Are you trying to plan a summer vacation on a budget? If so, you may feel as if you are trying to accomplish the impossible. Your family may be used to spending a week on the beautiful beaches of Hawaii, but what if you can no longer afford that type of trip? Do you want to stay closer to home? If so, think outside of the box. You might not have given state parks a close look before, but they are the perfect vacation destination for those on a strict budget.
Right about now, you may be asking yourself “a state park; really?” Yes! At the least, you could easily spend an entire day at a state park. It sounds nice, but remember your family is accustomed to weeklong vacations. You can still give them a weeklong vacation. The goal is to create a state park tour. Each day you visit a new state park. Start with the parks near your home. The first two or three days, your family can return home and sleep in their own beds. As you get further from home, find an affordable hotel or motel.
Once again, you may wonder about state parks. Family vacations are supposed to be fun. Won’t your children get bored with visiting state parks again and again? Yes, they might. Luckily, each park is different and has something unique to offer. Speaking of which, many have campgrounds. Consider camping a night or two.
Returning back to making state parks fun, the key is to pick unique locations. If you and your children have visited a state park before, forego that one and move on to the next. To save money, make your first two visits closest to home. As you move away, consider the activities. The more activities you have available, the more fun you are likely to have.
The key is to also do something different each day. For example, day one can be at a local state park known for their natural pools underneath a waterfall. If the weather is nice, your family could easily spend hours swimming. Then, plan a barbeque lunch or dinner or both! Before you know it, the day will be over with. For day two, visit a state park known for their great hiking trails. You and your family could spend the entire day hiking. Stop for lunch or dinner. Once again, before you know it the day will be over with.
In addition to making use of the activities state parks make available through facilities, consider brining your own activities. For day one, bring baseball equipment. You and your family can easily a fun game of softball or baseball. For day two, bring a Frisbee to throw or a soccer ball to kick around. The younger your children, the easier it will be to plan activities. For example, a bottle of bubbles could easily keep a toddler occupied for an hour.
As for the costs, most state parks do charge admission fees. You should consider this when comparing your options. If you have two state parks within a half an hour drive, opt for the one with the lowest price. Parks that charge by the carload, as opposed to the person, is usually a good deal. As for food, make use of the picnic areas and barbeque pits available. Start planning for your trip beforehand. Stock up on drinks, snacks, and meat whenever you see a sale at your local grocery stores. Then, use a cooler to transport your goods to the park.
In short, do not forego your annual summer vacation just because you are on a budget. Instead, think closer to home and outside of the box. Yes, state parks are usually reserved for day trips, but you can easily turn them into weeklong vacations by visiting a new state park each day. Luckily, all states have multiple state parks. In fact, some have hundreds. You should not have to travel too far, keeping your summer vacation costs low.
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