Zion national park

5 Budget-Friendly Travel Destinations in the US Go from coast to coast at a lower cost

The United States boasts some of the most gorgeous views in the world, from gorgeous snowfall on the east coast to thriving sunny skies on the west coast. There really is something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a major city to explore solo or a family trip to the beach. With so many places to discover, there’s no reason to choose a location that’ll break the bank. We’ve narrowed down a list of some affordable places in the US, where adventure is guaranteed.

Read – Do It This Year: How to Plan Your Destination Trip

Table of Contents

Portland, OR

If you’re looking for the perfect west coast weekend trip, Portland is a great city for families or young travelers alike. Portland is an often overlooked city and it doesn’t come to mind at first as a vacation spot. Portland, however, has an incredible nightlife, a top culinary scene, is a great place for shopping for unique goods, and is a gorgeous place to venture into the great outdoors.

Portland, OR
Pauline Nguyen

Transportation and Accommodation

Airbnbs on average goes for around $50 and hotels $120 per day. They’re scattered in different districts in Portland, and there are plenty of safe cities that are close to central Downtown. Transportation is never an issue in Portland, from cheap car rentals to bus transportation. However, if you’re looking to visit the popular waterfalls and hikes in Portland, we recommend renting a car which averages around $120 for a weekend getaway.

Things to Do

Many sites from waterfalls to hikes are completely free! A 30-minute drive outside of Portland, Multnomah Falls sits on the Columbia Gorge River and is the tallest waterfall in Oregon. Another great waterfall with a short 2-mile roundtrip hike is Wahclella Falls Hike. For things to do within the actual city, Pittock Mansion showcases a gorgeous skyline of Portland and the view is completely free. Visit the “Keep Portland Weird” sign to embrace the city’s uniqueness and if you’re looking for something off the wall, we love McMenamin’s Kennedy School where they turned a school into a bar and lounge. For some relaxation, take a dip in a hot soaking pool in the cold weather for only $5.

Places to Try

Try a mouthwatering chicken biscuit sandwich at the famous Pine State Biscuits, and of course, take a pit stop at a popular brunch spot called Tasty n Sons. Portland offers some of the best brews and we don’t question it. 10 Barrel Brewing offers a rooftop patio, delicious beers and appetizers and The Commons Brewery is a favorite, making small batch beers with local ingredients. Portland’s most famous for their food trucks, so be sure to try any that you stumble upon.

Washington D.C.

Although flights can be fairly expensive to D.C. depending where you’re departing from, the activities in the nation’s capital are inexpensive and can be completely free if planned correctly. Visit the historic sights and take a step back to enjoy a little bit of U.S. history in one of America’s largest cities.

Washington D.C.
Pauline Nguyen

Transportation and Accommodation

We recommend utilizing public transportation while traveling in D.C. by taking the metro, streetcar, commuter rail and bus, which are available to the public. Airbnbs average is approximately $130 a night, and go as low as $100 near Old town near the waterfront,  or stay a night in the West End side of D.C. which is in closer proximity to the national monuments for a slightly higher average of $120.

Things to Do

Some of our favorite things to do are check out the memorials in D.C. because after all, you’re in the capital of the United States. Rent out a bike in the bike share program found throughout the city of D.C. and take a ride to the National World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial all in one. Check out any museum including the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum, both crowd favorites and that are completely free.

Places to Try

Washington D.C. has one of the top culinary scenes in the industry. D.C. and is known for their seafood, specifically their crab cakes. We love Capitol Hill Crab Cakes for delicious seafood at great prices. Federalist Pig is another hot spot known for their spice rub and chicken wings, and for one of the best and cheap do-it-yourself pizzas, &pizza has our hearts.

Austin, TX

Visit the capital of Texas and immerse yourself in the live music capital of the world, the gorgeous outdoors, and the vibrant nightlife that Austin has to offer. Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, so brace yourself for an exciting trip that is perfect for the city-slicker or the thrill seeker because there really is something for everyone.

