Looking to travel within the US while on a budget? Here’s our list of the top 11 cheap destinations to visit in the US.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
With affordable flights, hotels and eats, Albuquerque has consistently been ranked in the top cheapest destinations to visit in the US.
Free/cheap things to do: explore one of the city’s many parks, catch a minor league baseball game, explore the weekend flea market, hike or bike in the 28,000 acres of open space set aside by the city, see ancient petroglyphs along three self-guided trails in Petroglyph Park, visit a winery or tap room for a free tasting
Budget hotel cost: $60- $90 per night
Can’t miss cheap eats: huevos rancheros at the Range Café, Carne Adovada Plate at Mary & Tito’s Cafe, Doughnut Medley at Rebel Donut, Azteca Waffle at Tia B’s La Waffleria, Green Chile Stew at the Frontier Restaurant
Cheap flights, cheap hotels and lots of free things to do make Atlanta one of the best all-around cheap destinations in the US to visit.
Free/cheap things to do: Visit the Atlanta Contemporary Art Gallery, catch some free music entertainment in Olympic Park, visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site, walk or bike the BeltLine, take a brewery tour
Budget hotel cost: $70 – $100 per night
Can’t miss cheap eats: Fried Chicken at Mary Mac’s, A Hotdog at The Varsity, Texas Fries at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q
With good food, good music, and good vibes, Austin has quickly become a popular destination to visit in the US. Plus, it’s a college town, so it has lots of budget-friendly entertainment and food options for students!
Free/cheap things to do: hike or bike the Butler trail, go swimming at Barton Springs pool, climb Mount Bonnel for a great view of the city, go to a honky tonk, discover the graffiti art around town
Budget hotel cost: around $50/night
Can’t miss cheap eats: breakfast tacos at Juan in a Million, Ooga Booga Waffles, Enchiladas at the Dart Bowl, chili at Texas Chili Parlor
Due to its central location and two airports it’s easy to score a cheap and easy flight to Chicago. Although it’s a big and popular city, there’s plenty of cheap or free things to do, making Chicago easily one the US’ best cheap destinations.
Free/cheap things to do: Explore Lincoln Park Conservatory, watch a student improv show at Second City Training Center, catch a classic movie at Doc Film’s Theater, just walk around and explore the city
Budget hotel cost: $100 – $120 per night if you want to stay downtown
Can’t miss cheap eats: deep dish pizza at Pequod’s Pizza, Hotdogs and Italian beef at Portillo’s, momos at the Momo World
If your idea of a good budget vacation involves lots of hiking and nature (and maybe some post-hike beers for those of-age), then Denver is the perfect budget destination for you.
Free/cheap things to do: go hiking or biking on the trails all in and around the city, free or inexpensive museums and tours such as the Coors Brewery, United States Mint Tour, Denver Story Trek, Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, and the Colorado State Capitol. If you rent a car, drive over to Colorado Springs to see the breathtaking views of the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak.
Budget hotel cost: $70-$90 per night
Can’t miss cheap eats: Green chile-smothered breakfast burrito at Sam’s No. 3., breakfast at Cozy Cottage, pizza at Pizzeria Locale, Banh Mi at Vinh Xuong Bakery, tacos at La Potranca Taqueria
Las Vegas, Nevada
While Las Vegas is often known for its glitz and glamor, it can easily be a fun and cheap destination to visit in the US. Since the hotels make most of their money on the casinos in the lobby, you can usually snag a great deal on a room at a nice hotel.
Free/cheap things to do: walk around and explore the resorts, connect with a club promoter to get free entry (and maybe drinks) at a club, rent a car and get out of the city and go hiking nearby
Budget hotel cost: $40- $60 per night (on the Strip!)
Can’t miss cheap eats: Tacos El Gordo, hotdogs from DirtDog, In-N-Out burger, arepas at Viva Las Arepas
Home to the Kentucky Derby, the Louisville Slugger and Mohamed Ali, Louisville is a great cheap destination to visit in the US.
Free/cheap things to do: watch the horses race at Churchill Downs (general admission is just $3), walk across the Big Four Bridge to Indiana, explore the art exhibitions at 21C Museum hotel, enjoy minor league baseball at a Louisville Bats game
Budget hotel cost: $60 – $90 per night
Can’t miss cheap eats: breakfast at Wagner’s Pharmacy, burger from Ollie’s Trolley, Tacos from el Taco Luchador, Chocolate Chip Cookies from Please & Thank You
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Although Myrtle Beach is a popular spring break destination, it can also be one of the cheaper beachside getaway destinations in the US.
Free/cheap things to do: watch the sunrise over the water, explore the mile-long boardwalk, hit the beach, window-shop and enjoy the atmosphere at Barefoot Landing
Budget hotel cost: $130 – $150
Can’t miss cheap eats: southern comfort food at Big Mike’s Soul Food, barbecue at Pop Pop’s Pit Barbecue, hotdogs at Charlie Grainers
New Orleans, Louisiana
While New Orleans may not seem like a cheap destination to visit in the US because of its popularity during Mardi Gras, it’s actually pretty easy to visit the Big Easy on a budget. If you select a hotel outside of the popular French Quarter, and visit the right time of year, you can easily enjoy a cheap getaway.
Free/cheap things to do: Watch street performers, enjoy one of many free festivals the city has to offer, or just take a walk around to explore and people-watch
Budget hotel cost: $80 – $100 per night
Can’t miss cheap eats: Beignets at Cafe du Monde, Po Boys at Parkaway Bakery, fried chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House
San Antonio, Texas
Home to the Alamo and the River Walk, San Antonio is a great destination for a cheap getaway within the US. You can enjoy the influence of Mexico without leaving the US with San Antonio’s Tex-Mex cuisine, fiestas and markets.
Free/cheap things to do: The Alamo and San Antonio National Historical Park both offer free admission. Take a (free) stroll on the city’s famous River Walk or through the King William Historic area.
Budget hotel cost: $70-$90 per night
Can’t miss cheap eats: carnitas at Carnitas Lonja, tortas at La Panaderia, Dignowity Meats, smoked chicken at The Barbecue Station, Menudo at Mi Tierra Café y Panadería, Chilaquiles Verdes at Vida Mia Mexican Cuisine
Savannah is not only one of the cheapest destinations in the US to visit. It’s a fun city full of southern charm, nightlife, food and history.
Free/cheap things to do: explore the city’s many parks and squares, visit the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, stroll through the botanical gardens, take a ghost tour
Budget hotel cost: $70-$80 per night
Can’t miss cheap eats: fried green tomatoes, shrimp & grits at Chubby’s Seafood, ice cream at Leopold’s
*A Note about flight prices: All prices were current at the time this was published. Prices are subject to availability and subject to change without notice. Flight prices vary by date, departure city, arrival city and availability. All taxes/fees are included in the price, except certain government taxes, change fees and fees imposed in destination and airline baggage fees if applicable.