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Summer Vacation on a Budget

Enjoy Your Summer Vacation on a Budget

Wondering how to make the most of summer vacation on a budget?

The school year is finally over, and teachers everywhere are already in summer vacation mode. You’ve worked hard all year. Now, this is your time to relax and enjoy the break. If you haven’t opted to spread your teaching salary over 12 months, the summer months could be a little tighter than usual when it comes to finances. Finding a way to enjoy summer vacation on a budget can be challenging.

So how do you truly relax and enjoy a summer vacation without breaking the bank? Your vacation doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive to be fun and memorable. There are plenty of ways you can enjoy time away this summer with a small budget and some creativity.

We’ve rounded up 11 great ideas to enjoy your summer vacation on a budget.

Go Camping

Going camping is a great way to unplug and get back to nature. Compared to a hotel stay that can cost up to $300 a night, a campsite will typically cost about a tenth of that. You may not have an indoor pool and room service, but none of that compares to the sound of crickets chirping under a blanket of stars. We spend so much time connected to technology, think about how nice it would be to put away your phone and connect to friends and family roasting s’mores around a campfire. Those are the summer vacation memories you’ll be talking about for years to come.

If you are a rookie camper, check out this 5 min video from REI to get a list of the essentials you’ll want to bring on your next camping trip.

Take a Day Trip

Sometimes taking off for a week or even just a weekend is too much. Maybe you would rather not spend the extra money required for a pet sitter or overnight accommodations. A day trip feels like a mini vacation without the extra cost or commitment. Do some research and find a few spots within a 2-hour drive of your home to visit and make a day of it. Maybe it’s a peaceful vineyard for a day of winetasting or that outlet mall you’ve always wanted to check out. If you plan your route ahead, you may even be able to hit multiple stops along the way.

Head to the Beach for a Budget Vacation

If you are fortunate enough to live within driving distance of a beach, grab the kids and the sunscreen and enjoy a day of waves and sunshine. I grew up on the coast of California, and beach days were some of my favorite childhood memories. The nostalgia of building sandcastles, collecting shells, and tasting the salty air still makes me smile. I get that not everyone has the luxury of living near the ocean. If the beach is too far away, find a lake or river nearby, pack up a picnic, and dip your toes in for some waterfront fun.

Climb a Mountain

I’m not talking about hanging off the side of a cliff with ropes and harnesses. Maybe that’s your thing, and if so, go for it. But if you live near the mountains, a leisurely hike to the summit can be both a peaceful and invigorating way to get some fresh air this summer. It feels good to get outside and do something active, and the breathtaking view from the top is worth every step on the way. Hiking in the fresh mountain air is a fun way for the whole family to enjoy summer vacation on a budget, especially since it won’t cost a thing. Many mountains have trails for all skill levels, so even if you are not up for a rigorous climb, you can still have a good time. Be sure to pack some trail mix and a camera!

Visit a National or State Park

Depending on where you live, there are probably a handful of national parks or at least state parks within a day’s drive. These parks are typically well maintained and offer a plethora of recreational activities like hiking, biking, fishing, and camping. The cost to enter the parks is a usually a nominal fee for what you get access to. For outdoor adventures, this can be a perfect way to get a change of scenery during summer vacation. Check out the list of National Parks by State from the National Park Service to see what’s near you.

Be a Hometown Tourist

We often take for granted all the incredible attractions in our own hometowns. Think about the historical landmarks you probably drive by every day. Wouldn’t they be so much more interesting if you knew the story behind what made them special? History buffs will appreciate spending some time on summer vacation to be a hometown tourist. It will give you a greater sense of pride for where you live. Next time you have friends visiting, you’ll have great stories to tell about what makes your town unique.

Find the Quirkiest Nearby Tourist Attractions

Roadside America lists some of the most unique tourist attractions you didn’t know existed. Use their website or app, which they dub the Guide to Uniquely Odd Tourist Attractions, to find out what’s nearby. Take a drive through Dallas, TX to snap a selfie with the giant eyeball. Make a pitstop in Fairhope Alabama to tour the inside of the Hermit Hut of Tolstoy Park. If you are feeling brave, wander into the Voodoo Museum in New Orleans, LA. There are plenty of oddities to see! The Roadside America website will surely incite some ideas for a unique and memorable way to pass the time on your summer vacation.

Visit Relatives for a Summer Vacation on a Budget

Visiting relatives or friends makes getting away for summer vacation both budget friendly and extra special. Chances are, you probably know someone who lives in another city or state who would welcome the opportunity to be your host. This allows you to save money on accommodations, and it also gives you the opportunity to reconnect with the people in your life you don’t get to see often. Besides, relatives make the best tour guides to show you around their favorite spots when you are visiting from out of town.

Book a Getaway House

Getaway House has jumped on the tiny house craze to merge primitive camping and pure luxury in the most perfect union. If you haven’t yet seen these beautiful tiny homes for rent nestled in the woods and off the beaten path, you can find a myriad of photos on their Instagram account. @getawayhouse

One glance at their cozy campfire, smiling dog, picturesque window view photo reel will have you searching for an open weekend to book your getaway. They even offer a lock box for your cell phone so you can really get in touch with nature and experience a true getaway. The getaway houses are a bit more affordable than a big city hotel. Plus, they provide a much more relaxing way to spend your summer vacation on a budget.

Get Away House

Go on a Scavenger Hunt Tour

Want to travel to many places to without driving too far? A scavenger hunt tour may be just the thing your family needs to bond and discover a nearby city together. creates exciting experiences that combine competition with exploration. The hunts lead you to all of the city’s hot spots and must-see attractions as you enjoy fun photo opportunities and solve clues to win.

Take Advantage of Weekly Rates

One of the perks of being a teacher is that you have the whole summer off, which means you don’t have to wait for the weekend to have your fun. Many resorts and hotels offer discounted rates during the week when attendance is typically lower. So, you get to avoid the crowd and save money.



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