Grandparents these days are taking an increased interest in traveling with their grandchildren, and these vacations offer the perfect opportunity for large chunks of quality time together. It’s also true that a lot of grandparents are on a budget, and travel the same way. We’ve put together a list of five great places for grandparents to travel with their grandchildren, all while being budget (and fun) conscious. Read on and start planning your next family get away!
Where to Take Grandchildren on Vacation
Washington D.C. is a perfect destination for young and old. Our nation’s capital offers up grandiose national monuments, a plethora of museums ranging from the National Gallery of Art to the National Air and Space Museum (where the first space suits are on display), and plenty of outdoor fun at the National Zoo. There are lots of free attractions for grandparents on a budget and most places offer free admission to kids under seven. Hop on a bus tour to easily navigate around the major attractions or travel like the locals and hop on the metro. Don’t miss the Smithsonian complex and be sure to take a ride on the famous D.C. Ducks.
There is a lot more to Orlando than just Disney World, and if you’re looking to avoid the lines and crowds, this warm weather destination still has a lot to offer. Check out Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex to catch some spring training games, or head to one of the area’s many nature parks. These beautiful spaces offer up swimming, hiking, and a chance to spot some local Florida wildlife. It’s a great alternative to theme parks, and at a fraction of the cost. If you’re looking to save a little more, try visiting in the winter when temperatures are still nice and warm.
Flagstaff is a great spot to take the grandkids for a trip full of exploration and excitement. The city sits at 7,000 feet, and offers low humidity and warm weather, perfect for spending time outside. Active groups can hike, bike, or even drive through the beautiful Coconino National Forest, and the kids can stare in wonder at the towering mountain peaks, the radiant Red Rocks of Sedona, and the expansive pine tree covered plateaus. Flagstaff is also only 85 miles from the Grand Canyon, making it a convenient day trip, but it’s just far enough that you can avoid the high prices closer to this worldwide attraction. For grandparents that aren’t as active, visit the National Geographic Visitor Center, just south of the Grand Canyon Park entrance, and enjoy the IMAX feature film.
If you’re looking for a great beach vacation with the grandkids, Canon Beach has got you covered. The Oregon Coast may be rugged, but the fun for kids never runs out. The beach here is sandy (and rarely crowded) making is the perfect spot for building sand castles, and the wind makes the perfect conditions for flying a kite. With tide pools abounding as well, this beach vacation will be all about exploring together, and less about lying in the sun. The small town is dotted with arcades and ice cream parlors, and the laid back and not-crowded feel will make for a fun and relaxing time for both the kids and the grandparents.
For an East Coast beach escape, head to Coast Guard Beach on Cape Cod. It is the quintessential family beach, and this local favorite is perfect for grandkids ranging form preschool age all the way up to teenagers. This beach is often quieter than other beaches on the cape, meaning there is plenty of space and lots of local wildlife to observe. The sand here is great for building sand castles, and the miles of bike trails along the shore are perfect for a family bike ride. Head to Eastham nearby for more kid friendly fun, or check out Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar, where the kid meals are served on frisbees.
San Diego’s draw is simple. It offers consistent sunshine and 70 miles of sandy beaches for kids and grandparents to enjoy. When the waves start to get boring for the youngsters, and the sun gets to be too hot, the wildlife at the San Diego Zoo or the sea creatures at SeaWorld are sure to keep everyone entertained for hours. For even more educational fun, head to the museums at Balboa Park or take a look at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet. Despite its large size, this So-Cal city has maintained a laid-back vibe perfect for a family vacation.
7. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is actually one of the most booked multigenerational destinations. It’s a hugely popular eco-tourism spot, and both young and old won’t tire of exploring the local beaches and rain forests, or getting up close to tropical wildlife. Tortuguero and Manuel Antonia national parks are both popular spots for families, and here groups can do everything from boating along a canal, to taking a zip-line through the forest canopy. Guided tours are a great way to explore the area easily and safely.
For another vacation full of outdoor exploration, check out Colorado Springs. This mountain town is incredibly picturesque, and there is no shortage of fun to be had in the surrounding wilderness. Outdoorsy grandparents can take the grandkids for a drive to the top of Pikes Peak for some spectacular views (or hop on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway), visit the Garden of the Gods, or marvel at the hues of Red Rock Canyon. For some more kid friendly fun in Colorado Springs, check out the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Dinosaur Resource Center, or the North Pole (a holiday themed amusement park).
This article was written by Alexis Hartmann.