A trip to Disney World may be considered the quintessential family vacation, but for a lot of us, a trip that big simply isn't in the cards this summer. Fortunately, there are plenty of low-key vacation destinations around the country that our families can enjoy — all of which are easier on the budget and far more manageable with young children.
1. Great Wolf Lodge
Get ready for a road trip because with locations around the country, Great Wolf Lodge is within reasonable driving distance for many families. Kids (and parents) will have a blast in this awesome indoor water park, which also has on-site arcade games and even a spa.
2. The Beach
You still have to pack and endure the drive or flight to get there, but once you arrive a beach vacation can be perfect for families with children of all ages. Rent a condo with a kitchen, stock up on groceries, and then spend your days lounging in the sun while your kids play in the sand.
Wondering which beach to visit? Check out The Huffington Post's 10 Best Beach Towns For Relaxing Family Vacations.
Sometimes described as the "Las Vegas of the Midwest" due to the wide variety of shows and entertainment options, Branson has become a popular vacation destination for families. Available activities include swimming and boating on Table Rock Lake, exploring the wild rides at Silver Dollar City, shopping on Branson Landing, and seeing a show like The Dixie Stampede.
4. Six Flags
Even if there's a Six Flags near your home, you can still turn a visit into a fun-filled family vacation. Most have hotels next to their property, so book a room, purchase a 2- or 3-day pass, and spend some quality family time enjoying all the park has to offer.
5. A State Park
Why not experience the great outdoors with a family campout in your favorite state park? Whether you decide to take tents and sleeping bags or class it up with an RV, young and old alike will enjoy this type of trip. Go fishing and hiking, and don't forget to roast marshmallows over the campfire.
6. Sesame Place
Sesame Place in Pennsylvania is a nice alternative to a Disney trip for parents of toddlers and preschoolers. Admission to the Sesame Street-themed amusement park isn't cheap, and there are likely to be crowds, but younger kids will be delighted by rides like Big Bird's Balloon Race and love getting wet in The Count's Splash Castle.
7. Washington, D.C.
According to familyvacationcritic.com, our nation's capital is home to "more free, fun, educational attractions than there are members of the Senate," so if you're looking to keep costs down and expose your kids to a bit of history, D.C. is a vacation destination worth considering. Be sure to check out the book A Kid's Guide to Washington, D.C. for lots of information that will help make your trip fun and family-friendly.
What's your favorite destination for a low-key family vacation?