20 Best Cheapest Places to Travel in the U.S.

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Cheapest Places to Travel in the U.S

Vacationing on a budget? Fortunately, the U.S. has it all, from mountains to beaches to everything in between. Here are some of the cheapest places to travel in the U.S. so you can start booking your dream vacation.

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20 best budget travel destinations in the U.S.

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1. St. Augustine, Florida 

With 40 miles of scenic coastline, St. Augustine provides outdoor activities as well as shoreline attractions like the Lighthouse & Maritime Museum ($14.95/adult). Families can visit the Alligator Farm Zoological Park ($35.99/adult), one of the city’s interactive museums, Anastasia State Park ($8 admission), or other nature preserves. 

2. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans visitors can enjoy a blend of cultures in the historic French Quarter. Sample local dishes or the local jazz scene. With proximity to the Mississippi River, you’ll find riverboat excursions and local wildlife parks. 

3. San Antonio, Texas 

Visiting the famous Alamo is free, and it costs nothing to stroll down San Antonio’s historic riverwalk. Sample authentic Tex-Mex cuisine and learn more about the local culture, or visit the Japanese Tea Garden (also free) for a one-of-a-kind experience.

4. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City offers affordable attractions such as Myriad Botanical Gardens ($10.50 admission), the American Banjo Museum ($6 to $8), and the First Americans Museum ($15/adult). Accommodations are plentiful, as are affordable places to eat and shop.

5. Cannon Beach, Oregon

Nature lovers will find a scenic coast on Cannon Beach as well as hiking destinations in one of the nearby state parks. Venture into town for self-guided walking tours, or visit the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum for free. 

6. Charleston, South Carolina

Take advantage of free tours, including the self-guided tour of Fort Sumter. Visit The Gibbes Museum — an art museum with a $12.95/adult admission fee — or stroll through the Charleston City Market. Accommodations and prices depend on your itinerary, but Charleston is one of the cheapest places to travel in the U.S.

7. Savannah, Georgia

Savannah has free walking tours and seasonal events in Forsyth Park. The Webb Military Museum offers a fascinating perspective on the U.S. military ($10/adult admission), while the Savannah History Museum costs $9 per adult. River Street and City Market present shopping and dining opportunities, or for a slightly more upscale experience, consider a river cruise. 

8. Salt Lake City, Utah

Outdoor activities abound in Salt Lake City, including hiking, kayaking, and biking. Take a boat tour or swing into town to visit one of the area’s many free museums. The city also boasts many affordable eateries that won’t break the bank if you plan ahead.

9. San Diego, California

Tickets to San Diego Zoo are $72 per adult, and the city has many affordable attractions, including the urban Balboa Park with gardens and museums embedded throughout. Mission Beach offers swimming and sunbathing. Eating requires some planning, but the San Diego area has dining options that fit any budget.

10. Washington, D.C.

Enjoy free admission to world-renowned museums such as the Air and Space Museum and Museum of Natural History. Further downtown you’ll find international dining options and cultural activities for affordable prices. Save on parking by leaving your car outside the city and relying on the area’s many forms of public transportation.

11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Visit attractions such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art ($30/adult), or swing downtown to sample one of the city’s famous cheesesteaks. For $13/person, get a one-day pass for transportation to save money in navigating the city. 

12. Denver, Colorado

In Denver, you’ll find hiking, skiing, and city amenities. The Colorado State Capitol and Denver Mint both offer free admission days, and the Molly Brown House Museum offers admission for $22/person. Accommodations and dining options can easily be tailored to your budget.

13. Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City offers a surprising number of free and affordable attractions, including Boulevard Brewing Company ($10 on weekdays). Barbecue enthusiasts may enjoy the city’s famous restaurant scene, and you can tour downtown for free from the KC Streetcar. 

14. Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is generally known for its affordable airfare, making it easy to travel to this one-of-a-kind location. On the first Friday of each month, there is a city-wide art sale, and visitors can also enjoy free outdoor activities at Piestewa Peak or the South Mountain Park & Preserve.

15. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis offers free admission to Mud Island River Park. Many bars and clubs don’t require a cover charge, so you can enjoy the local music scene affordably. The money you save can help you with admission to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley ($82/person).

Must-visit affordable national parks in the U.S.

Some of the cheapest places to travel in the U.S. include the country’s national parks. If you enjoy hiking or mountain biking, consider vacationing in one of the following destinations.

16. Grand Teton National Park

For a $32 admission fee, Grand Teton National Park offers a 42-mile scenic loop that provides breathtaking views. Visitors will find hiking, boating, and fishing within the park proper, and ranger-led programs give you an in-depth look at the park.

17. Great Basin National Park

At Great Basin National Park, you’ll find no entrance fee and numerous hiking trails for all ability levels. Visitors can also tour Lehman Caves. You’ll find both developed and primitive camping options within the campground.

18. Olympic National Park 

With a $55 annual pass, visitors can traverse the Hoh or Quinault rain forests as well as enjoy Rialto or Ruby Beach at Olympic National Park. Sol Duc Falls features a multi-layered waterfall, and guests can choose from wooded or beachfront campgrounds. 

19. Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is synonymous with scenic views and photographic opportunities. Choose from multiple hiking trails or tour the Crystal Cave. In the winter, you can also opt for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Get an annual pass for $70.

20. Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park features scenic drives and multiple hiking trails. Lake MacDonald offers kayaking and swimming, and you can go rafting on the middle fork of the Flathead River. If you’re not into camping, Glacier offers comfortable lodging just inside the entrance. The cost per vehicle is $25 with an additional $20 per person.

Vacation on a budget

Vacationing on a budget isn’t difficult if you plan ahead. These affordable destinations offer educational and recreational opportunities you won’t find anywhere else and can be great for singles and families alike.


What is the vacation capital of the U.S.?

Orlando is popularly regarded as America’s vacation capital. Just be prepared to pay for theme parks such as Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld.

What is the least expensive U.S. state to visit?

Mississippi ranks as the least expensive state to visit in the U.S. This is due to low transportation costs and low gas prices, as well as accommodations and dining.

How to visit all 50 states on a budget?

Plan ahead! Visiting all 50 states is possible, but you may save money by pursuing campgrounds over hotels and preparing meals yourself instead of dining out.

What is the least expensive way to travel in the USA?

Bus travel can be surprisingly affordable. Popular bus lines offer discounted rates and have extensive routes across the country.

What is the best vacation for couples in the United States?

Every couple is different. While some prefer the luxury of Napa Valley or the beaches of Maui, others may prefer the rugged adventure of camping — which can also save money.

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