Best Budget-Friendly Christmas Destinations In The United States For Families

A family of three walks through a path alight with Christmas lights in Asheville, one of the best budget-friendly Christmas destinations in the US for families.
Photo Courtesy: Explore Asheville

Families ​​looking to make their budgets stretch further while still experiencing the enchantment of Christmas in a different setting can choose from several stunning budget-friendly destinations across the United States! Whether you’re hoping for a winter wonderland experience or a sunny escape, there is something here for everyone from coast to coast. Hop on the slopes in Vermont or enjoy the night’s sky while winter camping at Joshua Tree National Park. Either way, these phenomenal destinations ensure unforgettable moments without straining your wallet this holiday season! For more suggestions on planning your next trip, we’ve put together a list of destinations for you to choose from, plus more tips for making this holiday season memorable. Keep reading to plan your next Christmas adventure! 

Best Budget-Friendly Christmas/Holiday Destinations on the East Coast for Families

If you’re looking for cheap Christmas vacations for families, several places on the East Coast offer exceptional holiday experiences! From Washington DC to Asheville, these Christmas and holiday destinations in the United States perfectly cater to families on a tight budget. Here are our favorites!

Find more Christmas magic by reading about the Best Christmas Markets in Europe For Families!

Washington D.C.

Photo Courtesy: Destination DC

Washington DC comes alive during the holiday season! In fact, the capital city offers an array of fascinating attractions and activities that are both educational and entertaining. Best of all, many of the city’s most popular attractions are free to visit, making it easy to stick to a tight budget! 

Endless Christmas trees fill the city throughout the season, from the National Christmas Tree in President’s Park, which opens with a tree lighting ceremony in mid-December, to the U.S. Capitol Tree and CityCenterDC’s jaw-dropping 75-foot-tall version! From mid-November through late December, you can also browse for Christmas gifts at the Downtown Holiday Market. Then, The Smithsonian National Zoo also hosts an annual Zoolights, featuring dozens of glowing LED animals! Plus, families can’t miss Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden.

Public ice-skating rinks are available across DC too, like the National Gallery of Art, Washington Harbour, The Wharf, and Canal Park at Capitol Riverfront. And, Mount Vernon also hosts various holiday events throughout December. Don’t forget to see DC’s most famous landmarks on the National Mall, like the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

As one of the best affordable Christmas vacations for families, Washington DC also boasts many kid-friendly museums with free admission that families can visit during the holiday season, from the National Museum of American History to the National Postal Museum

Find more DC winter activities by reading about our favorite Top Outdoor Things To Do In DC In The Winter With Kids!

Where to Stay in DC with Kids

Washington DC is home to an array of family-friendly accommodations, most of which are very affordable. For a budget-friendly home and apartment rental, check out our Airbnb, Vrbo, and our recommendations for the best neighborhoods to stay in while in DC. Stay in Georgetown to enjoy the Georgetown Glow! Or, for more mid-range hotel suggestions, check out our list of the top picks for the Best Hotels in Washington DC for Families.

Sign up and reserve on the new Families Love Travel booking platform for great rates on hotels and more!

Jay Peak Resort, Vermont

A red and white gondola rests on the grounds of Jay Peak in Vermont, one of the best budget-friendly Christmas destinations in the US for families.
Photo Courtesy: Tara Hutchinson

Advanced skiers looking for a budget-friendly vacation will love Jay Peak Resort! Located in northern Vermont, it’s around 5 miles away from the Canadian border. It’s also popular for its beautiful open glades, an abundance of snow, and off-mountain activities. However, the trails here can be icy, steep, and not ideal for beginners. 

Jay Peak’s Ski & Ride School offers kids between the ages of 4 and 12 the chance to enroll in group lessons. And, kids of all ages can enroll in private lessons. Off the slopes, families can visit The Pump House Indoor Waterpark, which includes a kids’ play area and a ton of jumbo slides.

Families can also visit the Clips & Reel Recreation Center during the winter. Book private sessions in the arcade, climbing center, or even a state-of-the-art movie theater! Then, the Ice Haus Indoor Arena showcases a full-fledged NHL-sized ice rink to skate or play ice hockey. Or, try snowshoeing at The Nordic Center, which features twelve well-groomed trails. Older kids or teens can even go fat biking through the winter landscape! Finally, families who want to enjoy a multi-course, hearty Christmas dinner can head to Alice’s Table!

