If you are like the millions of other people around the world negatively affected by the current global recession (which, in spite of what pundits say, is still going on for most of us), chances are that you don’t have as much money as you would like, to take your family on vacation. But being on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t show your kids a great time and have one yourself. You just have to think differently and look vacations you might not have previously thought of.
Think (More) Locally
Every kid wants to go to Disney World, but that doesn’t mean that they will only come home with good memories if they go to Orlando. No matter where you live in America, there is an amusement or water park within a half days driving distance. Having a short time en route to your destination not only saves you in terms of travel costs, which are at an all time high, but lets you spend more time having fun rather than sitting in the car or on a plane.
One great park that you may never have heard of is Silverwood Theme Park near Couer d’Alene, Idaho. The park features a replica of the Corkscrew from Knott’s Berry Farm in California, which was the first roller coaster to ever take riders upside down, as well as the popular wooden coasters Timber Terror and Tremors. Access to Boulder Beach, a 12-acre water park, is included in the price of admission. Even if you don’t live in the Northwest, chances are there is a park like Silverwood in your state or in an adjoining state, and if you give them a chance they will not disappoint.
Natural Wonders in Your Own Backyard
Just as is the case with Disney World and amusement parks, many families are inclined to think that the wonders of the natural world can only be found in the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone. But even more so than with amusement parks, the U.S. is home to more natural wonders then you could ever visit, and the best ones aren’t just the ones you always hear about.
One example of a lesser known national park is Voyageurs National Park outside International Falls in Minnesota. The park is a haven for camping, fishing, and kayaking located on four different lakes. There are also opportunities for snowshoe hiking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, as well as a number of other winter activities. Voyageurs is within a few hours drive of Minneapolis, and is well worth the drive for families seeking a great outdoor vacation.
A bike tour can be a great and inexpensive way for families to get exercise, enjoy nature, and generally enjoy spending time with each other. Many states offer long distance bike routes right through the heart of forests or other idyllic scenery, and you can spend as little as a day or as long as a week or more traversing with your family at your side. Bike tours, however, require a good deal of planning – you need to decide exactly how far you are going to go each day, how much you are going to carry, and especially where you are going to sleep at night.
There are companies that can help plan and facilitate your family’s bike tour, and if you can find one in your budget, it would not be a bad idea to do so. You should also make sure to confer with everyone in your family beforehand – meaning, if one person is against the idea, it is probably not wise to try to force them.
The day may come when you and your family can afford to go absolutely anywhere and do anything that is your hearts desire. But until that day comes, you can still have as worthwhile a vacation as you want if you are willing to look for it.