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10 Affordable Family Vacations in the USA
The United States boasts an unmatched diversity of destinations for your family vacation. From coast to coast (to coast), snowy mountain peaks to dramatic deserts and vast wildernesses to dynamic cities, the list of potential enticements is endless. Here to inspire you are 10 of the best domestic vacation destinations that are family-friendly as well as affordable.
What better example of a glorious American destination than our capital, Washington, D.C.? The White House, National Mall and Lincoln Memorial are iconic venues, but it’s the museums that really make D.C. a place for the whole family to enjoy. The National Museum of Natural History, National Geographic Museum, National Museum of American History and many others feature special kids’ exhibits. There’s also the National Zoo, where admission is free. Stay at the Courtyard Embassy Row for a central location and acclaimed on-site restaurant, Nage.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Yellowstone National Park is a truly incredible natural treasure. Go camping in summer for an unforgettable, yet affordable, experience. Witnessing Old Faithful’s blast, admiring bison herds any spotting wolves in the wilderness will be lifelong memories. If you get tired of campfire fare, drive to nearby Jackson, WY for hearty cowboy fare. The Silver Dollar Grill embraces the Western spirit in decor and cuisine, and offers a Little Buckaroos Menu.
As a major city frequented by business travelers, Chicago offers great hotel deals on weekends. Take advantage with a getaway to the Windy City, where you can stroll down Navy Pier, see aquatic creatures at the Shedd Aquarium and meet SUE the T. Rex at the Field Museum. Be sure to sample the city’s famous (and kid-friendly) culinary specialties — Chicago dogs and Chicago-style pizza.
Clearwater offers all the typical delights of a Florida vacation — golden sandy beaches, warm turquoise waters and nostalgic family amusements — without the crowds and high prices of some of the state’s larger coastal cities. A major draw is the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Book a family suite at Chart House Suites on Clearwater Bay, which comes with a full kitchen.
The Out ‘n’ About Treesort, adjacent to Siskiyou National Forest near the Oregon-California border, boasts unique treehouse accommodations. The kids will never forget how you slept in the trees at night and spent your days soaring through the canopy on ziplines, riding horses and river rafting. Breakfast is provided, and for other meals it’s just a quick drive into town for farm-to-table fare, including local favorite Wild River Pizza.
The top tourist destination in the Ozarks, Branson offers a world of family-friendly entertainment and accommodation options. Savannah House Hotel‘s rooms and suites come with daily breakfast and nightly dessert. Nearby attractions include the National Tiger Sanctuary, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede and the Branson Scenic Railway.
Asheville, NC, is known for its beautiful scenery, the historic Biltmore Estate, and top-notch arts and culinary scenes. The affordable Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites downtown is close to everything and offers a local shuttle service. Many restaurants are in walking distance, including Tupelo Honey, known for its from-scratch Southern comfort food.
Take the family to a working Texas longhorn ranch, Texas Ranch Life, about an hour outside Austin. Accommodations are in family houses ranging from cozy cabins to historic farmhouses and cottages, all with full kitchens for self-catering. Activities include horseback riding, fishing and working alongside the cowboys. There’s also a kids’ corral that little guests love.
Children and parents alike will be in awe of the tallest trees in the world at Redwood National and State Parks in Northern California. Pitch tents at Gold Bluffs Beach Campground to experience the coast and forests at once, with crashing waves and seasonal gray whale sightings in one direction and dense forests inhabited by mighty elk in the other. Dine on campfire favorites or drive into Crescent City.
With warm indoor pools, thrilling water slides and splash pads for all ages, Great Wolf Lodge offers the fun of a water park in any season. Sixteen Great Wolf Lodge resorts across the country also offer accommodations, on-site restaurants, spas and comprehensive menus of kids’ activities. Look for special offers and money-saving packages.
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