Where to Stay on Jay Peak with Kids

Families can stay directly at the Jay Peak Resort to enjoy delicious on-site dining, panoramic views, and amenities for all ages. Choose from different accommodations ranging from regular hotel suites to one-, two-, or three-bedroom cabin lodges, ski-in, ski-out rooms, and slopeside condominiums for larger groups. Of course, kids will also have access to all the hotel amenities, ranging from an indoor water park to an indoor arcade.

Other options include Tram Haus Lodge, Sun & Ski Inn And Suites, and Hotel Jay & Conference Center

North Conway, New Hampshire

A Conway Scenic Railroad train parked in the tracks during a winter's ride near North Conway.
Photo Courtesy: Conway Scenic Railroad

Make North Conway your family’s next holiday getaway! Situated amid the White Mountains, this quaint New England town offers plenty of activities that families will love without breaking the bank. 

Families will feel like they’ve entered a Hallmark movie as they stroll around North Conway Village, with its various shops selling homemade gifts and hot cocoa. North Conway is also home to The Christmas Loft, featuring the largest collection of ornaments in the state – around 10,000! Then, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, kids can also ride The Conway Scenic Railroad’s special Santa’s Holiday Express. Experience the magic of Christmas on an old-fashioned train with holiday decorations, milk and cookies, a treasure hunt, and an appearance from Santa Claus!

Or, visit the Bretton Woods Ski Area for skiing or snowboarding. Plus, North Conway has numerous opportunities for ice skating, exploring snowy trails during hikes, or horse-drawn wagon rides in the nearby White Mountain National Forest. Undoubtedly, North Conway is one of the best affordable Christmas vacations for families!

Research hotels in North Conway through Famlies Love Travel’s new booking site here!

Asheville, North Carolina

Photo Courtesy: Explore Asheville

Asheville ranks high on the list of best budget-friendly Christmas/holiday destinations in the United States for families. Located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, this dynamic city offers a delightful mix of natural beauty and cultural experiences. 

Biltmore Estate celebrates Christmas with festive decorations that’ll transport families to a bygone era. You can also explore the estate on a daytime or nighttime tour, where you’ll get to see the house aglow with candlelight and crackling fireplaces! There’s also a holiday tree lighting at Biltmore Park, complete with a magician, Santa visits, and more fun for kids. Plus, for two days in early December, Biltmore Village transforms into a Charles Dickens novel for the Dickens in the Village Festival. Kids will love seeing the carollers and actors dressed in Dickensian-era costumes.

Then, the North Carolina Arboretum also hosts an annual Winter Lights spectacular, where you can walk through an open-air light show with over a million lights! Or, witness an epic gingerbread-making competition at The Omni Grove Park Inn and see some edible art up close! 

Find more things to do in Asheville with kids by reading about our favorite 22+ Best Things To Do In Asheville With Kids.

Where to Stay in Asheville with Kids

Need somewhere to stay in Asheville with your kids this Christmas? Families who want to extend their stay at The Biltmore Estate will love the Inn at Biltmore Estate or Village Hotel. Or, you could also consider the Omni Grove Park InnLocated right in the heart of downtown Asheville, this historic hotel is within walking distance of all the best shops, restaurants, and attractions. Plus, there are a variety of family-friendly amenities, including an indoor pool, kids’ club, and babysitting services.

Other fantastic hotels in Asheville for families include the Country Inn & Suites Asheville River Arts DistrictElevation Lofts Hotel, and Highland Lake Inn & Resort (around 30 minutes from Asheville in Flat Rock). Finally, read about all 9 Best Hotels In Asheville For Families!

Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls lit up with a rainbow of colors during the Winter Festival around Christmas.

Experience one of the best budget-friendly Christmas/holiday destinations in the United States when you visit Niagara Falls! With mesmerizing natural beauty and an array of affordable attractions, this place offers ample opportunities for a memorable family vacation during the holidays. Whether you want to stay in New York or save money by booking accommodations here and driving over the Canadian border to visit the iconic waterfalls. 

Downtown Niagara Falls kicks off the holiday season in late November with a tree-lighting ceremony, including fireworks and a Santa Claus appearance! There’s also a holiday market with live music, local vendors, and more. Plus, families can even take a carriage ride down Old Falls Street! A petting zoo, a small holiday train, and character meet-and-greets are some other attractions that your kids will love. Non-holiday attractions, like the Aquarium of Niagara, are fantastic for keeping kids entertained indoors, too. 

