Family travel at the end of summer has a vastly different feel than it does at the beginning. By the time the season starts winding down, you’ve probably already gone on your big planned trip—but maybe you didn’t get in that last little one.
Heck, maybe you didn’t manage to take the kids out of town all summer, and now it’s almost time to head back to school.
The good news is, it doesn’t matter either way. There’s plenty of time to plan a quick, easy, and affordable weekend away for you and your family. All you have to do is keep it simple and close to home. Call it a variation of the “staycation.” Here are a few ways to get your creative juices flowing about what to do within 100 miles of home:
Start With a Family Meeting
Get everybody around the table with a map (you could look at a map online, or have a fun prop on hand, like this Kids Political USA Wall Map) and a pad and pen. Then brainstorm some ideas of what everyone would like to do for a weekend road trip to a destination no more than 100 miles away. Camping? A Major League Baseball game in the big city? Sleepover at Grandma’s?
Next, you can enlist one of the kids to get some quick info online about car rentals, places to stay, or cool things to do. (You might already have some ideas in mind, but it’ll be fun to get them involved.) This could also be a good exercise in budgeting, making it a fun group effort to keep costs in line while still planning plenty of fun family travel.
Get Back to Nature
For many busy families, this always sounds like a great idea, but it can be easy to put off. Maybe you don’t know where to go in your area or you don’t have the right equipment. A good place to start for news, tips, and maps is Bass Pro Shops, which has separate pages for fishing and camping. Check them out after buying your Kelty Camp Cabin 6 Six-Person Tent. The site can help you find some spots that might be just right for you and your crew. If you still need a little help, consult your local or state parks and recreation department.
Look for Discounts
Expedia is full of information about things to do in lots of locations, which can be helpful if you want to visit a nearby town or tourist area—in addition to offering great deals on vacation rentals. Similarly, Avis and Budget have discounts available on more than just car rentals—golf lessons., anyone? It’s sometimes nice to take a rental car instead of putting wear and tear on your own vehicle.
Don’t Forget Sports
Some people’s most cherished childhood memories involve their parents and sports—like Mom teaching them how to hit a golf ball or Dad taking them to the ballpark. A late-summer weekend getaway can be the perfect time for these activities. The PGA Tour Superstore can help you line up lessons for adults or kids, which will lead to family-friendly courses. MLB.com has all the information you need for family travel to your nearest big-time baseball stadium.
With back-to-school demands already piling up, the end of summer can be hectic. Use these tips to keep it simple when you plan your last weekend getaway. A short car trip, a limited agenda, plenty of loose time spent together as a family—now doesn’t that sound better than cramming too much into one last scheduling frenzy?