Looking for inexpensive family vacations? Taking a family vacation doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune. There are so many choices with various activities like exploring cities, fishing, hiking, or just relaxing at the beach away from everyday life! This guide will help you locate cheap places to travel in the US without breaking the bank!
Seattle makes for a fun and affordable weekend getaway with plenty of free activities. The city is perhaps most famous for its coffee culture, with shops on nearly every corner. Downtown, you’ll find lots of affordable things to do. Take a wander through the famous Pike Place Market, where fish fly and restaurants and quirky boutique shops abound.
Sitting right on the Puget Sound, the “Emerald City” is surrounded by mountains and forests. There are plenty of outdoor adventures to experience here — from sea kayaking and paddleboarding on the water to hiking in one of two national parks outside the city: Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier National Park. If you’re traveling with the kids, Seattle is also filled with family-friendly attractions like the Seattle Aquarium and the Museum of Flight. Seattle is one of the cheap places to travel in the US that will give you a great getaway without flexing your wallet!
Interesting Fact: The first Starbucks store was established in 1971 at Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle, Washington.
Whether you are looking to book a family vacation or a romantic getaway, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is one of the cheap places to travel in the US to give you a very fulfilling vacation. Split into a few different sections, Myrtle Beach stretches for some 60 miles, offering plenty of sand and sea for a fabulous time. The Myrtle Beach boardwalk is the area’s hub, where you’ll find most of the restaurants, attractions, hotels, and resorts. At night, the SkyWheel is worth a ride to get a spectacular view of the area, and the wheel is also lit up with thousands of lights!
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Just south of Corpus Christi, South Padre Island is the perfect destination when looking for cheap places to travel in the US. The beautiful barrier island has plenty of affordable hotel rooms as well as loads of free activities. Spend the day sunbathing in the sand, swimming in the ocean, or walking along the grassy dunes that make up Padre Island National Seashore.
Insider Tip: If birding is your thing, the island is in the path of a migratory route, and some 350 different species of birds pause here on their way north or south. Birdwatching can be a relaxing and inexpensive way to enjoy your days off.
From the Ocala National Forest to Silver Glen Springs, Ocala is filled with outdoor adventures. This is one of the best and most cheap places to travel to in the US. The lush forests sit next to beautiful horse farms, where visitors can explore a different side of Florida. Whether you spend a day in Silver Springs State Park for boat rides, horseback riding, or wildlife watching or prefer to hike through the untamed nature in the largest sand pine forest in the world, nature enthusiasts will find the area’s freshwater streams and rolling hills to be an appealing escape from the big city.
Interesting Fact: In the 1940s, horse breeding farms began popping up all throughout Marion County in Florida. Today, there are more than 70,000 acres of thoroughbred breeding and training farms around Ocala.
There is no place better for a perfect winter weekend getaway than Petoskey. Located in the northwest of Lower Michigan and Little Traverse Bay, the conditions are always ideal for snow bunnies who need their fix in the winter months. Three ski areas combined offer more than 160 downhill ski runs, cross-country ski trails, and snowboarding courses.
Resorts like the Inn at Bay Harbor make it comfortable, affordable, and easy to focus on one recreational area during your trip and return to comfortable dining and resort amenities after a day on the slopes. Your other option is to tackle a different ski area each day of your trip at Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain, and Nub’s Nob. Petoskey, Michigan, is one of the best cheap places to travel in the US for the entire family.
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In winter, this skiing haven just 1.5 hours from Los Angeles can get crowded—and prices are at their peak. A summer visit to Big Bear Lake can be just as much fun, and you can leave the snow pants at home. Ziplining, mini-golf, mountain biking, and more are available and the lake is available for fishing and swimming. While summer tourism traffic is on the upswing, there are still great deals to be had on accommodations, too. This is one of the best and most fun, cheap places to travel in the US for a quick getaway.
If you are really aching for a tropical vacation but can’t travel too far from home, head to Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park. It seems unlikely, but the beach here has beautiful white sand and emerald water that rivals the Caribbean. Kentucky is one of the cheap places to travel in the US where you will still feel like you are on an exclusive vacation. It can get crowded on the weekends, so consider planning a few weeknights at the park and enjoy relaxing on this tropical-like beach in Kentucky.
With a gorgeous lake and plenty of opportunities for adventure, Lake Tahoe makes a terrific family vacation destination in all seasons. In summer, your intrepid teens and active kiddos may enjoy various water activities, including paddleboarding and kayaking. And, in winter, you may unwind in a cozy cabin or go on a snowboarding and skiing adventure. South Lake Tahoe is filled with budget-friendly restaurants and hotels. While they are not as glamorous as the places you’ll find in Incline Village or Tahoe City, your wallet will nevertheless thank you. Lake Tahoe is one of the most exhilarating, yet cheap, places to travel in the US for you and your entire family.
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At Mesa Verde National Park in southern Colorado, visitors can retrace the ancient footsteps of the ancestral Puebloans who once lived in the park’s magnificent cliff dwellings, and the entrance fee is affordable. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to some of the most-well-preserved archaeological sites in the United States, with more than 4,500 found within its boundaries. These sites include Cliff Palace, which contains 150 rooms, 23 kivas, and once had a population of roughly 100.
Lodging can be very budget-friendly by camping at Morefield Campground, which offers a scenic canyon setting just four and a half miles from the park entrance. Alternatively, you can stay at one of the nearby hotels starting at under $60 a night. This is one of the most educational and cheap places to travel in the US and keep the entire family captivated.
Straddling the Tennessee and Virginia state’s line, Gatlinburg is the gateway town to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a top nature destination. With more than 900 miles of hiking trails and some of the top fly fishing in the country, there are plenty of free outdoor activities to experience once you pay the admission fee to the National Park. This is clearly one of the best cheap places to travel in the US when spending time outdoors.
Back in Gatlinburg, take a stroll down Parkway, which is the town’s main street. Here you’ll find a mix of restaurants, mom-and-pop shops, and hotels. The 400-plus-foot-tall Gatlinburg Space Needle is also here. There is an admission fee, but the 360-degree view from the observation deck is beautiful. There are also two floors of arcade-style video games at the base of this attraction that kids and adults will enjoy.
There are some locations that you may have never considered as a cheap destination (like Seattle), but you will be surprised at how far your dollars can go when you have the inside scoop. Whether you travel on a group tour or independently, from the West Coast to the East, these ten cheap places to travel in the US are the best if you’re on a budget. You and your travel companions will not be disappointed!
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