Just a short drive away in Niagara Falls, Canada, there’s the annual Winter Festival of Lights, Canada’s biggest light festival! This free outdoor festival features displays with millions of lights and even a yummy hot chocolate trail! When on the Canadian side, don’t miss the chance to see the three waterfalls illuminated at night – with the town’s snowy landscape, it’ll look straight from a postcard! Clifton Hill Amusements is open year-round, too, so families can ride the Niagara Skywheel for more amazing views. Or, take the elevator up Skylon Tower, which has an arcade, restaurant, and fun shop at the top! 

Looking for more things to do in Niagara Falls with kids? Check out the ​​9 Best Things To Do In Niagara Falls With Kids

Where to Stay in Niagara Falls with Kids

Looking for the best places to stay in Niagara Falls with kids? There are plenty of affordable holiday accommodations. First, consider checking Vrbo or Airbnb, which tend to have cheaper options than hotels. Or, families can stay at one of the many hotels in Niagara Falls, New York, including Hyatt Place Niagara Falls, Sheraton Niagara Falls, and Holiday Inn Niagara Falls Scenic Downtown, an IHG Hotel

If you’re taking a day trip to the Canadian side and want somewhere to stay for the night, you can consider hotels like Sheraton On The Falls, which has an indoor water park. Or, Niagara Falls Marriott On the Falls, which is super close to the falls. Families also love the Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites or the Great Wolf Water Park Niagara Falls. Click here for more options on our list of the best hotels for families in Niagara Falls (on the Canadian side)!

Best Budget-Friendly Christmas/Holiday Destinations in the Midwest for Families

Looking to travel and experience the holiday spirit without breaking the bank? Look no further than the Midwest, where you can find some of the best budget-friendly Christmas and holiday destinations in the United States for families. Keep reading to find out our top choices!

RELATED: 18 Magical Christmas Markets In The United States For Families

Door County, Wisconsin

Photo Courtesy: Destination Door County

Door County doesn’t disappoint Midwest families looking for an awesome winter vacation! Situated on a beautiful peninsula along Lake Michigan, this enchanting Wisconsin county offers a range of attractions that are sure to appeal to all ages while keeping your pockets intact.

Families can immerse themselves in the festive spirit by taking part in local events like Christmas By the Bay, held the weekend before Thanksgiving in Sturgeon Bay. There’s a tree lighting, a parade, and even an appearance from Santa! For three weekends in December, Sister Bay also showcases a Christmas market, modeled after a traditional European Christkindlmarkt, at its Corner of the Past Museum. Families can browse products by local artisans, listen to live music, and sample traditional Nordic foods among beautifully decorated historical buildings.

Other events, like Egg Harbor’s quirky New Year’s Day parade (which anyone can join in!), will surely be a hit with little ones too. Families can also learn more about Door County at the Door County Maritime Museum, which hosts an annual Merry-Time Festival of Trees.

Given Door County’s incredible natural landscape, there are many winter sports opportunities too. Go sledding on Hill 17 at Peninsula State Park, snowshoe with a guide at Ridges Sanctuary, or book a sleigh ride with Mayberry’s Carriages at Lautenbach’s Orchard Country! Ice fishing, snowmobiling, and of course, skiing and snowboarding, are also popular activities in the area. 

Reserve your home stay in Door County with Vrbo here!

Frankenmuth, Michigan

Photo Courtesy (L-R): Patience Byers, Patience Byers, Frankenmuth Farmers Market

Frankenmuth is a hidden gem in the heart of the Great Lakes State! Designed as a replica of a German village, this charming town embraces the holiday spirit year-round, making it an ideal place to visit during this festive time of year.

Of course, families can’t miss visiting the “World’s Largest Christmas Store,” Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. Here, you’ll find a stunning array of Christmas decorations like ornaments, trees, and lights. In fact, Bronners offers more than 6,000 ornaments! After visiting Bronner’s, take a horse-drawn carriage ride around town. Then, head to Crossroads Village, where kids will love riding the decorated train! Next, wander the Christkindlmarkt for traditional holiday treasures and gifts. Within the cozy, heated tents, snack on baked goods, or sip hot chocolate.

