Planning the perfect family getaway can be a headache – an expensive headache. Choosing the right hotel or vacation rental to be your home away from home is perhaps the most important element of a successful family trip, even if it`s just for a weekend. So to help alleviate that stress, we’ve circled up with mommy bloggers across the country to share some of the best cheap family vacations you can try this year. Choose your favorite and have a safe trip!
Mom Knows Best: 40 Cheap Family Vacations Around The Country, Picked By Moms
The Northeast is more than a series of urban hubs. If you want some fresh air, you don’t need to fly across the country. There’s plenty right in your backyard.
Avalon, New Jersey
My family has been visiting the seven-mile island of Avalon and Stone Harbor, situated off the southern shores of New Jersey for nearly two decades. We love it for its laid back beach style that extends to its ban of both chain restaurants and tall buildings and a speed limit that never tops 25.
The Icona Golden Inn is ideally situated right on the halfway point of the island’s long stretch of beautiful golden beaches. This makes it easy to go south to Avalon for our favorite ice cream at the Buccaneer or to ride bikes to the surf shops, restaurants, and fudge stores on 96th Street in Stone Harbor.
We love Icona for its variety of room layouts, all of which have a balcony or terrace, and range from roomy double queen studios to apartment-like two-room family suites which have microwaves and refrigerators that let us have an easy breakfast in the room before hitting the beautiful beach just a block away. There’s also a large heated pool with plenty of room for kids to swim if the waves in the Atlantic Ocean are too rough.
Although we love the thin crust pizza at nearby Mack’s, the Sandbar Village at the Icona is impossible to skip, with an outdoor dining area and a kids’ menu of hot dogs and sliders. The kids can play in the sand while the adults have a cocktail and fish tacos. — Melissa Klurman
Icona Golden Inn
Bethany Beach, Delaware
I remember my childhood vacations at Bethany Beach like they were yesterday. The scent of salt water taffy at our favorite local sweets shop and the thrill of flying atop a skim board at the water’s edge. It’s these same simple pleasures I love sharing with my kids when we pile into the family van for a long weekend in Bethany Beach at the Holiday Inn Express Bethany Beach.
Just two miles south of the Bethany Beach Boardwalk and two blocks from the beach, the hotel makes a great base for our gang. I love the complimentary breakfast buffet that lets us start our days with full bellies and lots of energy for fun. Kids will especially love burning that energy in the outdoor pool. On the whole, the hotel is modern, clean, and the rates are affordable.
We usually spend our mornings boogie boarding in the surf, then take in some pirate-themed mini golf or head over to the town boardwalk for a pile of vinegar-splashed French fries and something frosty to drink. Bethany Beach really has it all for a cheap family beach vacation. — Terry Ward
Holiday Inn Express Bethany Beach
One of our favorite hidden gem summer locations is the Candlewood Suites Harrisburg – Hershey. Located near Hershey Park and other Hershey attractions, it’s the perfect option for a cheap summer getaway. We love the spacious rooms and both the on-site and in-room amenities, including the kitchenette, the pool, laundry facilities, and outdoor grills. The Candlewood Suites made a quick summer getaway easy, affordable and fun for our family! — Lyndsey Piccolino, Momma Fit Lyndsey
Candlewood Suites Harrisburg - Hershey
Book a stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites Mystic and you’ll see it’s a vacation treat in and of itself. There’s an indoor pool for year-round dips, a plentiful free breakfast stocked with made-to-order waffles, and spacious rooms with either two queen size beds or a suite with a king bed, pull out couch, and a kitchenette. Add that all up with its Mystic, Connecticut location and you have a true family home run.
This property is snuggled right in the heart of Mystic’s charming seaport, meaning you can park the car and not have to worry about driving during your stay. You can head out walking to the Mystic Aquarium, the only place to see frolicking beluga whales in the Northeast, which is at the top of any family travel “must visit” list alongside the Mystic Seaport Museum which provides access to the world’s last wooden whaleship docked right outside on the harbor. The museum even offers cruises along the Mystic River on one of the only remaining coal-fired steamboats in the country, a great way to round out your car-free Mystic stay. — Melissa Klurman
Hampton Inn & Suites Mystic
Maine is known for its quaint seaside towns, and Ogunquit is one of the most popular for its Marginal Way scenic coastal walking path and dual beaches on the bay and on the Atlantic Ocean. There are plenty of places to stay, from a budget motel to an elegant New England resort, but the Meadomere is our favorite for its mix of family-friendly perks within a short stroll to the center of town.
