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5 Underrated Destinations for Family Vacations

Planning a vacation with the entire family can be exciting and stressful at the same time. While the fun side usually outweighs the stressful parts, for parents, finding a kid-safe environment that is both fun and affordable is oftentimes a challenge.

That’s why we rounded up trips that are lighter on the bank account and will give you and your children enough great memories to last you a lifetime.

1.  Takilma, Oregon, Treehouse Institute

How many children dream of having their very own treehouse that rivals their parents’ house? The kind of secluded place high in the trees, away from all the homework and chores back at home. Tree houses have been a kid’s dream since time immemorial. Children have always dreamt of having their own little universe in which anything goes.

The Treehouse Institute has creatively placed cabins far off the ground, building them as treehouses for the whole family to enjoy. The entire package offers horseback riding, ziplines, rafting, fascinating arts and crafts classes and much, much more. There is so much to do here you may not be able to get it all done in one trip.

2. Paseo del Rio, San Antonio, Texas

This is Texas’ most visited tourist destination and San Antonio’s most visited attraction by far. Take your family on a stroll down Paseo del Rio which will take you along the banks of the San Antonio River.

Eventually, you will encounter the centre of the city, which connects Brackenridge Park and the San Antonio Museum of Art. There are tons of street performers and restaurants dotting the area for your family to enjoy. You can also take advantage of free attractions like The Alamo, Six Flags or SeaWorld.

3. Destin In the Florida Panhandle

Dubbed the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin is located in the Florida Panhandle, or the northwest part of Florida along the gulf. This small fishing town of only 13,000 residents is one of the Florida Panhandle’s most popular vacation destinations. Because of this, its population swells to about 30,000 or more during the summer season.

They offer awesome boat tours and breathtaking state parks. If you want to get really wild, you can go visit Gator Beach and take a gander at the alligators. Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park is also there, so you can take the kids to enjoy water slides and all sorts of other water activities.

4. Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona

If you and the kids want to play cowboy for a day, Tanque Verde Ranch is the perfect place to do so. Put on your cowboy hat, grab a saddle and take one of their 180 horses for a tour of the desert. If you are new to this cowboy thing, the ranch has plenty of experienced guides to help you along.

If you have never ridden a horse, the ranch offers horseback riding classes. When you get tired of riding, you can always play basketball, hit the tennis courts, do some fishing, go for a swim, and even bike or hike the trails in the area.

5. Williamsburg, Virginia

This lesser known vacation getaway may not be at the top of the list for your average vacationer, but this place has it all. Not to mention it is a pretty cheap vacation choice compared to most. There are even golf courses for those who want to release their inner Tiget Woods. What’s more, Colonial Williamsburg is a great place for those who are truly curious about American history.

For something more titillating, you can take the family to the Busch Gardens Theme Park. There you can watch animals and interact with them, ride roller coasters and much more. Kingsmill is a resort you can stay at for even more fun activities. It has a kids’ night for 5 to 12-year-olds and offers swimming, golf and tennis activities for the adults. Kids’ night includes pizza and game parties. And then, when it’s finally time to wind down, you can enjoy a family dinner at one of the resort’s six beautiful restaurants.


All in all, you can see that it’s not that hard to find fun ideas for your family’s vacations even when on a tight budget. In fact, you can get even better deals by using a discount site like Expedia a few months before your trip and find great rates on on the best family vacations.

Have a destination of your own?  Share your favorite family vacation spots in the comments.

Victoria Howes is a entrepreneur, traveler, and consultant to multiple brands including Travelocity,, and Homeaway.  Follow her adventures at