Additionally, taking a stroll across Holz Brücke – a beautiful covered wooden bridge – is highly recommended, as it leads to River Place Shops. These picturesque storefronts sell unique gifts at affordable prices. Finally, enjoy a  European-inspired family meal at The Station 100!

Use Expedia to reserve your stay in Frankenmuth, Michigan!

Boyne Mountain Resort, Michigan

A woman and a man ski down a hill at Boyne Mountain Resort, one of the best budget-friendly Christmas destinations in the US for families.
Photo Courtesy: Boyne Resorts

​​Boyne Mountain Resort, located in Boyne Falls, is one of the best budget-friendly Christmas and holiday destinations in the United States for families! Whether you are seeking a blood-pumping outdoor adventure or a cozy winter retreat, this kid-friendly resort boasts an impressive variety of activities to keep families entertained throughout their stay.

Skiing families love the resort for its various terrain, including the free beginner skiing and snowboarding areas. For incredible vistas, take advantage of Boyne Mountain’s chairlift ride to spot rolling mountains drenched in snowflakes – it’s a truly magical experience around Christmas time! Horse-drawn carriage rides also depart from the Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings – and they’re free for resort guests! Families can also lace up their skates and loop around the Boyne Mountain ice rink, which is located just behind the Clock Tower Lodge. And, for kids who want to tube, the Top Notch Lift will take you to the top of a fantastic hill.

Other winter sports, like cross-country skiing, fat biking, and snowshoeing, are also available. Beyond sports, kids can’t get enough of the on-site Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark, either. 

RELATED: Exciting Midwest Hotels With Indoor Water Parks For Families (By State)

Branson & Silver Doller City, Missouri

Photo Courtesy: Explore Branson

Wondering where to spend Christmas in the Midwest with your kids? Located in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, Branson, and nearby Silver Dollar City, offer an array of attractions and activities that embrace the festive spirit without breaking the bank.

Families will find live shows, shopping, dazzling light displays, and more in this Midwest city. Downtown Branson has plenty of charming stores brimming with unique souvenirs perfect for gift-giving. Plus, kids can appreciate the Christmas tree in front of the Branson Ferris Wheel and see if they can spot the rest on a fun scavenger hunt as part of the Branson Christmas Tree Trail. You can also take in the snow-capped mountains aboard the Polar Express. Enjoy a visit from Santa, as well as other live reenactments, while taking this scenic ride! Branson also offers self-driving Christmas light tours, like the Let There Be Lights drive.

Photo Courtesy: Silver Dollar City

Don’t forget about nearby Silver Dollar City. As part of its “An Old Time Christmas” extravaganza, this amusement park offers millions of twinkling lights, live holiday shows, and a holiday parade that is sure to put everyone in a festive mood! 

Another must-see attraction is Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction. This live show, which puts on a special Christmas edition, showcases performances on horseback alongside a delicious four-course festive feast! For more holiday fun, take a three-hour drive to St. Charles, Missouri. Here, you’ll find magical parades filled with music, lights, and actors in Yuletide garb! Undoubtedly, this area tops the charts amongst the best affordable Christmas vacations for families.

Use Expedia to book your hotel room in Branson!

Best Budget-Friendly Christmas/Holiday Destinations in the South for Families

Families in search of cheap Christmas vacations in the South have plenty of options! Visit one of these cities for pleasant weather, homegrown traditions, and more attractions for families. 

Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Photo Courtesy: Visit Broken Bow

In the picturesque foothills of the Kiamichi Mountains, Broken Bow stands out as one of the best budget-friendly Christmas/holiday destinations in the United States for families. This serene town offers a plethora of activities that cater to every family member’s interests, helping you make wonderful holiday memories. 

Families visiting the Broken Bow area during the holidays often choose to rent cozy cabins along the shores of Broken Bow Lake. Companies such as Beavers Bend Creative Escapes,‌ Rustic Luxury Cabins, and Beavers Bend Lodge offer various options for families of all sizes. If you’re in the mood for a hike, visit Beavers Bend State Park, which features plenty of marked trails that are open in the winter, like the Beaver Creek Trail. Then, for some holiday spirit sprinkled with history, explore the Forest Heritage Center, which boasts captivating exhibits detailing the area’s rich heritage. Families can also shop for unique Christmas gifts at the charming local boutiques offering unique handmade crafts and souvenirs imbued with authentic warmth and care. 

