Hunting for the best budget vacation plans and most affordable cities to travel to? Fear not: Great food, beverages, culture and entertainment can all be had without breaking the bank.

10 Fun and Affordable Vacation Escapes
10 Fun and Affordable Vacation Escapes

Whether you choose to reach your destination by plane, train or automobile, rest assured that great options are available at every price range and that memories made on your adventures will last a lifetime. Here are 10 of the best budget vacation plans and affordable travel options you can experience:

Las Vegas

If you’re able to stay away from the poker tables—or at least set a reasonable limit—the city is actually a very affordable place to visit, especially if you go midweek. Food can be affordable if you stick to buffets (and pair visits with coupons), and many attractions like the fountains at the Bellagio and the Fremont Street Experience light show are free and fun to experience.

Grand Canyon

Yes, the Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. And it’s also a surprisingly affordable sight to take in, especially if you camp—and camping comes with spectacular views, of course. The National Park Service offers several free admission days too, which may present an ideal time to plan your visit around.

San Antonio

Both the hip and the historic can be found in this pleasant Texas city. Start by visiting the San Antonio Missions National Park to see the Alamo, then stroll along the Riverwalk. While the hipness factor is driving up prices in some noted restaurants, you’ll find the town’s room rates are still quite competitive.

Jacksonville

Not every Florida vacation will break your bank account. Jacksonville boasts the largest urban park system in the country, not to mention beaches with free parking, museums with free admission and luxury hotels with lower rates. Oh, and the Budweiser brewery offers free, self-guided tours with a free brewski for you and your significant other to enjoy as well.

Memphis

You’ll be walkin’ in Memphis to enjoy all the free things to do. Several museums are free to enjoy every day, and many other of the city’s attractions offer free admission at least one day of the week. Add to that free concerts, free entry to state parks, and free duck walks (yes, the ducks go for a walk every day at the Peabody Hotel), and it’ll be a vacation to remember.

Kansas City

With free art museums—and good ones, that is—along with reasonable hotel prices and delicious (and quite inexpensive) barbecue, this city is well worth a trip. The city’s got a thriving arts scene, and every first Friday of the month, the galleries stay open later to offer lots of free entertainment, plus some fun food trucks.

Williamsburg

The Williamsburg Botanical Garden and the York County Historical Museum are both free, as are the downtown trolley rides, the St. James ferry rides, and the grounds of Colonial Williamsburg as well. (Although admission to the museums and buildings does require a ticket, however). Some hotels also offer discounted tickets to local attractions too.

Salt Lake City

Yes, it’s a great ski town, but there are plenty of other outdoorsy activities to be had on the cheap here. Both state and national parks (including the incredible Zion, Arches and Bryce Canyon) are easily accessible from the city. Offering reasonable hotel and food prices, this vacation spot only gets better. Extra deals on everything from hotels to attractions can also be found on the city’s tourism website.

Minneapolis/St. Paul

OK, so you could go way overboard at the Mall of America, but there are plenty of cheaper things to do in the Twin Cities. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Walker Arts Center are all free attractions, for example, as is the Como Zoo & Conservatory—and so are all 200 parks, 22 lakes and the banks of the mighty Mississippi.

Washington, D.C.

Except for hotel and meals, you really don’t have to spend anything—that’s right, anything—to visit most of the museums and monuments, and (by contacting your U.S. Representative’s office), you can also get a free tour (usually with an intern) of the U.S. Capitol.  Plus, if you stay at least three nights, many hotels offer a third bonus night for free.

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