Quick and Affordable Summer Family Vacation Ideas

kids summer vacation ideas

Summer is in full swing, but it’s not too late to plan a family vacation! If you’re anything like me, both time and money seem to be fleeting, yet there are still many quick, easy, and affordable summer family vacation ideas that can be implemented within the next couple months.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. — Ecclesiates 3:1, 12 (NIV)

I love these verses from Ecclesiastes. They remind me that while there is a time for everything, there are certain things that are more beneficial for us to spend our time on than others. Most parenting experts will agree that quality time spent together is critical to creating a bonded, united family.

Here’s a radical concept: In order for your family to have fun together, they must spend time together. So get out of your comfort zone and breathe life, joy, and camaraderie into your family.  — Dave Stone, author, Building Family Ties with Faith, Love, and Laughter

In lieu of a traditional vacation, these three alternative ideas—a staycation, camping, or day trip—can make your time less focused on travel and more focused on time together. So whether you have already planned a summer vacation or thought you couldn’t swing one this summer, I’d encourage you to not only look into one of these ideas, but consider how you can do good for both your family and others during the trip.

3 Summer Family Vacation Ideas

1. Staycation

I LOVE staycations. If you’ve never heard this term, it’s essentially when you take a vacation in your own hometown. Sometimes it involves checking into a hotel and trying out a new restaurant or two. Other times, it just means visiting parks, festivals or other free activities that you’ve never explored in your neck of the woods. Staycations don’t necessitate spending money—just using your imagination! Search the web for free activities or get tips from local bloggers, then let everyone in the family vote on one activity they’d like to try.

2. Camping

I’m not what most would consider a camping kind of gal, yet I recently went on my first camping trip! While I can’t say it’s something I’d want to do every weekend, I can tell you my kids loved EVERY minute of it. From sleeping in a tent to cooking over a campfire, it didn’t take much to amuse them. But if you stopped and asked them, I think they would admit what they loved most was time with mom and dad without any other distractions. If you really want to camp with low commitment, try a backyard camping trip; not only will you have all the comforts of home within walking distance if need be, you won’t even have to spend money on gas or a campsite.

3. Day Trip

Two of the most expensive parts of a summer vacation are the flights and the hotel. Chances are you live within three hours of a really interesting city. It would be totally feasible to jump in the car after breakfast, get somewhere fun before lunch, explore until dinner and then let the kids fall asleep in the car on the way home. You can even use a daily deal or coupon site to find a place to eat or an adventure to have for half price! There’s still plenty of summer left to plan at least two of these day trips, even if you can’t find time to get away for a typical summer vacation.

If nothing else, I hope you heard a few commonalities amongst all my suggestions:

  • Spend time together
  • Eliminate distractions
  • Discover something new

and the most important point of all… Do it altogether as a family!

Your Turn

It seems most of us would say our favorite childhood memories stem from family time during summer breaks. Moments with our children are fleeting and all we have is today. How will you plan to live a regret-free summer?