Here Best & Outstanding United States of America Great Vacations You Can Afford, Travel is more exciting when your money goes further. With a little planning and some forethought, you can have a memorable trip without breaking the bank. Some people save for years to go on their dream vacation; others prefer more frequent escapes, exploring uncharted territory closer to home. Here are some wallet-friendly USA destinations for stress-free getaways you won’t soon forget. After all, saving a buck is the American way.
Our nation’s capital is a favorite destination for foreign tourists, but can be equally interesting and educational for those born in the U.S. as well. Of its many famous parks, museums and monuments, the iconic Lincoln Memorial is free to the general public and open 24 hours a day. A 19-foot statue of iconic US president Abraham Lincoln has been described as surreal and strikingly powerful. Capitol Hill, an immaculate neighborhood at the city center, houses the Capitol Building and Washington Monument, where you can partake in any public activities held on the lawn while enjoying the views. The can’t-miss, of course, is a tour of the White House, including the Oval Blue Room and State Dining Room, where many of the presidential receptions, galas and weddings take place. In the spring, D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Festival is a must-see, where blooming cherry trees, the city’s best food, and cultural events offer an incredible experience.
The Outer Banks
A string of barrier islands just off the cost of North Carolina and Virginia, the Outer Banks is a major attraction for beachgoers because of its simple beauty and beach-related activities. Fishing, ATV driving, windsurfing, and mini-golf are just a few of the activities to enjoy throughout the Outer Banks. The wonderfully warm temperatures much of the year provide visitors with ample time to explore and enjoy the vast shorelines.
The best way to save and truly immerse in the culture is to rent a beach house or a small cottage on one of the islands. You’ll find that each one offers a different experience than the next: some have rugged dunes while others teem with beach lovers and water sports of all kinds. If you’re making your way down south, the ideal U.S. seaside experience can be found at the Outer Banks.
Once a small, sleepy fishing village, Destin is now a family-friendly beach vacation spot known for its crystal waters and white sand beaches. There is much to do while visiting this quaint, charming town, including scuba diving, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing, with shopping, dining, and sports activities all close to the beach. Aside from days soaking up the sun, those with children can pack even more fun into their trip: kids love to let loose at Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park.
When night falls, you’ll find a variety of restaurants nearby, serving up fresh seafood caught by local fishermen. Unlike areas that receive their seafood in shipments, the “catch of the day” truly means something in Destin.
There is certainly no lack of excitement in this famous city. A glowing metropolis, Atlanta is home to attractions including the Georgia Aquarium, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, the Centennial Olympic Park, and the World-of-Coca-Cola, where millions of travelers flock each year to see how the nation’s most famous drink is made. There, visitors can taste the flavor variations in Coca-Cola products from all over the world.
Another cool option when visiting “ATL” is a studio tour of the Cable News Network (CNN) to see how this major broadcaster’s programming all comes together behind the scenes. Save big by purchasing a CityPass, which allows access to both of these major Atlanta attractions.
Although Orlando, Florida, is widely known for Walt Disney World, those who choose to explore beyond the legendary amusement park will find that Orlando offers another attraction just as fun and exciting: Universal Orlando. The second most famous resort in Greater Orlando, it contains two theme parks: a water park and an entertainment complex, where hundreds of live shows are performed each week.
The four Loews hotels situated on the resort suit every family’s budget, because every family deserves a getaway to the Sunshine State. Plus, attractions, rides and dining are offered at reduced rates with a special visitors pass. Visit universalorlando.com/Theme-Park-Tickets/Hot-Deals.aspx to purchase.
An incredible natural wonder located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is unfathomably breathtaking. It is approximately 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and a mile deep, with a visual effect that is difficult for the eye to understand. Then there’s exploration: the canyon’s South Rim is a hikers’ paradise, beautiful and challenging.The North Rim attracts the nature enthusiast, offering a more woodsy experience great for camping.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Grand Canyon is a popular tourist destination drawing millions every year. For a less expensive and more immersive visit, opt to stay overnight at one of the campgrounds, and save on auto expenses by using the Canyon’s free shuttle bus. Avoid the summer months to get the best rates on your trip.
Many people are surprised to find out just how affordable the city of Chicago can actually be; with all its diversity, Chicago has much to offer visitors of varying backgrounds. Its diversity, in fact, is the reason it continues to be a thriving metropolis. Make your first stop Millennium Park, where the popular Crown Fountain is located. Its two 50-foot towers face each other across from a reflecting pool, while LED screens illuminate the faces of various Chicago residents; the strategically placed water spouts make it appear as though the faces are spraying you.
Another notable structure at Millennium Park is The Bean, a 110-ton stainless steel “bean,” where you can walk through and see your reflection and others’. Both designs offer great photo opportunities for visitors, and a trip to Millennium Park will only cost you a roll of film. Chicago is also a big foodie city with local pork and beef; its burgers win tourists over every day.
If you love and appreciate natural beauty, you’ll undoubtedly fall for Yellowstone Park in Wyoming. The park consists of over 3,000 square miles of canyons, mountains, waterfalls, and geysers. There is so much ground to cover at Yellowstone, you’ll want to pace yourself and see as much as possible. In addition to all of the stunning visual panoramas at Yellowstone, you will likely experience its wildlife firsthand with elk, buffalo, and bird sightings.
While visiting the park, make sure you don’t miss the chance to spend time at the water: visit Mammoth Hot Springs and Yellowstone Lake. There are plenty of trails to follow at leisure throughout the park, allowing you to relax and explore at your own pace. Save money by staying at one of the nearby campgrounds, where you can enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in the scenery.
Charleston, South Carolina
Visiting a southern city is usually quite cost-efficient, and Charleston is a charming southern city. If you love an old-world, antique feel, you’ll be enamored with its cobblestone streets, old mansions, eerie cemeteries, horse-drawn carriages, gas lamp-lit streets, Spanish moss trees and beautiful antebellum architecture. Relish in times of old while you explore this preserved piece of history.
Charleston offers a bit of the new as well: these days you’ll find contemporary restaurants and art galleries, upscale shopping, innovative building designs and more among its usual sights. There is plenty to do in and around this small town, including visiting a local City Crafts market, strolling through a museum, or spending the day beachside. Travelers choose Charleston for its leisurely days and nights. Since the city has so many quaint bed and breakfast accommodations, it might be a less expensive option than the hotels, and you will likely receive more personalized attention.
Austin, Texas is a delightful up-and-coming city known for its diversity in music. If you have a taste for classic genres, new wave sounds, and live performances, make sure you include Austin on your itinerary of places to visit in the U.S. Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” and for good reason: it has the most live music venues per capita than any other place in the country, in addition to being a young, fun, and energetic city with great food, music and museums.
The city also plays host to famous music festivals throughout the year, such as South by Southwest, with all worth attending. In addition to or in lieu of these, you can always visit the hundreds of free concerts being held in the city. Check its calendar for event listings throughout the year.