Looking for Cheap Travel Destinations in the US? Whether you're looking for a quick road trip close to home or are visiting from abroad there are plenty of inexpensive places to visit right here in the United States America.
While it is easy to blow your budget in places like New York City, Miami, and San Francisco you will be delighted to find out that there are plenty of places to visit that are just as fun and a lot kinder to your wallet.
Where is the Cheapest Place to Vacation in the US?
With the help of a few of my fellow bloggers, I have put together a list of some of the cheapest places to visit in the US. There are even some that you may have never considered as a cheap destination (like Vegas…) but you will be surprised at how far your dollars can go when you have the inside scoop.
Cheap Travel Destinations in the US
1. Austin, Texas
Photo Credit: Planning Away
Don't miss the capital of Texas, Austin!
Not only is Austin the headquarters of politics it is a college town and home to the University of Texas which means it has lots of budget-friendly entertainment options for all the college students!
There are a variety of restaurants in the area that are affordable and fabulous. Juan in a Million sells delicious and cheap breakfast tacos and if you know anything about Austin breakfast taco's are a staple in any locals diet.
Another great budget-friendly place to try is Maria's Taco Xpress. Tex-Mex may be the best thing ever invented and Maria's will totally hit the spot. Downtown Austin offers so many amazing food choices at great rates.
Things to do in Austin, Texas
Austin has a lot of fun family-friendly activities as well.
✔️ Mural Tour – one thing that your kids will love is the mural tour around town. You will find the most Instagramable places throughout the city! It's free, it's fun, and it is just the start of all the fun you will have when you visit Austin!
Looking for a great tour that will take you all around Austin. This is is our favorite one. Click here to book.
✔️ Hill Country BBQ & Wine Shuttle – One of our favorite things to do when visiting Austin is to go on a day trip to Texas Hill Country. Why not spend the day enjoying some finger licking good barbecue followed by a few tasting as some of the best wineries in Texas.
🍷Book your Texas Hill Country Wine tour ahead of time by clicking here.
Where to Stay in Austin, Texas
There is no shortage of budget-friendly options in Austin Texas. If you are planning on renting a car you will get the best value for your money by staying right outside of Austin.
✔️Staybridge Suites Austin North- Click here to book
This pet-friendly hotel is located approximately 11 miles outside of Austin city center. Not only this hotel budget friendly but they have a social hour on Monday-Wednesday from 5:30pm-7:00pm where you can get free wine, beer and appetizers.
Recommended by Lisa from Planning Away.
2. Moab, Utah
Photo Credit: Ramble Around The World
Moab, Utah is unlike any other place on earth. In fact, people often compare Moab to Mars due to its fine red sand that covers the ground, picturesque red-rock cliffs protruding into the sky and sheer lack of wild animals and people alike.
Sure word has gotten out to people all over the world about the two national parks surrounding Moab, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. But few people venture outside the realms of those parks to explore what Moab has to offer. For outdoorsy types, Moab is a relatively unknown paradise, making it a must-visit in 2020 before word gets out about its beauty,
Exploring ancient rock art, hiking pristine and uncrowded trails, mountain biking world-class terrain and rock climbing cliff faces are just the tips of Moab’s perpetual iceberg. And what’s even better is that each of those activities is completely free.
Since much of Moab is located on public land run by the Bureau of Land Management, visitors can also camp for free in many areas. (I camped in my car at a designated site, as many people do in the area, for four nights without paying a single penny for accommodation.) If camping isn’t your thing, there’s one hostel in Moab that’ll run you about $12 per night and plenty of Airbnbs and hotels that won’t break the bank.
Things to do in Moab, Utah
✔️ATV Tours: Moab is also the ultimate playground for dirt bikes, ATVs and four-wheel-drive vehicles like Jeeps, trucks and side-by-side UTVs. If you don’t own one and are willing to dish out a few more bucks, there are plenty of rental companies in town that’ll help you get your fix.
You can find ATV tours and rentals in Moab here.
✔️White Water Rafting: Since the mighty Colorado River runs directly through the town, white water rafting and kayaking even make their way into the itineraries of visitors.