An elephant stands near Mr. and Mrs. Clause at the Endangered Ark Christmas near Broken Bow, one of the best budget-friendly Christmas destinations in the US for families.
Photo Courtesy: Visit Broken Bow

At the Endangered Ark Foundation in Hugo, about an hour from Broken Bow, families can attend Holiday in the Ark. Kids can meet the elephants, Mr.& Mrs. Claus, and explore different themed areas. 

Use Hotels.com to reserve your hotel in Broken Bow now!

San Antonio, Texas

A canal in San Antonio, along with the flanking street lit up for Christmas.

Escape the winter chill and prepare for an awesome family adventure in San Antonio, Texas! Bursting with festive cheer and an array of attractions, it’s undoubtedly one of the best budget-friendly Christmas/holiday destinations in the United States for families.

Stroll down the famous River Walk, which will be jazzed up for Christmas with twinkling lights and festive decorations. Families can also kick off the holiday season by watching Santa cruise down the San Antonio River on an elaborate float for the annual Ford Holiday River Parade!

On Thanksgiving night, enjoy the Christmas Light Fest at the enchanting Don Strange Ranch. From late November to January, San Antonio Zoo Lights lets kids see the property illuminated as well. And, even iconic destinations like the San Antonio Zoo or SeaWorld get all dolled up for Christmas with decorations! Market Square – also known as El Mercado – is the largest Mexican market outside Mexico that offers handcrafted items like pottery, jewelry, clothing, salsas, and spices at reasonable prices. Don’t miss out on visiting the iconic Alamo, an essential part of American history. 

Families can also learn more about San Antonio with a ranger-led tour at San Antonio Missions National Historic Park. There are also plenty of amusement parks for kids, including Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Morgan’s Wonderland.

Check out the great rates in San Antonio on the Families Love Travel Booking site here!

Best Budget-Friendly Christmas/Holiday Destinations in the Mountain States for Families

From snow-covered peaks to charming small towns, The Mountain States region of the United States offers a plethora of budget-friendly Christmas and holiday destinations for families seeking an unforgettable getaway without breaking the bank. Stay tuned to learn more about our top picks for these cheap places to visit during Christmas in the USA with kids!

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Photo Courtesy (L-R): Visit Colorado Springs, Visit Colorado Springs, Emily Kapic

If you’re seeking the best budget-friendly Christmas/holiday destinations in the United States for families, look no further than Colorado Springs! Located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this Colorado city offers Christmas activities and attractions for all ages. 

During Christmas time, downtown Colorado Springs reveals a lovely array of boutiques and shops with holiday decorations. Another highlight is The Broadmoor Hotel’s annual holiday lights display, transforming its property into a magical wonderland. Plus, guests staying at the hotel can take advantage of Twelve Days of Christmas from December 20th through January 1st, featuring festive events like dance lessons.

Then, places such as Bear Creek Nature Center also host events like Bear Creek By Candlelight, featuring live music, lit trails, and delicious food. Rock Ledge Ranch also transports families back in time with live storytelling, wagon rides, and more fun. Don’t forget to visit Flying W Ranch for their Western Christmas Jubilee musical show! At Rosemount Museum, in nearby Pueblo, families can also learn more about Colorado history while exploring the lavishly decorated property. 

For mountain enthusiasts, Colorado Springs is also situated near the base of one of the most famous mountains in North America – Pikes Peak. Remember to visit The North Pole-Santa’s Workshop, an enchanting vintage amusement park at the foot of the mountain. Need an indoor activity? The Pioneers Museum, the National Museum of World War II Aviation, and the Money Museum are all fantastic options. 

For more suggestions, read our article on Things To Do in Colorado Springs Kids Will Love

Where to Stay in Colorado Springs with Kids

Need an affordable place to stay in Colorado Springs? If you’re looking for a Christmas splurge, consider The Broadmoor Hotel. Then, for a mid-range hotel, try the Cheyenne Mountain Colorado Springs, A Dolce Resort, located on a private lake. Want to stay inside a private country club near the best sights in town? You’ll like the Gardens of the Gods Resort and Club. Of course, kids will love the indoor water park at the Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs! For more suggestions on where to stay, read this list of 7 Hotels in Colorado Springs that Families Will Love

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Photo Courtesy: Visit Coeur d’Alene

Coeur d’Alene, located in Idaho, is hailed as one of the best budget-friendly Christmas holiday destinations in the United States for families. This charming city offers various activities and attractions that will make your family’s vacation truly unforgettable! 

