Figuring out a getaway for a family of five can be challenging.
There are expenses and schedules and finding a hotel that doesn’t require you to bed share with your man-sized teen to worry about. We usually invest in one major family vacation a year, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like to get outside and have fun with The Dudes or provide them with educational travel experiences on a more regular basis.
We are fortunate to live within commuting distance to the nation’s capital, one of the top destinations for tourists both international and domestic. The beauty of this location is that there is something to be had for every member of your family. We find mini getaways that can easily please my sports enthusiast, my two history buffs, my roller coaster rider, and me (who really just needs a good meal to round out a day) without even leaving the area code. But, even if you don’t live near a travel Mecca, finding mini ways to “getaway” can be done with nothing more than a little creativity and some free time.
I like to surprise The Dudes with little treats that provide a quick vacation from their daily monotony; after school trips to the lake (we live on one), midweek movie nights (when homework is light), and yummy surprises (like Coca-Cola floats). When the weather is warm we banish the electronics for a day and just roll out the BBQ and the picnic blanket, play games in the yard, and spend the evening star gazing after we down our Coca-Cola floats.
For a family that is always on the go, getting to indulge in a relaxing evening together with a tasty treat is like a mini vacation. And sometimes a mini getaway is all you need. It can be just enough to refresh, to reconnect, to recover from the fact that all of the crazy snow days only left you with a 2 day spring break vacation.
Looking for some ways to enjoy a mini getaway with your crew? Here are some fun ideas to help you get started…
Affordable Family Mini Getaway Ideas for Spring Break Fun
1. Have a dessert party. As much as I wish it weren’t true, we can’t make ice cream & Coca-Cola floats a part of our daily routine, but for a special, refreshing treat Coca-Cola minis poured over vanilla ice cream is a fun way to get away from norm. In fact, we choose one day each month in the summer to have ice cream for dinner (following a healthy and filling lunch). On a warm day you can make them the perfect way to round out a full day of outdoor exploring.
2. Host a potluck family board game party with friends. For no other reason than because you want to hang out. Get together two or three other families, have everyone bring something edible, and then bust out the board games. You may have to wash out your toilet bowl and spray some Febreeze around to freshen things up, but it’s a low-cost, high-fun way to get a mini vacation from the day to day while also reconnecting with family friends. And, since other families will be involved, maybe your game night won’t end with your 7-year-old crying because your 10-year -is kind of a cheater. For once.
3. Bust out the movies. Last summer we didn’t go on a true vacation; I let time get away from me with the planning and plus, we live on a lake, every day of summer is basically like vacation. But we did do some time traveling! Via all of my favorite family movies from the 80s. We turned very rainy day into an 80s movie marathon day. The Dudes fell in love with so many awesome characters (Chunk!) and stories (Adventures in Babysitting, FTW!). They even learned a few things, like that they’re glad they didn’t grow up in the 80s and have to be subjected to that style period and that Benji, is literally one of the most disturbing films ever made (seriously, if you like animals, just don’t even bother).
4. Go international. Can’t book a trip to Japan this spring break? Bring the flavors of the orient to your kitchen instead! I don’t do a ton of cooking with The Dudes (time, interest, my ability to consistently not burn things all sort of get in the way), but every now and then we like to go all out and plan an exotic menu. We decorate the place and really get in the mood. Our sushi recipe is easy to follow and such a fun way to get yourself and the kids out of your cooking (and eating) comfort zone.
5. Actually getaway. Vacations don’t have to be these massive, expensive, time consuming ventures that leave you broke and exhausted. They can be lower budget, and easy, and relaxing, and fun. Stay local so you can sleep in your own bed at night. Try a free museum or an outdoor excursion at state or national park. Bring your own food and a group of friends and get creative. Need some locale specific ideas? Check out this cool list of mini family vacation destinations around the United States.