Austin, TX
Katie Chen

Transportation and Accommodation

Capital Metro, the public bus system in Austin, is a great way to get around at a rate of 50 cents in the downtown district. There is also a free trolley that can take you to the popular tourist destinations, and will ensure you don’t get lost. If you’re staying in the city, a car rental isn’t necessary since Austin is a very walkable city which will save you plenty of cash. If you need to travel within the city and don’t feel like wearing your feet out, the app RideAustin will be useful for you.

Things to Do

Two of our favorite sights for a gorgeous view of Austin include Lady Bird Lake and Ziller Park. Visit the Barton Spring Pools from 5 – 9 am or 9 – 10 pm for free admission to a swimming hole. And of course, be sure to check out the live music. Scoot In is a hidden music venue with delicious food, and C-Boy’s Heart and Soul is perfect if you’re looking for some good R & B. And be sure to take a visit to the Bullock Texas State History Museum and the Texas State Capitol to learn a bit more about Texas history.

Places to Try

Austin offers a diverse range of foods at great prices at top-notch quality. Ramen Tatsuya is one of our favorite places for ramen with a killer broth base. A must-try is either Franklin BBQ or Saw Lick for authentic Texas BBQ. And of course, tacos are a must when visiting Austin. Torchy’s Tacos is a well-known place, as well as Taco Joint.

Page, AZ

If you’re looking for the perfect outdoor trip to go with friends or family, look no further. Page, located in Arizona, offers breathtaking landscapes at an incredibly low cost. This place is great if you’re looking to take photos of slot canyons or just want to soak in the beautiful Arizona sunsets. Pack your sunscreen and put on your hiking shoes, because you won’t want to miss this spot.

Page, AZ
Pauline Nguyen

Transportation and Accommodation

Renting a car is almost a necessity when it comes to visiting Page, so take that cost into account. Depending on where you’re coming from, if you’re flying into Arizona it’s better to fly into Phoenix and drive up to Page as the tickets to the Page airport can get pretty pricey. Airbnbs and hotels are offered close to Page, with hotels averaging around $120 and Airbnbs at approximately $150 on average.

Things to Do

Famous for two distinct landmarks, Page is a photographer’s dream. Known for their slot canyons, a visit to Antelope Canyon is a must. Take a trip down the hidden slots of the Lower and Upper Antelope Canyons for stunning views and great Instagrams. For $30, take a tour on the Navajo lands and witness the canyon that’s formed by erosion from flash flooding. Afterwards, take a trip to Horseshoe Bend, a horseshoe shaped rock formation with a gorgeous view of the Columbia River. Take a dip in Lake Powell once you’re done with all of your tours. It costs $20 for each vehicle, but is good for 7 days!

Places to Try

Take a quick lunch break at Big John’s Texas BBQ for some a hearty all-American meal. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, River’s End Cafe is the perfect spot before taking a tour into the canyons.

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Florida is known for renowned theme parks, but there is so much more to do than visit Disney World and Hogwarts inside Universal (although that’s pretty cool, too). Pack your bags and prepare for a relaxing getaway to Florida, a top destination for beaches and jungle cruisin’. As a place that’s well known for well-priced accommodations and a long list of things to do, it’s no wonder travelers are flocking here.

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Transportation and Accommodation

The bus system is the perfect way to get around, with a day pass priced at just $5. We also recommend renting a car which averages out to about $15/day, a much more affordable rate than other parts of the country. Hotels average about $120 a night and Airbnbs about $80/night.

Things to Do

Take a day trip to Los Olas Blvd, a thoroughfare laced with canals and waterfront homes lined with bars, shops, and restaurants. Afterward, be sure to visit the 23 mile stretch of beaches that are perfect for swimming and tossing a frisbee around. Take a jog or bike ride on the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, or take an airboat tour at Sawgrass Recreation Park to get a view of the gators Florida is known for.

Places to Try

Known for Cuban food, Juana La Cabana Cafe is a must try with generous portions and authentic Cuban cuisine. If you’re looking for something quick, Nacho Bizness International Taco Bar is a food truck that satisfies even the locals. For live music and a dive bar with delicious food, Original Fat Cat’s does not disappoint. And if you’re looking for a nice beachfront bar, McSorley’s Beach Pub is a crowd favorite.

Read Next – Do It This Year: How to Plan Your Destination Trip

You May Also Like