Vacationing on a Budget

Whether you have toddlers or teens, cabin fever may be starting to set with week two of the kids being at home for the summer. Taking the family to Disney or somewhere in the Caribbean is not something everyone can afford, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a vacation.

Texas has various getaways that are family-friendly, low-cost and enjoyable! It is possible to plan a quality summer vacation without breaking your budget. Interested in soaking up the sun on a beach? Or maybe you find joy in taking a scenic hike outdoors? Below is a list of affordable vacation hot spots that can work for weeklong trips or a day trip to encourage family bonding:

Marfa, Texas

Prices vary
This west Texas town is quickly becoming a popular vacation spot for people all over the country! Since the 9th century ranchers, apache Native Americans and famous meteorologists have reported seeing the famous Marfa lights. These lights dance across the horizon of this town in hues of red, blue and white year round!

Bringing the kids?You can camp for as little as $22 per night. If you have a bit more wiggle room, stay at the Thunderbird Hotel (rooms for around $160 per night) or get real groovy and opt to sleep in a yurt or tent at El Cosmico, where sleeping accommodations vary from $85 to $175.

Galveston, Texas

Free and up
Looking for some fun in the sun? Visit the island of Galveston if you are looking to get some beach time! From ferry tours to dolphin watching and fishing – there are tons of free things you can do on this island, and it’s not too far of a drive!

Blue Lagoon – Huntsville, Texas

$20 per adult, $5 for children under 10 years
The Blue Lagoon is a beautiful swimming hole lined with limestone rock and surrounded by pine trees. It’s the perfect spot to cool down on a hot summer day! Enjoy spotting the small fish and crystal-clear blue waters. Or stay close by and visit Austin’s own Deep Eddy pool; entry prices are only $3 for adults and even less for children.

South Padre Island, Texas

Prices vary
Head down south to visit South Padre Island where you can enjoy big wave and a beautiful Texas sunset! Instead of staying at a pricey hotel try using websites like Airbnb or HomeAway to find cheaper alternatives for the whole family!

Camping – various areas of Texas

Starting at $10
There are more than 50+ state parks in our great state where you can camp from anywhere ranging from just $10 to $20 per night! Grab your tent, bug spray and hit the great outdoors! Who knows? You might even spot a shooting star or two!

Visit the Texas state park reservations website to reserve your campsite. Camping offers a great way for children to be active, learn about nature and wildlife. Check out these tips for camping with the kiddos.

Tubing at the Guadalupe River – Canyon Lake, Texas

Splash through the cold rapids in a tube on the Guadalupe River – tube rentals vary between $15-$20 per person. A helpful tip is to tube during the weekday to avoid crowds. Bring your swim goggles so the kids can jump in the water and swim (be sure to keep an eye on on them)!

San Antonio – San Antonio, Texas

Free and up
Indulge in some Texas history while in San Antonio where there are various free activities for the whole family. Just to name a few there’s the Alamo, Japanese Tea Garden, or you could sip on an agua fresca at the famous El Mercado where you might even catch a Mariachi band playing! Find a full list of free San Antonio attractions here.


Have other low-cost vacations ideas? We’d love to hear what they are! Tweet us at @uwatx so we can share!