Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Family Fun on a Budget

We are getting pretty excited around here, because next week is our Family Vacation!  We’ve been planning this, well, pretty much since last Summer’s vacation. Everyone has been pitching in ideas of things they’d like to do during our week off. Since we’re living the Frugal Life and can’t afford to go away for a traditional vacation, we generally stick pretty close to home, and go about finding fun, free (or low cost) things to do together. For the last several months, anytime I see something online or in our daily adventures which looks like it would make a fun vacation activity, I’ve added it to my Vacation Fun folder.
Now that vacation week is nearly here, I have a folder filled with pamphlets and printouts for various places to hike, museums, zoos, etc. I also have lists of ideas the kids have written up, of things they would like to do. We definitely won’t get to everything in the folder, but it’s good to have lots of options. Here are some of the things we are planning…

We will be spending a couple of days camping at a state park. Camping is a great low-cost way for big families to vacation together.  Many state parks only cost $20-$25 per night… WAY cheaper than any hotel!  I will say that the type of camping we do is hardly “roughing it.” We only camp at well-equipped family campgrounds with showers, bathrooms and a camp store, for any forgotten essentials. But the we love it!

We love to hike! State parks have plenty of family-friendly hiking trails, and maps are usually available online. We happen to have several great places to hike within a few minutes of home, and lots more if we’re willing to drive a little bit. We like to head out early with lunches in our packs, and picnic along the way.

We plan to make mosaic stepping stones for the Garden, and my youngest has requested that we make tie-dye t-shirts (again… we’ve made them nearly every summer since he was a toddler!) Plus, I’m sure the children will come up with a few other things to make and do during the week… they are a crafty bunch.

Nothing says Summer Fun like a day at the beach! We are fortunate to have a couple of beaches with free parking not too far away, but even if you end up paying to park, a day at the beach is still usually a pretty inexpensive family outing. We generally go either very early in the day or later in the day, to avoid crowds and the hottest mid-day sun.

We are lucky enough to have a gift membership to one great museum in our area, so we can visit it whenever we want for free! However, even if you don’t have a membership, there are still ways to go to museums for less or for free… Check to see if your local library has museum passes, or ask if there are any Free Admission days.  There are some museums, such as the National Heritage Museum, which are always free.

Family Time at Home 
For all the fun adventures we are planning, we are also looking forward to just spending time at home together! We can’t wait to have a whole week of free time for playing games, spending evenings out by the fire pit and having some special family dinners. This is the stuff the memories are made of!


  1. We had a WONDERFUL day in Boston Common the other day- the kids played on the playground, splashed in the water park (free!) and got balloon sculptures done for them (just cost a tip to the balloon guy). Then it was ice cream and back home, and everyone had a cheapy great day!

    1. That sounds like a perfect family fun day! I suppose I should have added city/town parks to the list as well!

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