A lot goes into planning a wallet-friendly summer vacation, from navigating the tricky procedure of booking a cheap flight to working out how to save on your hotel room. When planning an affordable summer vacation with family, however, things get even harder. Between helping your family get all the right things packed and making sure everyone is on their best behavior, one can forget the most important part of having a successful family vacation: choosing the right destination.
In addition to making sure you’ve found the best summer travel deals in terms of accommodations and transportation, you should also make sure you’ve found the best value in terms of what the whole family will enjoy. Destinations with a lot of walking and sightseeing of landmarks may not appeal to children, whereas places with amusement parks, interesting culinary scenes, and tons of outdoor activities will keep the whole family engaged and having fun. Don’t worry about having another step in your planning, however; we’ve got you covered with this list of 50 affordable family-friendly summer trips.
With 365 beaches and a tropical climate, Antigua and Barbuda offers photo opportunities for every day of the year, and is also much more affordable than most other European-influenced islands in the Caribbean. Summer is the low season in the Caribbean, so it’s the best time to get a great hotel deal or have a beach all to yourself. Make sure to make a visit to Shirley Heights Lookout, a historic hilltop military complex with stunning views and a restaurant and bar known for its Sunday barbecue party, at which live music and delicious food are featured every week.
The Grand Canyon State has a lot more to offer than, well, the Grand Canyon. Arizona is the perfect destination for nature-lovers and adventure travelers, which makes it quite affordable by definition, but it’s also got quite a bit going on in its many arts and food scenes. The state is full of cities and towns that you can add together for a road trip tour or visit individually for a wonderful weekend getaway — for instance, sunny Tuscon with its Southwestern and Mexican cultural heritage. It’ll cost you little to nothing to see such sites as Tucson’s Sabino Canyon and Saguaro National Park and culture-heavy towns like picturesque Sedona, home to almost 100 art galleries and multiple cultural events as well as stores selling local native arts and crafts. Go closer to the Utah border to see the bit of Lake Powell that stretches into Arizona, a sight so out-of-this-world that it’s been used in 45 films and television shows depicting other planets or universes.
Home to the busiest airport in the world, Atlanta isn’t hard to reach. Once you do get there, there’s plenty to do in terms of food and fun. The world’s favorite soda has its headquarters here, and a tour of the World of Coca-Cola provides sweet insight as well as samples. Visitors can also visit the world’s largest aquarium by volume of water, take a tour of CNN’s studio headquarters, or visit the largest dinosaur ever excavated at the Fernbank Natural History Museum. You can pay tribute to the civil rights movement here as well, as the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site gives visitors the opportunity to visit the civil rights leader’s birthplace, home, church, and gravesite, along with a museum and memorial dedicated in his honor. The city’s role in the civil rights movement is memorialized in the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Civil War gets a tribute in one of the world’s largest oil paintings, the Atlanta Cyclorama, a cylindrical panorama of the Battle of Atlanta, and the largest collection of Civil War memorabilia resides at the nearby Atlanta History Center, as well. A number of other ancient, modern, and natural history museums and exhibits populate Atlanta, and those who wish to see as many as they can should take the time to buy the Atlanta CityPASS, a nine-day discounted pass to visit five local attractions, often with the ability to cut lines.
The legality of casino gambling has made Atlantic City a very popular East Coast destination, but that’s not all it has to offer. Atlantic City has plenty of family-friendly attractions, including the country’s oldest boardwalk, which stretches four miles. You can also use guides on the boardwalk who will give you a lift in an old-fashioned rolling chair to its hotels (particularly Caesars with its fine dining options), resorts, shops, and casinos if you’re not up for the walk. Several piers off of the boardwalk offer even more attractions. Go to Garden Pier to visit the local history museum and the Atlantic City Arts Center where you can enjoy all kinds of live shows or check out Steel Pier for rides and games at the local amusement park. The Atlantic City Aquarium has eight giant tanks full of amazing marine life, but you can also enjoy the sea outdoors by visiting Absecon Lighthouse and climbing its 228 steps for a fantastic ocean view.
