The United States is home to an extensive range of vacation spots that offer lots of things to do at reasonable prices. Exposeuk.com, with the help of expert evaluation and user votes, ranked the best cheap vacation locations in the US we have to offer. Use this list to help you pick your next affordable domestic destination or even when planning a cheap vacation to the United States, it is still ideal, and don’t forget to vote for your choice getaway below to help shape next year’s list.
The Grand Canyon
“Grand” doesn’t begin to do this canyon any justice. Measuring about 277 river miles in length, up to 18 miles in diameter and a mile deep, this huge chasm in northern Arizona is absolutely a natural wonder. For over six million years, the Grand Canyon has opened wider with the help of the mighty Colorado River, and for many centuries, people from all over the world have traveled to gaze out over its red and orange beauty. Managed by the National Park Service and formally designated as a UNESCO World Heritage spot, the Grand Canyon leaves its about 6 million visitors per year awestruck.
But if you’re looking for a secluded escape to Mother Nature, you should be equipped: The Grand Canyon can be very much crowded. The South Rim – the home to the Grand Canyon Village and the well-worn Bright Angel Trail – is especially popular for sightseers and hikers. It is on this side that you will find the most facilities. For a break from the large crowds, head to the North Rim. This is the spot for backwoods camping and hardcore hiking
Best Things to Do in Grand Canyon
- Grand Canyon train
- Visit Havasu Falls
- Go Rafting
- North Kaibab Trail
- Grand Canyon Village
- Lees Ferry
2.Glacier National Park
Named for the remains of glaciers from the old ice age, Glacier National Park is found on the border of the United States and Canada and is frequently called the “Crown of the Continent” since it lies at the headwaters of the streams that run into the Pacific Ocean, Hudson Bay, US and the Gulf of Mexico. A preference among hikers, the park emphasizes a variety of trails for all skill levels, covering from the light Trail of the Cedars to the thrilling and challenging Grinnell Glacier. What’s more, the park parades more than 700 lakes, numerous waterfalls, and two mountain ranges, spread across over 1 million acres that shelter an array of wildlife.
Apart from its breathtaking geological points, it is also home to a fair amount of history. The Going-to-the-Sun Road – a scenic, 52-mile road drive through the park – is a National Historic Landmark and an engineering wonder that offers magnificent views, as well as entrance to popular hiking trails. Additionally, many of the park’s lodges, chalets and hotels were built by the Great Northern Railway in the early 20th century and now are on the National Register of Historic Places. Care to have a vacation a UNESCO World Heritage site? You will find that here, too: the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.
Best things to do in Glacier National Park
- Visit Lake McDonald
- Trail of the Cedars
- Going-to-the-Sun Road
- Logan Pass
- Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
- Iceberg Lake
- TrailHighline Trail
It’s hard to accept that not even a century ago, Alaska’s most advanced city was simply a bunch of tents. Established in 1914 during the building of the Alaska Railroad, Anchorage has since bloomed into the Last Frontier’s financial and commercial heart and now houses a massive 40 percent of the state’s population. However, while you are sure to find all the amenities of a cosmopolitan American city, that’s not what attracts tourists. Most people only catch an impression of this major northernmost U.S. city on their way to discovering the snow-capped summits of the surrounding mountain ranges or the endless wilderness that lies beyond.
Sure, Anchorage is a paradisiacal haven base for skiers, hikers, fishermen, and even wildlife watchers, but that doesn’t mean that the city itself should be disregarded. Alaska’s metropolis flaunts a plethora of attractions, including nightlife venues, museums, shops, and a fantastic zoo. And if nature is your true vocation, bear in mind that you don’t have to skirt the city’s boundaries to get your fill: Visit during the summer season to experience the City of Lights and Flowers (home to nearly 80,000 flowers throughout 460 flower beds) in full bloom or through any other season to be impressed by the sparkling Northern Lights.
