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U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Best Affordable Family Vacations

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Finding a destination that has multigenerational attractions as well as dining and hotel options that can accommodate groups can be difficult, and finding a vacation spot that won't destroy your wallet can be even tougher. Based on traveler feedback, as well as editor analysis, U.S. News compiled a list of the best affordable, kid-friendly destinations that won't break the bank. Use these rankings to start devising travel plans for a trip – but first, vote for your favorite family vacation destinations below.

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#1 Branson

#1 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: This Missouri town has gained a name for itself as a quintessential family vacation destination. Branson offers enough activities to keep the kids busy, including a 19th-century themed amusement park, plus a water park and a life-size replica of the Titanic. Read More »

Branson Main
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#2 San Diego

#2 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: Parents and kids can enjoy an abundance of free and low-cost attractions during a San Diego vacation. Visit Balboa Park where the San Diego Zoo is located, get a hands-on view of history at the USS Midway Museum or pick one of the many beaches to play in the sand. Book your hotel or resort a few months in advance to secure the best rates. Read More »

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#3 Grand Canyon

#3 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: One of the most awe-inspiring sights in the world is also one of the most affordable. For some of the most coveted views of the Grand Canyon, hike the Bright Angel or the Rim Trail. Just be sure to reserve hotels and campsites well in advance; the area is crowded in the spring and summer. Read More »

Grand Canyon at sunset
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#4 Yellowstone

#4 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: Yellowstone's awesome geysers are sure to inspire young children and teenagers, while geothermic wonders like Old Faithful and the Mammoth Hot Springs will captivate visitors of all ages. And don't worry about shelling out a pretty penny for a hotel room – just bring your own tent. Read More »

Inspiration Point
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#5 Ocean City

#5 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: This Maryland beach town is the ideal family vacation for those looking to relax, soak up the sun and spend quality time together. When the sun goes down, kids and parents can enjoy the entertainment along the boardwalk. Skip the hotel here and book a vacation rental to save even more.  Read More »

Ocean City boardwalk
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#6 Outer Banks

#6 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: The uncrowded beaches are the North Carolina coast's main draw, but there are also plenty of historical sites for families to see, like the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Families can save on discounted lodging if they book a few months in advance. Read More »

Outer Bank beaches
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#7 Hilton Head

#7 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: If your family is looking to take it easy on vacation, travel to this South Carolina barrier island. Parents looking to hit the links can book packages through local resorts, and the wide, clean beaches are free to enjoy. Read More »

Aerial Harbour Town
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#8 Niagara Falls

#8 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: Travel to this city to catch a glimpse of the famous waterfalls. The area offers reasonably priced hotels and attractions, plus a favorable exchange rate makes visiting the Canada side of Niagara Falls even more affordable for families. Skip the crowds and enjoy lower room rates if you travel in the fall. Read More »

Horseshoe Falls
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#9 Gatlinburg

#9 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: Home to more than 500,000 acres of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this Tennessee town is all about soaking up the great outdoors on vacation. The park doesn’t charge admission, so you can get your fill of hiking, biking and historical exhibits free of charge. Read More »

Gatlinburg Main
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#10 Destin

#10 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: Destin packs in plenty of fun in the sun without leaving a major dent in your wallet. Bring intrepid youngsters to Henderson State Beach Park or head to Big Kahuna's Water and Adventure Park, where mini-golf and water rides abound. Read More »

Boating
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#11 Myrtle Beach

#11 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: The beach's calm waters and plenty of room to sprawl out make this coastal South Carolina city a hit with adults and kids. There are plenty of other family-friendly attractions here too, including amusement and water parks, mini-golf courses and baseball games. Read More »

Myrtle's Morning Pier
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#12 Williamsburg

#12 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: Colonial Williamsburg offers all the history a family could ever want. And with nearby Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, Williamsburg appeals to all of the age groups in tow. The parks can get pricey but accommodations are cheap. Read More »

Colonial Williamsburg
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#13 Minneapolis - St. Paul

#13 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: While the Mall of America might make it difficult to stay on budget, a vacation to Minneapolis is full of free art museums and outdoor spaces to enjoy. The Minneapolis Institute of Art is home to more than 83,000 works, so it should keep the kids busy for a while. Read More »

Downtown Minneapolis
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#14 Tampa

#14 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: A vacation to Tampa might not seem affordable at first. But with the CityPASS, you can gain entrance to five popular attractions (including Busch Gardens and the Florida Aquarium) for one price. On top of that, the area is home to plenty of family-friendly resorts. Read More »

On the Waterfront
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#15 Virginia Beach

#15 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Why go: If a no-frills beach vacation is what your family craves, travel to Virginia Beach. The hotels and resorts are affordable, the beach and boardwalk are free to enjoy and the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center offers fun for the whole family. Read More »

King Neptune
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Dallas – Fort Worth

Texas Star Ferris Wheel in Dallas' Fair Park

Dallas – Fort Worth

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South Padre Island

South Padre Island Morning

South Padre Island

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Portland, OR

Portland in the Fall

Portland, OR

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Indianapolis

Central Canal

Indianapolis

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