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Hooray for holidays!: 16 best vacation spots with kids

From serene islands to charming small towns and bustling metropolitan areas, here are 16 of the best family summer getaway ideas. Travel & Leisure.

Photo: Shutterstock

Summer is here and vacation is the most important thing. There are many destinations that won't empty your wallet. The trick is to choose the right direction - places where the summer season is calmer or accommodation and food are cheap. And when you're traveling with kids, it's the little things that can bring down the overall cost significantly - things like pre-packaging snacks and shopping at your local grocery store so you can cook your own meals.

Here are the places where you can have a great vacation at a great price. The best family-friendly destinations have free and affordable attractions, as well as accommodations where children can enjoy free entertainment.

On the subject: Seven low-cost countries for retirees where you can live by the sea

In the review, you can find several places for a relaxing beach holiday, noisy city tours and trips that include both. There are both local and international options for a big adventure or long weekend getaway.

1. San Diego, CA

California's sunny San Diego has plenty of fun for the whole family: theme parks, water parks, museums for kids and 112 km of beaches. Pass Go City All Inclusive Pass can be used to visit top attractions like the San Diego Zoo, Legoland California, harbor cruises, and museums in Balboa Park, giving you up to 50 percent off.

2. Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor has plenty of swimming (which is free, of course), including a freshwater beach at Echo Lake with calm waves that are good for kids. You can also follow the signs that say "Museum in the streets" around Bar Harbor to create your own walking tour, or take one of the many hiking and biking trails. In the nearby Acadia national park The $30 Vehicle Pass allows the whole family to head to the park for a day of hiking and enjoy Maine's wilderness and wild coastline.

3. Winter Park, Colorado

While you may think of Winter Park as a winter destination, it's also a great place in the summer, especially if you're looking to escape the heat. In one day, families can enjoy hiking, ropes courses, gondola rides, climbing walls, and Colorado's longest alpine slide. If you buy a day pass in advance (which provides access to all marked activities), it costs $10 for children under 4 and $59 for people aged 5 and over. At a nearby ranch snow mountain there is one of the few summer tubing hills in the United States, as well as mini golf, swimming, and indoor and outdoor climbing walls.

4. Pittsburgh, PA

In "kidsburg» There are many great activities for families, from the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium to Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. During the summer, there is a 10-day Grand Prix with vintage cars and walking tours to enjoy the city and work out. You'll also find places to dine for less than $10, and the subway line offers free travel on the Golden Triangle to downtown.

If you want to spend some time outdoors, consider cycling along the Great Allegheny Passage. This is a scenic way to explore the city's many bridges and tunnels on the 240km trail.

5. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

If you and your kids love the beach, head to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In hotels like The Breakers, guests can enjoy five water slides, several on-site pools and a sunken pirate ship. There is also a shuffleboard, giant chess and cornhole. If your family is into minigolf, check out this seaside town that boasts over 50 golf courses.

6. St. Louis, MO

Free attractions in St. Louis include Purina Farms, where children can enjoy agility shows with dogs and barnyards, as well as St. Louis Art Museumwhich is very convenient for children. Entry to the City Museum, with its 10-story slide, huge ball court, and 40-foot Ferris wheel, is $18 for children ages two and up. After that stop at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, famous for its custard cocktails so thick they can be served upside down.

7. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Located next to Great Smoky Mountains National ParkGatlinburg is designed for outdoor adventurers, with white water rafting, 1200 km of hiking trails, biking and horseback riding. For a day of shopping for the whole family, visit the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, which features handmade goods from local artisans and eateries. Gatlinburg has a variety of lodging options, including resorts and cottages. Some hotels offer free nights and discounts.

8. Lisbon, Portugal

Ready to explore the world with your kids? In Lisbon, families can enjoy the city and the beach at the same time. Explore the various districts of the city, castles and palaces, or take the funicular up to see the city's steep hills. You will pay about $4 for the trip up and down, which will give you a cheap and scenic tour of the city.