This half-day rafting tour is a great way to enjoy the Colorado River. Click here to book.
✔️Brewery Tour: Moab even has a downtown area, which is a bustling miniature town with restaurants, plenty of lodging and its own brewery — so you can kick back after a long day of outdoor adventures.
Where to stay in Moab, Utah
There are a few options for places to stay in Moab depending on your travel style. If you prefer to stay near the city then check out 57 Robber's Roost. It is located right in the heart of town and it is great for larger groups or families that are looking for a little bit of extra space.
Click here for rates and availability.
If you are looking for more of a resort style resort then check out Hoodoo Moab, Curio Collection by Hilton. This hotel is centrally located and offers resort style amenities. Guests love the walkability of where the hotel is located as well as it is convenience to Arches National Park
Click here for rates and availability.
Recommended by Jarrod from Ramble Around the World
3. Glacier National Park
Photo Credit: Ruhls of the Road
Glacier National Park is the perfect destination for anyone looking for an incredible adventure in a budget. Why? Glacier is home to some of the most beautiful lakes and overlooks in the entire United States, and the cost to see these places is a wonderful bargain.
Glacier National Park has 3 areas that are must-visits: Lake McDonald (West Glacier), Two Medicine, and Many Glacier. Lake McDonald and Apgar Village are the most visited areas in the park, and with good reason. The lake is absolutely gorgeous and offers a great reflection of the surrounding mountains when it is still.
Two Medicine and Many Glacier are any hiker’s dream destinations. Many Glacier has beautiful glacial lakes that shine bright blue amidst the mountains. Two Medicine has alpine mountain hikes that offer the opportunity to view Glacier National Park from above. Both areas are wild and wonderful and are must-visits in Glacier.
On top of the beautiful scenery, the budget situation is another reason to visit Glacier! Unlimited entry to every National Park in the USA is just $80 and is even cheaper in some cases. On top of that, there are 5 days every year where entry to the park is free. You can find the free entry days here.
Glacier is the perfect place to visit on a budget. The adventure in Many Glacier, Two Medicine, and Lake McDonald will be absolutely incredible, and you will not have to break the bank to see it all!
Things to do in Glacier National Park
✔️White Water Rafting: Looking for an adrenaline rush in the heart of Glacier National Park? White water rafting is exactly what you are looking for. Join your tour guides as you make your way through the John Stevens Canyon where you will encounter thrilling rapids. It is a great way to spend a day at Glacier National Park
This white water rafting tour is a favorite for visitors to Glacier National Park. Click here for rates and availability.
✔️Scenic Float along the Flathead River: If you are looking for a more chill day on the river then book a scenic float along the Flathead River. This is a great opportunity to take in the beautiful scenery and wildlife at a slower place.
Click here for rates and availability.
Where to stay near Glacier National Park
If you're looking for luxury the The Ridge At Glacier is exactly what you're looking for. This cabin has everything you need for a luxurious getaway in the mountains. And you will enjoy spending your morning sipping coffee on the patio as the sunrises or enjoying a glass of wine as the sunsets.
Click here for rates and availability.
Recommended by Julie and Zach from Ruhls of the Road.
4. St. Louis, Missouri
Photo Credit: Gypsy With a Day Job
One of the most budget-friendly cities to visit in the US in 2020 is St. Louis, Missouri. While the central states don’t rank high for most travelers, St. Louis should be an exception.
Not only are there world-class attractions, but there are also more free things to do in St. Louis than any other city in the US, outside of the country’s capital!
The obvious landmark of St. Louis is the Gateway Arch, now part of the Gateway Arch National Park, a must for any first time visitor to the city. The park also includes the Old Courthouse, a museum, scenic park grounds along the Mighty Mississippi, and paddlewheel boats.
The entrance to the park is only $3.00, with periodic free days. Tram rides to the top of the Arch and paddleboat cruises have a separate fee.
City Museum ($16,) and the National Blues Museum ($15,) may seem a bit pricey, but both are one of a kind attractions worth the cost. City Museum is a former shoe factory converted into a modern creative experience, that must be seen to be believed.
