When it comes to spending time with your family, sometimes it can be hard to find middle-ground between doing the same-old, same-old routine at home, or feeling like you have to plan an elaborate vacation to create some lasting, special memories. This is where “the weekend getaway” comes into play. Getting away for a day or two is much easier to plan than a full-fledged vacation (and not to mention, much more affordable). No matter where you live, there are a variety of weekend getaway options that you and your family can try out, many of which could be just a short drive away from your home. Here are 10 of the best weekend getaways for families.
1. Go camping
Get out of the house and into the beauty of nature with a weekend camping trip. If you want to buy (or rent) a tent and sleeping bags and head to a popular campsite, that’s certainly an option, but there are so many types of camping trips that can be taken nowadays. If you don’t want to fully “rough it,” try a more accommodating and luxurious “glamping” experience. Or for a mix between sleeping outdoors and still having some sturdy shelter, rent an Airstream travel trailer or camp out of your car (although that will definitely work better if you have an SUV family car).
2. Try an adventure vacation
When people think “outdoorsy vacations,” camping is usually the first option that comes to mind – but there are so many other adventures on there. Consider a weekend “adventure vacation” and challenge your family to try something new – by going outside of your comfort zone together, you’ll create some truly lasting memories!
Some of our favorite ideas for adventure vacations are multi-sport trips (where you participate in a variety of activities, such as hiking, kayaking, and biking). A beautiful option for families who live within traveling distance of Montana is a multi-sport trip with a company like Austin Adventures around Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park, where you can be guided through “trout-filled rivers, snow-capped mountains, hot springs, mud pots, and geysers.”
3. Find a local amusement park
Get your thrills and devour some delicious treats by planning a weekend getaway to your local amusement park. If Southern California is within driving distance for your family, consider making a weekend trip there to visit any one (or two) of a number of amusement parks in the area. Disneyland in Anaheim, LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, SeaWorld in San Diego and Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park are some of the most popular options. And, due to the temperate climate of Southern California, you can plan a trip to these parks at any time in the year! Consider planning your weekend trip during the “off-season” (non-summer and non-holiday), to reap better ticket prices.
4. Head to the beach
Nothing beats the beach for a good old-fashioned family weekend getaway! Rent a beach house on Airbnb, pack up just the essentials, and hit the road to your nearest ocean escape. Want to add in some more excitement to your beach weekend? Plan the trip around a fun new activity, such as snorkeling or a boat tour.
5. Give lake life a try
If the ocean isn’t a feasible destination for a weekend trip, consider finding a local lake. Lakes offer the same relaxation properties as a trip to the beach but in a totally new and different environment. Some of our favorite United States-based lake trip spots for families include:
- South Lake Tahoe, California
- Flathead Lake, Montana
- Geneva Lake, Wisconsin
- Lake Lanier, Georgia
- Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
- Santeetlah Lake, North Carolina
- Lake Eklutna, Alaska
6. Head to the mountains
We’d be remiss not to include a trip to the mountains for snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, and tubing in this roundup of the best weekend getaways for families. Athletic activities like skiing and snowboarding are not only great for staying healthy and in shape, but they also offer a number of mental and psychological benefits as well. In the late fall and winter seasons, ski trips are a great (and simple) way to bring the family together.
7. Try a staycation
Sometimes the best weekend getaway vacation spots are hiding right under your nose. Instead of packing the family up and having to worry about gas prices and remembering to service your car, stay locally and explore a spot close to home. Is there a hotel you frequently drive by and admire? Explore your local 'hood' in a different way by seeing it as a visitor.
8. Enjoy an all-inclusive lodge or resort
Another family-favorite option for weekend getaways, especially for families with young children, are vacation lodges and resorts. A highly popular option is Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor water park resort hotel that boasts almost 20 different locations throughout North America. Enjoy the “all-in-one” nature of these resorts where you can skip worrying about picking out restaurants to eat at or activities to do. You can expect to pay a little more for this type of weekend getaway, but the convenience and consolidation may make it all worth it. Check out the articles on Daily Mom about the Kansas and Minnesota locations on Great Wolf Lodge.
9. Get some history
Weekend getaways don’t have to be all fun-and-sun. Choose to combine time away with education through a historically-rooted weekend trip. This weekend trip idea is accessible to pretty much anyone – no matter where you live, there’s bound to be a historical landmark or experience close by! If you live on the East Coast, Boston, Massachusetts and Washington D.C. are two cities rich with history and learning that your family can explore together.
10. Catch up on culture
A great option for families with pre-teens and teenagers is a culture-focused weekend getaway. How about a trip to New York City to catch a couple of family-friendly Broadway shows? You could also put together a museum road trip, find an outdoor cinema, or create your own “weekend getaway” by escaping the every day with a movie marathon from the comfort of your own couch. The possibilities are limitless.
Have the travel bug? See these Must-Haves for Family Travel to make traveling easier.