Times are tight for many families right now, which for some means no family vacation. But that doesn't mean families can't find ways to have fun on a tight budget. Whether you take a day, a weekend, or a full week together, your children can enjoy time "away" from the day-to-day and so can you. You'd be surprised what adventures there are to be had all around you and many of them are must-does for every child.


It's no hotel and a spa, but camping is an experience every child should have. Camping provides a great opportunity for family bonding. There's no television, no video games, and no work. You could choose to stick to your own backyard, or venture out to a local state park or even national park if you have one nearby. Make it a weekend event full of hiking, fishing, boating, campfires, and s'mores. A tent is the way the go for the real camping event, but you can always rent a cabin or a camper if "extreme" roughing it won't work for you.

Local Attractions

If you have a day or two off with the kids, don't just spend it roaming around the house. Instead, use it as an opportunity to bond and explore local attractions. There's likely to be a museum, aquarium, or even a zoo or petting zoo close by that you haven't visited in years, or at all. There may be farms that offer tours and pick-your-own berry patches. It doesn't matter which you choose. The important part is to pick one or two and spend your time learning together as a family and building memories. Plus, some libraries have special discounted price passes available to local attractions. Check with yours.

Local Government

Wherever you live there's local government to learn about, on both the city and state levels. Take your kids on a tour of history and politics by going on a state house tour. It's an opportunity to both learn about how laws are created and how leaders are elected, but also provides you the chance to connect as a family, and get away (even if for a brief moment) from everyday life.

Local Landmarks

No matter where you live there are landmarks all around you. There could be homes where famous, influential people were born or places where history, even little known history, was made. All it takes is a bit of research. You can purchase a guidebook for your local area, or just do a search online. There are hidden treasures in every state that are waiting to teach you and your child that anything is possible and dreams are attainable. Even if you've lived in your town your entire life, there are surprises to be discovered.

Sleepover With Grandparents

Whether grandparents live near or far, having a sleepover at their house can benefit your children a great deal. They will get tons of attention, be spoiled tremendously, and have so much fun. And most importantly, having a strong grandparent-grandchild bond has proven to be beneficial for children. Children with close bonds to grandparents have strong support and love from an adult other than parents. This provides children with a sense of safety and stability. You can either accompany them or use it as a chance to have some downtime at your own house.

You don't need to have an overflowing bank account to get some time away as a family. Taking time off is important for our mental and emotional well-being and vacation time should never be put on the backburner because of financial stresses if at all possible.