Locals may love to “Keep Austin Weird,” but this city is a good kind of odd. Austin has a unique ambience in comparison with the rest of the state and is the live music capital of the world, with tons of music venues and festivals to check out. Like everything else in Texas, Austin is geographically huge, so it’s divided into six districts. Austin offers tons of shopping, art galleries, and multiple museums and parks, and outdoor endeavors are popular, particularly rock climbing and mountain biking. You can also go for a swim in a spring-fed pool or rent a kayak, canoe, paddle board, or tube. Make sure you try the Tex-Mex while you’re there too! Austin’s food scene is a great mix of Southwestern and cosmopolitan.
With several flights added to the archipelago’s list of daily arrivals and multiple lavish hotels and resorts opened this past year or set to debut this year, the clear blue waters and pale pink shores of the Bahamas are more accessible than ever. It’s also worth checking out thanks to its rising food scene, particularly in Baha Mar and Nassau, where visitors can enjoy the best of junkanoo, sky juice, rum cake, and more.
The Mexican peninsula of Baja California is anything but small, made up of two Mexican states and stretching about 760 miles from top to bottom. You’ll find beaches, deserts, volcanoes, and historic colonial towns here, as well as fantastic Mexican cuisine. Relatively remote and not very populated, Baja California is pretty affordable, and will give you one of the best value vacations of 2018. Inexpensive activities are abundant here, such as hiking, camping, surfing, and other outdoor adventures. It also won’t hurt your wallet to hit the resorts and restaurants of Cabo San Lucas and visit the missions of San Ignacio, Loreto, and Mulege.
Bangkok was the second most visited destination of 2017, and for good reason. In addition to two of 2017’s best world airlines, Bangkok is also home to some of the best of Thailand’s awe-inspiring cuisine, palaces, massage spas, and cultural performances. Other popular tourist experiences include tours of the city by bicycle or tuk tuk (the Thai version of a rickshaw) and Muay Thai (martial arts) lessons. Come in June, when it’s the cheapest place to travel, with hotels at around just $56 a night.
Barcelona has always been an interesting place, and in recent months, the capital of Catalonia has taken up headlines as politicians and activists in the region push for independence. That doesn’t seem likely to happen any time soon, however, so the city will stay a Spanish destination for the foreseeable future. Full of iconic attractions such as the unfinished La Sagrada Familia and Barcelona Pavilion, Barcelona also boasts some of the best beaches in Europe, and the nightlife and restaurant options are never-ending.
Experience a vacation that’s both Caribbean and Central American in vibe and location alike, in the small yet charming country of Belize. We strongly suggest that if you wish to visit Belize, you do it now, because the country is quickly becoming popular and its untouched beauty is an increasingly imperiled part of its charm. In addition to the gorgeous beaches, delicious Belizean cuisine, and fantastic resorts, this destination also offers a bit of culture and history in its renowned Ancient Mayan sites.
Berlin is a great place year-round, but particularly in the summer when the weather’s nicer. Its 175 museums reflect the rich history of the city (and its country). The art scene is also phenomenal, and Berlin has plenty of galleries for you to peruse while you escape the chill. Of course, you’d be remiss to not visit the remnants of the Berlin Wall or the iconic Brandenburg Gate — but only after you’ve had a taste of the city’s currywurst (there are vegetarian versions too).
Located right next to the Badlands of South Dakota, the Black Hills are a small mountain region near Rapid City which hold a controversial history. Promises to the Lakota Sioux to keep white settlers off the land were broken by the United States government when gold was discovered, and as a result, the existence of monuments like the famed Mount Rushmore remains controversial. In addition to the faces of the four presidents carved into a mountain, visitors also flock to Black Hills National Forest, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Custer State Park, and Crazy Horse Memorial, the native answer to Mount Rushmore which is set to become the world’s largest sculpture once completed. This is a great hiking destination, as well as a great spot to learn some American history.