The National Blues Museum showcases the foundings of this uniquely American form of music from its grassroots.
After that, what free things to do depends on your interests. Art lovers, take a walk in City Garden Sculpture park, see Mural Mile, and visit the Contemporary Art Museum or the St. Louis Art Museum. Those with children head to Forest Park, where the zoo, science center, and history museum.
Those who enjoy history, drive to the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site. Beer drinkers, try a free tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.
Things to do in St. Louis, Missouri
✔️Ghost Tours: When the sun goes down there is no better way to see another side of St. Louis then with a ghost tour. And luckily St. Louis has some amazing history and stories to tell after dark.
Click here to get rates and availability for one of the best ghost tours in St. Louis.
Where to stay in St. Louis, Missouri
The Angad Arts Hotel, located in the heart of St. Louis. What makes this hotel special is that they use color therapy to design each room so you get to choose a room that matches with your mood and vacation style. This is one of the only hotels of this type in all of the US.
Click here for rates and availability.
If you are looking for the royal treatment then you definitely want to check out the The Royal Sonesta Chase Park Plaza St Louis. This historic hotel features 3 restaurants, a movie theater and even a Mediterranean style pool.
Click here for rates and availability.
Recommended by Roxanna from Gypsy with a Day Job
5. Death Valley
Photo Credit: La Dolce Fit Vita
What if I told you you could find jaw-dropping views, fiery sunsets, and striking sceneries filled with all the imaginable colors of the spectrum… in the desert? That’s right, the desert.
Road- tripping through the Death Valley I had no idea I would be in for some of the most peculiar landscapes I had ever seen—I was more prepared for scorching heat, scanty vegetation and a couple of tumbleweeds here and there. At times it felt like being on the moon.
Exploring Badwater Basin and its endless white salt flats felt like conquering some kind of lunar terrain. Stepping back a mere 20 minutes I found myself trudging through what seemed to be the sand seas of the Sahara at the Mesquite Sand Dunes.
Fast forward another half-hour and I was smack in the middle of a painter’s palette at Zabriskie Point. It was truly a remarkable journey through a thousand panoramas, and it was only a mere $20 for the entrance fee. I recommend camping there as well; here are plenty of sites to choose from and all options are under $25 per night! There are not that many places that offer such beauty with such a budget. And the best thing is that it doesn’t even take an infinite amount of driving to get to. From Las Vegas, it’s only an hour’s drive!
Bonus: If you’re feeling adventurous you can visit Mount Whitney just a mere 80 miles away. That way in just one weekend get-away you can hit both the lowest and highest points in the contiguous United States. You can find some awesome day tours of Death Valley here.
Check prices and availability for hotels near the Death Valley here
Recommended by Linda from La Dolce Fit Vita
6. Glen Rose, Texas
Photo Credit: My Curly Adventures
Glen Rose is a hidden gem in Texas just a little outside of Dallas-Fort Worth. Take a short drive outside of the metroplex for a memorable and budget-friendly weekend.
Getting outside of the city means that you can save some money by staying in a lovely bed and breakfast like Inn on The River that offers beautiful rooms on the lake with a homemade breakfast included for all budgets.
Dinosaur Valley State Park is only a few dollars for entrance and you can go swimming in the water, hike across the park, and search for dinosaur tracks which are all around the park.
If you’ve ever wanted to go on an African safari but cringed at the price of a flight across the sea, Fossil Rim, dedicated to animal conservation, has thousands of animals including exotic animals from all over the world and the top cheetah breeding program in the world. You can drive through the park where animals might stick their heads into your car and where you can feed giraffes.
For plenty of free fun visit an abandoned speakeasy, wander through the historic downtown, and go swimming at Big Rocks Park (named because of the giant rock all around). When it comes to eating, there are so many great options on a budget and cheap margaritas at Cafe Azteca!
Checks prices and availability for hotels near Glen Rose here
Recommended by Jessica from My Curly Adventures.
