Best Kid-Friendly Summer Vacations That Won't Break the Bank

With the last day of school inching closer each day and the temperatures continuing to rise, it only means one thing.  Time to start planning for summer vacation!  The only problem is that you don't want to break the bank and grandma's house isn't going to cut it.  Here are some of the best kid-friendly summer vacations that will keep your wallet intact.

Hilton Head Island, SC

One of the public beaches at Hilton Head

Great for: Small Kids, Visiting the Beach, Riding Bikes, Shopping, Golfing

If you live on the east coast and are looking for a relaxing beach trip, Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is one of the best.  It's common to see several generations of one family gathered here.  Nestled two hours south of Charleston and one hour north of Savannah (Lowcountry day trip opportunities!).  Many hotels and resorts have beach access or you can rent a house at one of the numerous plantations (i.e. gated community) through VRBO.

In addition to spending your days at the beach, the island is very bike-friendly and kid-friendly.  You can also learn about the history of the island at the Coastal Discovery Museum & the local legend musician Gregg Russell performs a children's show at Sea Pines six days a week.

Colonial Williamsburg, VA

Great For: Colonial History Aficionados, Beach Daytrips, Busch Gardens Amusement Park

If you like living history, visiting Colonial Williamsburg will take you back to 1776.  There are plenty of historic actors to recount the events, interactive shops to visit, opportunities to dine at historic pubs.  Three-day tickets start at $50 for adults and $25 for children.  The Historic Jamestown Settlement is nearby too. In addition to the history, Virginia Beach is an hour drive and the Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park is just down the road as well!

Washington D.C.

A Birds-Eye View of D.C. with lots of free things to do!

Great For: Museum Lovers & American History Fans

You will want to bring a good pair of walking shoes if you decide to visit our nation's capital.  Lodging might be a little on the expensive side, but this might be the ultimate kid-friendly summer vacation for families that love history and museums.  In addition to visiting the U.S. Capitol or the National Mall, there are plenty of free Smithsonian Museums all within walking distance of each other.  Taking a Metro Subway ride to the National Zoo is well worth the trip as well.

San Diego

Balboa Park...A San Diego family hotspot

Great For: Amusement Parks, Large Zoo, Visiting the Beach, Day trip to L.A.

San Diego might be the best kid-friendly summer vacation spot (although San Francisco can be fun too, albeit with cooler temps)!  At this spot, you have plenty of Pacific Ocean beaches, LEGOLAND, the San Diego Zoo and its Safari Park.  Plus, with Los Angeles being only 120 miles away, you can always to do a short trip to Disneyland or Universal Studios if you desire.

Mexican Riviera Maya

Enjoy the beaches, snorkeling, or visiting Mayan ruins

Great For: Globetrotters, Visiting a Tropical Beach, Snorkeling, Exploring Ancient Civilizations

This is the most expensive of the listed kid-friendly vacation destinations, but the Mexican Riviera isn't just for college students to visit on Spring Break.  By staying in an all-inclusive family resort, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful regions of the Western Hemisphere.  You can visit the white, sandy beaches, explore Mayan ruins, or trek through the tropical rainforests.  The Maya Riviera is also one of the most popular snorkeling and scuba destinations because of a large coral reef and the clear blue Caribbean water.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.