Re: Thrifty Vacations?
Cruising can be a great, thrifty option, especially if your schedule is flexible. There are lots of cruises out of Galveston, so you save on airfare, and almost everything is included (including child care on most cruises).
In Texas- San Antonio is a lot of fun with many things to do (Sea World, Riverwalk, Natural Bridge Caverns, zoo, day trip to Gruene, etc). Houston is inexpensive and there is also a ton to do (science museum, great zoo, arboretum, children's museum, downtown aquarium, day trip to Kemah or Galveston, Nasa). Austin, same thing--tons to do. Lots of great state parks in Texas, or you could head west and see Big Bend National Park.
Oregon is amazing, but not really cheap, depending on what you do.
New Mexico is easily drivable from most places in Texas, and you can see lots of cliff dwellings, hiking, snow ski or snow tubing in winter, etc. I also love Durango, Colorado--train, hiking, skiing, natural hot springs, Mesa Verde is 30 miles away.
Our best thrifty vacation was Yellowstone--tons to see, inexpensive places to stay outside the park, just breathtaking.
Hmm--Destin, Florida or Gulf Shores, AL are also great trips within driving distance from Texas. Corpus Christi is a decent beach in Texas.
Any vacation can be done cheaply, if you want it to be. When we travel, we usually drive and make the trip part of the journey. We pack an ice chest so we are not eating fast food, but it also has the added benefit of saving money. We typically price line hotels in big cities.
Many things to many people.