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7 Cheap, Beautiful Places for a Winter Vacation

The holiday season can be the perfect time to book a winter vacation, even if you’re not in the market to spend $5,000 or more. Some affordable options include visiting a national park, a beachside village or even a Caribbean island.

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You can save on your vacation by doing things like choosing destinations that are in off-peak season and booking cheaper accommodations in a nearby town if you’re visiting a tourist area. If you’re wanting to take your family on a winter vacation where you can enjoy great views and fun without busting your budget, here are seven cheap, beautiful places to do so.

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Gatlinburg, Tennessee

“Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, [Gatlinburg] is a perfect December vacation spot, offering an array of natural beauty, outdoors activities like hiking and wildlife viewing and entertaining family attractions which include Ripley’s Aquarium and the famous Dollywood adventure park,” said Mike Millerson, founder of Survive Nature. “Accommodations here vary from budget to luxury, and you can expect a week-long trip for a family of four to cost around $1,500-$3,000.”

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

“Here, you have the chance to marvel at stunning snow-capped red rock hoodoos and partake in a variety of winter activities — from snowshoeing to sledding,” said Millerson. “For accommodations, you might look at the nearby towns of Bryce or Tropic. A week’s stay for a family of four might run you anywhere from $1,600-$2,500.”

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Maine’s Acadia National Park

“While many equate Maine with summer lobster feasts, winter here presents its own unique beauty and isolated calm,” Millerson said. “Cross-country skiing or snowshoeing through the park is a memory your family won’t soon forget. Accommodations in nearby Bar Harbor offer a range of prices, and a week-long trip can be done for around $1,300-$2,800 for a family of four.”

Surfside Beach, Texas

“There is a little-known warm beach on the Texas gulf coast in a lovely village called Surfside Beach, TX,” shared Kourtney Shepard, beach house vacation rental host at Lone Star Casitas.

“It has a local population of only 400 residents, but there are over 500 short-term beach house rentals in the village. In the summer, these are all rented, but in the winter months only 10% are rented, which brings prices way down. A family of four can rent a beautiful beach house with a 180-degree view for less than $120/night; whereas, the same house in the summer months would cost over $600/night. Every year, we have smart, savvy guests who come in December and January and have a great time — the restaurants are all open and the beach is beautiful and quiet/private.”

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Shreya Patel with Lowest Flight Fares said, “Families planning to travel within the US should consider a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It has a typical American small-town charm and turns into a snowy wonderland in winter. It has several ski resorts, where families with young kids can enjoy skiing, ice skating, zip lining, and more.”

Patel continued, “You can also visit the Grand Teton national park. However, if you are on a budget-friendly trip, skip staying at a ski resort and instead, book a motel in a nearby town, which can save you up to 28%. The total cost for a family of four for three days and two nights would be around $1,700 to $2,000, including food, accommodation, sightseeing, and transport.”


“If you are looking for a Caribbean vacation in winter, Belize would be a great choice,” suggested Patel. “This Central American country is not only an ideal holiday destination for families with kids, but also one of the most affordable Caribbean countries to visit. It has beaches, resorts with pools, surfing is possible, lush landscape, diverse wildlife and most importantly Mayan ruins. The temperature of the country during winter is around 84℉. Hotels here start at $100 per night and the total cost, including food, sightseeing, accommodation and transport for a family of four for three days and two nights trip would be around $700 to $2,000.”

St. Lucia

Another option for an affordable Caribbean vacation is St Lucia, which is considered the Hawaii of the Caribbean, according to Sarah Kline, owner of Time for Travel.

She said, “Many busy younger East Coast couples don’t have time to take off more than a week so cutting the travel time in half by visiting the Caribbean is appealing. Many young couples are also used to the all-inclusive concept, so it’s more appealing and better budget-wise to head to St Lucia’s many all-inclusive resorts. Both destinations have stunning beaches, watersports, rainforests, mountains, waterfalls and volcanos. While Hawaii is fabulous, a midrange hotel can average over $500 a night with no inclusions, whereas, in St. Lucia, you can get a full all-inclusive stay for around the same cost.”

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This article originally appeared on 7 Cheap, Beautiful Places for a Winter Vacation