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Vacation ideas for the cash-strapped single mom

If the idea of a summer vacation makes you sweat budget-related bullets, consider taking your kids on an affordable trip instead.

I know. For single moms, money is often tight and vacations are a luxury. But with the right idea, you can make great memories and keep your spending in check. The trick is to plan your vacation as a low-cost road trip to one of these inexpensive destinations in your corner of the country.

1. Holland, Michigan

Hop up to Holland, Michigan, for a stateside destination with international appeal. This Dutch city is located on the beaches of Lake Michigan, and features a bustling downtown, sandy beaches and wild dunes. It has enough culture and nature to satisfy mom and kids alike — plus resort-style cabins are as low as $80 per night.

2. New Braunfels, Texas

I went to college near New Braunfels, so I can attest that the water recreation in this small Central Texas town is the best. Stay in one of the area’s inexpensive cabins, and splash to your heart’s content by visiting the Schlitterbahn water park for $38-$48 per day. If you need a break from the water park, you and the kids can lazily tube down one of the area’s spring-fed rivers instead.

3. The Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Take off on a breathtaking road trip down the Historic Columbia River Highway near Portland, Oregon, for sights that will not disappoint you or the kids. Enjoy free attractions like Horsetail Falls or Multnomah Falls, and stay on the cheap at a campground for only $25 and up per night.

4. Seattle, Washington

If city life is more your scene, you have to check out Seattle. Lodging rates are similar to most big cities, but you’ll love the number of free or cheap attractions for you and the kids. See the sights at Pike Place Market, hike through the Olympic Mountains or hop on a ferry for a day trip to Bainbridge Island. We hear the coffee is pretty tasty for a sleepy mom, too.

5. Key West, Florida

Most people don’t think of Key West as a budget destination, but it’s totally doable if you plan it right. Your kids will love the beaches and fishing, and you’ll love the charming culture of this quaint and welcoming southern town. Check out Leo’s Campground for budget-friendly lodging close to the beach.

6. Coconino National Forest, Arizona

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, Arizona, is one of the most diverse forests in the country. You’ll see Arizona’s breathtaking red rocks, canyons, lakes and pine trees. Better yet? Camping in the park is only $20 per night.

7. Big Sur, California

Whether you start your adventure in Big Sur or nearby Monterey, you won’t feel disappointed. You and the family can go whale watching, traipse through lighthouses and camp with a stunning view. Keep costs down by staying at a campsite for as low as $50 per night.

Which destination do you plan to visit this summer?

More for single moms

Affordable activities for the single mom and her kids this summer
How to travel alone with your kids without going nuts
Time-saving tips for single moms

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