The hotel has spacious rooms with two queen beds and private balconies or patios, or in the South Meadow building, there are family suites with two queen beds or one king that connects to a second guest room with two twin beds (you also get two bathrooms this way, which is ideal with tweens and teens in tow).
There are also indoor and outdoor pools and an indoor Roman spa hot tub with spouting water that’s hard to tear yourself away from. The resort also has a game room with arcade favorites and billiards, plus a screening room for movie nights, all of which are kid pleasers. — Melissa Klurman
With a location right in the heart of the City of Brotherly Love, it’s hard to beat the Club Quarter Hotel Philadelphia when it comes to a central base to explore all of the historic wonders of family-friendly Philly. In fact, it’s an easy walk to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall for an educational tour of American history.
For more hands-on fun, we head to The Franklin Institute where you can walk through a giant heart, or we check out the Academy of Natural Sciences, where kids can dig in a sand pit for dinosaur bones, both of which are walking distance from the hotel as well. And for easy family eats, Reading Terminal Market is just around the corner so you can snack your way through the indoor farmer’s market and food hall that’s been feeding hungry customers since 1892.
It’s not just the central location that’s a fabulous fit for families. Club Quarters has plenty of kid-pleasing pluses, including free snacks and drinks–fresh fruit, candy, pretzels, soft drinks, and water–available 24 hours in the Living Room lounge Monday to Friday. (For adults, there’s a free wine happy hour Monday to Thursday.)
Superior rooms have both a queen bed and a pull out couch, plus a kitchenette, making it a good fit for small families. A cool modern amenity: Club Quarters is the only hotel group using digital room keys, meaning an app on your phone unlocks your door. For any parent who has lost their room key (or, like me, multiple keys) this is a lifesaver! — Melissa Klurman
Club Quarters Hotel in Philadelphia
Poughkeepsie, New York
My family discovered the Best Western Plus The Inn & Suites at the Falls when we took our first road trip with our dog. Looking for a pet-friendly destination we could easily drive to, we found that the presidential home of Franklin D Roosevelt was incredibly welcoming to four-legged friends, a tribute to FDR’s beloved canine companions. Nearby, the Walkway Over the Hudson, the world’s longest elevated bridge, provided the perfect dog walking opportunity with plenty of gorgeous selfie spots for my tween.
After visiting the sites, the Best Western is a relaxing spot to spend the night, with waterfall views from an outdoor terrace and plenty of outdoor areas for both pets and kids to burn off steam right on the Hudson River. And the rooms have plenty of room to stretch out with two queen beds. A free breakfast is another family perk, where kids can load up on cereal, fresh waffles, eggs, and fruit. — Melissa Klurman
Best Western Plus The Inn & Suites at the Falls
The Green Mountain Inn ticks all the boxes for a cheap family vacation in the mountains. There are cozy rooms in the winter and easy access to hiking and biking in the summer with plenty of kid-friendly entertainment nearby. It’s the kind of place where you can play board games by the fireplace in any season and there are a variety of activities on property for the whole family, including a year-round heated outdoor pool (being in the hot water when the snow is falling is really a unique winter perk), health club, game room, fire pit for s’mores and stories, and even afternoon tea and cookies.
There are eight different buildings with accommodations ranging from regular rooms to apartments. For an inexpensive and easy stay, we choose the double queen beds in the main building, which give us easy access to The Main Street Dining Room where they serve a reasonably priced breakfast full of homemade treats, like muffins and granola, and Vermont maple syrup-topped pancakes. — Melissa Klurman
Green Mountain Inn
People may think of California and Hawaii when it comes to beaches, but you really can’t beat Florida and the Carolinas. Of course, if beaches aren’t your thing, there’s plenty more to explore for your next cheap family vacation in the Southeast.
Asheville, North Carolina
We love to take fun little weekend getaways, but when you’re traveling as a family of four, you have to work within a budget. Asheville makes for the perfect weekend destination from Charlotte, and when we stay at the Best Western Tunnel Road, we can afford to do all the fun stuff the city has to offer.