9. Vienna, Austria

The Austrian capital's walking distance is part of what makes it such a fun stop for families - plus, there are several free walking tours, including ones that introduce you to the city's music, food, and fun.

С Vienna Pass travelers can enjoy free access to over 60 of the city's top attractions, including museums, a giant ferris wheel, attractions such as Madame Tussauds and the world's oldest zoo Tiergarten Schoenbrunn, which dates back to 1752, has one-day and multi-day options (including up to six days at a big discount).

10. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is the perfect destination for a family beach holiday, with plenty of resorts and all-inclusive hotels that can cost as little as $100 a night. While there are many amazing destinations in the country, Punta Cana is hard to beat for a family trip. The city has 50 km of white sand coastline, picturesque coconut trees and direct flights from over 28 countries and 96 cities around the world.

11. Fort Myers, Florida

If you and your family can handle the heat, head to Florida. The white sand beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel boast plenty of free outdoor activities, and when it gets too hot, you can rent a kayak and slip through the mangroves or compare your finds to shells found in The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum - the only museum in the United States entirely dedicated to seashells (children under 5 years old enter free).

For an extra dose of adventure, spend a few nights camping on Cayo Costa, a remote island only accessible by boat. Most likely, the entire 14 km island will be completely at your disposal.

12. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

There are plenty of free things to do right overseas in Canada. In Victoria, families can stroll around Beacon Hill Park, try their hand at lawn bowling, or stop by the children's farm to get to know the park's goats. On a free day, take a walk on the water at the legendary Fisherman's Wharf and snack on sweets at Jackson's Ice Cream.

Day in Wildplay Element Parks (Air Adventure Park) costs less than $20 per person and includes an endless array of zip lines, wobbly bridges, rope swings, ax throwing, and bungee jumping.

13. Morro Bay, California

There is nothing better than settling on the coast of California with children. And the often overlooked community of Morro Bay is a great (and affordable) place to visit. From the coast, you can spot otters and whales, have a barbecue and campfire right on the beach, or spend a day on the water, sailing, golfing, biking and surfing.

When you need a break from the water, have a snack at Sylvester's Burgers (out of this world garlic fries) and go to Morro Bay State Park or take a look at Morro Bay Maritime Museum.

14. Rincon, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has something for everyone, in addition to direct flights from 42 cities. The surf town of Rincón on the westernmost tip of the island (2,5 hours from San Juan by car) is ideal for families with its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful beaches and big waves.

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You can book a hotel room Rincon of the Seas Grand Caribbean or save on food by booking a villa with a kitchen (the largest villas accommodate up to six people). Either way, the hotel is located right on the ocean and has a stunning beachfront pool, perfect for lounging and playing.

15. Mackinac Island, Michigan

In the summer, there is no better place than Mackinac Island, a National Historic Landmark devoid of chain hotels and cars - yes, you read that right. Instead, your family will have a vintage experience filled with Mackinac Island's world-famous fudge. Days spent cycling around the island, taking the ferry under the Mackinac Bridge or cruising along the coast in a kayak will be remembered for a long time.

And when you are on the island, there is no better place than the historical Grand Hotel, which opens its 136th season in 2022. In addition to vintage hospitality and perks like afternoon tea, kids can head to the on-site stables, the large swimming pool, or spend the day playing mini golf on the lawn.

16. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

We guess a trip to the Grand Canyon has been on your family's to-do list for a long time. And while this natural wonder is usually busy with tourists in the summer, you can avoid the crowds (and find better prices) by heading to North Rim.

On North Rim you can cozy up in Grand Canyon Lodgee (book in advance to get a room!) or reserve a campsite at North Rim Campground, which enjoys pleasant summer temperatures and serves as an ideal base camp for the rich wildlife of North Rim. Hiking trails and stunning canyon views await.

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