Weekend Trip Destinations in the U.S. That Won't Break the Bank

Weekend Trip Destinations in the U.S. That Won't Break the Bank

Sometimes stresses and chaos in everyday life makes people to go on a quick getaway to clear their minds and recharge. Taking a break from one’s normal routine, then going back to work leads to feeling refreshed and more productive.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Be an Olympian for a day. Salt Lake City hosted record crowds for the Winter Olympics in 2002 and the city is still a hotspot for travelers. Visitors can skate on Olympic ice; take on an adventure course at Utah Olympic Park; or watch top athletes train for the next competition. Outside of the Olympic venues, you’ll find the Great Salt Lake, Snowbird resort and nearby canyons, which are perfect settings for outdoor recreation. Flights from New York start at $190.

Madison, Wisconsin

This is one of the most underrated cities in America. Physically active people will love it there. You will also find plenty of dive bars, a thriving scene for hiking. Big Ten sports, breweries, local organic foods, a revolving door of shows and concerts – what’s not to like? In 2014, Madison even topped the list of the 100 best places to live in the U.S.

Santa Barbara, California

The seaside city claims the perfect mixture of festive and laid-back settings, a weather that is always just right, and educational cultural establishments. Nights are filled with partying and relaxation. You will find the crowds you’re looking – from wild and rowdy to the more calm and sophisticated. Go to The Neighborhood for a typical Santa Barbara bar experience; visit The Velvet Jones or The James Joyce for some of the best live music and cocktails; and explore wine country with various tours.

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Visiting a national park is hardly ever expansive. Often outshined by Zion, Arches or the Bryce Canyon national parks, Capitol Reef doesn’t get as much attention as it should. It’s ideal for camping as backcountry, group, remote, primitive or developed camping – all options are available. The park is characterized by sandstone formations, cliffs and canyons, and a 100-mile long bulge in the earth's crust called the Waterpocket Fold. Explore the twisting canyons, massive domes, and monoliths.

Lake Placid, New York

Another wonderful city where you get to experience Winter Olympics. On top of the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, visitors can actually try out biathlon, bobsled and skeleton with the help of trained professionals. If you’d rather try a winter sport that’s a bit less adrenaline pumping, Whiteface offers snow tubing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, too. Pair those sports with great lodging, dining and shopping options and even non-skiers will be happy with this vacation.

New Orleans, Louisiana

NOLA is an amazing city to escape to for a sunny and warm January. As the Cajun French say, “Laissez les bons temps rouler”—let the good times roll. The city has earned a wild reputation and Bourbon Street is always worth a stroll, but there’s more to the city than a stretch of bars. Don’t go around Mardi Gars in February and you save a lot of money. Visit the historic French Quarter, tour the Garden District and take one of the amazing ghost tours that winds through bars, alleyways, and cemeteries.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Atlanta, Georgia

Take your family to the Georgia Aquarium, one of the best in the U.S. They will love the educational and entertaining trips. They can spend the night (and so can you!); the aquarium offers “Sleepover Programs.” You will get entrance to all presentations, guided tours, dinner, breakfast and the chance to sleep right in front of a gorgeous gallery window. Also, Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park is free. This is a nice foodie destination, especially if you enjoy southern food.

Austin, Texas

The weekend starts on Thursday. Go to the parties on South Congress Avenue and you’ll know why. The city has warm weather nearly year-round, making recreational activities a favorite pastime for residents. The divine food alone is a reason to go there for a week. But you can engage in certain recreational activities as well, such as hiking and camping in the McKinney Falls, a 635-acre park with many trails. The nightlife doesn’t take a break until 6 a.m.

Providence, Rhode Island

This is the capital of Rhode Island and one of the oldest cities in the United States. It has a lively dining, arts, and theater scene. Low-cost events and attractions are available throughout the city. For instance, the RISD Museum is free every third Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and admission to the Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park only costs $5 for adults and $2 for children.

Tucson, Arizona

When people think of Arizona, they usually imagine a desert, but it can be very diverse. The city boasts perfect environmental conditions for outdoor recreational activities – horseback riding, hiking, golfing. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a major attraction with its fusion zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, aquarium, and art gallery. You can explore 21 acres with two miles of walking trails. Visit the Kitt Peak National Observatory which has the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes.

Branson, Missouri

Outdoor fun, zip line rides, attractions like the Hollywood Wax Museum, live shows, amazing acrobats and animals – Branson has it all. Nature lovers won’t be disappointed either. They have access to thrilling opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, trout and bass fishing, hunting, trap and skeet shooting, spelunking, and rock climbing. Branson also made the list of the most pet-friendly vacation destinations and the best trail running towns in the U.S.

Ojai, California

This is well artists and wellness-seekers come to spend some quality time. One of the reasons why Ojai is so appealing is that it’s framed by the Topatopa Mountains. The weather is almost always amazing, the sky is always clear, and the air is clean. Hike the Gridley Trail and Shelf Road for breathtaking sights views of the valley. Spend time in the Los Padres National Forest or, better yet, try climbing, fishing, and swimming there. Don’t miss the catching the gorgeous sunset from Meditation Mount, a 32-acre retreat.

