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3 Great East Coast Family Vacations on a Budget

Even in today’s robust economy, families are tasked with striking a delicate balance between leisure spending and necessities. College funds, healthcare, and home improvements rank among the high-priority items that require smart investment. On the other hand, life is for living, and taking the clan on a dream vacation creates lasting memories. That being said, these are three “East Coast Family Vacations” that won’t break your budget.

A Summer Stay in Westerly, Rhode Island

One of America’s best-kept secrets, Westerly is home to one of the most beautiful family beaches in New England. The state’s southwestern coast is all one beach that changes its name depending on which hamlet you sunbathe. Some of the monikers include Misquamicut, Westerly Town Beach, Charlestown, Blue Shutters and on and on. The coastline is clean, well maintained, and offers different levels of quiet. Popular Misquamicut State Beach tends to be crowded, but small spots such as Blue Shutters are generally quiet.

The Southern, R.I., area tends to be an inexpensive area to rent a place to stay. Options include hotels on the beach, B&Bs, motels, Airbnb, and $17-a-night camping. The restaurant scene can be exceptional and affordable. Downtown Westerly offers NY style pizza, sushi, good Mexican, and a craft beer bar that only serves gourmet pretzels. In neighboring Charlestown, you can find locally-roasted coffee, home cooked goods, and farther down the road the Matunuck Oyster Bar serves native oysters.

In terms of tourism, scenic Mystic, CT, is a 20-minute drive, hiking and trout fishing is abundant, and you can drive to historic Newport to see Tall Ships in under one hour. The great upside to vacationing in Rhode Island is that it has a lot to offer in a small area. And, you won’t get gauged by tourist pricing.

Camping at Acadia National Park

Located in Bar Harbor, Maine, Acadia National Park offers sweeping wilderness landscapes and rare picturesque views. A family can purchase a camping permit for $30 per night during the peak season and only $15 during the off-season. You can carry in your own food and beverages, driving the cost of this family excursion to total discount.

The national park ranks among the best in terms of biking, hiking, boat cruises, and Northern beach-going. The ranger service provides guided tours and activities for children. But, at the end of the day, camping in Acadia National Park is an opportunity for the family to bond with nature and each other.

Looking for ways to save money on your next family vacation? Check out these 6 Family Travel Tips that will Save You Money and Headaches

Off-Season at Rehoboth Beach 

Some areas are tourist magnets and they cash-in on your business. But if you know a little about a place, you can get around the inflated costs and make an otherwise high-end stay an affordable family vacation. The Rehoboth Beach area of Delaware is just such a place.

From Memorial Day through Labor Day Weekend, the town charges somewhat excessive parking fees. They know they have tourist by the “you know what” because the nearest free parking is miles away from the beach. There are no parking meters just before and after the season. But the weather is excellent, shops open and there’s plenty to do.

In terms of activity, Rehoboth Beach has an expansive boardwalk with fantastic food options, an arcade, as well as funky toy and trinket shops. The vast majority of the stores are locally-owned, meaning not franchises. There’s even an ice cream shop with literally more than 100 flavors. Amenities such as outdoor showers and clean bathrooms make beach-going pleasant.

In terms of staying at a reasonable cost, waterfront hotels tend to garner high prices. But the townsfolk have caught on to the Airbnb trend. And, inland hotels tend to be more affordable. If you are a camper, there are inexpensive and even free options within 30 minutes. There are also excellent day-trip opportunities available. Perhaps none as breath-taking as trekking one hour down the coast to Assateague State Park to watch herds of wild horses roam the coastline.

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