Mother Daughter Trips on A Budget
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14 Mother Daughter Trips On a Budget That Won’t Break the Bank

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There’s something special to be said about the bond between mother and daughter.  After all, “a daughter is just a little girl who grows up to be your best friend” right?  What better way to nurture that bond than mother daughter trips?  If you’re looking for mother daughter trip ideas but need to keep the budget in tact, no worries! Here are 14 amazing mother daughter trips on a budget!


Mother Daughter Trips On a Budget

Washington, D.C.

Mother Daughter Trips on a Budget Washington DC

Rich in history and culture, Washington, D.C. is one of my favorite cities in the United States [check out our trip there with our itinerary and one of the more detailed Pack Up and Go Reviews out there]. If airfare from your city to Washington, D.C. is high, don’t let that put you off! It’s still the perfect location for a mother daughter trip on a budget.

The White House

Arguably the most iconic building in the United States, the White House actually offers free self-guided tours during the week.  Tickets must be arranged well in advance and through your local Congress.  If you aren’t able to secure tickets in time, pictures outside this monument are free and so is perusing the interactive Visitor’s Center across the street. [Don’t forget about the Capitol building, the Supreme Court, or the National Archives!]

Monuments

Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln — oh my! From the founding fathers to Martin Luther King, Jr. to Vietnam War vets, Washington, D.C. has no shortage of [free] monuments to visit.  It’s the perfect opportunity to explore and learn about the capital of the United States.

Take the Hop On/Hop Off Bus around the tourist places for an inexpensive and easy way to navigate the area!

Museums

Most of the museums in Washington, DC are free including the National Museum of Natural History [complete with a real life — ok, not live but you get the point — mummy], National Museum of American History, National Air & Space Museum,  and a personal favorite the National Museum of African American History and Culture.  [Complete list of free museums on the National Mall]

The District Pier

District Pier at the Wharf is one of the newest attractions in D.C. but is stock full of activities for both mother and daughter.  There are, of course, things available there for pay but if you’re doing your mother daughter trip on a budget, the Wharf also has ten acres of green space for a picnic, a game of bocce ball, or just admiring the waterfront scenery of D.C. They also offer inexpensive water cruises to take in the sights.

Money saving tip: Save money on your hotel by staying in the suburbs [like Alexandria, VA which has a rich history all its own] or utilizing [my favorite money saving tool] Priceline Express.


San Diego, CA

Mother Daughter Trips on A Budget San Diego

San Diego is, and forever will be, one of the most popular cities to visit in the US.  From its beaches to its sprawling parks, it isn’t hard to see why.  Best of all, there are plenty of free things to do in San Diego, CA making it great for a mother daughter trip on a budget.

Beaches

All of the beaches in the San Diego area are great but the most popular one is La Jolla.  It’s one of the largest in the city and has plenty to do.  Make a sand castle, catch some [kid-friendly] waves, play at the playground, or go visit the La Jolla seals.

Balboa Park

How can you not visit a place with a slogan like “Where History is Majestic”?  With more than 16 museums, several gardens, and a zoo, there’s more than enough for a full day of entertainment here.  There is a mix of free and low-cost attractions for a mother daughter trip on a budget so plan out your trip in advance.

Aquarium

The Scripps Aquarium in San Diego combines research and fun with tons of interactive exhibits and habitats.  Like most aquariums, admission is a tad pricey [$15-$20/each] but there are plenty of money-saving offers here to make it worthwhile while still on a budget.

Berry Picking

You can’t visit Southern California on a mother daughter trip without picking some berries! You just can’t.  Most of the options are not within the immediate San Diego area but it is worth the short drive.  Red Tricycle has a pretty comprehensive list of the options in the area complete with prices.

Money-saving tip: Renting a car makes some of the far reaches of the area more accessible.  Save money on your rental with SkyScanner!


Las Vegas, NV

Mother Daughter Trips on A Budget Las Vegas

There’s more to Las Vegas, NV than Elvis impersonators and gambling.  Turns out it is a surprisingly kid friendly city with plenty to do and see for both mother and daughter on the trip.  So Viva Las Vegas!

The Strip

All of the large hotels on the strip have their claim to fame from aquariums to gondola rides to caged tigers. Some even have amusement parks! Take your time exploring each one and all that they have to offer.

The Linq Promenade

The Linq Promenade is located right next to the — yep, you guessed it — Linq Hotel.  It is a small strip adjacent to The Strip with some fun attractions like the Linq High Roller [the world’s tallest observation wheel] and Brooklyn Bowl that are relatively inexpensive.

