The economy may be improving, but if you're like most people, you still need to watch your spending, especially when it comes to planning a family vacation. Staying close to home is probably the best way to save money during vacation time, but vacationing locally doesn't have to be a bore. So, head over to a car rental service for a vehicle with great gas mileage, pack up and head off on a fun exploration of interesting sites near your home using these tips.

Research Your Area
No matter where you live, your state has some fantastic places to visit; you just have to uncover them. Here are some good places to start looking for family vacation ideas:

  • Visit your local office of tourism and gather pamphlets, magazines and books on featured attractions and vistas in your state.
  • Visit the offices of your local historical societies or check out some history books written by local authors from the library. You may be able to piece together a history trip for a fun and educational experience.
  • Do you live near a state line? Cross over to the neighboring state and gather pamphlets, magazines and books on featured state attractions from the state's welcome center.
  • Type "(your state) attractions" into your favorite search engine and see what comes up, or visit your state tourism board's website.

Planning a Local Trip
After a little research,the number of options may overwhelm you. To narrow down all of the attractions into one trip, first concentrate on what your family likes to do. Does your family enjoy water sports or physical activates such as hiking? Or does your family prefer cerebral entertainment such as visiting historical sites or rock and mineral hunting? You can craft your family vacation around activates that focus on a shared interest.

If your family doesn't have shared interests, it may be a good idea to plan your family vacation around several locations that are close to each other that will cater to several different interests and activities. For example, renting a cabin by a lake can satisfy the outdoor person, the water sports person and the lounge-by-the-water person in your family. If the lake is by a golf course, that could satisfy the golfer in the family too.

Trip Theme Ideas
While wading through the information you have dug up and planning a local trip, you should come up with a theme. Nothing sells a family vacation to naysayers like an exciting theme. Here are some ideas:

  • Water Extravaganza: This trip could include rafting, a visit to a water park or boating
  • History Comes Alive: A trip with this theme could include visits to old forts, museums, fossil hunting, a road trip on Route 66 or a stay in a historical building.
  • Going Wild: A trip that includes camping, hiking, following nature trails and rock hunting would work well with this theme.

Taking a family vacation close to home may be one of the best trips you've ever had. The creativity that comes with planning a local vacation will add a new dimension to recreation that your family is sure to enjoy.

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