting out in nature, Forheraboutherbyher.com has a great listing of the most visited parks in the U.S.
Soak Up Fall Colors
The Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited park in the U.S. You can hike through some gorgeous fall foliage for free and see wildlife and historic churches with a ride through Cades Cove. You can save some money on hotels by visiting Sunday through Thursday. However, even on weekends you can find a nice budget hotel for less than $100 in Pigeon Forge. You will find a lot of great restaurants, but there are also a lot of budget-friendly places like Cracker Barrel and Denny’s.
Make One Last Trip to the Beach
Maybe Disney is out of the budget, but you can escape to Daytona Beach and still have a great time. Besides the beautiful beaches, Daytona offers lots of inexpensive things to do. You can tour the Angell & Phelps chocolate factory for free and have a sample. Explore history with a free tour of The Casements, the former home of millionaire and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller. Since the fall is the off-season for Daytona Beach, you should find great deals on hotels.
Washington, D.C. is painted with beautiful colors during the fall season and is a great spot to visit anytime. Take the kids to places they have only seen on television like the National Mall, Jefferson Memorial, or the Arlington National Cemetery. Fifteen area museums also offer free admission. The best deal is the National Zoo which is also free of charge. Although Washington D.C. doesn’t really have an off-season, you should still check travel sites for special hotel deals.
Kansas City, Here I Come
Kansas City may not be high on your bucket list, but the city has plenty of free attractions and lots of personality. Take the kids on a free tour of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank where they can learn how money is made. You will even walk out with a little cash in a bag – but it will be old money that is shredded. Hallmark’s headquarters is in Kansas City, where you can tour a museum featuring some of their most famous cards for free.
Did we miss your favorite budget-friendly fall vacation? Let us know in the comments below!