This property is truly a great find because it’s near all the entertainment and restaurants, but it has a super affordable rate. The staff brings that special southern charm and the rooms are clean and comfortable. We can have fun all day shopping the eclectic shops, watching street performers, and drinking coffee from the double-decker bus, but when it’s time for bed, our room is just a few minutes’ drive away. — Dara Brewton Schweitzer, Like Sara But With A D
Best Western Asheville Tunnel Road
It’s not often you can stay in a top city attraction, but at the Omni Atlanta at CNN Tower you can actually look into the CNN news studios from the shared atrium that connects the television news site’s headquarters and this contemporary hotel. The atrium is where you’ll also find quick dining options such as Arby’s, Chick-Fil-A, Subway, and Starbucks, making it easy to feed hungry kids on demand without leaving the building.
For family favorite’s, Centennial Park is right down the street, which is where we head for attractions including the Georgia Aquarium, the largest marine life center in the United States (the whale shark, sea lions, and beluga whales are all favorites), the College Football Hall of Fame, and the World of Coca Cola Museum, where an entire room of free Coke fountains is always a kid magnet.
Back at the hotel after a day of touring downtown Atlanta, the double-bedded rooms feel way more luxurious than the price tag here would suggest, with elegant touches like marble floors in the bathroom and evening turndown service. And kids get a complimentary Omni Kids Crew backpack when they check in stuffed with crayons, an activity book, stickers, games, and even binoculars to check out the downtown views from the room. Plus, free milk and cookies are delivered up to the room the first night of your stay, really making the littlest members of our family feel like mini VIPs. — Melissa Klurman
Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center
If you’re looking for a great budget-friendly family vacation, then it’s time to head to the Welk Resort in Branson, Missouri. The Welk Resort has everything you need right at the resort. There’s the towering Splash-A-Torium featuring an indoor/outdoor pool with slides that’s great for kids They also host a variety of events for children, including dive-in movies all summer long.
You can rest assured you’ll be eating well, too, with a wonderful restaurant to dine in on site. Prefer a bit of seclusion? The Welk Resort offers condos that give you a bit more privacy. Whatever you’re looking for, this is the place to stay in Branson for some great, budget-friendly family fun. — Kristy Still, Mommy Hates Cooking
Welk Resort Branson
Daytona Beach, Florida
As a family with three young children, we are always looking for a getaway that is both family-friendly and inexpensive. We love staying at the Holiday Inn Resort Daytona Beach for this very reason. Not only are the nightly rates affordable, but it has a heated pool, it’s an oceanfront property, and up to four kids (under 12) eat free at their on-site restaurant. This is the perfect location for your family’s affordable Florida beach getaway. — Courtney Sinar, Mommy Ocean
Holiday Inn Resort Daytona Beach Oceanfront
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach is already well-known as a great vacation destination, but Dunes Village Resort has such great accommodations and amenities that you might not want to leave! Each room has a spacious seating area, a small kitchen, and a large balcony with gorgeous ocean views.
On site, you can enjoy the beach that spans the entire property or relax poolside at one of the indoor or outdoor pools. Fair warning though–it’s not easy getting the kids to leave the indoor pool complete with a waterpark. If water sports aren’t your thing, there are also tons of game spaces available offering tennis, beach volleyball, and basketball just to name a few. — Jen Giambalvo & Carrie Beth Posener, The Magnolia Mamas
Dunes Village Resort2 Bedroom Angled Ocean FrontLargest Indoor Water Par
Living in Florida, it’s an easy out-of-state break to take my family up the Georgia coast to Savannah. For a convenient and affordable location, we stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites Savannah/Midtown. In addition to having much-appreciated amenities like free parking and complimentary breakfast, the hotel is located just three miles from the historic district and within walking distance of some great restaurants.
We spend our time strolling through the historic district and along River Street, with its many boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. We love to head out to the area’s great beaches at Tybee Island, too.