Boston has everything for those seeking a big city with a small town feel. History abounds in the 16 districts of Beantown, and over 16 million people come to experience it every year. Site of the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre, and the Siege of Boston, Boston is known as “The Cradle of Liberty” due to its pivotal role in American independence. As a result, the Freedom Trail — a two-and-a-half-mile walking history tour — is an absolute must for every visitor and a great way to start off your weekend. You can also experience history indoors at the city’s many museums, saving quite a bit with one of several visitor passes such as the Go Boston Card or the Boston CityPASS to witness history, art, science, and culture. Boston also has some beautiful parks, but the best spot is the renowned Boston Common and Public Garden, the oldest public park in the nation. Downtown Boston holds Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market where you can find plenty to eat or shop. Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is one of Boston’s most famous landmarks, and catching a game there is an all-American experience many tourists make sure to partake in.
Although the city of Cannon Beach has a population of only around 1,700 people, over 750,000 visit every year to enjoy an affordable vacation. Photos of its shore often feature the 235-foot-tall Haystack Rock, the third largest monolith in the world. Low tide reveals the starfish and other marine life living near the base of the rock. You can also find even more natural beauty at Ecola State Park, a favorite of many hikers and campers with great views of the coast. The nearby inns and beach houses aren’t too expensive, especially if you don’t stay right on the water, and many have special rates for Sunday through Thursday bookings.
A great destination for Southern history and culture, visitors to Charleston can enjoy the city’s centuries-old homes, historic streets, beautiful gardens, and Revolutionary and Civil War-era sites. A height restriction ordinance has kept the Charleston skyline low, and so it is populated with the city’s many churches, as well as the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. The nation’s history of slavery is particularly apparent here, and one can visit the sites of old slave markets as well as former slave plantations. In addition to walking tours, there are also carriage tours available for those wishing to experience Charleston without putting in quite as much physical effort.
North Carolina’s largest city is divided into 16 districts, which have seen a lot of growth in the past two decades. Charlotte is known as the home of Carowinds, a Cedar Fair theme park which lies on the border of the two Carolinas, straddled by Charlotte and South Carolina’s Fort Mill. The city also has an entire district of museums, including museums for children, art lovers, Southern culture and history buffs, and even aviation geeks. Racing fans will enjoy the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which finds its home here, and outdoor sportsmen will enjoy the U.S. National Whitewater Center, where you can mountain bike and whitewater raft, among other things. For food lovers, Charlotte is also home to the state’s best pizza.
The nation’s third largest city is a perfect weekend getaway for those who prefer a more urban vacation with both destinations for food lovers and an arts scene. Its famous skyline boasts not only the Willis Tower (formerly and often still known as the Sears Tower), but also some of the world’s best museums, art galleries, parks, and more. You don’t need admission to anything to witness some of the Second City’s great art, however; downtown Chicago has an entire collection of modern sculptures that you can enjoy on your own or with a two-to-four-hour walking tour. Lake Michigan may not be an ocean, but it provides some great beaches all the same, Chicago being considered the second cleanest urban waterfront in the world. The Windy City is also home to Taste of Chicago, the world’s largest outdoor food festival, and of course, the divisive Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.
Cleveland is often overlooked when it comes to American tourist destinations, which is surprising when you consider all that it has to offer in terms of culture and recreation. A three-day weekend here would be jam-packed, as there are so many museums, parks, gardens, theaters, and galleries, that the city has the densest concentration of cultural attractions in the country. An absolute must for all visitors to Cleveland is a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Take a trip to one of the country’s best farmers markets at West Side Market or visit the house from the movie A Christmas Story, which is open year round and looks exactly how it was portrayed in the movie. In addition to the city life, Cleveland also has quite a few outdoor activities, having historically been referred to as the “Forest City”; you’ll find plenty of places to go hiking, biking, and even skiing in the winter. Lake Erie is also a great place to enjoy walks on the beach, swimming, fishing, boating, and other water sports.
The renowned biodiversity of Costa Rica is not only an ecology geek’s dream, but it also makes for a beautiful destination. The country’s national parks and protected areas cover over 23 percent of its land, which accounts for only 0.03 percent of Earth’s landmass but approximately 5 percent of its biodiversity. Tickets to get there are cheap, and once you are there, public transportation is super-affordable as well. Costa Rica provides an entire array of accommodations to fit any budget, from hotels to the less expensive condos, hostels, vacation rentals, and cabinas. Food is cheap too; you can easily get a good local meal for under $5.