7. New Orleans, LA
Photo Credit: On 2 Continents
New Orleans or Nola, as the locals lovingly call their city, is a great destination for budget-minded travelers for many reasons. Due to its southern location, the city has a warm climate and is, therefore, suitable for travel all year round. It’s easy to visit Nola during low season and save some dollars on accommodation. The Louisiana capital is also reachable by budget airlines making is a perfect destination for a trip.
New Orleans is such a charming city with historic architecture, festivals, and attractive landmarks. You can be sure you’ll love it there. There are many places and activities that can be seen and done for little money or for free.
To save on accommodation, you can book your hotel a bit further from the downtown area. And getting to the downtown area is an easy and quick ride on a historic streetcar which costs $1.25 per ride.
The French Quarter is the city’s main attraction and it can be seen for free. Stroll around, enjoy performances from myriads of eccentric street artists, do some window shopping and try local specialties such as po’boys or beignets which are both under $10.
Don’t forget to walk around the Garden District and admire local houses because they are beautiful and picturesque.
Stop by the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 and see the historic tombstones. This cemetery has free entrance.
If you don’t want to spend too much on a swamp boat tour, you can drive south to the Barataria Preserve and walk the boardwalk through the swamp. You’ll see alligators and snakes from a very close distance. The best part, there is no entry fee. If you do want to do a swamp boat tour you can find some amazing options here.
Another great place to see in Nola is the Mississippi riverbank. Walk along, watch the humongous cruise ships pass by, listen to the music of the steam organ on the steamboat, people watch.
New Orleans is a special place and one of the most beautiful cities in the US.
Check prices and availability for hotels in New Orleans here
Recommended by Slavka from On2Continents.com
8. Las Vegas, NV
Photo Credit: The Awkward Traveller
Las Vegas has a lot of reputations. Most of them seedy. But it has also gained a reputation for being an expensive, glamorous, and extravagant destination.
While it CAN certainly be over the top, price wise, Las Vegas also has the potential of being the cheapest getaway in North America. For one, it has the cheapest hotel and resort prices in the country. The hotels along the Strip are subsidized by their prosperous casinos in the lobby, so you can stay at some of the fancier resorts for a FRACTION of the price of hotels anywhere else. Some of the less expensive hotels on the Strip are less than $30 USD a night!
Going along with low lodging costs, transportation around Las Vegas is also affordable. There is a 24/7 bus that services most hotels and attractions along the Strip, as well as throughout the city. You can get a 3-day unlimited pass for $20 USD. It comes in handy when you're getting home after a night out at a club or a bar, which you can also get in for free with free drinks! If you get in contact with a club promoter (you can easily find them on social media under #vegasclubpromoter) and they can set you up with pool parties, night clubs, and limo services FOR FREE – the more women in your party, the more free goodies they can throw in!
As for attractions, you can buy last-minute tickets to comedy shows, buffets, and food tours, circus acts, escape rooms and multiple museums that are up to 70% off at booths along the Strip! If you like to plan ahead you can find some great deals for Vegas attractions here.
If you ever need a break from the neon lights, you can head out of the city to numerous outdoor spaces like Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire, or even check out the now world-famous Seven Magic Mountains.
Check prices and availability for hotels in Las Vegas here
Recommended by Kay from The Awkward Traveller
9. Denver, Colorado
Photo Credit: Adventures of Fox in the Forest
Although the US isn’t known as a budget-friendly travel destination, that doesn’t mean you still can’t see the country on a budget. Denver, Colorado is one of the most budget-friendly destinations in the USA, thanks to its wide offering of free things to do. There is a wide variety of free things to do in Denver including visiting one of the many beautiful parks, taking advantage of free museum days, or even going on a hike.
If you can splurge on just one thing, rent a car for the day and visit Rocky Mountain National Park. (Check out some tours here). As one of the cheaper national parks in the US, you can enjoy an array of amazing activities from breathtaking hikes, wildlife viewing, and even go on one of Denver’s most scenic drives. It’s well worth the rental fee to get outside the city and explore some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet.
Budget-friendly eats can be found throughout the city (although, as a local, I recommend checking out South Broadway). For budget-friendly places to stay, consider renting a room at an Airbnb or checking out a local hostel. Hotel rooms typically aren’t that cheap in the city itself, but you can sometimes find deals just outside of town. Be sure to stay near public transportation in order to hop into the city quickly.
