Are budget constraints putting a damper on family vacation plans?  Do you wish you could find a fun travel destination for the entire family, at a reasonable cost?  State parks offer fun activities for families and accommodations for every lifestyle, all at reasonable rates.

To find t state parks in your area, do a search.  Most states have a website where you learn more about each park and what it has to offer, including upcoming events and activities. They may even showcase special deals and promotions (or do an extra search on Google) for your online reservation.

All Levels of Lodging

Even if you are not a regular camper with a tent and equipment, the campground may have accommodations for you.  Some state parks offer campsites with a tent they pitch for you, along with a fire pit and picnic table.  Just show up with your gear and you are set to go.  If tent camping isn’t your idea of fun, many state parks offer cabin/cottage options, too. These range from primitive cabins to cottages with all the modern conveniences (water, air conditioning/heat, television, grills etc.)  Many state parks also provide lodge accommodations.

Campground Activities

Once you’ve arrived, outside of your accommodation costs, expenses should be minimal.  Children enjoy passing the day away making new friends, riding bikes, playing on the playgrounds, playing sports (volleyball, horseshoes or mini-golf), and participating in other campground activities.  Don’t forget roasting marshmallows over a campfire and stargazing for evening fun.

State parks also offer many fun, free-to-low-cost activities.  These might include hiking, swimming (pool or beach), fishing, bird watching, nature centers, canoeing, paddle boats or touring historical sites.  Pontoon boat rentals are usually available at parks with a lake.  Many state parks host festivals, wildlife demonstrations, camps, holiday celebrations and more.  The campgrounds often times have special activities for just for campground guests, too.

Dining In

Staying in a tent or cabin also affords you the ability to do your own cooking, saving you the expense of eating out.  You can find quick and easy meals to prepare in foil for over the campfire or grill.  Don’t want to cook while on vacation?  Pack prepared meals (homemade or store bought) and reheat.  Don’t forget hot dogs to roast on the fire. Staying in the lodge?  Pack a cooler with snacks and a meal to cookout to save some money.

Pack the Pup

If you have a pet, you may be able to travel with them, saving on kennel expenses.  Campgrounds, some cabins and some lodge rooms welcome pets.  Just check with the park you plan to visit in advance.

Stay Connected

For those of you who can’t unplug, you will be glad to know that many state parks offer Wi-Fi services in their lodge or campgrounds for free or for a minimal charge.

Sharing in the outdoor activities that state parks have to offer is a great way to bring your family closer together and have tons of fun without breaking the bank.  Even though it might not be your dream vacation, it will be one filled with so much laughter and fun it won’t be soon forgotten.