This is one of the best foodie towns in the south, and shrimp and grits are among the many dishes on our Savannah hit list. After a day strolling through the town’s many beautiful parks (Forsyth Park is our favorite!) and browsing all the artsy shops and galleries, it’s great to relax with a dip in the hotel’s indoor pool. Then, of course, we head back out on the town in search of our next great southern meal. — Terry Ward
Hampton Inn & Suites Savannah/Midtown, GA
If you’re heading to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, then Wilderness at the Smokies Resort is the place to go on a budget. Inside this amazing property, there’s an indoor waterpark, an arcade, laser tag, bowling, zip-lines, blacklight mini golf and more. There are also seven different restaurants inside the resort that you can choose from, including in-room dining. To pay for the attractions, you can buy an Adventure Pass for $28 that lets you play for the entire stay. — Katherine Bartlett, Our Whiskey Lullaby
Wilderness At The Smokies Resort
The ideal family vacation for me is one that strikes the perfect balance between educational and fun. My favorite destinations are the ones where the kids don’t even realize they’re getting a living history lesson. That’s why I love taking the family to one of Virginia’s most historic and entertaining towns, Williamsburg.
We’re steeped in colonial history when we make The Historic Powhatan Resort by Diamond Resorts in Williamsburg our base. The main manor house dates to 1735 and is surrounded by gorgeous woodlands. All rooms have full kitchens, which makes it easy to prep meals when we want a break from eating out.
For my kids, the most exciting thing is that the hotel has its own fishing dock and mini golf course as well as an indoor and outdoor pool and a playground. When I finally tear them away, we check out the re-enactments at Colonial Williamsburg and visit Jamestown Settlement, where they have fun trying on armor in a re-created fort. We always make time for a day on the roller coasters at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, too. Williamsburg is really one of those towns with something for everyone. — Terry Ward
The Historic Powhatan Resort by Diamond Resorts
The Midwest is many things; flyover country isn’t one of them. It’s a region of good food, farms, outdoor adventures, and exciting cities. Start planning your cheap family vacation in the Midwest!
Need somewhere to stay for the night while traveling through the Midwest? Check out Grand Harbor Resort & Waterpark right on the Mississippi River in downtown Dubuque, Iowa. Your hotel stay includes admission to the Huck Finn II Treehouse which is full of family fun activities. A great water play area (squirt gun those kids below you!), multiple waterslides, pools, a lazy river, hot tubs and a four-story splash pool which dumps 350 gallons of water every eight minutes. In the morning, wake up early and take a stroll along the Mississippi River. Don’t forget your camera! — Courtney Heath, Crunchy Beach Mama
Grand Harbor Resort & Waterpark
Fargo, North Dakota
North Dakota’s largest city is a smart choice for an affordable city break. Staying at La Quinta Inn & Suites Fargo can stretch a modest travel budget even further.
The free airport shuttle whisks you to the hotel, which features comfortable rooms that sleep up to six and free cribs and cots for the littlest travelers. The kids make a beeline for the indoor pool, which includes a kiddie pool for the littles and a small waterslide for the big kids. (There’s a hot tub and fitness center for the adults, too.)
You’ll have to swim or work out a lot to actually get hungry here. In addition to the free daily breakfast spread, the hotel also offers a complimentary reception every Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. The entrée (recent selections include tacos, loaded baked potatoes and chili dogs) doubles as a light dinner. And there’s free wine, beer, and juice.
When you’re ready to venture out, the hotel is within walking distance of several restaurants, as well as the wolves, camels, rare red pandas and other cold climate animals at the Red River Zoo. Concerts at Scheels Arena, shopping at West Acres, and bumper cars, go-karts and mini golf at Thunder Road are about five minutes away by car. Hop on I-94 to try classic summer pleasures like the ice cream shops and the free Plains Art Museum in downtown Fargo, a Red Hawks baseball game and interactive pioneer history at Bonanzaville. — Alicia Underlee Nelson, Prairie Style File
La Quinta Inn & Suites Fargo
Fort Wayne, Indiana
There’s a new energy on the streets, trails and newly revitalized riverfront in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Comfort Suites South provides a cost-effective base and family-friendly amenities so you can afford to see it all.
A hot and cold breakfast buffet is included in the price, so fuel up before heading to the brand-new Promenade Park (opening in August 2019) to experience the elevated trail above the treetops, bike, canoe and kayak rentals, and numerous boat tours. If you’re leaving early to explore Fort Wayne’s more than 80 parks or 90-mile trail network, request a Grab & Go breakfast bag.
Comfort Suites South is near Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve’s trails and wetlands and Fox Island Country Park, where the kids can fish and swim in Bowman Lake. (If you’d rather swim inside, the hotel offers an indoor pool as well.)