Check prices and availability for hotels in Denver here
Recommended By Meg Atteberry of Fox in the Forest
10. Portland, Oregon
Photo Credit: Go, See, Write
Portland, Oregon is one of the best budget options on the West Coast, which is generally one of the more expensive parts of the country to travel in and around. Known for its motto, Keep Portland Weird, there are plenty of fun and cheap things to do in this city.
If you like to just enjoy a city over a (relatively) cheap cup of coffee as you people watch, Portland is a great city for you. Stumptown coffee was born here, and it’s everywhere — including wherever you came from, probably, so skip it in favor of something you can’t get back home. Heart, Coava, and Nossa Familia are among the nation’s best roasters, period. For coffee shops, consider the motorcycle-themed See See, the oh-so-shiny (and wireless-free) Barista, or a place like Either/Or, which doubles as a cocktail bar.
There are also over 80 breweries that operate in and around Portland. For under $20, you can enjoy a burger and a couple of great brews from places like McMenamins, Ecliptic Brewing, or Culmination Brewing. Compared to some of the excellent fine dining options in town, it is a far cheaper and more entertaining way to enjoy the unique aspects of the City of Roses.
One budget option in any city is enjoying the outdoor highlights, but few places have as much spectacular variety as Portland. The park options inside the city include Laurelhurst Park and Fields Park, which is a 3.2 acre urban greenspace in the Pearl District part of Portland split into four segments: The Yard, the Dog Park, the Children's Playground, and the Dry Creek Garden. And no trip here would be complete without walking in and around the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, which is referred to as Portland’s living room. And obviously right outside of town, you have the glory of Mount Hood, which provides a great photographic background to many iconic pictures from the city.
If you have a little bit of extra time check out one of these day tours where you can go hiking, wine tasting and even have a spa day.
Check prices and availability for hotels in Portland here
Recommended by Michael Hodson of Go, See, Write
11. Lincoln, Nebraska
Photo Credit: 9 to 5 Voyager
While many people may write off the Great Plains of the United States as “Fly-Over Country,” there are a lot of enjoyable things you can do without breaking the bank!
Lincoln, Nebraska is one such gem. This “refugee-friendly” city of almost 300,000 is home to the University of Nebraska and a variety of free and low-cost things to enjoy.
Downtown Lincoln has been beautified and built up considerably in recent years, especially in the historic Haymarket. Located at the western end of Downtown, the Haymarket traces its history back to the 1860s, when Lincoln was incorporated. It's here that you can find some of Lincoln's more popular restaurants, like Lazslo's Brewery, as well as a weekly farmer's market and the Pinnacle Bank Arena.
For a bird's eye view of the city, climb up to the top of the architecturally imposing Nebraska State Capitol Building, the second-tallest in the US at 400 feet. Built-in 1932, the intricately decorated interior is absolutely free to wander around in. The open-air observation deck affords views from 245 feet in the air.
From the top of the capitol, go down to the Lincoln Sunken Gardens, brimming with color in Spring and Summer, and free year-round. For other outdoor activities, you can hit up Wilderness Park for biking, or Antelope Valley Park to hang with friends and pose with the giant statues.
Of course, no trip to Lincoln is complete without setting foot on the University of Nebraska campus! If you're a football fan, there's no excuse to not see a game at Memorial Stadium, one of the largest college football stadiums in the country. In fact, on game days, the “Sea of Red” constitutes the third-largest “city” in the state!
Check prices and availability for hotels in Lincoln, Nebraska here
Recommended by Alek from 9to5Voyager.com
12. Washingon, DC
Washington, DC may not be the first place you think of when you think budget. However, it is one of the most budget-friendly places to visit. Especially for families.
There are so many things to do in Washingon, DC , there is something for everyone. However, the best part about Washington, DC is the fact that most of those things are FREE. Yes! Free.
Washington, DC is home to the Smithsonian which is home to 19 museums. And the best part. They are all free. That means that you can spend a week exploring the Smithsonian alone without spending a dime.