Photo Ops

Las Vegas is laden with spots for totally Instagram worthy shots.  The “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, the Seven Magic Mountains art installation, the huge LOVE sign in the Venetian, the fountain show at the Bellagio, Make it into a scavenger hunt of sorts and spend an afternoon getting those perfect pictures.

Hoover Dam

If you’re up for the drive, the Hoover Dam is less than an hour from the strip and is a sight to see.  They do charge a small fee for admission to the Hoover Dam [and for parking in the adjacent lot] but it is a worthy expense!

Money saving tip:  Hotel prices in Las Vegas may look scary but you can often get an extremely good deal using Priceline Express! Check there first.

[BONUS] Money saving tip:  Ask your hotel front desk or concierge if they have a coupon book for the city! It’s often filled with money saving coupons that can be used throughout your mother daughter trip.


Atlanta, GA

Mother Daughter Trips on a Budget Atlanta

Atlanta is one of the best cities to visit for a mother daughter vacation on a budget.  Between the parks, the attractions, and the culture, A-town is just plain fun!

Coca-Cola

Tour The World of Coca-Cola — a museum dedicated to the history of Coca-Cola corporation.  There are plenty of fun exhibits and interesting tidbits but the highlight?  At the end of the tour, you can taste Coca-Cola products from all over the world!

The Georgia Aquarium

This magical place holds the crown as one of the largest aquariums in the world.  With over 100,000 animals represented in its glass walls, it is a must do for all mother daughter trips to Atlanta. Be sure to check their specials page for discounts.

The King Center

Atlanta is home to the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr. where you can see where the civil rights leader was born.  It is described as a living monument to the great man who serves as the building’s namesake.  Admission and parking is free.

Parks

Atlanta is home to some of the largest, most family friendly parks in the United States.  Piedmont Park, Woodruff Park, and Olympic Park are all stock full of [free] activities and worth the visit.

Museums

There are plenty of great museums in Atlanta but for mother daughter trips on a budget, try to visit some of the free ones.  Both the Monetary Museum and the Fernbank Science Center offer free admission and parking.

Money saving tip:  Look for coupons to The World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium in the local grocery stores.  Also, be sure to ask your hotel front desk [or concierge] if they offer any coupons!


St. Louis, MO

Mother Daughter Trips on a Budget St. Louis

St. Louis isn’t just the birthplace of the rapper Nelly [although that is pretty cool, isn’t it?].  There’s plenty to do there and is a great mother daughter trip idea!

The Gateway Arch

Catch a killer view of the city while learning about its history by visiting the Gateway Arch.  Starting at only $12/person, it is also an affordable option for your mother daughter trip on a budget.

The St. Louis Zoo

Their zoo is free [YAY!].  Yep, you read that right.  Over 16,000 animals there to see and experience on your mother daughter trip for a whopping $0.

CityGarden

Splash pads, climbable art installations, and sprawling green space make this a great place to spend a [free] afternoon.

Museums

There are plenty of great museums in Atlanta but for mother daughter trips on a budget, try to visit some of the free ones.  Both the Monetary Museum and the Fernbank Science Center offer free admission and parking.

Money saving tip:  Viewing the Gateway Arch from the ground floor is absolutely free if you want to save some coins.  There is plenty to see/do there.  You can also save money on your admission if you have an America the Beautiful pass.


Chicago, IL

Mother Daughter Trips on a Budget Chicago

The windy city has a lot to offer someone looking for a mother daughter trip on a budget.  From the sprawling parks to the budding landscape, you’re bound to have a blast.

Parks

Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park are both fabulous [and dare I say iconic] parks in the middle of the city.  Best of all, they are full of free [YAY!] activities for both mother and daughter.

Frequently described as an urban playground, Navy Pier is the highlight of Chicago.  Some of the activities here can be pricey but the sights are free.

Museums

Chicago is home to some of the top museums in the country like Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, and more.  Some offer free admission year round but the ones for cost are extremely reasonable.  They also offer free admission days.

Money saving tip:  Save money on your lodging by staying at the Getaway Hostel with your daughter.  Learn everything you need to know about staying in a hostel with kids here.

Money saving tip:  Public transportation in Chicago is phenomenal.  Save yourself the cost of a rental car and use public transit.


Austin, TX

Mother Daughter Trips on a Budget Austin

The stars at night! Are big and bright… *clap clap clap clap* DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS! If you sang along as you read that, Austin might be the place for your mother daughter trip on a budget. The city is a perfect blend of city and country [and a personal fave from this list of mother daughter trip ideas].

