7 Frugal Family-Friendly Memorial Day Getaway Ideas

Kick off the summer vacation season right with an affordable trip with the gang.

U.S. News & World Report

7 Frugal Family-Friendly Memorial Day Getaway Ideas

Family walking on beach.
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(Getty Images)

Celebrate the summer season with a fun and frugal weekend escape.

So you want to skip town for Memorial Day weekend with the kids but haven't locked in your plans? Perhaps you're dreaming of barbecue and beachside lounging in a sunny locale, hiking and embracing the great outdoors in one of America's national parks or a spur-of-the-moment European getaway to usher in the unofficial start of summer. After all, few holidays trigger the same joy, excitement and chance to enjoy plentiful family bonding time as the three-day weekend. And fortunately, there's still time to secure a bargain and start summer off on the right foot. To help guide you to your ideal Memorial Day getaway, here are seven vacation ideas for families on a frugal budget.
Sunset in Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona.
Credit

(Getty Images)

Tucson, Arizona

If you and your kids are itching for an off-the-beaten-track getaway, head to Tucson, says Gabe Saglie, senior editor at Travelzoo.com. For instance, the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa, which caters to outdoorsy families with scenic horseback riding, biking and hiking trails, offers great weekend getaway bargains. In fact, Travelzoo shows nightly rates at the resort starting at $88 for bookings through May 20. And beyond lounging by the outdoor pools, you can enjoy rounds of tennis, check out more than 240 plant varieties on the property's 80-acre botanical garden or partake in desert hiking along the trails at Saguaro National Park during the pleasant shoulder season, before temperatures reach the 100-degree mark. And Google Flights shows a variety of low-cost round-trip flights from major cities. For example, round-trip flights from Los Angeles International Airport from Friday, May 27, to Monday, May 30, start at $143, and round-trip flights from Denver International Airport start at $256 for the same time period.
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Celebrate the summer season with a fun and frugal weekend escape.

So you want to skip town for Memorial Day weekend with the kids but haven't locked in your plans? Perhaps you're dreaming of barbecue and beachside lounging in a sunny locale, hiking and embracing the great outdoors in one of America's national parks or a spur-of-the-moment European getaway to usher in the unofficial start of summer. After all, few holidays trigger the same joy, excitement and chance to enjoy plentiful family bonding time as the three-day weekend. And fortunately, there's still time to secure a bargain and start summer off on the right foot. To help guide you to your ideal Memorial Day getaway, here are seven vacation ideas for families on a frugal budget.

Tucson, Arizona

If you and your kids are itching for an off-the-beaten-track getaway, head to Tucson, says Gabe Saglie, senior editor at Travelzoo.com. For instance, the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa, which caters to outdoorsy families with scenic horseback riding, biking and hiking trails, offers great weekend getaway bargains. In fact, Travelzoo shows nightly rates at the resort starting at $88 for bookings through May 20. And beyond lounging by the outdoor pools, you can enjoy rounds of tennis, check out more than 240 plant varieties on the property's 80-acre botanical garden or partake in desert hiking along the trails at Saguaro National Park during the pleasant shoulder season, before temperatures reach the 100-degree mark. And Google Flights shows a variety of low-cost round-trip flights from major cities. For example, round-trip flights from Los Angeles International Airport from Friday, May 27, to Monday, May 30, start at $143, and round-trip flights from Denver International Airport start at $256 for the same time period.

Honolulu

With dramatic views along its kid-friendly beaches, a wealth of historical treasures and cost-effective lodging options, Honolulu makes an ideal weekend getaway choice for bargain-hunting families. Whether the kids want to sunbathe, surf and swim at Waikiki or Sunset Beach or brush up on history at the USS Arizona Memorial, there are plenty of free pastimes to pique their interests. Though getting there requires a long flight, new routes opening up to Honolulu help bring down pricing, says Tom Spagnola, senior vice president, supplier relations at CheapOair. Virgin America recently announced daily nonstop flight service from LAX to Honolulu starting on May 5. And Google Flights shows round-trip flights for the long weekend from LAX starting at $502, and round-trip flights from San Francisco International Airport start at $536. What's more, goSeek.com currently lists nightly rates for three-and-a-half-star hotel rooms for four guests starting at $164 for the holiday weekend and four-star hotels starting at $219.

