Plan a Cheap Family Vacation at an Amusement Park

Do you want to plan a fun family vacation, but are you operating with limited financial resources?  If so, an amusement park may be the answer to your problems.  Right now, you are likely thinking there is no way you can afford a trip to Disneyland.  Yes, Disneyland is one of the world’s most well-known amusement parks, but it is not your only option.  There is Six Flags, Busch Gardens, and many locally owned and operated parks.  Luckily, they are easier to travel to and much cheaper.

Your goal is to save money on your family’s vacation and an amusement park will help you save money.  With that said, you still want to have a good trip.  After all, unhappy children are the quickset way to spoil a family vacation.  So, how can you ensure your family’s cheap vacation at an amusement park is a success?

Opt for an amusement park you have never visited before.  Many states have at least two or three good amusement parks to choose from.  If your family needs to drive an additional four hours to get to a new park, do it.  It will be a new experience for your children.  Leave at night or early in the morning.  The long car ride won’t be a huge problem for your children if you have lots of fun activities and if they can sleep.

Consider making it a two or three day trip.  One of the problems many parents run into is feeling like they are shortchanging their children.  If your teenager is used to a weeklong beach vacation, a daytrip to the amusement park may not be what she had in mind.  Really turn it into a vacation by staying one or two nights.  Luckily, most amusement parks, like Six Flags and Busch Gardens, are large.  Take your time and you could easily spend two or three days exploring the entire park.

As for your staying options, you usually have two.  There are usually hotels and campgrounds located near amusement parks, if not right onsite.  Camping will be your cheapest options.  If you can stay onsite, see if special deals are available for guests.  You may get free park admission.  If you do have some money to spend and are more worried about the happiness of your children, ask for their input.  Would they rather stay at a hotel or camp?  Yes, you want to save money, but, if you have money to spend, ensure your children are happy.

Plan your amusement park vacation during the weekday.  If you are concerned about missing too much work, schedule your vacation on a Sunday and Monday, so that you miss only one day of work.  Weekdays are best.  Sometimes, you will find lower admission fees.  Best of all, the parks are less busy.  You and your family will have more fun, as you will spend less time waiting in line.

Look for discounted tickets.  Many times, you save money by buying your tickets early.  Many grocery store sell discounted tickets.  Discounts are also usually offered on the websites of these parks.  In addition to discounted prices, you may find buy one get one free deals, free admission for young children, and so forth.  Saving money on admission prices for your family’s amusement park vacation is nice.  It gives you more money to spend on souvenirs or games.

Speaking of games, they cost money, but are loads of fun.  A good approach is to set aside a specific dollar amount, like $10 for each child.  Let them know once the money is gone, it is gone.  Since games are scattered throughout amusement parks, let your child signal when they want to stop.  Yes, they only have a small amount of money to spend playing games, but at least they get to handpick those games.  You can also give them the alternative to take their game money and buy something at a gift shop.


In conclusion, you don’t have to forego your family’s summer vacation this year, even if you are on a budget.  An amusement park is filled with fun.  There are many ways that you can save money, while still providing your children with a great time.


8 thoughts on “Plan a Cheap Family Vacation at an Amusement Park

  • We were thinking about taking a road trip. I am still unsure if we will just yet.

  • I always prefer to go on a weekday! Makes for an easier family outing

    • This is a great idea! We love camping and tge outdoors, so usually our family vacations are just going somewhere beautiful to camp. Luckily camping is probably the cheapest way to vacation! And we really enjoy it.

  • I’m going to France in September

  • Last year went to Cape Cod with daughter, son-in-law, 8 year old and 18 month old as I had been watching them for 5 months so both parents could WFH. I was a week at a resort hotel on the bay. We didn’t have housekeeping because of Covid restrictions. We pointed to what we wanted at the made-to-order breakfast buffet and kept social distance while wearing masks. The only place we didn’t wear masks is when eating and at the pool and beach. S’mores around the firepit sitting in Adirondeck chairs was fun. New Englanders are stalworth and tend to follow the rules, so they kept 6 feet away and wore their masks. I felt safe on vacation even though it was August 2020 and many people stayed away from crowds.

  • Amusement parks are always winners. I’m just going to stay home this year, though. Thanks for posting!


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