Families can appreciate ​​Coeur d’Alene’s enchanting downtown area adorned with dazzling Christmas lights and decorations. Take a stroll along Sherman Avenue to browse local shops selling unique gifts and delicious treats. Plus, the Coeur d’Alene Resort celebrates an annual Holiday Light Show, alongside s’mores by the firepit, live reindeer, cookie deliveries from Santa’s elves, and much more. With CDA On Ice, an ice skating rink in McEuen Park, skate rentals are included in a 90-minute session, making it affordable for families. Additionally, don’t forget to visit Lake Coeur d’Alene itself. Families can take a special Christmas river cruise called the Journey to the North Pole. It lasts around 40 minutes and gives kids a chance to meet Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, the Elves, and even the Grinch! 

Situated just 30 miles east of Coeur d’Alene, families can also spend the holidays at Silver Mountain Resort. This winter wonderland transforms into a magical world during the festive season. Hit the slopes at an affordable price with ski and snowboard rentals. Or, check out the Snow Tubing Hill — perfect for anyone seeking adrenaline-fueled fun! No wonder this area ranks highly as one of the best affordable Christmas vacations for families.

Ruidoso, New Mexico

Snow falls on the city of Ruidoso.
Photo Courtesy: New Mexico True

Ruidoso ranks high among the best budget-friendly Christmas/holiday destinations in the United States for families! Amidst the scenic mountains of Lincoln National Forest, this charming town in New Mexico exudes a cozy and festive ambiance that will leave families enchanted. 

During the holiday season, Ruidoso transforms into a winter wonderland with twinkling lights, decorated storefronts, and snow-dusted pines lining its picturesque slopes. Stroll through the Midtown District to browse unique boutiques offering distinctive Christmas gifts alongside delectable treats from traditional fudge shops and bakeries. This is the ideal spot to warm up after going ice skating at Wingfield Park’s outdoor rink. Outdoorsy families can also relish in various activities, such as soaring down Ski Apache’s slopes or embarking on horse-drawn carriage rides through scenic trails.

For indoor adventures, the Museum of The Horse offers an immersive journey through equestrian history. Meanwhile, the Hubbard Museum showcases artifacts exploring Western heritage. 

In nearby Alto, ​​children will delight in exploring The Flying J Ranch. Experience an authentic cowboy atmosphere through chuckwagon dinners, live Western music performances, and horseback rides on scenic trails! 

Reserve your stay in Ruidoso through Expedia now!

National Parks in Utah

Two Kids sitting while hiking Park Avenue trail in Arches National Park, one of the best budget-friendly Christmas destinations in the US for families.
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

Looking for budget-friendly Christmas or holiday destinations in the United States for families? Few places can rival the stunning national parks of Utah! Known for their awe-inspiring landscapes and abundant outdoor activities, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, and Zion are perfect choices that offer something for everyone.

Here are Our Favorite Utah National Parks for Families this Christmas

At Arches National Park near Moab, families can immerse themselves in a magical world of over 2,000 natural sandstone arches that seem almost otherworldly. Hiking through Delicate Arch is an absolute must-do experience, especially at sunset or sunrise.

In nearby Canyonlands National Park, families can also discover a vast expanse of deep canyons carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. With countless hiking trails, explore viewpoints such as Grand View Point or Mesa Arch. If you’d prefer to stay in the car, the Island in the Sky scenic drive takes you through the park’s highlights. 

Zion National Park, which is located in southern Utah, showcases towering cliffs and emerald pools. For thrill-seekers or teens, the iconic hike up Angels Landing is a favorite among those who dare to scale the narrow spine leading to panoramic vistas of the park. For something milder, exploring The Narrows – a slot canyon carved by the Virgin River – is like stepping into a real-life fantasy land. Tall walls embrace you while splashing your way through knee-deep water!

Also in southern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park boasts unique geological features called hoodoos – orange-colored spires that stand against a backdrop of clear skies and evergreen forests. This stunning landscape seems even more magical in the winter, blanketed by snow. A family stroll along the Rim Trail or the Navajo Loop Trail provides mesmerizing panoramic views while exploring. With so many options, no wonder this is one of the top cheap places to visit during Christmas in the USA with kids!

