For many homeschoolers summer isn’t over yet, so why not take a last minute summer vacation? Now is the best time for homeschoolers to plan a last minute family vacation. Why? Most public/private schools and even colleges will be in session and that means – prime vacation time!
Even if you have just an extended weekend, there is still time to take a last minute family vacation with your family, and it will still be just as fun! Here are 10 affordable last-minute summer vacation ideas for you and your family – no matter where you live in the United States.
Myrtle Beach, SC
In addition to being located on the coast, Myrtle Beach is one of the best beach getaways for last-minute vacationers. There are a ton of great places to camp on the beach, and for those not wanting to camp, there are resorts with prices as low as $80 per night!
The Great Smoky Mountains
There is no admission charge to see the wonders of The Great Smoky Mountains which is why this is one of our top picks! You will need to pay money to camp or do activities there, but you can enjoy the scenery and hike at no cost! Going during the “off season” and not during prime vacation time will help you save on hotels or camping fees as well.
Chicago is a great choice for last minute trips during the summer. Look at the Chicago Cultural Center and at the Millennium Park for free events and performances, and don’t miss your chance to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo for free! Don’t forget to take a trip down to the Navy Pier or do some window shopping along “The Magnificent Mile” (Michigan Ave).
Washington DC has so many historical sights worth seeing, but they also have a ton of free entertainment! Most of the National Monuments have hourly tours from the National Park Service or visit one of the many Smithsonian Institute Museums – including the National Zoo – absolutely free! The Washington National Cathedral is free for worshippers and spiritual purposes, but tours are only free on Sundays. Do a little planning ahead (at least 21 days) and you can take a tour of the East Wing of the White House free as well.
Visit one of DC’s scenic neighborhoods for an outdoor movie, listen to outdoor music, or check out the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Travel across the Lincoln Memorial Bridge to Arlington National Cemetary and add in a bit of history and perspective. You can also take a look around the Library of Congress and even get your own library card! If you’ve got a future lawyer in the family, they might like to stop by and sit in on oral arguments or attend a free 30-minute Courtroom Lectures, in which docents explain how the Supreme Court works discuss the history and architecture of the building. Those are just a few of the free sites you can take in around our nation’s capital.
Orlando is packed full of theme parks ranging from Disney to Legoland and even Universal Studios. The trick is to go during the last few weeks of August. As back to school season starts, you’ll get crazy awesome prices on theme park tickets, surrounding hotels and even find some peaceful low-traffic times at the beach, just a few hours down the road.
If you are looking for the best bang for your buck at the last minute, then book a cruise! Cruises will start to lower their prices as they get closer to sailing, which means you can get an all-inclusive vacation for a great price! If you live within driving distance of the port, you’ve got a reasonably inexpensive vacation the whole family will enjoy!
Lake Mead, NV/AZ
On the border of both Nevada and Arizona, Lake Mead is about 24 miles from Las Vegas and is the largest reservoir in the United States. If you’ve ever seen pictures of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead is located just behind it. And if you’re up for some additional fun, take a stroll down the strip in Las Vegas to see all the different hotels, lights and even some fun fountain shows along the way!
Summer is one of the best times to visit Denver, since skiers usually wait until winter to head to Colorado. Denver is a day trip away from Colorado Springs and Rocky Mountain National Park, but with it being located in a larger city, you can find affordable lodging and dining options, especially during the “off season”. Take a few days trips to hike and visit mountain streams and different areas in Rocky Mountain National Park.
For those looking to escape from the hot summer temperatures, consider taking a trip to Acadia National Park! Rocky beaches and glacier-scoured granite peaks are just some of the amazing sites you’ll see while you’re there! Plus, you will only be a short drive away from Bar Harbor where you find shopping and enjoy amazing seafood dishes.
Fall is peak season for Asheville, so you’ll want to get there closer to the end of July rather than mid-August. In Asheville you can see all kinds of great cultural sights, and beautiful scenery all at off-season prices. Plus…you’re just a hop and a skip from the Smoky Mountains, where you can take in even more breath-taking beauty.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money or time planning to have a great vacation! Any of these would be a wonderful way to end the summer season as a family.
What’s your favorite thrifty family vacation? Have any tips, we’d love to hear them in the comments!