Los Angeles, California

You are sure to find affordable versions of everything you want to see and do in this big city. The clubs, music, concert venues, and theatre and cinema – it’s all worth a trip. Los Angeles is known for its amazing weather, sandy beaches, and picturesque piers. Thousands of visitors each day are drawn to its beaches. Explore Descanso Beach for incredible snorkeling opportunities, South Beach for the ultimate relaxation and Middle Beach for scenic views.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s natural wonders and there is no question why. It gets approximately 5 million visitors every year. Go rafting, camping, biking and hiking. A fun activity is Virtual Caching. Sign up and you will be led to discover a certain location on the rim. Who knows where that will take you…Climb to the top of the stone Watchtower, which is 70 feet tall, for a panoramic view covering more than 100 miles. The park is also a popular destination for whitewater rafting.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Williamsburg, Virginia

Spend the day at Busch Gardens, visit Colonial Williamsburg, splash around at Water Country USA, learn the chemistry of making glass at the Jamestown Glasshouse and go for a walk around the York River State Park. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, try the Ape Treetop Adventure Course and zip line your way through Williamsburg’s tree tops.

Sarasota, Florida

This is one of the best beach towns to live in the U.S. What brings Sarasota so high on the list is its “quality of life” rank – 3 overall. This is no surprise when you soak up the sun along white-sand beaches every day and treat yourself to diverse dining, inspiring arts and culture. Sarasota is also among the beach towns with the most nightlife establishments, restaurants and coffee shops per capita.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Romantic Santa Fe or off the beaten path Taos usually gets most of the attention. But the state’s capital offers a nice mixture of both, plus some more. You can stay at a four-star hotel for less than $200 a night. If you don’t need the extra luxury you can easily find deals for $100 or less. The city is a great destination for art lovers. Visit as many of its 100 galleries and museums as you can. The street art, especially on Central Avenue, is unique.

Gulf Shores, Alabama

The Alabama Gulf Coast offers something for everyone. Tourists and locals enjoy swimming, sunbathing, surfing and skim boarding on the beaches. Fishing is big there, too. Charter fleets leave every day. The Gulf Shores has a lot of wildlife and nature trails. When you need a break from those sugar-white clear sandy beaches, go on a zip line course over the waters of Lake Shelby. As for nightlife – there is concert or another kind of music event almost every day.

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore will actually pay people to move and live there. People get $5,000 toward the purchase of a home in the city. The city is still somewhat underrated when it comes to tourist destinations and that is one of the reasons why a trip there will fit anyone’s budget. Go bar and restaurant hopping, explore the popular Fell’s Point neighborhood, and certainly try some, including experimental, beers at the Guinness's new brewery.

Denver, Colorado

Visiting can be an educational and cultural experience. Take the opportunity to learn about the myths and legends of the world at the Museum of Nature and Science, a must-see. Visit the Performing Arts Center to see amazing Broadway-style shows. The Denver Art Museum has a true gem and admission is free for anyone 18 and younger. In case the weather is not perfect some days, check out the Apex Center. It has two ice rinks, a gigantic indoor aquatic play area, climbing wall, indoor track, and themed indoor playground.

Las Vegas, Nevada

The Sin City is always an affordable destinations considering the number of hotels, bars and restaurants in it. Airfare is cheap (about $200 from New York), and so are hotel rates (around and under $50 per night). The weather is also perfect for people who don’t like too high or low temperatures and the variety of adventures (other than gambling) are endless.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Even though this is a small and artsy chic town along the state’s amazing coastal highway, it maintains its old-fashioned vibe. The main beach also has a laid-back atmosphere, which you may not expect from a beach in California. Rated a top-10 destination in the U.S. year after year, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a stunning, European-style town snuggled above a scenic white-sand beach where everything is within walking distance.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

It’s known as a college town, which means that, by definition, it’s cheap. It also means that life is fun there. The nice and rich mixture of bars, restaurants, theatres and museums will astonish you. Hotels go for about $130 a night, on average, according to Hotels.com. There are plenty of attractions that won’t cost a penny: the University Of Michigan Museum Of Art and the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, to name a few.

Orlando, Florida

Admittedly, this is not the least expensive city on the list; however, there is a way to go on vacation in Disney and not go broke as a result. In fact, there are at least 25 ways to do that. There are several other amusement parks you can visit, not all of which have skyrocketing prices.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

This is where the 2018 Super Bowl takes place, so you may be better off going after March if you want to save money. The city is friendly to all other kinds of visitors, not just the sports fans. Explore one of the most awesome park systems in all of the U.S. and don’t miss a chance to visit the Prince's Paisley Park Museum. The remarkable list of worthy restaurants, theaters, and natural attractions grows every day.

Flagstaff, Arizona

Take in a deep breath of fresh mountain air. The city set at the base of the San Francisco Peaks and bounded by national forests has an extensive array of outdoor activities. Mountain bikers, hikers and campers will find plenty to do. Explore an ancient underground tunnel at the Lava River Cave, access tons of mountain bike trails at Shultz Pass trailhead and camp out in the Coconino National Forest this summer in Flagstaff.

Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. is full of family-friendly activities. Take the kids to the Asia Trail, gaze up at the starts at Rock Creek Park, go shopping at the National Mall, and have some fun at the East Potomac Golf Course. Take your family to the National Museum of Natural History, the National Building Museum and the National Museum of American History. Then make sure you visit the Washington Monument, the National Harbor and the Capital Wheel. Fun fact: Did you know that the capital is known to be one of the most haunted cities in America?

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