And let's not forget some of the famous landmarks in DC like the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and The Mall. Or check out these cool night tours to see the city and famous landmarks in a different light.
Staying in DC is relatively cheap as well. While it may not be as cheap as other places in this list on the weekends it is quite easy to find hotels for under $100 in the city. These hotels usually cater to business travelers that call these hotels home during the week which is why the prices seem to drop down on the weekends.
If you're looking for something closer to home that is not going to break the bank then consider Washington, DC.
Check prices and availability for hotels in Washington, DC here
Cheap Beach Vacation Spots in the US
You don't need to go far for a budget-friendly beach vacation in the US. Here are a few gems that you should consider.
13. Assateague Island, Maryland
If you have never heard of Assateague Island you're not alone. Located on the East Coast of Florida most people only discover this gem either by word of mouth or from the book (insert name of book here).
Located approximately 18 miles from Ocean City, Maryland many choose to stay in Ocean City and a day trip here. However, if you are looking for a different (and budget-friendly) kind of adventure then you should consider camping on Assateague Island.
Imagine waking up on the beach to the sunrise. It really doesn't get better than that.
And what is even more amazing about this place are the wild horses that roam the beach. It is a sight to be seen. However, keep in mind they are wild horses therefore it is advised that you just look and keep your distance.
Whether you're looking to be a beach bum or want to take advantage of some of the other amazing things Assateague has to offer such as kayaking, hiking and even clamming it is the perfect spot for your next budget-friendly beach getaway.
Check prices and availability for hotels near Assateague Island here
14. Puerto Rico
Although Puerto Rico is not a state it is a US territory and therefore deserves a mention on this list. Not only it is a beautiful island to visit but is very cheap.
Getting to Puerto Rico is easy. You can find cheap flights on most airlines like Jetblue or Delta. Once there you can get an AirBnb for as little as $50. Even less in certain areas.
In terms of things to do there is so much to see and do on the island for free. Rent a car and take a day trip to El Yunque where you can explore the rainforest and even hike a waterfall. Or check out one of these organized tours that include everything for you.
Head on over to Rincon where you can go snorkeling in the summer right from the beach or in the winter watch as surfers from all around the world ride the waves.
As far as eats I highly recommend stretchy pants. Hehe. But in all seriousness visit Luquillo for cheap eats. You can get a fresh coconut for $1-$2 and a full plate of food that can easily be shared for $6.
Not only is Puerto Rico beautiful but it is a budget traveler's dream.
Check prices and availability for hotels in San Juan here
Check prices and availability for hotels in Rincon here
Cheap Summer Vacations in the US
15. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Photo Credit: Via Travelers
Minneapolis is an underrated city in the Midwest (and maybe in all of the U.S.). Minneapolis combines all things into one: great culture, food, entertainment, and history.
The city is rich with culture dating back to the Scandinavian migration of Norwegian and Swedish heritage. You’ll find a number of instances of these cultures integrated throughout the city both through the people and architecture.
Minneapolis makes for a great budget-friendly destination as you often aren’t competing with large-scale events, expensive dining, and extraordinary taxes… Looking at you Chicago. In fact, if you love shopping, Minneapolis is perfect for you. There is no tax on clothing. Making it a great way to save a few bucks on your journey.
Getting to Minneapolis is easy too. The airport is one of the largest Delta Airlines hubs in the country.
If you love waterways and water activities, Minneapolis might be the perfect destination for you. One dynamic part of Minneapolis I that the city is called the “City of Lakes”, which features five distinct lakes within city limits: Cedar Lake, Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles and Lake Nokomis. All of these lakes feature beaches, paddle boarding, swimming and amazing trails to get your daily workout in.
That’s not all. The great Mississippi river runs directly through downtown Minneapolis, which adds additional experiences along your journey.
Finally, Minneapolis is a foodie’s dream featuring a number of different eclectic neighborhoods with affordable food options. You’ll find a number of different cultural experiences based on the neighborhoods you visit. Consider venturing off to Northeast, Lake Street, Uptown, North Loop and Lyn-Lake neighborhoods to find some of the best strips of food options.
