With summer in full swing, more and more American families will be heading off for their annual vacations. But, these days, families are looking for more affordable and easily accessible “daycation” destinations. Daycations are day-long trips that deliver vacation-like memories. The good thing is that regardless of where you live, there’s an exciting daycation to be had that the entire family will love. Here are some great inexpensive day trips to take that won’t take you too far out of your comfort zone.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Summer Day Trips
If you’re planning on taking the family out on a fun, inexpensive day trip this summer, then here are some tips to help keep your trip safe and affordable.
- Keep your trip short enough to warrant a same-day return.
- Pack a picnic lunch instead of eating out.
- Leave early to avoid the morning rush hour (this will also give you more time to enjoy your destination).
- Think like a tourist and you’ll find hidden daycations closer to you than you might think.
- Keep an eye out for discounts, coupons, and freebies to help cut your costs even deeper.
Northeast Day Trips
If you live in the northeast, you have a great selection of day trips available to enjoy. From Maine’s southernmost beaches to Fort Ticonderoga in Vermont to the Berkshires in Connecticut to Albany, NY to Sandy Hook, NJ – the northeast offers a rich selection of vacation destinations that are easy to reach and affordable to enjoy.
Want more options? Then add these to your itinerary: Niagara Falls, Atlantic City, Gettysburg, PA, the Brandywine Valley, North Fork, Long Island, Seneca Falls, NY, the Village of Saranac Lake, NY, Buzzards Bay, Mass., Berkeley Springs, W.Va., or Charlottesville, VA.
Southeastern Day Trips
The American southeast is home to a rich array of historical sights, beaches, and other day trip opportunities. The Historic Triangle (Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown) is home to the world’s premier living history museum. Or, if you love nature, then a visit to the mountains of Gatlinburg, TN will give you plenty of memorable sights. Meanwhile, Amelia Island in Florida offers an affordable alternative over more expensive destinations like Miami, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale.
Want more options? All throughout the southeast there are day trip opportunities that the entire family will enjoy. There’s Stone Mountain Village near Atlanta, Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Myrtle Beach, Everglades National Park, and so much more.
Midwest Day Trips
The Midwest has an eclectic range of day trips available that run the gamut from thrilling to comforting. Top day trips in this part of the country include visiting actual dude ranches in Dodge City, Kansas, taking part in a real dinosaur archeological dig in Hot Springs, South Dakota, chasing tornados with the pros in Colorado, visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio in Oak Park, Illinois, taking a baking class at The Bakehouse, an extension of Ann Arbor, Michigan’s, legendary Zingerman’s Deli, and visiting working dairy farms in rural Wisconsin.
Want more options? Take an overnight covered wagon trip across the Nebraska prairie, volunteer at the Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, or take a painting class at Ox-Bow, a painting school founded by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on scenic Lake Michigan.
Northwest Day Trips
In the American northwest, the scenery is lush, the coffee is great, and the people are welcoming, making this a great place to enjoy a day trip during the summer. Inexpensive day trips to consider include the Skagit Wildlife Area, Lake Cle Elum, Flaming Geyser State Park, Cama Beach State Park, the Hibulb Cultural Center, the Pioneer Farm Museum, and Fort Nisqually.
Want more options? If that’s not enough options for you, then here are a few more! Plan a day trip to Bloedel Reserve, Fort Ward State Park, the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Maury Island, the Serpentarium, or the LeMay Family Collection, the world’s largest private car collection according to Guinness World Records.
Southwest Day Trips
The southwest is one of the country’s most scenic regions, making cheap day trips in this part of the country rife with photo opportunities. While the Grand Canyon is this region’s most prominent destination, a visit to the Four Corners Monument allows you to stand in one spot where each limb can be in a different state – Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Other fascinating day trips include visits to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Monument Valley, and Moab.
Want more options? If you want to extend your southwestern day trips into California, then you’re in luck because there are a ton of affordable destinations in SoCal. Top picks include La Jolla, Balboa Island, Mission San Juan Capistrano, Crystal Cove State Park, and Legoland California.