“Tourist travel” by Americans is prohibited in Cuba, which has a list of 12 approved reasons for visitation, such as family visits, freelance journalism, humanitarian work, etc. This doesn’t mean you can’t experience and enjoy Cuba if none of these apply to you. Instead, the requirement for American travelers is that you actually interact with the country’s people in what are known as “people-to-people” tours. It’s actually more of a bonus than a chore, as locals are the key to finding out all the best spots for music, culture, nature, and history. Cuba has multiple beautiful national parks and beaches for you to enjoy. Flights to Havana are super affordable, and hotels aren’t too bad either, but your best bet is to stay at government-licensed private homes with lodging called “casas particulares.”
Dallas has plenty to offer, with two large aquariums, a zoo, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, and multiple museums dedicated to art and science. Go downtown to see the X that marks the spot where President John F. Kennedy was killed in the back of an open-topped limousine and visit the Sixth Floor Museum, located in the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot him. Zero Gravity Thrill Rides Amusement Park, the world’s only amusement park dedicated to thrill rides, has five extreme rides that you can enjoy, and Six Flags Over Texas is the original Six Flags park. Dallas also has a great food scene that isn’t to be missed.
The United Arab Emirates are known for their luxury, and as the country’s cities grow, so do its tourist numbers. For the first time ever, there’s a branch of the Louvre outside of Paris, and this past November, it opened its doors and its more than 700 exhibits in the safest city in the world, Abu Dhabi. For those who can’t imagine a summer vacation without at least one trip to the beach, Jumeirah Open Beach is one of the best there is. Abu Dhabi is also home to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world and meticulously kept, its bright white exterior and 82 domes positively sparkling. Take a ride on the world’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World on Yas Island, just off the coast, where you can also visit the water park and gigantic shopping mall. An even bigger mall, however, exists in Dubai, home to the largest in the world. This shopaholic’s paradise is a great place to purchase gold, textiles, and electronics, with the latter being particularly cheaper here than in most other places. We suggest a trip in July, when the city is the cheapest place to travel.
Quito is not only beautiful but absolutely fascinating. Ecuador is so named because of its location directly over the equator, and when you stand on Mitad del Mundo — a yellow line painted on the ground to designate the equator itself — on either the fall or spring equinox, you can watch your shadow disappear for three minutes. Quito also offers attractive colonial and Latin American architecture that echoes its fascinating history, and from here you can explore the rest of the country’s stunning natural environs, such as the Bellavista Cloud Forest, the snow-capped Cayambe volcano, and of course, the famous Galapagos Islands. Other cities of note include Cuenca, a beautiful and historic city with Incan ruins and cafés serving amazing Ecuadorian cuisine, and Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, famous for its great seafood, a beautiful riverfront, and great music.
There are several large cities with access to the Great Smoky Mountains, and any one of them would be a great base from which to enjoy the gorgeous flora and incredible fauna. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park receives 9 to 10 million visits annually, making it the most-visited national park in the country. It’s also one of the best for a picnic. It has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve, with nearly 95 percent forestation filled with nearly 100 different species of native trees, over 5,400 plant species, hundreds of bird species, 50 types of native fish, 66 different kinds of mammals, and countless amphibians and reptiles. The Appalachian Trail — heaven for hikers — runs through the park, and the valley of Cades Cove is the most popular spot due to the beautiful view, tons of wildlife, and historical structures. If you’re on the North Carolinian side of the mountains, you can also make a visit to the home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation at the eastern entrance of the national park.
The “Sweetest Place on Earth” should be at the top of the bucket list for every American chocolate lover. The hometown of Milton S. Hershey, then named Derry Church before it was renamed after him, it was here that the chocolatier built a chocolate plant for his growing business. Today, visitors from all over the world come to Hershey’s Chocolate World for a free tour of how the confectionaries are made in addition to other chocolate-related exhibits. Hershey Park is also a major draw, an amusement park full of rides, shows, and shops of everything Hershey chocolate. For non-sweets-related plans, there is also a zoo and an auto museum, as well as the Indian Echo Caverns for visitors to explore.
