Frequent short trips are a great alternative to a longer family vacation. You might be surprised at the number of interesting and fun places where a family can go for one day without breaking an already overextended budget.
Besides cost savings, frequent day trips can be more relaxing than one long distance trip trying to see and do everything before it is time to go home, exhausted and broke.
Museums are a great destination for a family day trip. Though often overlooked, there are many entertaining alternatives to the dark museums with dusty stuffed animals and mannequins supposed to represent some type of village people. Many museums are open year round so weather is not a concern.
When I was in charge of a summer program for children called, Know Your City, we would load six to twelve year old kids into vans and explore different places every week day for two weeks. Some kids signed up for another session because they liked the places they visited. More than half of our trips were to museums, only repeated by popular demand.
Undoubtedly, you will find more extensive museum displays in large cities in such areas as art, history, science and marine life. The entrance fee is generally higher than museums in smaller communities where donations are often accepted in lieu of fees. Smaller places are likely to have free parking while large museums generally charge a fee to park in their lot.
Large museums often have special traveling exhibits with a separate fee to cover the cost of bringing it to their facility. Most of these exhibits require purchasing advance tickets to reserve a time and date. Call the museum to ask about special deals for certain times or days of the week for general admission. Ask if coupons are available for general admission or the special exhibit if you would like to see it.
If you have small children a large museum might be more than they, and you, can handle. Choose places that have activities for them such as a childrens museum. County museums often have activities for children since most of them cater to school groups throughout the year.
A computer search of my state followed by the word, museum, turned up dozens of results that would be fun for children and adults. Among them; the Mustard, Jelly Bean, Circus, Houdini, Electric Train, Fire Station and Spinning Top Museum. A search of your state and close bordering states will give you many choices too.
Make sure you know the days and hours the museum is open before you leave home. Call the travel bureau where you plan to go and ask about nearby parks, public swimming pools or lakes.
On trip day eat a big breakfast. Pack a picnic basket with food and beverages for lunch. Include snacks for the drive. The younger the children, the shorter the distance should be although travel activities, songs and a little quiz about where you are going can keep them amused.
If you spend a lot of time at the museum you can have your picnic in the park where the kids can play before you head for home. If time allows take them swimming and have your picnic there. If you have money in your budget, a stop for ice cream is a nice ending to your day trip.