Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Budget Family Vacation Ideas

Park District Activities

If you live in or near a town of any size, chances are that your park district offers more than parks. There's something for almost every interest. There might be amateur theater and concerts for the culturally minded, zoos and aquariums for the animal lover, aquatic centers and ice rinks for the sports nut, and museums and historical reenactments for the history buff. Some regular and seasonal events fit into holiday weekends or school breaks. For instance, you might spend a summer Saturday splashing in a pool and then watch a movie at dusk. On Sunday, travel back in time and walk through a prehistoric swamp. How about a winter weekend crawling through vole holes, learning how snowflakes form and making evergreen wreaths?

District residents will pay a nominal fee to use facilities or take a class; others pay slightly more. You might buy a family membership to a zoo or recreation center for discount rates at every visit. Some districts offer scholarships that pay for programs for families with limited incomes.

If you think that education and vacation are poles apart, read our next idea to learn how you can have a fun in the halls of academia -- without duct-taping your roomate in the dorm or sneaking a flock of chickens in the dean's office.