The most diverse place in America, Texas’s largest city is fantastic for food lovers. You can find amazing and authentic Mexican food anywhere in Houston, but there are certain areas that specialize in specific cuisines. Chinatown is, of course, best for Chinese food, while the Mahatma Gandhi District is full of Indian and Pakistani fare. Go to Koreatown for Korean cuisine, Midtown for Vietnamese, the predominantly Jewish Meyerland for anything kosher, and Bissonette Street for something Nigerian or Ethiopian. Make sure you don’t leave Houston without visiting the NASA Johnson Space Center, and make sure to check out the plethora of museums as well as the Houston Zoo. You’ll also do well to buy a Houstin CityPASS to get into up to six attractions within a nine-day period.
Just a six-to-seven-hour nonstop flight from the East Coast of the United States, Ireland is an affordable destination in terms of both time and price. Its capital, Dublin, made it to our list of the top destinations for 2018, but the entire island is full of magical spots, with amazing churches, ruins, distilleries, and scenery for you to discover.
Despite being the most populous Floridian city, complete with beaches, music, culture, and art, Jacksonville isn’t as popular as other state destinations such as Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and the Keys. Yet with so many people — over 880,000, to be exact — the city has quite a bit going on, with plenty of affordable restaurants and the lowest hotel rates in Florida. Multiple art galleries and interesting shops populate the downtown part of the city as well. Jacksonville is more than city, though, with the largest urban park system in the country, where you can stroll, hike, bike, or even take a guided kayak tour to enjoy the best of Floridian nature.
Nearly three million people annually make it out to the border of California and Nevada to visit Lake Tahoe, one of the biggest, clearest, and deepest freshwater lakes on the planet. Lake Tahoe is a year-round destination with offerings that vary with the seasons. While it’s known as one of the best winter destinations for skiing and snowboarding, it’s still a great place to be in the summer with plenty of opportunities for hiking, golfing, boating, and other watersports. Get some of the country’s best waffles at the Red Hut Café. Dining, shopping, and nature sightseeing are all worthwhile endeavors to pursue in this beautiful getaway spot.
The island of Lanzarote is the easternmost of Spain's autonomous Canary Islands, and while not the most popular, it’s quickly becoming a favored destination for many savvy travelers. Far more affordable than Gran Canaria or Tenerife, Lanzarote is known for its beaches, such as those of Órzola and Caleta de Famara, the latter particularly famous for its surfing. For a more secluded beach, check out the gorgeous Papagayo Beaches in Playa Blanca, and for some fantastic scenery, visit Parque Nacional de Timanfaya. Take a drive or a hike around the island for the some truly stunning ocean and mountain scenery, and make sure you have some Canarian cuisine while you’re at it, particularly the kind cooked using volcanoes for heat.
Pronounced “MAK-i-naw,” Macinac Island is the hidden gem of Michigan with its Victorian charm and fun activities for the entire family. The island is a three-in-one destination: You can visit Active Mackinac for a more outdoorsy time with biking, hiking, horse-riding, and paddling; Grand Mackinac for a more upper-class experience at the Grand Hotel resort; or Fudgie Mackinac to indulge your sweet tooth with the island’s famous fudge amid historic and shopping sites. Tours of the island are available on foot, bike, or even via kayak or stand-up paddle board, both of which are available for rentals. Golfing and fishing are also popular endeavors. We also recommend bringing your own bicycle; Mackinac is known for its island-wide motor vehicle ban.
Summers in Madrid can get very hot, but with a night’s stay getting as low as $85 in August, you’ll probably find a way to cool down. A trip here would be worth it too; Madrid is known for its architecture and of course its Spanish cuisine. Visit the Palacio Real, or Royal Palace, the official residence of the king, or catch a flamenco show for some amazing Spanish history and culture.
Offering the best of Middle Eastern beauty in terms of architecture and natural scenery, Morocco has plenty of must-visit stops, all at an affordable price. The city of Marrakesh is full of palaces and street markets to explore, and it’s home to the newly opened Yves Saint Laurent Museum, where fashion lovers can visit the famous designer’s Marrakesh studio and home. Less than a mile from there lie the Atlas Mountains, perfect for hiking and taking on Kasbah Toubkal, the country’s highest peak. Visit Tétouan, known for its carpets and World Heritage Site medina (old town) and the site of a burgeoning modern Moroccan art movement. The resort town of Essaouira, with its great beaches for windsurfing and kitesurfing and its colorful and busy medina, is one of this year’s top ten best value destinations.
