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Looking back, I recall going to Gatlingburg, Tennessee when my daughter was around seven. My family was on a very tight budget and staying for a holiday weekend with my then husband, nephew, daughter and mother. We booked a discount room in a quaint motel and shared the expenses four ways. Each one of us chose an inexpensive activity for the weekend and some of us sat out if we couldn’t afford or didn’t care to join. My nephew and husband rented scooters while my mother, daughter and I hung out at the hotel pool. My chosen activity was the alpine slide, I recall five dollars per person back then. We had picnics on the trails where we saw not-so cuddly black bears and floated on tubes down the The Little Pigeon River. One day we had chicken and sides from a local restaurant at the motel. We all walked around every evening and listened to free live music outside of the small taverns. The adults sat on the balcony and had mixed drinks while people watching late into the evenings. It definitely was one of the nicest weekends that I can remember and I have had many expensive vacations.  A nice vacation is not how much you spend, the pleasure is in getting away and going to a place you enjoy and being with family and friends.  Sometimes the most simplest of vacations turn out to be the most memorable.

Best Affordable Family Vacations

1. Rent a hotel room near a national landmark in a touristy town where you can walk around and hang out in the pool.  My top favorite is Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the Smoky mountains.

2. Camp at a national or state park.  I prefer having children along because their excitement is contagious.

3.  Pack up the car and drive to the nearest beach for a few days.  So, great if you have a motel fridge and kitchenette with an outside grill and picnic table.  Seriously there are tons of well worn, inexpensive yet clean rooms but be sure to check the reviews.


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