The Capitol

Touring the capitol building of Texas is [surprisingly] fascinating.  The building itself is beautiful and steeped in history.  Plus, it is free to visit — even the guided tours are free of charge.

Zilker Park

Think of Zilker Park as the Central Park of Austin and you’ll have an idea of how major this park is to the city.  They even offer free festivals and events.

Barton Springs

Barton Springs Pool stays a cool 68 degrees year-round and is completely free to visit and swim.

Lady Bird Lake

Bats and kayaking — need I say more?  The bridge crossing this downtown Austin lake is home to a super huge colony of bats — super cute ones that fly out in a mass exodus at dusk.  It’s a sight to see [and more fun than I’m probably making it sound].  You can also rent paddle boats or kayaks and view the city from the water.

Money saving tip:  Austin is a college town so many businesses cater to budget-sensitive clientele.  Look for events designed for the broke college kids and try to blend in.


New York, NY

Mother Daughter Trips on a Budget New York

“Budget” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of a mother daughter trip to New York City.  But it is totally do-able!  Besides, the city is just way too iconic not to include in this list.

Parks

Central Park and Chelsea Park are amazingly kid-friendly and located in the heart of New York City.  Playgrounds, basketball courts, bike rentals, and more will provide more than an afternoon’s worth of fun. Be sure to check Central Park’s event calendar for fun [FREE] events.

The Statue of Liberty

Catch a ferry over to Liberty Island and visit Lady New York herself,  the Statue of Liberty.  Visiting the island is free of charge but additional items like admission to the pedestal or ascending to the crown have a small fee.  If you want to keep it on a budget, you can explore the grounds, take a free self-guided tour, let the kiddo become a certified Junior Ranger, and tour the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.

Times Square

Catch the cool adverts and the free entertainment on your mother daughter trip in the hubbub of Times Square.

New York Public Library

This is no ordinary library.  It is the most well-known library in the city and has special exhibits like the Gutenberg Bible and the Declaration of Independence.  Free guided tours are given throughout the week as well.

Money saving tip:  Look for a TKTS booth to snag some discount tickets to popular Broadway shows!


San Antonio, TX

Mother Daughter Trips on a Budget San Antonio

Armadillos, Tex-Mex, and the Alamo make San Antonio one of the best Texas style mother daughter trip ideas.

Alamo

Remember the Alamo…. for free! :)  Get a Texas history lesson while seeing one of the most memorable monuments in Texas.

Parks

San Antonio is filled with family-friendly parks but one of their newest parks, Yanaguana Garden, is especially cool.  There’s a garden, splash pads, and innovative play scapes — right in the middle of downtown San Antonio.

The Riverwalk

Walk along the 15 mile long canal, watch a mariachi band performance, and pop into one of the restaurants for a [virgin] daiquiri.  It’s one of the many areas in San Antonio super rich in culture and history and the scene is free.

Money saving tip:  VisitSanAntonio.com has lots of money saving coupons!


Memphis, TN

Mother Daughter Trips on a Budget Memphis

Memphis BBQ, educational monuments, and the Piggly Wiggly are just a few reasons why Memphis, TX would be ideal for a mother daughter trip on a budget.

Graceland

Viewing the interior of the king of Rock and Roll won’t be free but snapping Gram-worthy shots at the Graceland Gates is completely free.  You can also peruse the meditation gardens free of charge if you visit in the early morning.

Civil Rights Tour

Visiting the official Civil Rights Museum is free on Mondays for Tennessee residents from 3 pm to close.  If you’re not a resident, it is still a worthy investment.  Learn more about Civil Rights Trail in Memphis here.

Museums

If your daughters are anything like mine, they are all for anything with the word “pink” in it.  Lucky for us, The Memphis Pink Palace Museum in Memphis, one of the largest museums in the Mid-South region, offers free admission Tuesdays from 1 pm – 5 pm.  Other Memphis museums like the Center for Southern Folklore and the Art Museum at the University of Memphis are free all the time.

Money saving tip: There is a pretty comprehensive list of free things to do in Memphis, TN here.


Tampa, FL

Mother Daughter Trips on a Budget Tampa

With its pristine beaches, family-friendly parks, and aquatic wildlife, Tampa practically sells itself as a wonderful mother daughter trip idea!  It isn’t hard to see why this seaside city made the list of mother daughter trips on a budget.

