This is what we have planned for this year as we don't have the cash or vacation time available to take any overnight trips or longer vacations. We've made a list of places/activities to check out and have planned to get a day trip in every 2 weeks if possible!
So far we've gone to a garden amusement park which is perfect for the kids. Have season passes so will return before end of November. Have also done a visit to the nearest lake and a regional air show.
We had planned to go to a free pirate festival about 2.5 hours away but didn't go at the last minute as when I finally got more info about it seemed awesome but better for older kids. I envisioned our kids being really scared and not enjoying it!
On the list-a trip to a ghost town 45 mins away, caverns that are 1.5 hrs away, the beach 2.5 hrs away, and back to the mountains. There's a lot more to see and do around here too but with the baby coming in early August, we might have to wait a bit! We'll see how it goes!
I really like doing day trips as it saves A LOT of money. For us, don't have to pay for hotel, dining (can pack our own), don't have to pay someone to watch the dogs, and more. Only have to pay for gas and whatever the activivty cost is, plus maybe a treat or something while there if we want. MUCH cheaper than any overnight trip!