Sometimes, you just want to head out of town for a few days for a change of scenery. Even for a short time, these quick getaways can help you rest and recalibrate after a stressful week. Studies have also shown that taking short vacations is good for one’s physical and mental health. The good thing about weekend getaways is that they don’t have to be expensive at all! There are plenty of cheap weekend getaways that are both enjoyable and affordable.
So if you’re looking for a quick vacation that won’t break the bank, here are cheap vacation spots in the U.S. Not sure how to find cheap weekend getaways? Continue reading to find out how to grab the best weekend getaway deals in the market!
How to Find Cheap Weekend Getaways
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Booking off-season is one of the most common ways not just to find cheap weekend getaways, but also in looking for the best airline and hotel deals. If you choose to go on a vacation during a holiday like most people, expect higher prices. However, if you decide to book a trip during the low tourist season when hotel prices are cheaper, you can save more. This concept also applies when looking for less expensive airline tickets.
Always Compare Prices
Just like airline tickets and hotels, the golden rule of budget traveling is to always compare prices. There are various hotel booking sites and flight search engines for you to compare fares. Simply enter your travel dates, use the same filters, and find whichever deal that suits you most.
Book in Advance or Go at the Last Minute
If you’ve decided on where you want to go and what you want to do, it’s best to book in advance to get a good deal. It’s also recommended to book a travel package to get more savings. On the other hand, if you have no specific travel itinerary yet, it’s best to book at the last minute. Hotels normally offer rooms at a lower rate at the last minute rather than having the room empty. The same concept applies to tour operators; they would rather sell the tour at a cheaper price than have no participants and cancel the tour.
Consider Destinations within Driving Distance
This helps save a chunk of money since you won’t have to spend on airfare. Going on a weekend getaway within driving distance is often the most practical option families and friends choose. That way, you only have to worry about gas, which is far cheaper as compared to plane tickets. In Las Vegas, there are plenty of national parks within driving distance that makes up for a memorable vacation, especially if you prefer nature trips.
Best Cheap Weekend Getaways
1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Photo by Sergey Galyonkin on Flickr
Known for its stunning beachfront boardwalk, Myrtle Beach makes for a perfect yet affordable weekend trip. This city is situated within the East Coast and is part of the so-called “Grand Strand” a stretch of beach land that extends up to 60 miles. Myrtle Beach is also a popular family-friendly destination thanks to its arcades, parks, and other low-cost attractions. Lounge by the beach (free of entrance fees), hop on the Sky Wheel and get the best panoramic views of the city, and at night, listen to live music at the Garden City Beach Pier.
2. Tucson, Arizona
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Tucson is one of the cheap weekend getaways you can book in the U.S. It has pleasant weather throughout the year and a lot of free or affordable activities for families, friends, and even solo travelers. Visit the Saguaro National Park, one of Arizona’s national parks famous for its giant cacti. Find tigers, jaguars, and even polar bears at Reid Park Zoo or hop on a bike and go on a historical tour around Tucson. Tucson is the perfect weekend getaway for those who want to go somewhere less urban.
3. Salt Lake City, Utah
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Although Salt Lake City is the capital and most populous city in Utah, it’s surprisingly an affordable weekend destination. Salt Lake City is also the best destination for families since there are many parks and museums in the city. For as low as 9 USD, go back in time and enjoy a drive-in movie at the Redwood Drive-In Movie Theatre. When in Utah, don’t miss the chance to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats, or go axe-throwing for a unique experience.
4. Montauk, New York
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This quaint town is located in the eastern end of Long Island and is famous for its fishing culture. Aside from Montauk, other towns in Long Island are also good places for cheap weekend getaways. The town is home to six state parks, including Montauk Point State Park where you can find the historic Montauk Point Lighthouse. On a summer day, go sunbathing at Kirk Park Beach or have a relaxing picnic at Shadmoor State Park.
5. Hermosa Beach, California
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Taken from the Spanish word for “beautiful”, Hermosa Beach isn’t short of stunning beaches and picturesque murals. Hermosa Beach is the perfect getaway for beach lovers and budget-conscious travelers. There are plenty of cheap hotels and hostels, and even more restaurants and other dining options. Stroll along the main beachfront, shop for local souvenirs on Pier Avenue or grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants.
6. San Antonio, Texas
Photo by Pedro Szekely on Flickr
If you’re coming from Houston, a trip to San Antonio is one of the cheap weekend getaways you shouldn’t miss. The bustling city is known for its history and culture due to its Mexican and Hispanic influence. Visiting San Antonio on a budget isn’t a problem since there are various admission-free activities and must-see landmarks including Witte Museum and Brackenridge Park. Walk along the lively Market Square and sample Mexican food as you soak up the vibrant atmosphere.
