Affordable Family Weekend Getaways - United Hub

Affordable family weekend getaways

By Benét J. Wilson, April 27, 2018

With the weather getting warmer and the kids on summer break, it may be time to plan a fun and budget-friendly weekend getaway. Discover the most kid-friendly places in seven U.S. cities where everyone can have fun — but still come home with money in your wallet.

Sandia Peak, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

As one of the oldest cities in the U.S., Albuquerque is known for its multicultural heritage and being the gateway of the Southwest. It boasts a mild climate almost year round, which makes it a great place for the family. A popular attraction is the American International Rattlesnake Museum, home to the largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes — at 34 — in the world. Admission is $4 for children and $6 for adults. Another option is taking in an Albuquerque Isotopes Triple-A minor league baseball game. Tickets for Isotopes games cost only $9 on themed Fridays once a month.

St. Petersburg, Florida

Located on the Gulf of Mexico side of the state, the number one free thing to do is to visit a beach. A great kid-friendly one is Fort De Soto Park, named America's best family beach by Parents magazine in 2011. Besides the sand and gulf waters, you can walk on nature trails, visit the military fort that's now a museum or have a family picnic. The kids will love visiting Spongeorama's Sponge Factory, home to the world's largest selection of natural sea sponges. They'll also learn what a sponge is and where they come from.

St Philips church in Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina

Founded and settled by English colonists in 1670, this city is located on Charleston Harbor, on the Atlantic Ocean. The Battery on the city's waterfront features southern mansions, cannons, cannon balls, a gazebo, and great views of the historic Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, and the Sullivan Island Lighthouse. This park is a respite, but the kids can see cannonballs and climb on cannons that date back to the Civil War. They can also learn about pirates that used to visit the region while adults can stroll and look at the historic homes that surround the park. Or visit Folly Beach, where families can play in the water, go paddleboarding, play horseshoes, have a barbecue or even go camping.

Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City has a plethora of free or low-cost and fun things to do for kids and families. Sign up for an up-close-and-personal free tour of the city with an official Chicago Greeter. Or get your art on by visiting the Art Institute of Chicago, which is always free for kids. Work on a family art project, enjoy a story time or check out the famous Thorne Miniature Rooms, which show off small models of interiors, furnishings and art from between the late 13th century to the 1930s.

Hiking Path in San Diego, California

San Diego, California

This Southern California city near the Mexico border is serious about wooing kids. How serious? It created the Kids Free San Diego program, where parents can find more than 100 free things to do in the city with their kids to visit. One of those things might be a visit to Waterfront Park, which features a cool interactive splash fountain, a children's play zone and picnic areas. Or tap into your kids' social media skills by using the hashtag #SecretSwings to find them in nearby La Jolla.

Washington, D.C.

The nation's capital is the motherlode when it comes to free things to do with the kids. If you only have a weekend, that's enough time to go to two museums under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution. A popular one is the National Museum of Natural History, where kids can get hands-on experiences at the Q?rius Science Education Center, see the world-famous Hope Diamond or check out the bone collection at Osteology Hall. And there isn't a kid — or adult — alive who wouldn't enjoy visiting the downtown D.C. location of the National Air & Space Museum. Go to the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall and learn about historical airplanes, rockets, and spacecraft that have made history. Or splurge and let the kids take a ride on interactive flight simulators where you can test your skills on aircraft including the P-51 Mustang, F-18 Hornet or the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

Barton Springs, Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

Years ago, Austin may have been known mainly for its music scene, but today there are so many things to do, from museums to an abundance of outdoor activities. Go on a picnic in Butler Park, where the kids can see dogs running around, join a frisbee game or even play in the lighted splash pad to cool off. Or you can mix education and fun at the free Austin Nature & Science Center. The popular Dino Pit is an outdoor paleontology exhibit that teaches children about paleontology through a hands-on educational experience. There's also dinosaur trackways, a display that shows off fossils and an observation deck.

If you go

Start planning your family weekend escapes by visiting united.com or use the United app.

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