Over 14 million people descend on Myrtle Beach every year for swimming, seafood, and shopping. Its popularity as the perfect Southern beach weekend can cause the beaches to be quite crowded during high season, but sunrise sees moderate temperatures and quiet shores. Myrtle Beach’s Broadway is full of nightlife, bars, shops, restaurants, a movie theater, and an aquarium. Myrtle Beach has tons of variety shows and concerts, as well as more miniature golf courses per square mile than any other place in the world. Regular golfing is also world-class at Myrtle Beach, and many people travel here specifically to hit one of the area’s more than 120 golf courses.
Despite its expensive reputation, New York City is a pretty great value if you’re a tourist. The New York restaurant scene is unparalleled, with chefs from around the world settling in the five boroughs to set trends, and the world often looks to New York when seeking out the latest in fashion, film, art, and more. New Yorkers, including their mayor, are protective of their world-famous pizza, and their restaurants are among the most Instagrammed in the country, if not the world. Broadway shows continue to lead the world of theater, Fifth Avenue and New York Fashion Week rule the fashion industry, and the modern-day hipster came out of the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The American side of Niagara Falls is not as commercialized as the Canadian side due to its designation as a state park, so it offers a getaway more focused on the natural beauty of the falls. Get up close and personal with the falls through Cave of the Winds, an experience that brings visitors down an elevator to a walkway that leads right to the bottom of the Bridal Veil Falls. There’s also, of course, Maid of the Mist, a boat ride that will take you around the bottom of the falls. Learn the geological history of the falls at the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center or take one of the many sightseeing or historic tours of the area.
“The Happiest Place on Earth” just keeps getting happier as its many theme parks make additions and updates every year. Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Adventure Park are just the top three amusement parks here, each with multiple, massive sections to them. Disney World may not sound like a very wallet-friendly option, but there are plenty of ways to save while you’re there. Orlando also has a thriving downtown and nightlife as well as tons of golf courses for you to enjoy.
Home of the Philly cheesesteak, Philadelphia has so much to offer that visitors should take advantage of the Philadelphia CityPass, which will grant access to six attractions within the course of nine days at a discounted rate. Options for visitation include the Adventure Aquarium, Philadelphia Zoo, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the National Constitution Center, the kid-favorite Please Touch Museum, the historic Eastern State Penitentiary, the science geek favorite Franklin Institute, and 24 hours of on-off privileges with the Phila Trolley and The Big Bus Company. There are plenty of art museums in Philadelphia as well, but you don’t even need to go inside one to enjoy local art; the city is known for its murals, and you can even take a free tour of them. Reading Terminal Market is the most popular attraction in Philadelphia and a must for food lovers, as is the neighborhood of Fishtown, and visitors should also make a trip to Independence National Historical Park, known as the birthplace of American democracy itself. Stop by the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall to see more of the history of American’s foundation.
Phoenix gets seriously hot in the summertime, but as long as you make sure you stay hydrated, you’re sure to have a good time. Visit the Arizona Science Center and the Desert Botanical Garden to explore the region’s natural wonders, or one of the area’s many galleries and museums celebrating American, Southwestern, and Native art. Phoenix is full of Arizona’s best art institutions, with plenty of theaters, venues, and events, and it’s also home to multiple professional sports teams.
The Poconos are a longtime favorite for families and adventurers. The Poconos are one of the best regions for hiking and camping, and food options are abundant as well. Amusement parks provide all kinds of entertainment, and the local lakes, some man-made and some natural, are perfect for boating and fishing. NASCAR fans will enjoy the Pocono Raceway, whereas history lovers will appreciate the Pocono Indian Museum which showcases the history of the natives of Delaware.
