Low-Cost Activities for Family Weekends

Nothing gets you more excited than time away, especially when there is a family vacation on the horizon. What isn’t so exciting is how much these trips can cost. Traditional vacations take up a lot of planning. Weekends are the easiest solve if there are no commitments. The weekends are already your built-in time off; no trip that only lasts a weekend is going to be overly pricey. Obviously, there is only so much you can do within a weekend to make it feel like a full blown, week-long, family vacation at a beach resort. But, weekend activities and mini trips can be a great alternative to full vacations. If your family and you are itching to take some time off but are trying to stick to a budget, we’ve rounded up some fun, quick and budget-friendly activities for you to try out.


Now hear us out on this one, a staycation doesn’t have to be boring or just staying a weekend at home. The point of this is to actually take a break. So, your weekend staycation does not need to include a to-do list of the chores, yard work or errands. Your staycation means making a list of all the things you want to do on the weekend but don’t have time for because of those errands. You could stay in for a movie night, go to a movie, eat out at favorite restaurant or cafe, spend the entire afternoon at the park or the pool, or do a barbecue night in your backyard. The art of the staycation is that it can be whatever you make it into. For those who have a few extra dollars to spare, venture over to a local hotel, which will truly help emulate a trip away from home.

Local Road Trips

One step beyond the staycation is to pick a place that’s farther out from just your town and make a day (or the whole weekend) out of the trip. Maybe there’s a great beach a few hours away or a hiking trail a few towns over. Pack a huge picnic lunch, some gear (be it hiking shoes and backpacks or bathing suits and beach towels), leave mid-morning, and spend the afternoon outdoors. It’ll be a great way to get everyone out of the house, it’s virtually cost-free (aside from gas for the car and whatever you pay for lunch), and you can give the whole family a great little break. If you’re looking to extend the trip, find a little bed and breakfast or a hotel in the area and stay overnight. Make it a full weekend-away trip.


If your family is the outdoorsy kind, you’ll likely already own some camping gear and can use those supplies to spend a weekend in the woods! If it’s something you haven’t done before, but are looking in to, you could lighten the cost of purchasing brand new camping equipment by either borrowing some from friends or by purchasing the gear second-hand. If you opt for either of these choices, camping could be a completely free or a relatively inexpensive way to take a small vacation when your family and you are in dire need of one. Camping for a weekend is another great opportunity to bring the whole family together for quality time outside the house. You can build in some other great activities while out camping, like, hiking, visits to parks and whatever else is close by.

Historical Sites and National Parks

Never forget how fun our national parks can be. There are so many national parks, and even more historical sites throughout the country that would be within a weekend’s driving distance. National parks and reserves make fantastic, fun and informative family trips. If you’re on the West Coast, look into checking out the Redwood forests, Yosemite or the Grand Canyon! They are gorgeous destinations that you could incorporate into a longer weekend when paired with a bed and breakfast or other fun options. If you’re on the East Coast, Washington D.C., Gettysburg, or just about any historical sites in the states of New York or Massachusetts are great destinations. Building these kinds of trips into short weekend getaways is a great method to start making some family road trip traditions, or to cross some locations off a family travel bucket list! Most national parks and historical sites tend to be free to the public or have very small entrance fees, which means you can achieve these budget-friendly trips with minimal costs.