It’s a short drive to the immersive Fort Wayne’s Children’s Zoo, where kids can feed giraffes and chug through the expansive grounds on a train. For a classic Fort Wayne day, sprawl out on a blanket in the outfield at Parkview Field, try a hot dog at Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island (a cherished local institution with a throwback atmosphere and prices) and finish with a glazed donut ice cream sandwich at The Yummi Bunni.
Your room contains mini-fridge and microwave for leftovers. Generous double bed suites sleep up to five, so you’ll have plenty of room to crash after a busy day. — Alicia Underlee Nelson, Prairie Style File
Comfort Suites South
Hot Springs, South Dakota
The Black Hills are South Dakota’s premier tourist attraction, so finding lodging that combines affordability, easy access to the most popular spots and kid-friendly comfort can be a challenge, especially in summer. USA Stay Hotel and Suites hits the sweet spot with an indoor pool, a complimentary daily breakfast buffet featuring healthy options like fresh fruit and yogurt and hearty biscuits and gravy, as well as a private courtyard with gazebos for family picnics, all right in the heart of the action.
The region’s famous faces—Mount Rushmore National Monument and Crazy Horse Memorial—are just a short drive away. A 30-minute scenic drive through the forested hills ends with hiking, paddling, and wildlife viewing in Custer State Park. But Hot Springs is also a must-see for anyone interested in what’s happening under the surface, literally.
Wind Cave National Park is located just outside of town and USA Stay Hotel and Suites is located on the edge of Buffalo Gap National Grassland, a wild stretch of prairie perfect for hiking and spotting rocks, minerals and fossils. It’s also within walking distance of The Mammoth Site, an active dig site where you can watch paleontologists excavate Earth’s largest cache of mammoth remains and learn their techniques yourself.
Unwind with a soak in the hotel’s indoor hot tub. Or bring the family to Evans Plunge to relax and play in the 87-degree water from the underground springs that give the city its name. — Alicia Underlee Nelson, Prairie Style File
Usa Stay Hotel And Suites
Lake Superior, Minnesota
Cascade Lodge On Lake Superior is conveniently located along Minnesota’s North Shore Scenic Drive. With rustic rooms and cabins for rent, the lodge makes a great basecamp for adventures to the many nearby parks and beaches that line America’s greatest lake. An affordable park pass offers unlimited access for the entire family. Pack a picnic and enjoy trekking the beautiful trails inside neighboring Cascade Falls State Park. Grand Marais, a friendly harbor town, is just up the road. Visit charming shops, including the World’s Best Donuts, where you can take away fresh powdered sugar donuts to enjoy on the beach! — Libby Baur, The Companion Ticket
Cascade Lodge On Lake Superior
Get a heavy dose of culture with a stay at the Sheraton Minneapolis Midtown Hotel. The hotel is about a mile from the free Minneapolis Institute of the Arts and a short walk from the American Swedish Institute. The free Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is nearby and the adjacent Walker Art Institute is free on Thursday nights and the first Saturday of every month. Just across the river, in Saint Paul, there are more free attractions: Como Zoo, tours of the State Capitol and tours of the historic Cathedral of Saint Paul.
The hotel, which has free WiFi and a free shuttle to destinations within a five-mile radius, has a huge gym and indoor pool. It’s also right on the Midtown Greenway, a 5.5-mile long paved trail for biking and running. There’s a station for the bike share program, NiceRide, and a bike rental shop nearby. The Sheraton Midtown is also next to the Midtown Global Market, a public market with international food stands, a brewery and a coffee bar that’s great for exposing your kids to a variety of different cultures and their cuisines. — Judy Antell, WheelsandEats
Sheraton Minneapolis Midtown Hotel
Making travel plans and being a family of six can be a real challenge since many hotels only allow four people per room. Fortunately, we were able to make things work at the Comfort Inn Sandusky and rented the room with four double beds. This was much easier for our family than two adjoining rooms. All of our children really enjoyed both the indoor and outdoor pools which were larger than typical hotel pools. The breakfast buffet offered a nice selection that even my picky eaters could enjoy. Overall, the hotel was clean, large, and ideally-located for accessing the nearby attractions, like world-famous Cedar Point. — Thaleia Maher, Something 2 Offer
Comfort Inn Sandusky
If you just can’t decide between a Milwaukee city getaway, a shopping trip or a leisurely weekend lounging in the hotel, The Radisson Hotel Milwaukee West lets you do all three. The hotel is directly across from the shops, restaurants and movie theatres of Wauwatosa’s Mayfair Mall, three miles from the Milwaukee County Zoo (which features 3,100 animals who roam 190 shaded acres of habitat) and 10 miles from the museums, public sculptures and Lake Michigan views in downtown Milwaukee. The hotel also caters to Milwaukee Brewers fans that appreciate easy access to nearby Miller Park.