Dublin

"If you've been wanting to take that European summer vacation, now is a good time to do it," says David Solomito, director of brand marketing for KAYAK. With the strength of the U.S. dollar compared to recent summers, now is the time to seize upon the favorable exchange rate, he says. Many countries, including Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, offer enticing value getaways for families on a tight budget, he adds. And if you have the flexibility in your schedule to shift your travel days, you can slash a hundred dollars by flying back on Tuesday and beating the rush, he adds. Dublin offers a myriad of free and family-focused attractions, from the National Gallery of Ireland to the Dublin Historical Highlights Walking Tour (starting at around $14 per person) to the sprawling Phoenix Park and 70-acre Dublin Zoo, which contains a 17th-century medieval tower and has plentiful age-appropriate activities. What's more, round-trip flights over the holiday weekend from Boston's Logan International Airport start at $654 and round-trip flights from District of Columbia-area airports start at $668.

Las Vegas

If you're itching to lounge by a pool at an upscale resort with the kids in tow, there are great bargains and Memorial Day specials available in Las Vegas this year, Spagnola says. By combining your airfare with your hotel into a bundled package deal, you can save big, he adds. Priceline, for instance, shows packaged flight and hotel deals from Los Angeles to Las Vegas starting at $285 per person for the long weekend. And goSeek lists nightly rates for four guests at four-star hotels starting at $185. Getting to Vegas shouldn't cost a fortune, as Google Flights currently lists round-trip flights from Los Angeles airports starting at $192, and round-trip flights from Denver International Airport start at $246. Best of all, Las Vegas offers plenty of fun, kid-centric and heart-pounding adventures beyond the Strip, from hiking along scenic trails in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to horseback riding in the Mojave Desert.

Calgary, Toronto or Montreal, Canada

For an unbeatable value, it's hard to top a weekend getaway in Canada, Solomito says. Whether you're interested in Calgary, Toronto or Montreal, you can enjoy diverse settings at a bargain price. Saglie agrees, suggesting families search for destinations outside the U.S. where Memorial Day isn't celebrated and deals are likely to be plentiful, particularly in places where the currency is less favorable to the U.S. dollar. Canadian destinations fit this description. In fact, unsurprisingly, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal each make an appearance on the 2016 KAYAK Summer Travel Hacker Guide as trending destinations. And while these cities may be rising in popularity, airfare remains low for the holiday weekend, with Google Flights showing round-trip flights from New York airports to Toronto and Montreal starting at $194 and $256, respectively. Best of all, Canada offers a host of child-friendly attractions, with amusement parks, zoos and more.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Much like a variety of seaside destinations along the East Coast, Myrtle Beach offers plenty of amusements for the young – and the young at heart. When you and the gang need a break from lounging along the beach, take the kids to the Family Kingdom Amusement Park, where they can whizz around on more than 38 rides. Best of all, you and your companions can enjoy pleasant, pre-peak summer temperatures and take advantage of cost-effective lodging and flight options. Google Flights shows that round-trip flights from airports in the District of Columbia start at $317, and round-trip flights from Atlanta's Hartsfield–Jackson airport start at $267. Plus, goSeek shows hotel rooms for four guests starting at around $145 a night for the long weekend. And beyond it's great value, Myrtle Beach is also convenient for those eager to hit the road and take advantage of low gas prices for the long weekend, Solomito says.

Los Angeles

With consistent sunshine, pristine pools and plenty of free family-friendly activities, from museums to parks to beaches (hat tip: the Santa Monica Pier) to flea markets, Los Angeles offers a laid-back holiday escape at an affordable rate. goSeek currently lists hotels for four starting $133 a night. And with Google Flights listing round-trip flights from Portland International Airport starting at $164 for the long weekend and round-trip flights from Chicago airports starting at $301, it's easy to score a bargain this Memorial Day. Plus, with low gas rates, it's easy to pick up a set of wheels and take the kids on a quick daytrip to Anaheim for a Disneyland adventure to remember, Spagnola says.
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