5 Best Family (and Budget) Friendly Places to Vacation in the U.S.

family vacation on boat at Niagara Falls

Summer is the most popular time for family vacations, but with the rising cost of gas prices, hotel stays, and food, it can feel cumbersome or even impossible to plan a trip out of town. That’s why we put together a list of the 5 best family (and budget) friendly places to vacation in the U.S.. Not only will you be able to do something the whole family can enjoy, but you can do it without breaking the bank. And you’ll never believe the places we found with FREE ADMISSION!

#5 Niagara Falls

While not the cheapest on our list of the 5 best family and budget-friendly places to vacation in the U.S., Niagara Falls offers an incredible assortment of wonders all in one place. Considered by many a top wonder of the world, Niagara Falls features a 188-foot waterfall you can view from up top or down below. Entrance into the park is free for children ages 5 and under. And you can head over to the Canadian side of the Falls for a more cost-effective location. Just make sure to exchange your currency at CFSC before you leave. While at Niagara Falls, you and the family can take in the Cave of the Winds, the Aquarium of Niagara, and so much more. And if you’d like to venture through all the park has to offer, save yourself some serious money and grab a Discovery Pass. It’ll get you and the family into all the park attractions at a discounted rate.

Learn more about the Niagara Falls Discovery Pass.
Attractions and tours at Niagara Falls.

#4 Grand Canyon

For over six million years, the Grand Canyon has been expanding ever so slightly thanks in part to the Colorado River that flows through it. A hot spot for tourists, the Grand Canyon is truly a world marvel to experience. For just $35, you and your family can gain entrance to the park where you can explore various areas of the Canyon. You’ll find the South Rim the most popular area and a perfect destination for sightseeing – featuring Grand Canyon Village and Bright Angel Trail. If you’re looking for a less crowded place to enjoy the views, you can head to the North Rim.

Grand Canyon park fees and passes.
Plan your visit to the Grand Canyon.

#3 Outer Banks

If sun and sand is topping your list for a family vacation this summer, then look no further than the Outer Banks. Lovingly referred to as OBX, the chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina are home to a vast assortment of fun and exploring. You can go snorkeling and scuba diving to explore shipwrecks, visit the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island, and check out the various old lighthouses at the different islands. The Outer Banks allows you to enjoy all the surf and sand without being bogged down by tourists.

Pricing for the North Carolina Aquarium.
Top ten things to do in Outer Banks.

#2 Washington D.C.

This historical city offers a unique look back through time and the history of what made our great nation unlike any other. Set your sights on a vacation on the East Coast and head to Washington D.C. where you’ll find a vast array of renowned museums and historical sites. Enjoy a tour of the White House, home to every president since 1800. The tours are self-guided and absolutely free, but you must submit your request for the tour in advance. You and the kids will also be amazed by all you can find at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Featuring over 126 million artifacts, the Smithsonian offers something for everyone. You can take in a show at the IMAX Theater, stop by the Hall of Human Origins where you’ll find the history of the human species traced back over 6 million years, and view dinosaur fossils in The Last American Dinosaurs: Discovering a Lost World exhibit, just to name a few. Admission to the Smithsonian is free, but some features within the museum have a charge to enter.

Make plans to visit the White House.
Smithsonian hours and fees details.

#1 Yellowstone National Park

Ranked as the Best Place to Visit in the USA by US News & World Report, Yellowstone National Park is the perfect budget-friendly place to vacation with your family this summer. Featuring 2.2 million acres of mountains, canyons, waterfalls and geysers, you’re bound to find something everyone in the family can enjoy.

The best part? It’s just $35 to get into the park! You can take your whole family and explore all nature has to offer for less than the price to eat out at a restaurant.

Fees & Passes to Yellowstone.
Kid-friendly activities at Yellowstone.

CFSC Has All Your Vacation Financial Needs Under One Roof

Before you head out this summer, make sure you stop by your nearest CFSC location to get all your financial needs taken care of. From check cashing to electronic bill pay and everything in between, we’ve got you covered!

If you don’t want to carry cash on your vacation, make sure to get a Netspend prepaid debit card from CFSC. For a limited time, CFSC and Netspend are waiving your initial fee with a new card purchase during the months of June, July and August!

Find a CFSC near me.