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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 and dining and hotel options that can accommodate groups can be difficult. Finding a vacation spot that won't destroy your wallet can be even tougher. Based on traveler feedback, editor analysis and factors like sights and accessibility, U.S. News compiled a list of the best affordable, kid-friendly locales 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 Yellowstone

#1 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Yellowstone's geysers are sure to inspire young children and teenagers, while geothermic wonders like Grand Prismatic Spring and Mammoth Hot Springs will captivate visitors of all ages. Hotel rates are at their highest during the peak summer season, but you won't have to worry about shelling out a pretty penny for a room if you bring your own tent or RV. Read More »

Inspiration Point View 32 photos
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#2 Grand Canyon

#2 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

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 Trail or the Rim Trail. Just be sure to reserve hotels and campsites months in advance; the area sees hordes of tourists every spring and summer. Read More »

Grand Canyon at sunset View 35 photos
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#3 Niagara Falls

#3 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Travel to this city to catch a glimpse of its famous waterfalls. The region offers reasonably priced hotels and attractions, plus a favorable exchange rate makes visiting the Canadian side of Niagara Falls even more cost-effective for families. Skip the crowds and enjoy lower room rates if you visit in the fall. Read More »

View 21 photos
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#4 Myrtle Beach

#4 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

The beach's calm waters and ample 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 an aquarium. Sports enthusiasts will especially love taking in a baseball game at Pelicans Ballpark. Read More »

Myrtle's Morning Pier View 18 photos
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#5 Outer Banks

#5 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

The North Carolina coast's uncrowded beaches are its main draw, but families will also find historical sites, such as the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Meanwhile, budding pirates can hit the high seas with Pirate Adventures of the Outer Banks. To save on lodging, book rooms or vacation rentals a few months in advance. Read More »

Outer Bank beaches View 24 photos
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#6 Ocean City

#6 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

This Maryland beach town is the ideal family vacation for those looking to relax, soak up some sun and spend quality time together. When the sun goes down, kids and parents can enjoy the entertainment along the boardwalk. For accommodations that won't break the bank, opt to stay in a vacation rental instead of a hotel. Read More »

Ocean City boardwalk View 24 photos
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#7 Branson

#7 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Branson has gained a name for itself as a quintessential family vacation destination. Nestled within the Ozarks in Missouri, this town offers a 19th-century themed amusement park, a water park and a life-size replica of the Titanic. What's more, activities like swimming in Table Rock Lake and touring the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery are free. Read More »

Branson Main View 15 photos
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#8 San Diego

#8 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

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 »

San Diego View 49 photos
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#9 Gatlinburg

#9 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Located just north of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this Tennessee town is all about soaking up the great outdoors while on vacation. The park doesn't charge admission, so you can get your fill of hiking, biking and historical exhibits free of charge. To save some coin on accommodations, arrive in March, April or September. Read More »

Gatlinburg Main View 14 photos
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#10 Hilton Head

#10 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

It's easy to unwind on this South Carolina barrier island. Parents eager to hit the links can book packages through local resorts, and the wide, clean beaches don't cost extra to enjoy. Families with aspiring naturalists will appreciate Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge's animal-filled hammocks, which are free to explore on foot or by bike. Read More »

Aerial Harbour Town View 18 photos
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#11 Williamsburg

#11 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia offers all the history a family could ever want. And with nearby Water Country USA and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, the city appeals to all of the age groups in tow. The parks can get pricey, but combo tickets are available to cut costs. Plus, accommodations are cheap, especially in the fall, winter and early spring. Read More »

Colonial Williamsburg View 29 photos
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#12 Dallas – Fort Worth

#12 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

As temps fall in these north Texas cities, so do room rates. However, daytime temps rarely dip below the 50s, so families can take advantage of free outdoor activities (think: fishing and storytelling) year-round at the region's parks. Adults and kids will also enjoy watching cattle drives and rodeos at the Fort Worth Stockyards. Read More »

Texas Star Ferris Wheel in Dallas' Fair Park View 23 photos
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#13 Portland, OR

#13 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

This Oregon city is a haven for outdoorsy families. During the warmer months, travelers with kids can offset pricey room rates by sticking to free attractions like Forest Park and Tom McCall Waterfront Park – the latter boasts a large water fountain for children to play in. Another option: Peruse the 2 million volumes on sale at Powell's City of Books. Read More »

Portland in the Fall View 50 photos
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#14 South Padre Island

#14 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

For most of the year, South Padre Island appeals to families with its array of affordable kid-friendly activities. Children can swim at the beaches, touch critters at the Dolphin Research & Sealife Nature Center, and watch turtle feedings at Sea Turtle, Inc. But remember, spring breakers arrive in droves every March. Read More »

South Padre Island Morning View 14 photos
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#15 The Catskills

#15 in Best Affordable Family Vacations

Families will find many ways to occupy their time while vacationing in the Catskills. In addition to offering farms with animals to feed, this spot in southeast New York features bumper boating in the summer and skiing and sledding in the winter. All-inclusive, family-oriented resorts are also available, but for extra savings, try roughing it at a local campground.

the Catskills
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Glacier Point

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Washington, D.C.

Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool

Washington, D.C.

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Ottawa

Parliament

Ottawa

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Jacksonville

Jacksonville Skyline and Water Taxi

Jacksonville

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