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Family on a boat dock with kids splashing the water with their feet.

Affordable Outdoor Activities the Whole Family Will Enjoy

It’s a common misconception among parents that you need to plan elaborate vacations or extravagant activities for your children in order for them to have fun. The truth is, though, that most kids are happy to spend quality time with their parents, period. Moreover, it’s the simplest activities — the ones that don’t require extensive planning or resources and that allow parents and children to focus on each other — that help foster the strongest connections among family members. This is especially true when you move family time from indoors to out.

At AAA, we don’t want family time to come at the expense of your financial health. So that it doesn’t, we’ve put together this list of affordable outdoor family activities for all ages. We’ve also included the names of a few our partners who offer great discounts on everything from car rentals to outdoor dining.

Eat Outdoors

From boosting children’s self-esteem to improving family dynamics, the cited benefits of why families should eat together are many. While you could eat indoors any old day of the week, spring and summer offer the opportunity of a change of scenery. Have a traditional picnic at your local park, serve a home-cooked meal on your back porch or head to a restaurant that offers outdoor dining. Some family-friendly options include Hard Rock Cafe and any one of Landry’s Restaurants, such as Saltgrass Steak House, Rainforest Cafe and many more.

Make Summer Camping Plans

There are dozens of reasons you should go camping with your children, one of the biggest of which is that it forces you to disconnect from technology and focus on each other. Whether you plan a camping trip a few hours from your home or set up a tent in your own backyard, “roughing it” provides plenty of opportunities to create shared experiences and lifelong memories. Start making summer plans today by using our campground search tool or the AAA Mobile App.

Play Tourist for the Day

One mistake that most people make is assuming they have to travel far to see new sights. Depending on where you live, you can likely drive for an hour or less in any direction and stumble upon an attraction you’ve never seen or visited before. Not only will you and your children have fun exploring these new sights but also, the trips will foster a newfound appreciation for your hometown. If the attraction you plan to visit costs money, browse AAA Tickets to see if you can score a discount on the cost.

A scenic ride around the corner or across country with the top down will also get you some fresh air.  Don't have a convertible?  No problem!  Use your AAA discounts at Hertz, Dollar or Thrifty.  With discounts on daily, weekly and monthly rentals as well as other exclusive discounts and benefits just for AAA members, you can enjoy your ride without breaking the bank.

If you’re not sure what to plan for summer, keep these ideas in mind. Each holds significant promise for family fun without breaking the bank.