Oh, if you like beer, Minneapolis has some of the top breweries in the country. Consider this list of the best breweries in Minneapolis to fill your thirst pallet. Looking for more ideas. Check out this list of tours and attractions.
Check prices and availability for hotels in Minneapolis here
Recommended By Kyle from Via Travelers
16. Milwaukee, WI
Photo Credit: Getting Stamped
Milwaukee, Wisconsin holds a very special place in our hearts, as it is the city we call home. In the last couple of years, Milwaukee has grown in popularity as a place to visit and it can be done so on a budget! Even better – did you know the brew city was recently named one of the top 25 places to visit in the US in 2020? We love seeing our city getting so much love!
The city of Milwaukee is diverse and unique, providing so many great options for travelers of things to do, see, eat and drink. First and foremost, Milwaukee is known as brew city, home to Miller Lite and Pabst, just to name a few. Make sure to take a brewery tour or two in Milwaukee. The city is also a hot foodie destination, boasting some incredible local establishments. There’s also the amazing Milwaukee Art Museum and Harley-Davidson Museum to check out.
Besides the plethora of city activities, Milwaukee is conveniently situated on the beautiful Lake Michigan and also surrounds the Milwaukee river. You can kayak on the river, take a themed cruise on the lake, and check out Bradford Beach. You can find various tours and attractions here.
And we can’t forget about Summerfest. This festival is probably one of the most popular events that attract visitors to Milwaukee, as it is the world’s largest music festival that takes place right on the lakefront in the summertime.
The best part about our hometown is that compared to major cities like Chicago, it’s a bargain!
Check prices and availability for hotels in Milwaukee here
Recommended by Hannah & Adam Lukaszewicz from Getting Stamped
Cheap Vacation Ideas for Couples
17. Finger Lakes, NY
Want to go wine tasting but don't want to break the bank. Well skip Napa and the North Fork and head up to the Finger Lakes, NY.
Voted one of the top wine regions in the United States the Finger Lakes is a great destination for wine lovers on a budget.
You can opt to rent a rustic cabin at Sampson State Park which is located right on Lake Seneca. Or head over to Keuka where you can stay at Hampton Inn Penn Yann. I personally love this place because it is a short distance from amazing wineries, the rooms are spacious, they have an indoor pool and hot tub overlooking the lake and a fire pit where you can spend the evening sipping on your wine and make new friends.
Now let's talk wine. While tastings in places like Napa, the Willamette Valley, and even the North Fork can run you $20 plus bucks in the Finger Lakes the average wine tasting will set you back $5. Some of our favorites are McGregors and Vineyard View Winery just to name a few.
You can also visit nearby cities like Rochester if you are looking for a change of scenery and if you need a break from the wine.
Check prices and availability for hotels in the Finger Lakes here
18. Lake Placid, NY
Photo Credit: Ahlan Monica
A trip to Lake Placid is ideal if you’re looking for a few days to be spent exploring nature (on or off a budget)! Whether you come in the warm or cool seasons, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to be had in the heart of the Adirondack mountains.
The city is known for having hosted the Olympics, not once but twice and still has the structures to prove it. Many of these attractions in and around the city are the Olympics sites that have been turned into museums that can be experienced. While activities like this can be pricey (an Olympic sites pass will get you access to things like bobsledding and ski jumps for about $40) there’s plenty of things to do for less.
The surrounding mountains offer lots of winter activities like the big ski resort of Whiteface and in the summer consider heading to the summit in the gondola to get breathtaking views of the lakes below. With kayaking, hiking, and boat tours to add to the itinerary, there’s enough in and around town to keep you busy! Getting out into nature is simple and can often be done for free! Lake Placid is the perfect getaway to be in a charming town surrounded by incredible nature to be discovered.
Check prices and availability for hotels in Lake Placid here
Recommended By Monica from Ahlan Monica
Best Hidden Vacation Spots in the US
19. Mobile, Alabama
Photo Credit: The Nomadic Vegan
Many people skip right over Mobile in favor of its more famous neighbor, New Orleans, which sits about 150 miles further west along the Gulf Coast. But underrated Mobile offers many of the same attractions at a significantly lower price point, making it a great alternative for budget travelers. Go now in 2021 before this place gets discovered!
