Who’s up for a summer getaway for the whole family that’s affordable and awesome? The CheapAir.com team has been hard at work to find cool destinations that are family friendly and easy on the wallet.
We chose places that are both tons of fun in their own right and have cool daytrip options nearby. Here’s our shortlist of long weekend winners.
The best part about Phoenix in late May? The bargain basement prices! The more challenging bit? The dry heat! If you like your weather hot we say Phoenix is a great option. Park yourself by the pool at one of Phoenix and Scottsdale’s many top-tier resorts and just let the kids frolic in the water all weekend long.
Day Trip: Sedona is a 2-hour drive north of Phoenix and has spectacular red rock scenery to hike. You can also head another thirty minutes up through the winding switchbacks of Oak Creek canyon to get to Flagstaff, a pine and aspen-forested respite from the heat.
Flights: Nonstop from Seattle on American for $272 and from New York (JFK) on Jetblue for $455.*
Accommodation: The Point Hilton Squaw Peak Resort has rooms for $156/night.**
Salt Lake City, Utah
Overall, Salt Lake City is a perfectly situated spot for families looking to explore Utah. If you decide to stay in the city, don’t miss Clark Planetarium, which offers free admission for the exhibits (the IMAX theatre is an additional charge of $7 per person before 5pm).
Day Trip: Some of the most spectacular scenery in the country are all within driving distance of Salt Lake City, but none of them are that easy to get to via airplane on their own. We highly recommend a side trip to Arches National Park, Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon if you’re in Salt Lake City. They are each about a 5-hour drive and have loads of hiking and otherworldly rock formations to gawk at or post to Instagram for your family and friends to marvel over.
Flights: Nonstop from Los Angeles on Alaska for $178 and from Chicago (ORD) on Delta for $308.*
Accommodation: The Hampton Inn Salt Lake City has rooms for $99/night including continental breakfast.**
Don’t count out Detroit. There’s actually a ton to do with the kiddos and the city is feeling a cultural renaissance at the moment. We first must recommend the historic Detroit Zoo. The Polk Penguin Conservation Center alone is worth the price of admission ($8 for kids and $13 for adults, if you pay online). Fish more your thing? The Belle Island Aquarium is the oldest aquarium in the nation and the perfect spot to while away the afternoon.
Day Trip: Take the kids for a taste of “Little Germany” in Frankenmuth, Michigan, about a 90-minute drive from the city. You can dine on Wiener schnitzel, listen to an oompah band or just people watch – there’s even an indoor water park to tempt you adjacent to Zehnder’s restaurant – really!
Flights: Nonstop from San Diego on Spirit for $220 and from Dallas on American for $165.*
Accommodation: The Hilton Garden Inn Detroit Troy has rooms for $101/night.**
Bookish families might spend hours, if not days, wandering through one of the United State’s best secondhand bookstores – Powell’s City of Books. This sprawling mecca for bibliophiles houses a little café and coffee shop when you need a break from the stacks. Portland also offers the kid-friendly Voodoo Doughnuts and Salt & Straw ice cream shop – truly one of the best!
Day Trip: If you can only get out of town for one sight, we recommend Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge. It’s only about 30 miles outside of the city and everybody loves a waterfall! It’s worth the drive – and it’s a great photo-op to boot!
Flights: Nonstop from Austin on Frontier for $214 and from Denver for $209.*
Accommodation: The Courtyard by Marriott City Center has rooms for $169/night.**
Boulder is a great destination for families who love the outdoors. There are loads of easy, picturesque hikes around town that will appeal to every age group, and Chautauqua Park offers a free shuttle from downtown.
Day Trip: Denver is just a 40-minute drive from Boulder, so head over to the Mile High City to explore. Every year on the Saturday before Memorial Day, Denver hosts a fantastic Memorial Day parade to honor fallen vets. The Rockies are also at home all weekend, first hosting the Cincinnati Reds and then the San Francisco Giants.
Flights: Nonstop from San Francisco on Frontier for $210 and from Atlanta on Delta for $374.*
Accommodation: The Hyatt House Boulder has rooms for just $121/night and offers full complimentary breakfast, free parking and free wifi.**
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City checks all the boxes these days and it’s a one-stop destination for family fun. The RIVERSPORT Adventure Park offers whitewater rafting, tubing, kayaking, a zipline over the Oklahoma River and waterslides for everyone! Tickets start at under $50/person.
Day Trip: Take the Heartland Flyer train (purchase tickets through Amtrak) from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth. Kids under 12 ride for half off when traveling with an adult. The train ride departs daily at 8:25 am and arrives in Fort Worth around lunchtime. The train departs Fort Worth at 5:25pm, which gives you all afternoon to explore and gets you back to Oklahoma City right around 9:30pm.
Flights: One stop from Los Angeles on American for $359 and from Boston for $476.*
Accommodation: The La Quinta Inn has rooms for $88/night including full breakfast and free parking.**
Check out our Summer Flights Page for all of your summer travel planning needs.
*Airfares include taxes and fees and are valid as of 5/2/18 on select dates between 5/24/18 and 5/29/18. Lowest fare seats are capacity controlled and may not be available on every airline, flight, or date. Fares subject to change without notice.
**Avg. nightly rates are for two adults plus two children per room unless otherwise stated and exclude tax recovery charges and service fees.