The Radisson Hotel Milwaukee West itself makes it awfully tempting for families—even large groups—to just stay in. Cribs and interconnecting rooms are available upon request and “kids stay free” promotions are common. The spacious indoor pool is the perfect place for kids to burn off their energy before sitting down for shrimp, stone fired pizza or tender perch or code served during the Friday fish fry (a Milwaukee tradition) at the on-site restaurant, Jimmy’s Island Grill & Iguana Bar. (Breakfast and lunch are available too.)
Relaxing at the bar or sipping a beachy cocktail on the lively patio definitely summons that vacation feeling. For a little extra indulgence, order room service. — Alicia Underlee Nelson, Prairie Style File
Radisson Hotel Milwaukee West
The Northwest is all about incredible national parks, dramatic coastlines, and is home to some of the most interesting cities in the country. No matter what you’re looking for, from Washington to Idaho, there’s a cheap family vacation for you and your loved ones.
Drawing over 400,000 theatre enthusiasts to Ashland, Oregon each season, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is just one of many reasons visitors make a pilgrimage to Southern Oregon. Whether you’re on your way to Crater Lake National Park or stopping off to ski or tour wine country, consider staying at one of the most popular hotels, Ashland Hills Hotels & Suites.
About as family-friendly as it comes, Ashland Hills Hotels & Suites is known for its eclectic artwork and interior design—no two rooms are the same. You won’t have to tell kids twice to beat the summer heat with a cannonball into the large outdoor swimming pool. Or get the entire family out for a friendly game of tennis (racquets and balls are available at the front desk) or borrow one of the bicycles available to overnight guests. When you’re hungry, the on-site Luna Café offers a wide variety of locally-sourced lunch and dinner menu options.
If regional repertory theatre isn’t your cup of tea, leave time to stroll through the 93-acre Lithia Park—kids will love the duck ponds, windy paths, and eclectic playgrounds. Situated in the heart of the quaint downtown, enjoy many of the eateries, shops, and galleries along Ashland Creek. Our family loved the ScienceWorks hands-on science museum located on the edge of downtown town. — Julie Henning
Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites
First settled by miners and fortune seekers in the 1860s, Helena, Montana is a “treasure” for families on vacation. The state’s capital city draws commonly travelers en route to Glacier National Park or Yellowstone National Park and offers many different options for education, entertainment, history, and outdoor adventure.
Two of the most kid-friendly attractions in the city—Exploration Works science center and the Painted Pony Ice Cream Parlor, home of the Great Northern Carousel—are a stone’s throw from the Best Western Helena Great Northern in the upscale Great Northern Town Center. A hub of shopping, dining, and entertainment, built around a grassy outdoor amphitheater, you won’t need to go far to keep your entire family happy.
Burn some calories in the 24-hour fitness center while the kids take a dip in the indoor pool. Bond over board games or books in the ornate lobby, or venture into the Silver Star Steak Company for a hearty meal (in the morning, breakfast is complimentary). — Julie Henning
Best Western Helena Great Northern
Nestled between the southern shores of the Puget Sound and the picturesque Capitol Lake, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel is a favorite for families. With marina views from many of the rooms and deluxe suites that feature a separate bedroom and living room area, spread out and relax while the kids gobble down complimentary chocolate chip cookies.
An easy stroll to the Hands on Children’s Museum (hands down, one of our favorite children’s museums in the country), the WET Science Center, Puget Sound Estuarium, the Olympia Farmers Market, and the many shops and restaurants along Market Street, park your car and explore downtown Olympia by foot. If it’s raining, don’t worry! You can always hop on the complimentary downtown shuttle. We enjoyed the guided tour at the Washington State Capitol Building.