Late winter and early spring is the best time to visit Mobile, as this is when its two biggest events of the year take place. And best of all, much of the festivities are completely free! The first one on the calendar is Mardi Gras, which usually falls in late February or early March. Street parades featuring decorated floats and people in costume throwing free moon pies and beaded necklaces to the crowds take place every night for about two weeks. Mardi Gras in New Orleans might be more famous, but this one is just as fun, and Mobilians will proudly tell you that theirs is the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States!
The other not-to-miss event in Mobile is the Azalea Trail Festival. When the azalea blossoms bloom in mid-March, the city becomes a riot of color. Local high school girls dress up like Southern belles in frilly, pastel-colored hoop skirts, and many of the antebellum mansions open up to the public for special events.
Real estate is much cheaper in the South in general than in other parts of the country, so you can get good deals on accommodation here. And many of Mobile's bars and restaurants are also quite affordable. For example, at the Dew Drop Inn, a famous Mobile institution that's been around since 1924, you can get a bowl of spicy bean chili for just six dollars.
You can find additional things to do here to help you plan your ultimate getaway to Mobile.
Check prices and availability for hotels in Mobile here
Recommended by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan
20. Page, Arizona
Photo Credit: Fashion Travel Repeat
Page is a small town in northern Arizona that should be at the top of your list for 2020. It’s home to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, which are two of the most beautiful natural formations in the U.S. Even better? It’s easy to visit Page on a budget.
Horseshoe Bend is a part of the Colorado River that bends in a nearly symmetrical horseshoe shape. Visiting Horseshoe Bend is free as long as you arrive early enough to snag a spot in the free parking lot. I recommend making Horseshoe Bend your first stop of the day so you can avoid paying $20 to park in a privately owned overflow parking lot.
After your morning visit to Horseshoe Bend, take a tour of Antelope Canyon, which is a world-famous slot canyon. A slot canyon is a long, narrow passage eroded through rock. The ones in Page are some of the world’s most beautiful. You have to take a tour to explore Antelope Canyon, but it’s worth every penny. I recommend visiting Canyon-X with Taadidiin Tours, which costs $38.19 per person. This is less expensive than visiting the more popular Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons, there are fewer crowds and it’s easier to get last-minute tickets for Canyon-X. You can find more information about tours here.
When it comes to accommodation, there are no luxury hotels in Page, Arizona. The hotels and motels in the area are budget-friendly and have plenty of free parking. The restaurants in Page are also casual and inexpensive.
Check prices and availability for hotels in Page, Arizona here
Recommended by Vicki from Fashion Travel Repeat
How do you Travel on a Budget in the US?
Just like with everything else a little homework goes a long way. We put together this list in hopes of inspiring to explore more of the United States however if you are looking to just travel on a Budget anywhere in the US here are a few tips.
The location will make or break your budget. So opt for smaller or lesser-known areas where your dollar may go further. For example, New York City is a great must-visit. But while there check out Brooklyn and Queens for cheap eats and under the radar attractions.
Before renting a car make sure that a car would be the right choice. If you're visiting a city like DC or San Francisco renting a car can quickly become very expensive between, gas, parking, and tolls. And not to mention traffic. Opt for public transportation or if it's a bikable city consider renting a bike. This is a great way to get around.
You don't have a drink to enjoy Happy Hour. Washington DC, for example, has so many great happy hours that include food. Look for happy hours with half-priced dishes and dollar apps.
So where are you headed next? Hopefully, this list has inspired you to explore new places in the US.
Alek Zayas-Dorchak says
Great article! I was taken aback by D.C. until I remembered that yes, the Smithsonian Museums are all free!
I know. It is definitely not one of those places you think of when you think of cheap.
Adding all of these places to my travel list! Especially Moab. It looks like a stunner.
Yes. Moab looks amazing. Will love to hear if you go. You have to share.
Yes Or No Spinner says
I love reading about cheap travel destinations! This list is great!
I am happy to hear that. Thank you for stopping by and reading.