Frugal Vacation Planning: Affordable Domestic Family-Friendly Resorts

xVacationing can be expensive whether you’re single or have a family. When traveling with kids however, it’s much easier for costs to rise since you’ll have more expenses to cover.

Yet and still, this shouldn’t stop you from going on family vacations. Traveling with your loved ones can be a fun and memorable experience. Plus, it doesn’t have to come with all the high expenses.

Image result for vacation hotels

If you’re interested in planning a domestic family vacation this year, consider these budget-friendly resort options for a frugal vacation, and if you are willing to spend a little extra check out the hotels at, they are completely worth the money.

Mt. Olympus at Wisconsin Dells

Looking for a quick getaway to The Dells with family? Mt. Olympus is one of the largest resorts and has several of their own water and theme parks.

Staying at Mt. Olympus is really a bargain deal because you get free tickets to all their waterparks and theme parks for each day of your stay. You can also purchase a discount dining card that will allow you to save when you visit several area restaurants.

Mt. Olympus has lodging accommodations for every budget meaning families can choose to stay in Hotel Rome (most expensive), the Village Rooms (more budget-friendly), or even their campgrounds.

It seems like this particular resort invests a ton of money in Facebook advertising which is a good thing because they’re always offering a ton of discounts and vouchers. If you’re a Facebook user and like their fan page, you’ll get to see all their current offers. Right now, Mt. Olympus is offering a $50 resort and food credit to guests who book their stay.

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

If you’re planning to visit sunny Florida, consider taking the whole family to Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Taking the kids to Disney can be quite costly but what can save you money is not spending each and every day at the park.

If you’re staying at a fun resort that has plenty of activities or amenities to offer, you can keep costs low. Whether you’re planning to visit Disney World or not, this resort is an exceptional budget-friendly resort option for families.

Rooms start as low as $175 per night and this retro theme hotel has pools, a bowling alley, and an arcade.

They also have large rooms to accommodate 5 or more people, babysitting services on-site, a children’s program, on-site dining, kitchenettes, and more.

Holiday Inn and Suites Virginia Beach

Holiday Inn resorts have been known to offer family-friendly accommodations and this particular resort does not disappoint. If you’ve been meaning to check out Virginia Beach, this resort has an oceanfront view, free breakfast, and three swimming pools including a kids’ pool.

There is also a children’s program and a movie theater on-site. The renovated rooms can accommodate up to 6 people and kitchenettes if you want to cut down on purchasing restaurant food on your vacation.

Nightly rates start at $119.

Best Western Scottsdale Arizona

This isn’t your typical Best Western hotel. This one allows pets, offers free breakfast, has a pool on-site and more. Traveling to Arizona can be made affordable if you do so during the off-season.

Since Arizona gets super hot during the summer, you can travel during the cooler, less busy months and still enjoy nice weather.

The hotel is close to tons of attractions including the entertainment district, the fashion district, the waterfront, and natural attractions. Room rates start around $162 per night.

It is possible to take a frugal vacation at a resort. Here are some tips to help. Click To Tweet

What to Look For

These 4 domestic resorts just scratched the surface in terms of all the affordable and family-friendly options you can choose for a fun vacation. When conducting your own search for the best lodging options for your budget, be sure to keep some of these benefits and amenities in mind to help enhance your stay and stretch your budget.

Kids Stay Free

Many hotels allow kids to stay for free for each paying adult. Offers like this can help reduce your lodging costs significantly. Also, if you’re traveling with smaller children under 2 years old, they are generally considered free anyway.

If you have a larger family, you’ll definitely want to consider the resorts that offer affordable accommodations for 5 or more people. Some resorts have connecting rooms, villas, and condos.

Activities On-site

This is a benefit that can help make your vacation affordable regardless of if it’s a family trip or not. The more free activities and amenities there are included on-site, the less money you have to spend on entertainment for your vacation.

If you are going to a warmer destination, make sure they have mild watersports and other outdoor activities like mini-golfing included for guests to keep your family busy.

You can also consider booking your stay at an all-inclusive resort that will include food and activities in the nightly rate. As a result, the nightly rate for an all-inclusive resort might look more expensive, but you’ll have to do the math to make sure that it’s allowing you to get more bang for your buck.

If you’d spend more money staying in a regular hotel and paying for everything out-of-pocket, an all-inclusive resort might be a good idea.

Discounts on Attractions

In addition to providing your family with cheap or free activities, your resort may even offer discounts on local attractions. Many resorts offer guests coupon books or ‘fun passes’ that are either free or for purchase that will provide them with huge discounts on attractions and activities.

When I stayed at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells with my family last summer, we each purchased a Fun Pass for $24 that allowed us to partake in 8 fun activities plus it also included a discount at one of the on-site restaurants. At the time I think they were also sold as a buy 3 get 1 free deal.

Breakfast or Meals Included

Staying at a resort that includes meals or even breakfast can also help you stretch your budget. Food can get expensive when you’re traveling and if free breakfast is offered with your hotel stay, you can fuel up before you head off for the day or enjoy the rest of the resort.

Some hotels may even offer free meals for kids. I know in Wisconsin Dells, a lot of buffets inside the resorts offer a free child’s buffet for each paying adult. If there are local eateries or even chain restaurants where you’re staying, you can also see if they have ‘kids eat free’ nights while you’re in town.

Are you planning a frugal vacation this year? What do you look for in a budget-friendly resort for vacation?