Top 5 Vacation Destinations for Kids That Save Money and Teach

Everyone needs a vacation but if you are on a budget it can be difficult to find that great destination that offers fun for both you and the kids. We all tend to think about all the usual spots like museums, zoos, and the beach but you need to think out of the box to keep both those little ones and your pocketbook happy. The good news is that with a little ingenuity you can plan that perfect vacation that will offer both learning and fun.


1. National Parks

America has some of the best National Parks of any country in the world. From the mountains to the beach there is a park that can inspire your kids to learn new things. You can spend the entire trip at one or make it into a true road trip and visit several.

You will find both camping and local lodging no matter where you go. Once in the park there will be many different programs that you can attend that are both educational and fun. Just the experience of seeing new places can be educational and there are many options that feature unique geography.

Sand Dunes National Park has a river that disappears right into the sand. Combine the beach experience with a trip to the mountains at this one of a kind destination. The rangers have created fun educational programs for kids of all ages that will not only teach them something but keep them entertained.

Surrounded by 10,000 foot mountains you can experience all the wildlife from the prairie to the high mountains with miles of hiking trails. There is no place else you can build a sand castle then hike high into the Rocky Mountains.


2. Railroad Vacations

There can be nothing better than riding the rails, especially if you’re on an historical train. No matter where you live in the country you can find old-fashioned railroads that offer a great educational experience as well as some fun. Whether it’s a day trip or an extended trip there will be something for everyone.

Extended trips are available that give you the chance to see some of America’s greatest sights. Tour Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons or America’s historical cities for example. The tours include stops at the most popular historical sites as well as pictorial places in the area and may even include special events that are only available on the tour. Prices include all accommodations and entry fees to attractions.

No matter where you live there will be a local historical train that will offer a day trip that will thrill the kids but teach them something in the process. These trains are usually located in areas that have some historical significance creating an opportunity for some learning. Choose trains whose location offer other activities that support learning. They are not hard to find and you will learn just as much as the kids.


3. Digging for Dinosaurs

What kid doesn’t love dinosaurs and the opportunity to dig up their own is one that won’t fail to please kids of all ages, and even some adult too. There are many places around the country that you can spend some time digging up dinosaur bones and fossils. From one side of the country to the other there are great places that have specific sites where you can not only dig up the bones and fossils but take them home.

At other sites the bones and fossils you find will be distributed to museums around the world. The learning potential is huge and this is a great way to introduce your kids to the world of science.


4. Working Ranches or Farms

Most of us take the food we find at the grocery store for granted, not knowing or caring where it comes from or how it’s produced. Visiting a working farm can introduce both you and your children to where your food originates as well as how to grow it yourself. Although this practice is relatively new to the United States it has been common in other countries for years. Not only is it a great way to learn about food production but you will be helping American farmers keep their business going.

There is a wide range of choices from dairy farms to orchards and everything in between. Accommodations will vary, you might be camping or you could end up staying a re-purposed barn or chicken coop.

Most places love you to jump in and help with the chores and the kids will love that. Additionally, many places offer classes in things like growing your own food, cooking or even photography of the animals. No matter the age everyone will love this vacation.


5. House Swapping

This is by far one of the best ways to save on cost and still experience a new place. You can switch homes with another family for a week with little or no cost. You will have no lodging costs and can eat your meals at home. With so many different destinations to choose from both in the US and across the world this is a fine opportunity to introduce your kids to a different culture.

Your kids will benefit from living like a resident instead of staying in a hotel. The experience will teach your kids to look at the world in a totally different way. They will see how other people live and gain valuable social learning in the process. In a world that is constantly getting smaller the value of living a few days in someone else’s shoes cannot be beat.


Taking your family on a thrifty vacation takes a little planning but with these great adventures you will not only save money but teach your kids, and maybe yourself, something. It may take some planning but it will be worth the time spent when you see your kids’ faces light up. So, forget the amusement park and that boring museum and get out there and experience the world.


Questions or Comments?