Americans have a reputation for being workaholic, somewhat, and are certainly not known for a leisurely lifestyle. What with the recession that’s lasted about three years, the tendency to stay at home through a vacation has only grown worse. The travel industry can begin to rejoice now though. There are studies that find that Americans are all set to cast off their attachment to their homes this year and to pack their bags. Domestic leisure travel is all set to grow by 5% this year, having fallen by as much every year through the recession. But Americans on vacation aren’t ever going to be as carefree with their money and their credit cards as before. Right now, they are strictly on a budget. Their vacations are shorter, they will venture out not as far away from home as before, and when they do go, they’re more likely to stay with friends that at a hotel. The travel industry then, is desperate for a little generosity among its American custom. If you are planning time out for your family this summer, these are the best family vacations for those on a budget.
Every year, the Niagara Falls State Park attracts nearly ten million visitors, who come to watch all agog as hundreds of thousands of gallons of water fall over the edge each minute and crash down to send up a permanent mist of water. State and national parks make for the best family vacations. America’s parks offer some of the grandest and most awe-inspiring vistas known to man and usually, the hundreds of activities on offer cost nothing. The Niagara Falls State Park, for instance, has the Maid of the Mist boat tour, an aquarium, the Cave of the winds and many other things that families can enjoy together. Buy a Discovery Pass, and you’ll get a third off on the price of admission to everything. Hotel prices in the area can be pretty high; but visit when it’s off-season though, and often hotel prices will be much more affordable. The Yosemite National Park is a thousand square miles of wildlife and natural wonders that draw several million visitors every year. You can drive right up there, and it only costs $20 for the whole week to come and go as you please. There are all kinds of great attractions, and their free shuttle buses take you around. Visit in the off season, and you can probably get a great room for about $40 a night. Of course, deciding to stay right in the national park, pitching a tent, can be a great idea too.
You might not think it to begin with, but Washington DC makes for the best family vacations when one is on a budget. You have your food to spend on, of course. But apart from that, it can be very difficult to find anything that actually costs any money in DC. The National Mall, the zoo, the Smithsonian – all of these are completely free. Visit in the winter, and the city’s completely done up for Christmas. You’ll get great room rates, you have lots of free concerts, free ice skating and discounts all over the place.