7 Family Road Trip Destinations

These 7 Family Road Trip Destinations are perfect for your family to enjoy this summer. While many of them you would think can’t be frugal, our tips will help you to find the great savings in these areas and enjoy an amazing road trip that will leave your family with lifelong memories. Vacations don’t have to be about how fancy a hotel you stay in or how much money you spend. Vacations are about getting away from work and relaxing with your family and those you love.


Branson, Missouri: This small city nestled against Tablerock Lake and in the Ozarks of Missouri is a great family road trip destination. One of the best places to stay is in the Great Wolf Lodge or other similar water park and hotel combinations. The price of the hotel may be more than you would pay at lower end chains, but the inclusion of the water park in that price is worth every dime. Hours of play for the family all in one location means you can afford to stay an extra night. There are hundreds of shows, galleries, exhibits and even the Silver Dollar City theme park all around the area. Visit the visitor center or email the chamber of commerce in advance for great coupons and discounts that will make your stay more affordable. Food and entertainment is totally affordable in this great Midwest destination.

Galveston, Texas: This smaller city on the Gulf of Mexico is perfect for a busy family to head out on a budget. Camp out near the beach and enjoy hours and days in the sand. With Houston only an hour away you will find many Splash Pads, malls for window shopping and even galleries downtown offer economical entertainment when the beach gets old. Local hotels in Galveston range from fancy high priced accommodations to typical low end motel and hotel chains.

Portland, Oregon: Many would think this is an expensive destination, but on the contrary it is a great place to visit on a budget. With cities around the area like Beaverton and even across the bridge in Vancouver, Washington offering lower cost accommodations, you can easily spend time in the city on a budget. Invest in local transit passes for a nominal fee and ride all over the city on the rail system for cheaper than you could driving your own car. Museums, downtown art districts, The Rose Park, the zoo and a beautiful skyline at night make this a great location to make your next family road trip destination. National Forest lands all around make this a great destination for the family who enjoys hiking, kayaking or even river rafting.

Wichita, Kansas: In the heart of the Midwest, this city offers more than you would think. Parks, museums and lakes around the area make it fun for families. For a few dollars the local children’s museums are well worth your time. An hour outside the city you can visit the Kansas Cosmosphere for some frugal geek fun surrounding the space exploration program.

St. Louis, Missouri: This city may be the most frugal family road trip destination on the list. With the free kids museum and zoo downtown, you have days of fun for the kids with no out of pocket expenses. For between $50-$100 a night in and around the city you can stay in a typical chain motel or hotel. With great restaurants, tons of free local museums, theater, parks and more this is an amazing budget friendly destination.

Memphis, Tennessee: Memphis is the home of Elvis Presley, great Barbecue and a wonderful zoo that is low cost year round. Hotel and lodging costs in the area are reasonable with many offering continental breakfasts that help lower your food budget even more. Mud Island has free areas as well as paid tours of the Mississippi River area and history. Downtown Beale Street offers your family music, legends and food that will satisfy everyone in your group.

San Diego, California: San Diego is a gorgeous port in Southern California that offers some of the best free local entertainment around. With tons of boardwalks on the beaches, beaches with beautiful water and white sand for miles and the Balboa Park in the center of the city offering dozens of free things to do it is a great place to take a frugal family road trip. Stay outside the city limits for lower hotel rates, and enjoy great food trucks, local restaurants and classic chain eateries for minimal costs.

These frugal family road trip destinations are sure to satisfy everyone in your family this year.


  1. Our road trips this summer are all college visits. In fact, we leave for Princeton this morning!

    • Oh that sounds like fun, though! My son knew exactly where he wanted to go so we had one visit and done. Have fun!

  2. courtney b says

    wow. of course I would guess san diego but not the others 🙁

    Thanks for the info! xoxoxo

    • The midwest has a lot to offer! I need to find my way out west, though. I’m missing Cali!

  3. Karen Glatt says

    I love summer road trips and we have taken a road trip to LA a few years back, and then traveled to San Diego. It is so much fun to explore California on a road trip!

  4. Rosie says

    I’d love to to go Portland or Galveston! It would be so much fun!

  5. Dandi D says

    These all sound great although we won’t be going anywhere because baby could be arriving anytime now!

  6. Elisabeth says

    I’d love to go visit Memphis, especially since we’re only a few hours away!

  7. Sarah L says

    I want to go back to San Diego. Didn’t see everything.

  8. Anne says

    Portland, Oregon, is on my list of places I’d like to visit. I live closer to Portland, Maine, though, and our Portland is also a great destination. Over the last few years, it has gotten a great reputation for good food, museums, and other interesting things to do. And Maine is relatively inexpensive, too.

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