10 Perfect and Affordable Family Road Trip Destinations

A family road trip can be an unforgettable experience for all involved. An affordable family road trip means you will actually be able to go on more!

Whether a vacation means relaxing on a beach, hiking a mountain or seeing a historic region, there are affordable ways to make it happen. Here’s a look at 10 affordable family road trip destinations from small to big cities, camping destinations, and beach hotspots.


Ocracoke Island, Virginia

Photo Credit: Rachael Burgess

Famous for being the one-time hangout of Blackbeard, Ocracoke Island is essentially an enormous beach sprawled out over 16 miles of secluded shoreline. It is an ideal place to escape for a few days with the family.

After driving to Hatteras Island, it’s an easy ferry ride over to Ocracoke. Once there, families can enjoy lounging on the beach or more active activities like kayaking, biking, kiteboarding and much more.

Coronado Island, California

Photo Credit: Coronado Visitors Center

Known for its many popular beaches, the San Diego area has lots of options for families. But it’s hard to top the wide beaches of Coronado.

While staying at the famous Hotel Del Coronado might not be an option for a family on a budget, there are plenty of other accommodations. Many will still give you access to the award-winning beaches the island is known for.

From the east side of the island, you’re also a short (and fairly inexpensive) ferry to downtown San Diego.

Parks and camping

Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, Utah

Located near the southwest border of Utah, both Zion and Bryce offer up stunning views of red rock landscapes. The flurry of outdoor activities are fit for all different ages and abilities.

For parents hoping to mix in some exercise for their kids, both parks offer hikes for beginners as well as more challenging ones for older kids.

Although you should plan as far out as you can, booking a campsite is easy on your wallet and will give you direct access to two of the most visually stunning national parks in the Southwest.

Acadia National Park, Maine

One of the pristine parts of the country, the eastern portion of Maine is a spectacular combination of mountainous landscapes, crisp streams and rugged coastline.

There is an abundance of great camping throughout Maine, but Acadia in particular is a family hot spot.

Peaking in the summer and early fall, Acadia is famous for its picturesque views from Cadillac Mountain, family-oriented activities, and some of the most amazing wildlife you’ll see in the U.S.

City destinations

St. Louis, Missouri

An easy drive from many different parts of the country, St. Louis, Missouri is a bedrock American city. It offers great sports and an eclectic set of landmarks and activities.

In the summer time, Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals are typically the hottest show in town and ticket prices at Busch Stadium are substantially cheaper than many of the country’s other great baseball cities.

Kids and adults alike enjoy heading to the top of the famous Gateway Arch as well as checking out family-geared Forest Park and the nationally known St. Louis Zoo.

If you find the time, the City Museum is a must stop for adventurous kids.

Boston, Massachusetts

The sheer number of things to do can make Beantown a tremendous family escape. Your kids might even find themselves accidentally learning a bit about American history along the way.

Games at Fenway Park can be a little pricey, although a much less expensive tour of the grounds can be every bit as fun and engaging for younger baseball fans.

The New England Aquarium and Children’s Museum both offer great options for day activities. Faneuil Hall makes for a great stop to let the young history buffs in the family show off their knowledge of the American Revolution.

We would suggest a hotel out of the city, but still on the train path to stretch your dollar the furthest.

Amusement parks

Cedar Point Amusement Park, Ohio

If your kids who love rollercoasters, a trip to Cedar Point is just the destination to guarantee a memorable family vacation.

With 17 different rollercoasters and a reputation for being one of the coaster capitals of the world, Cedar Point is terrific for thrill-seekers of all ages.

Prices are substantially more palatable than a trip to Walt Disney World.

Schlitterbahn Water Park, New Braunfels, Texas

For decades, Schlitterbahn has pretty much been the standard when it comes to waterparks, launching a chain of parks thorough out the country.

The main park in New Braunfels, however, remains the very best in the business and has been the recipient of Amusement Today's top water park award for more than a decade straight.

For a family looking to cool off in the heat of summer, Schlitterbahn Water Park is a home run for an affordable family road trip.

Resort getaways

Woodloch Pines Resort, Pennsylvania

Woodloch Pines is an all-inclusive, family-oriented resort that has all the activities you could ever need.  Enjoy biking, kayaking, mini-golf and much more at the premier lakefront property in the Poconos.

With options to go with or without a meal plan, budget-conscious visitors can bring their own food and end up with one of the best vacation values you’ll find anywhere.

Tyler Place Family Resort, Vermont

The shores of Lake Champlain provide endless possibilities for outdoor fun at the Tyler Place Family Resort, It is an all-inclusive and very family-oriented resort in northern Vermont.

Like Woodloch Pines, Tyler Place can look a touch pricey on the surface but also includes just about everything up front, including a range of different food options and programs for kids of all ages.

During the day, guests spend their time swimming, sailing and playing sports. like tennis while the night brings out fun activities like dance parties, enormous bonfires, ice cream socials, and more.

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