Don't Break the Bank: Top 10 Affordable Vacation Destinations in the US
Budget Travel

Don’t Break the Bank: Top 10 Affordable Vacation Destinations in the US


In the United States, there are many places to go on vacation that have a lot to do and don’t cost too much. This list has a lot of holiday ideas that won’t break the bank, whether you want to go on a fun trip to a national park, to the beach, or to a small town. With the help of expert views and user votes, U.S. News put together a list of the best cheap vacations in the United States. Use this list to help you choose your next cheap local trip, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite trip below to help shape the list for next year.

Check out go trip guide travel tips before going on any trip.

1- Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

The word “grand” doesn’t even begin to describe this canyon. This huge gap in northern Arizona is a natural wonder. It is about 277 river miles long, up to 18 river miles wide, and a mile deep. The Colorado River has helped the Grand Canyon grow for 6 million years, and for hundreds of years, people from all over the world have come to see its red and orange beauty. The Grand Canyon is run by the National Park Service and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It gets about 6 million tourists a year, all of whom are amazed by its beauty.

But if you want to get away from people and into nature, you should be ready: It can get very busy at the Grand Canyon. The South Rim is very popular with tourists and walkers because it has the Grand Canyon Village and the well-known Bright Angel Trail. Most of the things you need are on this side. Head to the North Rim to get away from the crowds.

2- Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is on the border between Canada and Montana. It was named for the glaciers that are still there from the Ice Age. It is often called the “Crown of the Continent” because of how beautiful it is. The park is a popular place for walkers, and it has trails for all skill levels, from the easy Trail of the Cedars, which has tall, beautiful cedars, to the difficult Grinnell Glacier, which has great views. Also, the park has more than 700 lakes, many rivers, and two mountain ranges, all of which are spread out over more than a million acres and provide homes for many different kinds of wildlife.

Not only does it have beautiful natural features, but it also has a lot of history. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is a National Historic Landmark and an engineering marvel. It is a 50-mile scenic drive through the park and is a National Historic Landmark. It has beautiful views and access to famous hiking trails. Also, many of the park’s cabins, chalets, and hotels were built by the Great Northern Railway in the early 20th century and are on the National Register of Historic Places. Do you want to go to a UNESCO World Heritage Site? You can find the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park here, too.

Glacier National Park requires tickets at some park openings until September 6, 2021. This is to limit the number of people who can visit the park. Visit the website of the National Park Service for more details.

3- Grand Teton National Park

grand teton national park

In Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming’s spectacular Teton Mountains stand out, with their jagged, snow-capped peaks rising above Jackson Hole Valley. From the 13,770-foot Grand Teton to the sparkling Jenny and Jackson lakes, which show the mountains in their depths, there are many places to take pictures. But the park isn’t just for people who like to climb and take pictures. During the height of the summer hiking season, the area’s trails attract hikers of all skill levels and lead to secret waterfalls and stunning views of the Tetons. On the other hand, people like to kayak, raft, and just float down the Snake River. People who are interested in the 19th-century history of this part of the Western Frontier visits places like Menors Ferry and Mormon Row.

The almost 500-square-mile park is also home to many animals, such as black bears, grizzlies, moose, deer, and bison. Also, when people come to the park in the fall, golden aspens light up the area. If you want to see another national park on your trip, you can go a few miles north to Yellowstone, which is right next to Grand Teton.

4- Moab


There are lots of exciting things to do in Moab. This quiet town in eastern Utah is between Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. You can go climbing, biking, or rafting down the Colorado River. You can save money on lodging by spending the night at one of Moab’s campgrounds, which range from well-kept sites with lots of services to simple spots in the middle of nowhere. An extra bonus? The best way to see the clear night sky in Moab without any light pollution is to camp.

5- Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor, Maine, has been known for hundreds of years as a beautiful place to relax that has all the best parts of the state. It is famous for being the entrance to Acadia National Park. It is right on Frenchman Bay, so visitors can enjoy views of the water in every direction, as well as rocky shorelines that look like they came straight out of a painting. It’s also a great place to start some of the best whale-watching trips in Maine. Not only that, but the town has a certain kind of charm that makes you feel like you’ve left real life and stepped into a tale. But the local crab is so good that it will bring you back to reality in the best way possible. This is the kind of place you go to relax and enjoy the simple things again, like taking a long walk, watching the water move as the day ends, and eating tasty food from the area. All of those things are great for Bar Harbor.

6- Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach

This coastal town is about 80 miles northwest of Portland and is a great place to relax in nature. There are many ways to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of Cannon Beach without spending a lot of money. For example, you can hike through Ecola State Park’s lush jungle or explore the tide pools at Haystack Rock. Spend an afternoon watching rare birds like tufted puffins and varied thrushes, or go there in the winter or spring to see nearly 20,000 gray whales on their yearly migration from Mexico to Alaska.

7- Sequoia National Park

sequoia national park

Sequoia National Park is a great place to visit because it has some of the world’s biggest trees. When the beautiful trees in the park are hundreds of feet taller than you, it’s easy to feel small. The park is in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range, about 80 miles east of Fresno, California. It was set up in 1890 to protect the huge trees from being cut down, making it the second national park in the United States. In 1940, the nearby Kings Canyon National Park was made, and over time, the two parks were joined together.

The trees are, of course, the best parts of the park. The General Sherman Tree, which is the world’s largest tree (it’s 275 feet tall and has a base that’s more than 36 feet in diameter), might be the most famous. But there is a lot more to see and do in the park than just look at the plants. You can explore caves, go camping, or try snowshoeing. The park is also open every day of the year, and each season has its own special things to offer.