And, if you feel like staying in, why not order a pizza from the Press NW Bistro—room service or dining room. After, float around the indoor swimming pool or spa. Chances are you won’t have to sell your kids too hard on either idea. — Julie Henning
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Olympia
With a perfect location on Lake Pend Oreille, the Best Western Edgewater Resort is our family’s favorite spot for a budget-friendly getaway. The hotel is right next to Sandpoint City Beach Park, a free lakefront park featuring six acres of sandy beach, playgrounds, picnic sites, volleyball courts, swimming areas, and more. Nearby, there are a variety of hiking trails, lake activities, and kid-friendly hotspots — including Schweitzer Mountain, Silverwood Theme Park, and Boulder Beach Water Park. The hotel has an indoor pool and hot tub, and it’s just a couple of blocks from downtown Sandpoint, a charming and walkable strip with several great restaurants and shops. — Aileen Allen, At Home In Love
Best Western Edgewater Resort
Sun Valley, Idaho
A year-round destination, Sun Valley, Idaho draws outdoor enthusiasts from around the world to experience the heart of the ruggedly beautiful Sawtooth National Forest. Whether you’re an avid skier, mountain biker, equestrian, or golfer, you won’t run out of ways to stay active at Sun Valley Resort.
A vacation inside a vacation, families can choose a lodging option that best suits their needs. Choices range from quaint private cottages to modern condos to suites within the historic grand lodge. Three outdoor swimming pools, a bowling alley, movie theater, and ice skating rink (with an award-winning summertime ice skating show, Sun Valley on Ice) are especially popular with families.
Stressed out parents will benefit from a full menu of spa treatments and wellness-focused retreats—enroll the kids in one of the kids’ camps and they won’t even notice you’re off for some pampering. Or, grab the crew and paddle around Sun Valley Lake, a picture-perfect spot for making memories. And when you’re ready to venture into Sun Valley, simply catch the complimentary shuttle into town and shop or dine to your heart’s content. — Julie Henning
Sun Valley Resort
A reward after a long drive on the open road, the mineral-laden waters of Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis, Wyoming beckon weary travelers of all ages. Flowing at a rate of 3.6 million gallons of water per day, the Big Spring feeds the park’s free bathhouse—a popular destination for healing and relaxation in the 104-degree indoor and outdoor therapeutic soaking pools.
Originally built in 1918 along the Big Horn River, the historic Best Western Plus Plaza Hotel is an easy stroll to Hot Springs State Park as well as Star Plunge water park. But you don’t need to leave the hotel to get wet. Boasting its own geothermal spa and heated outdoor pool, guests can kick back and enjoy the enclosed terrace while taking in panoramic views of the Owl Creek Mountain Range. Guests enjoy modern rooms embellished in Western decor. In the morning, breakfast is always complimentary.
While you’re in town, check out the plethora of dining and shopping options, the state’s largest buffalo herd, and the active excavation sites at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. If petroglyphs are your thing, head to Legend Rock on the outskirts of town. — Julie Henning
Best Western The Plaza
Just 15 minutes from urban Portland is a verdant outdoor paradise known for jaw-dropping waterfalls and sweeping views of the Columbia River as it makes its final descent into the Pacific Ocean. Nestled on the edge of the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, the quaint town of Troutdale houses a Rockwellesque assortment of art galleries, boutiques, and eateries.
An affordable destination known for comfort and convenience, the Comfort Inn Columbia Gorge Gateway welcomes visitors to experience everything the region has to offer. Guests enjoy complimentary soup and cookies in the afternoon and wake up to a delicious breakfast for getting started the next day. Recharge in your modern room or regroup between the business center, fitness room, outdoor heated spa, and laundry facilities.
