3 Terrific Last-Minute Family Vacation Ideas On a Budget

Summer is almost here and many people are ready to get out and enjoy a relaxing summer vacation this year. If you haven’t planned a trip yet, we’ve got some last-minute family vacation ideas that can fit many budgets.


With something for everyone, Denver is an excellent option for a last-minute budget vacation from Minnesota. A little bit of city, a lot of nature, and a ton of fantastic views! You’ll have easy access to the Rocky Mountains if you choose to immerse yourself in nature. Or, stay in the city and enjoy breweries, the Denver Zoo and Downtown Aquarium, as well as Lakeside Amusement Park. The kids will love this old-school park that offers a cheap evening of rides, like an old-fashioned wooden roller coaster, bumper cars, a merry-go-round, and a miniature steam-engine train.

Puerto Rico

If sun, sand, and sea are what you are looking for this summer, consider Puerto Rico. It’s a U.S. territory, and the tropical feel might be just what you need. Yes, the weather is hot, but the rainy season hasn't yet arrived, and hurricanes are unlikely. Explore a rainforest, wander the cobblestone streets in San Juan, or just relax on the beach. The flight deals are good so far this summer, and you can score a round-trip ticket in the $200-300 range.

National Parks Road Trip

National Parks are almost always a good wallet-friendly choice when it comes to vacations. A few to consider include the Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, and Voyageurs National Park, all of which can be explored via a road trip from Minnesota! 

Gatlinburg makes the ideal base for exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with three park entrances right downtown. The town itself offers a plethora of activities like the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway and Amusement Park, which features an alpine slide, chair swings, miniature golf, and a maze.

The Great Smoky Mountains are packed with stunning scenery, gorgeous waterfalls, trout-filled streams, and the largest intact forest ecosystem in the southeastern U.S.

A family vacation in Yellowstone can be a trip of a lifetime, and it can be done in a way that suits your budget. West Yellowstone and Livingston are both home to numerous inexpensive family hotels. If you don’t mind camping, there are lots of campsite options as well (but you might not find one inside the park if you’re booking last minute).

Of course, you don’t want to miss Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, and Lower Yellowstone River Falls, with an impressive 308-foot drop and several postcard-worthy vantage points.  

An undiscovered gem right here in Minnesota, Voyageurs National Park is not only close but breathtaking! Water makes up more than one-third of the park and is mostly only accessible by boat. But you can rent a houseboat, take a boat tour with a park ranger, or hike on more than 27 miles of scenic trails while keeping an eye out for hidden waterfalls and ancient petroglyphs.

Keep In Mind: If you choose to travel, it’s recommended to check local restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.

We hope everyone has a fantastic summer!

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