8- Destin


Destin has become one of the most popular places to go on holiday in the Florida Panhandle. It is known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” and it has a lot of fish. Destin was founded in the 1850s and used to be a quiet fishing town until a bridge connecting it to the rest of Florida. Even though there are more than 25,000 people in this town during the summer, the year-round population is only about 13,000. Every summer, families from the Midwest and the South come to Destin’s pure Appalachian quartz beaches, which are the city’s trademark. This special sand not only stays cool in the summer heat but also gives the water a green color when the sun shines on it. Kids splash in water parks while golfers play on seaside traps. Visitors who want to try something new can swim or scuba dive off the coast or rent a boat to go deep-sea fishing. After all, fishing is an important part of this beautiful area.

9- St. Augustine

St. Augustine

Wherever you go in St. Augustine, there’s a good chance you’ll see something from the American past. This town in northeastern Florida was started by the Spaniards in 1565. It is the oldest European city in the U.S. that has always been inhabited. Along with the narrow cobblestone streets and colonial architecture, there are also Romanesque Revival-style buildings. Many of these were built by railroad and oil tycoon Henry Flagler, who was a key player in developing St. Augustine and the rest of Florida’s east coast. Since St. Augustine has so much past, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it also likes the supernatural: Many of the town’s best sights, which people think are haunted by Spanish settlers and the first people who lived there, offer ghost tours at night.

Even though the Spanish-era landmarks are the main reason people come here, the Ancient City also has shops, restaurants, places to see live music and art galleries. The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum and the St. Augustine Wild Reserve are great places for families to visit. The Lightner Museum has an interesting collection of art, and shopaholics can’t pass up a chance to look through the shops on St. George Street. And when you’re ready to relax, grab your stuff and head to the beach. Like many coastal towns in Florida, St. Augustine is close to the Atlantic Ocean and has sunny weather all year.

10- Gatlinburg


Great Smoky Mountains National Park has three gates right in the middle of downtown Gatlinburg. It’s no wonder that going to the park is the most popular thing to do in this town in eastern Tennessee. In fact, it’s so popular that the number of people living in Gatlinburg jumps from less than 4,000 to more than 40,000 during peak tourist season. It’s easy to see why the park is so popular. There are miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, as well as historical displays and cabins. You can also see black bears, elk, deer, and other animals in their natural environment. When you’re not in the park enjoying its natural beauty, you can probably see it from the Gatlinburg Space Needle or the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway, two of Gatlinburg’s most popular sites.

Gatlinburg isn’t just a way to get to the Smoky Mountains, though. This small mountain town is a stop in and of itself, and it’s especially popular with families because of places like Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre that are fun for kids. For a taste of Gatlinburg’s culture, skip the tacky tourist shops and go to one of the local galleries, like the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community, to watch local artists and craftsmen make everything from paintings and pottery to handmade brooms and jewelry.

11- Nags Head

Nags Head

The main reason to go to Nags Head, which is in the Outer Banks area of North Carolina, is to spend time in the sun. People from all over the world come to the beach town to see the sky-high sand dunes in Jockey’s Ridge State Park and the great fishing spots in the Gulf Stream waters nearby. When people aren’t lying on the beach, they can check out the lighthouses in Nags Head or go to the nearby Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to look for birds, sea turtles, and other animals. Fall and spring are the best times to go because there are fewer people and rooms are cheaper.

12- Gettysburg


Gettysburg has everything you need for a nice weekend away with your partner or a fun and educational trip with your kids. This charming small town in southern Pennsylvania is full of mom-and-pop shops, cozy inns, and restaurants that serve farm-to-table American food and drinks made locally. But the most likely reason you’re going to this East Coast city is to see its many ancient sites. Gettysburg is known for its ties to the Civil War. It has many important historical sites, such as Gettysburg National Military Park, where the bloodiest fight of the war took place. You might want to take a guided tour of Gettysburg to learn more about its past.

Even though you could easily spend most of your trip visiting the park, make sure to save time for the Jennie Wade House, the Shriver House Museum, and other Civil War sites. And if you need a break from Gettysburg’s sad history, you can walk around the Eisenhower National Historic Site or take pictures at the Sachs Covered Bridge. No matter how you spend your holiday, you’ll leave town feeling more relaxed and knowledgeable than when you arrived.

13- Athens, GA

Athens, GA

Athens, Georgia has a lot of free things to do, such as historic houses and parks where you can have a picnic. You should also go to the campus of the University of Georgia, where you can find the Georgia Museum of Art and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, two more free things to do. You can take a day trip to Atlanta, which is about 70 miles southwest of Athens, with the money you have saved.

14- Portland, OR


Portland has become a must-see place in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to its well-kept parks and deliciously diverse food scene. The city is full of cultural things to do, like browsing the books at Powell’s City of Books or drinking a craft beer at one of the more than 100 in the Portland metro area. The city with many nicknames (Stumptown, the City of Roses, Bridge City, P-town, PDX) has become an urbanite’s dream, with some of the most pedestrian-friendly streets in the country. Many of these streets are lined with food carts, which have given Portland some of the best, cheapest, and most varied street food anywhere.

It’s also full of adrenaline, with miles of trails for climbing and biking in Forest Park and access to water sports on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, which run through and border the city, not to mention the volcano Mount Hood. But the things that people love the most are low-key and intangible, like a sip of locally made coffee, a chat at a brewery in the late afternoon, or a walk through open art galleries on the first Thursday evening of every month. Portland is one of the most successful towns on the West Coast. It is cool, alternative, and always moving forward.

10+ Best Luxury Travel Destinations in the USA for a Budget-friendly Vacation