While you’re in town, be sure to pop over to McMenamins Edgefield and take in one of the popular Concerts on the Lawn outdoor music series, play a round on the golf course and putting green, or book an appointment at the spa and enjoy a soak in the unique 102-degree saltwater soaking pool. — Julie Henning
Comfort Inn Columbia Gorge Gateway
Our family loves traveling any chance we get, especially in Southern California. When we visit Disneyland, being in close proximity to the park to help us save time and money is a must. That’s why our favorite hotel to stay in is the Comfort Inn & Suites on East Katella Avenue. It’s great for families traveling on tight budgets because you’re close enough to the park to walk. Plus, they offer free WiFi, parking and breakfast, and in-room kitchenettes (perfect for saving on meals). Best of all, there’s an outdoor pool and hot tub — our favorite way to relax after spending all day at Disneyland. — Michelle Hansen, PNW Mama Bear
Comfort Inn & Suites Anaheim
Las Vegas, Nevada
Our family of five vacations a few times each year, and because of this, we are always trying to save money where we can. It can be difficult to find accommodations that fit our budget as well as our family comfortably. That’s why when we visit Las Vegas each year, we choose to stay at the South Point Casino and Spa. The price is right, the location perfect, and the amenities suit our families needs. With an amazing pool, bowling alley, and large rooms, this place is perfect. — Mindie, A Stylish Closet
Hotel South Point Casino and Spa
Las Vegas, Nevada
When most people think of Vegas, they think of gambling, drinking and all the adult fun to be had. When I go, I try to find all the family-friendly fun. On our most recent trip, we stayed at a great resort called The Orleans. With five kids in tow, we knew we’d spend most of the day out and about, but wanted somewhere fun to be able to come back too. Plus, you don’t travel with this many children and not get them a hotel with a pool.
The Orleans’ main feature may be their casino, but they also offer some fun for those who don’t want to gamble. They have a variety of food options from sushi to steak and familiar places like Subway and Baskin-Robbins. When we made our way back to the hotel for the night, we had entertainment from movies to bowling, arcades to a child-specific entertainment area, and of course, the pool. — Alexis SaMone, Sanguile
Homestead Resort in Midway, Utah is a stunning historic resort with unique activities, amenities, and old town charm. My family and I love the natural hot water crater, open for bathers and scuba divers all year round, and the famous Ice Castles created here every January.
There’s also a golf course on the resort, multiple dining options, and many local events and activities nearby, like skiing, hiking, outdoor concerts, festivals, and our favorite, the Historic Heber Train Rides. This adorable and scenic resort is nestled in a picturesque mountainous town with a unique Nordic heritage and architecture that feels like you are stepping back in time into a small Norwegian town. — Julia DeLeeuw, Everyday Mom Ideas
When you think of Houston, you may think of a bustling, fast-paced city. But if you venture about an hour north, you’ll find La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa located on Lake Conroe. A popular destination for families, La Torretta has a little something for everyone.
We love it for the Miniature Golf (right alongside their full 18-hole golf course), Aqua Park complete with a lazy river, and the gorgeous bird’s eye view of Lake Conroe. La Torretta even boasts its very own spa and salon for the adults. You can hang poolside with the family or sneak out to an upscale restaurant for date night, and it all comes in at a reasonable price tag. — Jessica Conner, Grace and Ford
Hotel La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa
South Lake Tahoe, California
Traveling as a single mom is hard but I love sharing the world with my son, Milo. We recently took a trip to Lake Tahoe and stayed at the Postmarc Hotel & Spa Suites. The experience can easily be boiled down to one word — incredible.
This year-round, family-friendly destination is surrounded by mind-blowing scenery that had us picking our jaws up off the floor. Whether you’re there to dive in the crystal-clear mountain fresh lake or to slide down the snow-covered slopes, this is the perfect location for any rustic, outdoors-loving family. — Emma Dawn
Postmarc Hotel & Spa Suites
Taos, New Mexico
Looking for an incredible family vacation that doesn’t hurt your budget? Head to Taos, New Mexico and stay at the Sagebrush Inn & Suites. This hotel is packed with history and features luxury that fits within any budget. With gorgeous views, complimentary breakfast, and an outdoor pool and hot tub, this hotel has something that everyone in the family will love.
Don’t forget to head a few miles down the road and stop at Twirl. Open daily, this free creative play space will keep your kids (and you) occupied for hours with play installations, interactive exhibits, and endless exploration. — Jess Olson, Just Me Growing Up
Sagebrush Inn & Suites
Road tripping through the American Southwest is all the rage lately. While not as many make it down to Tucson in southern Arizona, you can experience the best of the desert with a stay at the Four Points by Sheraton Tucson.
It’s a short drive away from incredible hiking in Sabino Canyon (including the Seven Falls Trail), Saguaro National Park, and the scenic views from Mount Lemmon. This hotel has all the essentials, including a pool for warmer days, and you’re in the perfect spot to fill up on cheap, but delicious tacos. — Kelly Barcus, No Man Before
Four Points by Sheraton Tucson Airport
Feature image courtesy of Mokoto Eiki, Eyeem