Riverwalk

San Antonio isn’t the only city a river walk.  Explore the downtown riverfront via the Tampa Riverwalk to see their art installations, learn about the history of the city, chill at the Sparkman Wharf, and play at the Hixon Waterfront Park.  That’s just a brief sampling of all there is to do along the Riverwalk.

Clearwater

Not only is Clearwater Beach one of the pretties beaches in the world, it is also completely kid friendly.  Catch some rays with your daughter on the beach or visit Pier 60 for more [free] family fun activities.

Search for manatees

Visit Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station to see real-life manatees up close and personal.  Or visit other spots around the city to catch a glimpse at these majestic sea cows.

Money saving tip: VisitFlorida.com has the scoop on planning inexpensive mother-daughter trips on a budget in Tampa with their guide to free things to do in Tampa with kids.


Charleston, SC

Mother Daughter Trips on a Budget Charleston

When planning mother daughter trips on a budget, it’s near impossible to overlook Charleston, SC – the capital of Southern charm.  Spend your mother daughter trip being the southern belles you are while staying within budget!

Museums

Charleston has plenty of wonderfully educational [and fun!] museums.  The Mace Brown Museum of Natural History features all sorts of fossils and is absolutely free.

Parks

Charleston County Parks has 10 parks with trails, waterparks, skateparks, beach access, and more.  They are mostly free but some charge a small $2 admission fee to help support the parks.

Plantations

As one of the hubs of historical South, Charleston [and its surrounding towns] are home to quite a few plantations.  Visit the Drayton Hall to tour an African-American cemetery, go on a nature walk, and tour its historical home for a fee [semi-pricey at $32/adult and $25 8-14 but kids 7 and under are free] or take a free tour of the Charleston Tea Plantation to see how tea is grown.

Money saving tip: Take a free walking tour of different areas in Charleston with Free Tours by Foot.


New Orleans, LA

Mother Daughter Trips on a Budget New Orleans

One visit to NOLA and both mother and daughter are destined to be spellbound.  While the city has quite a reputation for its outlandish parties and celebrations, it is also surprisingly family-friendly.  Its blend of culture and history makes it a great mother daughter trip idea.

Jackson Square

Jackson Square is probably the most recognizable landmark in New Orleans and is absolutely free to visit.  Take pictures, watch street artists work their magic, and breathe in the city.  Horse and carriage rides are available there too [for a fee].

Culinary Delights

OK, food isn’t free but depending on where you go it can be cheap! And you can’t have a mother daughter trip to New Orleans without eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde, a po-boy on the French Quarter, or creole food at one of the many famed restaurants in the city.  Check Groupon for some restaurants to save a few dollars.

Cemetery Tour

It sounds morbid but New Orleans is probably the only city in the United States where the cemeteries double as tourist attractions.  The swamp ground isn’t suitable for an underground burial so everyone is above ground in ornate crypts.  Find some historical greats buried in the city or just admire the scenery [don’t be scurred!].

Join a Second Line

Spend a Sunday afternoon juking and jiving in an infamous New Orleans Second Line.  Don’t forget your kerchief!

Money saving tip: If you happen to know a New Orleans resident, those with a New Orleans library card [age 12 or older] can get a museum pass that provides free admission to the Audubon Nature Center, Ogden Museum, New Orleans Museum, and more.


National Park System

Mother Daughter Trips on a Budget National Park Yellowstone

The National Park System is a little different than other options on this list of mother daughter trips on a budget.  But if hiking, camping, and glamping are your thing, then visiting the National Park System is a wonderful mother daughter trip!

Every state in the US has at least one national park with a total of 418 parks managed around the country.  Out of those, 303 do not charge entrance fees making them [mostly] free.  There is good news for the remaining 115 parks!  For five days out of the year, those same parks will waive their entrance fees:

The five entrance fee-free days are usually [2019 dates in brackets]:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • First Day of National Park Week/National Junior Ranger Day [Saturday, April 20, 2019]
  • National Park Service Anniversary [Sunday, August 25, 2019]
  • National Public Lands Day [Saturday, September 28, 2019]
  • Veterans Day [Monday, November 11, 2019]

Money saving tip: Invest in an America the Beautiful Pass to gain free access year-round to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites.  A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees, and day use fees for those in one vehicle up to 4 adults [kids 15 and under are free]. 


So there you have it — 14 mother daughter trip ideas that are easy on the wallet! Which is your favorite? Have you taken a mother daughter trip? Leave a comment below.

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