Best Things to do in Anchorage
- Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
- Anchorage MuseumOscar
- Anderson House Museum
- Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
- Alaska Native Heritage Center
- Kincaid Park
- Anchorage Market & Festival
- Potter Marsh
- Chugach State Park
- Aviation Museum
With three main entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park found in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, it’s no wonder that visiting the park is the most famous attraction in this eastern Tennessee town. In fact, it is such a great hit that Gatlinburg’s population balloons during the top tourist season from less than 4,000 inhabitants to more than 40,000. With miles of tracks for hiking, biking and horseback riding, as well as historical exhibitions and cabins, and the chance to view black bears, elk, deer, and other amazing wildlife in their natural environment, it’s easy to see why the park is such a hot spot. When you are not in the park enjoying its natural wonders, you will likely spend time admiring it from several of Gatlinburg’s top tourist attractions, including the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway and the Gatlinburg Space Needle.
However, Gatlinburg isn’t just a gateway entrance to the Smokies. This small mountain town is a tourist destination in its own right and one that’s especially popular with families thanks to kid-friendly amusements like Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre. To get a feeling of local Gatlinburg culture, skip the kitschy relic shops and visit one of the numerous local galleries, including the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, to watch the local artists and craftsmen create everything from arts and pottery to handmade brooms and jewelry.
Best things to do in Gatlinburg
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
- Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area
- Gatlinburg Space Needle
- Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre
- Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram
- Great Smoky Mountains Arts & Crafts Loop
- Mountain Moonshine Tastings
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
For such a historical town, Williamsburg is somewhat new. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the downtown area of this Virginia Peninsula city was again restored. Now you can walk the same steps that our Founding Fathers once used – in fact, in Williamsburg town, you just might even find yourself hiking alongside those men (or at least, besides some talented, costumed guides acting out their parts). The area isn’t a fad, though. Rather, Williamsburg and the nearby towns of Jamestown and Yorktown are breathing monuments to some of the best-known figures of our colonial history. John Smith, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Pocahontas and more – and they all receive their due.
Best things to do in Williamsburg
- Colonial Williamsburg
- Water Country USA
- Visit Jamestown
- Busch Gardens
- Jamestown Glasshouse
- Williamsburg Premium Outlets
- Williamsburg Winery
- Yorktown Battlefield
6. Olympic National Park
Washington State’s Olympic National Park, found on the Olympic Peninsula, gives something for every kind of nature lover, from the hikers to stargazers to boat enthusiasts to photographers. Among its approximately 1 million acres, tourists can explore glacier-capped mountains, trek through old-growth spectacular temperate rainforests and marvel at over 70 miles of wild coastline.
The park’s origins date back to the year1897 when growing concerns about the area’s vanishing forests led President Grover Cleveland to name it as the Olympic Forest Reserve. Additional protections were enacted in the year 1909, when President Theodore Roosevelt assigned part of the reserve as the Mount Olympus National Monument in rejoinder to a declining Roosevelt Elk population. this didn’t formally receive its national park title until 1938, thanks to President Franklin Roosevelt. Now, the park is both a World Heritage Site and also an International Biosphere Reserve.
Top fun things to do in Olympic National park
- Hoh Rain Forest
- Hurricane Ridge
- Kalaloch and Ruby Beach
- Lake Crescent
- Mora and Rialto Beach
- Sol Duc Valley
- Olympic National Park Main Visitor Center and Wilderness Information
7. Portland, OR
From its polished green spaces to its deliciously distinct food scene, Portland has become a must-see stop in the Pacific Northwest. The city overflows with cultural contributions – whether it’s the stacks at Powell’s City of Books or in one of the over 100 craft distilleries in the Portland metro area. The city of many nicknames (P-town, PDX, Stumptown, the City of Roses, Bridge City, ) has emerged as an urbanite’s fantasy, with some of the most pedestrian-friendly streets in the US,no wonder we featured it in our List of best cheap vacation locations in the US, many of which are lined with food carts that have yielded Portland some of the best, most affordable and distinct street food anywhere.