Often confused with the neighboring town of Point Pleasant, Point Pleasant Beach is a popular spot on the Jersey Shore. Summer is the best time to hit the beach in New Jersey, and the summer months see fireworks as well as Big Joe’s Jersey Talent Show, a weekly event in which both residents and visitors can take part. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk offers food, games, mini-golf, arcades, and an amusement park, and the end of the summer sees the Festival of the Sea, which features seafood and shopping.
Portugal is one of 2018’s top travel trends, and it’s not hard to see why. Cheap flights and hotel stays are easily attainable, as long as you book about a month or two in advance, and the local food and drink here won’t hurt your wallet either. Portugal’s beaches have the same Mediterranean sun as destinations like Spain or Italy, without the over-saturation of tourists. If you’re not a beach person, there are always the fantastic views of Lisbon and the romantic charm of iconic landmarks such as the Pena Palace in Sintra.
Right across the border from Tijuana, Mexico, San Diego is Southern California at its finest. Its gorgeous beaches, pleasant climate, and ethnic diversity, creates a colorful atmosphere that anyone can enjoy. San Diego offers a few different city passes which will help you gain admission to the city’s many attractions, which include the famous San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and all Balboa Park museums, as well nearby Legoland, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Disneyland. San Diego is a beach lover’s paradise, with the San Diego coast itself perfect for swimming, surfing, and building sandcastles, as are the beaches of plenty nearby towns. The city also has plenty of wineries and its restaurant scene is much like the rest of California’s: deliciously diverse.
Puerto Rico is officially open for business and tourists are needed more than ever to help the island get back on its feet. Witness the rebuilding and resilience of San Juan, where old and new coexist in the architecture as well as the city’s culture. Nightlife, beaches, and a growing arts scene have all helped San Juan earn its reputation as a strong tourist destination, but it’s the food here that’s really worth coming for.
It’s home to plenty of shopping and eating opportunities, as well as the Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa Museum of Art, Museum of Science and Industry, and Florida’s Busch Gardens. It’s also known for its craft beer scene. On the list as part of the greater Tampa Bay area, visitors to Tampa also benefit from the proximity of cities like St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
Two hours from Santa Fe, you can discover the lesser-known destination of Taos, the prettiest town in the state of New Mexico. Taos is great for Southwestern art, and the Taos Ski Valley is a must for anyone wanting to try out the Southwestern slopes, even in the summer when they’re greener. You can also make a trip to visit the Taos Pueblo, a Native American community just north of town that’s open to visitors as long as you’re respectful. The Rio Grande also means plenty of available river adventures, and the Enchanted Circle is a self-guided driving tour taken by many visitors through the scenic surroundings of Taos.
In the wake of Brexit, the British pound sterling has weakened quite a bit, making the United Kingdom — made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland — quite an affordable vacation destination. Take a tour of diverse and ever-popular London, the music and arts scene of Manchester, Welsh culture in Cardiff, the political and historical monuments of Belfast, and the hub and capital of Scotland, Edinburgh.
If you’re not ready to be done with winter just yet, head to Canada’s premier ski destination: Whistler. Home to one of the largest ski resorts in North America and located on Whistler Mountain, Whistler is a great destination for skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, tobogganing, and snowshoeing, even in the summer. However, there’s more to Whistler than just skiing, as the resort town also offers opportunities to explore the area with activities such as riding their Peak 2 Peak Gondola, hiking trails surrounded by snow walls, throwing axes, and enjoying the local cuisine and spas.
Historic Williamsburg is a 301-acre living history museum that presents a picture of the nation’s colonial days, and there are multiple parks and attractions which lovers of American history will enjoy. One of Williamsburg’s most fun attractions, however, is Busch Gardens, an amusement park where you can explore multiple sections modeled after European countries and cultures.
The world’s first national park is also likely the most famous, drawing in over 3 million visitors every year. Located in Wyoming, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is centered here, meaning the park has a great diversity of animals and plants, including 67 different mammals. Yellowstone is a prime spot for bird watchers, as well as botany enthusiasts, as it houses over 1,350 vascular plant species. Known for its geysers and hot springs, Yellowstone is also home to half the world’s geothermal features, including the famous “Old Faithful.” If you’d rather save even more by staying home, check out these ways you can have a great family summer without going on vacation.
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