See and Do More for Less
Traveling on a tight budget doesn’t have to be limiting if you know where to go. From coast to coast, America offers plenty of affordable destinations featuring something for every interest. Here are 15 of those places that offer the most to see and do for less.
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City offers visitors tons of wallet-friendly sites and attractions, including unique museums such as the National WWI Museum and Memorial and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, among others. Travelers can also tour the city’s 200-plus fountains in addition to inviting outdoor spaces like Loose Park without dipping into their bank account.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City boasts no shortage of breathtaking nature, parks and landmarks that visitors can experience for cheap. The Great Salt Lake is among the many draws for outdoor enthusiasts while Temple Square offers acres and acres of rich history and stunning architecture. Visitors can also make the Big Cottonwood Canyon scenic drive for more epic sights.
San Antonio, Texas
Easily one of America’s most underrated cities, San Antonio is best known for renowned tourist attractions like the Alamo and River Walk, neither of which will cost visitors a penny to experience. Travelers should also seek out the city’s Historic Market Square and the 343-acre Brackenridge Park for more affordable fun.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is another tremendous value destination for travelers heading to the Southwest, especially large families needing to budget more money for museum admission and other attraction costs. The ABQ BioPark is home to the zoo, aquarium, botanic gardens and Tingley Beach fishing area, all of which can be accessed for free or relatively cheap. There are also plenty of scenic trails to explore, including the Rio Grande Bosque Trail.
Iconic Beale Street, Graceland and many of Memphis’ other premier attractions are free to visit or at least budget-friendly. Downtown is very walkable so visitors don’t need to spend a ton on transportation either. That means more money to spend on the city’s world-famous BBQ and Southern cuisine at places like Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken and Payne’s Bar-B-Que.
Home to one of the world’s most accessible airports, Atlanta is relatively cheap to get to and once on the ground, finding a cheap hotel stay is easy with plenty of affordable accommodations to choose from. There are also lots of free things to do in Atlanta, from touring downtown via Centennial Olympic Park to sightseeing along historic Auburn Avenue.
The City of Brotherly Love is a must for history buffs who should consider the city’s many historic sites and attractions, including Independence National Historical Park and Eastern State Penitentiary. Meanwhile, families will also want to check out the kid-friendly Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Zoo, which is home to more than 1,300 animals.
Houston is among the nation’s most underrated cities catering to budget-conscious travelers as it offers a wide variety of free things to do, including attractions ranging from epic (NASA Space Center) to unique (Gerald D. Hines Waterfall Park) and simply one-of-a-kind (Beer Can House).
New Orleans, Louisiana
Experiencing the Big Easy on a budget is still a great time as there’s much to see and do, including people-watching in places like Bourbon Street and Jackson Square in the French Quarter, touring the St. Louis Cathedral, strolling charming areas like the Garden District and Gallery Row and relaxing on the riverfront.
Denver’s abundant sunshine and picturesque locale won’t cost travelers a dime but there’s lots more to experience without breaking the bank, including the Children’s Museum of Denver, the unparalleled Red Rocks natural stone amphitheater and a slew of inviting parks like the sprawling City Park.
Another sun-kissed destination out West, Phoenix is incredibly welcoming to budget-conscious and frugal visitors alike who can enjoy scenic desert hikes in addition to self-guided street art walking tours downtown. Many of the city’s top museums, including the Heard Museum even offer free admission days from time to time.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Your biggest expense on an Outer Banks vacation will be your vacation rental but inviting some friends or family along for the trip is a great way to split up the cost and take advantage of the added space. Lounging on the beach, fishing from Avalon Pier and other hotspots and kayaking the Currituck Sound are just a few of the awesome activities visitors can enjoy at no cost. Travelers can also explore exciting nature and wildlife in places like Pea Island and Cape Hatteras.
St. Augustine, Florida
Rich history, spectacular beaches and an array of special attractions await visitors to St. Augustine, one of Florida’s most overlooked cities. Founded more than 450 years ago, St. Augustine’s Spanish colonial history is on display throughout, including notable highlights such as the Castillo de San Marcos and Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Like in St. Augustine and the Outer Banks, beach bums can stretch their budget further by spending their time unwinding on the coast in Myrtle Beach. Staying in a vacation rental or camping are great ways to save some money but visitors can also check out coupon booklets for savings on mini-golf and other activities and frequent tasty spots like the River City Cafe to dine deliciously within their budget.
Visitors to Cincinnati have plenty of wallet-friendly activities to choose from, including the free Cincinnati Art Museum and the always fascinating visit to Findlay Market. Travelers should also be sure to venture over the Purple People Bridge to enjoy stellar views of the downtown skyline. Meanwhile, affordable and fun Covington, Kentucky is a worthwhile stop on the other side of the Ohio River.
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