It’s also full of adrenaline, with loads of trails for hiking and biking (miles of them are located in Forest Park), as well as entrance to water sports along the Willamette and Columbia Rivers that cut and border the city – not to discuss the volcanic Mount Hood. However, the most-loved visitor attractions are low-key and intangible: a sip of locally roasted coffee, a late afternoon chat at a brewery, a stroll through open art galleries on the first Thursday evening of the month. Hip, alternative and unrelentingly progressive, Portland area is one of the most prosperous cities on the West Coast.
Top fun places to go in Portland OR
- Washington Park
- International Rose Test Garden
- Portland Japanese Garden
- Lan Su Chinese Garden
- Powell’s City of Books
- Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
- Portland Art Museum
- Forest Park
- Pittock Mansion
- Tom McCall Waterfront Park
- Mount Hood
- Multnomah Falls
- oregon zoo
- Willamette Valley Wine Tasting
- Forktown Food Tours
8. San Antonio
Davy Crockett may have long perished at the Alamo, but San Antonio sticks to the Texan pride exhibited by the “King of the Wild Frontier” and his compatriots in 1836. This modern city’s history particularly rears its noble head throughout downtown. In addition to the Alamo, you will find several other popular missions, all of which are currently a part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Moreover, amongst the amazing gleaming skyscrapers, the austere San Fernando Cathedral still stands as a testament to the city’s spiritual past. However, don’t be fooled here: You don’t need a hankering for history to experience this citys beauty. With theme parks, professional sports teams, top-notch museums, and the renowned River Walk, you may have too much to do to “Remember the Alamo.”
Top things to do in San Antonio
- Brackenridge Park
- The Alamo
- San Fernando Cathedral
- River Walk
- San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
- San Antonio Museum of Art
- Spanish Governor’s Palace
- San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium
- Witte Museum
- SeaWorld San Antonio
9.Sequoia National Park
Home to some of the biggest and tallest trees in the entire world, Sequoia National Park is a humbling point to visit. With the beautiful trees towering hundreds of feet above you, it’s natural to feel small in comparison. Found about 80 miles east of Fresno, California, in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range, the park was established in 1890 as a project to protect the large trees from being logged, making it America’s second national park. The nearby Kings Canyon National Park was established in 1940 and eventually, both parks became linked together.
Some Highlights of the park are, of course, the trees, including the General Sherman Tree, the world’s biggest tree, standing 275 feet tall with a trunk more than 36 feet in diameter. However, there is loads to see and do, from traveling caves to hiking to snowshoeing. What’s more, the park is open every day of the year and each season holds its own charms.
Best places to visit in Sequoia National Park
- Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
- Giant forest
- General Sherman Tree
- Crystal Cave
- Moro Rock
- Tunnel Log
Exploring Albuquerque’s long history is like reading the rings on a tree trunk: The city has developed outward over time. At its center is Old Town, the site where the original city was established in 1706. Cobblestone streets and adobe walls characterize this friendly neighborhood where Native American and Spanish societies still mingle. You will further find a certain level of kitsch, dropped from the heyday of the bona fide Route 66 that goes through the heart of town. Head further out, and you will find lush vineyards and expansive homes in the North Valley and the Corrales.
Despite this continuous urban sprawl, Albuquerque stays faithful to its roots. Hispanic tastes can be found in many of the city’s popular restaurants (prepare for the ear-popping heat of New Mexico’s popular ingredient, the chile pepper). The Native American arts and crafts decorate many a gallery window. However, notwithstanding its old age – the city celebrated its 300th birthday in the year 2006 – Albuquerque is nothing short of cosmopolitan, possessing fashionable boutiques, top-notch performance venues, an impressive nightlife. To top it all off, the city’s closeness to the stunning Sandia Mountains makes it an excellent home base for Southwest discovery.
Best places and activities in Albuquerque
- Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
- Old Town
- ABQ BioPark
- San Felipe de Neri Church
- Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
- The Albuquerque Museum
- Sandia Peak Tramway
- New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
- Petroglyph National Monument
- Paseo del Bosque Trail
- Hot air balloon tour
- Kimo Theatre
- Casa Rondena Winery