Click here to find more Adventurous Things to Do in Moab Kids Will Love

Where to Stay in Utah with Kids

If you need somewhere to stay in Utah with kids, you’re in the right place. For a more rugged experience in the wilderness near Moab, check out Base Camp Adventure Lodge, Under Canvas Glamping Tents Moab, and the Red Cliffs Lodge. Families can also rent homes from Airbnb or Vrbo. Or, stay at a traditional Western ranch at Red Cliffs Lodge. Finally, read our other suggestions for where to stay in Moab with kids.

Best Budget-Friendly Christmas/Holiday Destinations on the West Coast for Families

When it comes to finding the best budget-friendly Christmas/holiday destinations in the United States for families, the West Coast offers a wealth of options! Whether you want to go camping under the stars at Joshua Tree or relax with mild weather in the Santa Maria Valley, there’s something for every family seeking a memorable getaway. Keep reading to find out the best family holiday vacations on a budget! 

Santa Maria Valley, California

Photo Courtesy: Santa Maria Valley

Santa Maria Valley, located in California, is a perfect destination for families seeking a budget-friendly Christmas experience! With its pleasant weather and diverse range of attractions, this area offers an abundance of holiday activities suitable for all ages. 

Kick off the holiday season with Santa Maria Valley’s annual Christmas in the Country Celebration. Running every Friday and Saturday from early December through Christmas Eve, families can take a holiday drive through the Elks Event Center to appreciate the light displays from the comfort of their own car. You pay per vehicle for this option, or you could pay per person for a “VIP Christmas Experience.” It includes a wagon ride around the property, pulled by a tractor, as you sip on hot chocolate and enjoy other holiday goodies.

Beyond holiday activities, the Santa Maria Valley also has other activities you may enjoy on one of the best affordable Christmas getaways for families. Visit Los Flores Ranch Park to explore the wide open space and see farm animals. Finally, if your kid is an airplane lover, don’t miss the vintage aircraft at the Santa Maria Museum of Flight

Camping at Joshua Tree National Park

Inside Joshua Tree National Park, snow-capped Joshua trees and rocky landmarks dot the foreground, one of the best budget-friendly Christmas destinations in the US for families.
Photo Courtesy: Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park, situated in the scenic southern Californian desert, is undoubtedly one of the best budget-friendly holiday destinations for families in the United States. With its stunning landscape and numerous activities, it promises an unforgettable camping experience during Christmas or any other time of year!

The park offers a wide range of campsites suitable for tent and RV campers alike. Two popular and affordable choices are Black Rock Canyon Campground and Cottonwood Campground. After settling in, hike along picturesque trails like Barker Dam or Hidden Valley, renowned for its breathtaking rock formations created by millions of years of erosion. Another must-see is Skull Rock – its peculiar shape resembling a skull will surely impress both kids and adults alike! Kids will also marvel at the flora, such as the iconic Joshua Trees themselves. Plus, with minimal light pollution, there are lots of stargazing opportunities, making this an ideal place for discovering constellations together as a family after sundown! 

Find more National Park ideas for the holidays by checking out our top picks for The Best National Parks to Visit in Winter with Kids.

Happy Holiday Travels!

A family of three ice skates in Washington DC, one of the best budget-friendly Christmas destinations in the US for families.
Photo Courtesy: Destination DC

We hope you liked this list of the Best Budget-Friendly Christmas/Holiday Destinations in the United States for Families! Whether you want to go skiing in Vermont, hiking in California, or just relax in a cozy town, there are plenty of ways to explore the United States on a budget with your kids. Regardless of which of the best affordable Christmas getaways for families you choose, we know you’ll make so many fun holiday memories together! Happy holiday travels!

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

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A mom holds her infant son on an airplane.

Use These 10 Tips For Your Baby’s First Flight

Families Who Love To Travel contributor Meghan Oaks provides her 10 best tips for your...

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A young boy plays with legos on his airplane tray table during a flight.

18 Exciting Travel Toys For Young Kids That Will Keep Them Entertained The Whole Trip

When you're planning a family vacation, it's important to pack travel toys that will keep...

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Baby girl with floral headband chewing on string of wooden cheese toy

6 Best Travel Toys for Toddlers on a Road Trip

What are the best travel toys for toddlers? With help from our Facebook community, Families...

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Families Love Travel Team

The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.