Everybody loves a bargain, especially when it comes to traveling with family—the cost of hotels, dining and activities can really add up quickly! The good news: if you travel with a keen eye and pay attention to packages and deals, you won’t have to sacrifice important amenities or lose that ineffable look of wonder on your kids’ faces. We’ve rounded up 10 places where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck, so flip through the album below to see them all.

Dream Big in South Walton, Fl

One of the best beaches we’ve ever seen—think: white sugar-sand that doesn’t stick to your feet and turquoise Caribbean-like waters—is located in the Florida panhandle.

What to Do
South Walton is a stunning beach community, comprised of 16 unique laid back neighborhoods along the Florida Gulf Coast. The number one thing to do here is, of course, plop yourself and your kids down on the sand and stick your feet in the water but when you’ve had enough sun, venture out into the communities and check out the family-friendly activities.

Definitely, rent bicycles—you’ll want to explore Point Washington State Forest, Airstream Row in Seaside, the 20-acre nature preserve in Alys Beach, and charming architecture and dining at The Pearl’s Havana Beach Bar & Grill in Rosemary Beach. If your kids have ever wanted to learn how to surf, South Walton is the place to try this new sport—the waves are gentle and the sand bar extends out really far. Austin Magee’s Surf School will teach children as young as five as long as they are good swimmers.

Where to Stay
Located right on 30A is Cottage Rental Agency, your perfect partner for accommodations. And, the best part? Their website is full of discounts and promotions. For example, if you stay in the fall, you’ll receive 20% off your stay of three nights or more. Also, each cottage or rental comes with two complimentary bike rentals. Cottages range in price starting at $140 a night. You’ll get to save a penny or two by cooking your own meals in the kitchen, avoiding the high costs of dining out.

Cottage Rental Agency
2311 E. County Highway 30A
Santa Rosa Beach, Fl 32459
855-822-0283
Online: cottagerentalagency.com

Another excellent resource for lodging planning is Visit South Walton, where you can pick and choose the right accommodations for your family's size, budget, and interests. You can pick from various Bed and Breakfast options, cottages or hotels. For a truly unique option, you can even stay at a campground or RV park. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, for example, offers beautiful cabins or campsites with beach access, a pool, canoeing, kayaking, hiking and a view of the over 25-foot tall dunes that you'll have to see to believe.  

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
7525 West County Highway 30A
Santa Rosa Beach, Fl 32459

Online: floridastateparks.org/park/Topsail-Hill

photo: Wendy Altschuler

What’s your favorite budget-friendly vacay spot? Share with us in a Comment below. 

— Wendy Altschuler