7. Baltimore, Maryland
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Baltimore is Maryland’s economic center due to its history as a seaport. It also makes a perfect winter getaway because of its free activities, lower rates, and fewer crowds. For just 6 USD, climb on top of the Washington Monument and catch panoramic views of the city. Enjoy free admission at the Walters Art Museum and Baltimore Museum and get a glimpse of the city’s history. Foodies can enjoy the local delicacies and staples at Lexington Market and savor more treats at reasonable prices.
8. Kansas City, Missouri
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Kansas City makes one of the perfect cheap weekend getaways thanks to its location—in the middle of the U.S. This city in the Sunflower State is also known for its jazz culture, fountains, and mouth-watering barbecue. Kansas City is popular among budget travelers because of its affordable hotel rates and free attractions. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how greeting cards are made at the iconic Hallmark Visitors Center or visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. For foodies, grab a bite at one of the markets and sink your teeth in a plate of smoky barbecue ribs.
9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Aside from its world-famous cheesesteaks and having the world’s largest outdoor market, Philadelphia is also known for being one of the cheap weekend getaways in the U.S. Hotels are reasonably priced and there are plenty of cheap eats in the city. Go on a photo walk and take Instagram-worthy shots at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, intricately created by the artist Isaiah Zagar. Go on a tour of the Yards Brewing Company and get a chance to sample some of the beers. Hang out at the Independence National Historical Park on a relaxing day or go on a guided tour of the Independence Hall.
10. Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Photo by Jason Cipriani on Flickr
Glenwood Springs in Colorado is the perfect destination for all seasons. Aside from its hot springs, the resort city is also known for its exhilarating activities like white water rafting, kayaking, and ziplining. Hotel prices in Glenwood Springs, Colorado start at 51 USD a night and there are activities you can do for free in the city. Go rock climbing in Glenwood Canyon or enjoy free concerts on select days in summer. For those who prefer a more laid-back vacation, head to one of the monuments or national parks in Colorado and have a picnic.
11. Savannah, Georgia
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Visit the postcard-perfect city of Savannah, located near the U.S. Intracoastal Waterway. Feel as if you’ve been transported back in time as you explore the city’s botanical gardens and cobblestone-laden streets. For your weekend trip, hop on the Savannah Belles Ferry and see the city from a different perspective or visit the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a French-Gothic church. On a warm summer day, head to Tybee Island Beach and take in the views of the ocean. On the other hand, walk along Savannah’s colorful gardens and parks during spring and see the flowers in bloom.
12. Providence, Rhode Island
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Providence is one of the must-do cheap weekend getaways especially for tourists from the Boston area due to its distance. Architecture enthusiasts will love Providence’s art deco, Baroque and Victorian-style buildings like the Providence City Hall. Providence is also a recommended destination for couples due to the variety of romantic restaurants, cafes, and hotels in town. Go on a relaxing stroll past Venice-styled Pedestrian bridges at the Water Place Park & Riverwalk. On certain days, the RISD waives off its entrance fees, giving you access to view pieces from popular artists like Picasso, Warhol, Monet, and more.
13. Portland, Maine
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Visiting Portland is one of the cheap weekend getaways for travelers of all ages. Weather-wise, summer in Portland, Maine is not too hot and the weather is generally mild during winter. The coastal city also doesn’t have a shortage of affordable and free activities. From April to October, find thousands of varieties of roses in bloom at the International Rose Test Garden and get a taste of Portland’s cuisine at the Portland Farmers Market or at one of the many food trucks around the city. When in Portland, also make sure to sample some of the city’s specialties: lobsters, oysters, and seafood.
14. Memphis, Tennessee
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Memphis is the perfect weekend getaway for music lovers and foodies alike. Commonly known as the Home of the Blues & Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Memphis is home to music cafes and the infamous Beale Street. Hotels are reasonably priced in the city, although you might experience traffic issues so it’s better to visit during the off-season. As a must-visit for music junkies, don’t miss the concerts at Levitt Shell or soak up the vibrant ambiance as you stroll past clubs and shops at Beale Street. For fans of the music icon Elvis Presley, don’t miss the chance to visit Graceland, his former estate.
15. Cleveland, Ohio
Photo by Dr Bob Hall on Flickr
Also known as The Forest City, Cleveland is one of the cheap weekend getaways for beach bums, music lovers, and history buffs. Cleveland is also within a driving distance from one of Ohio’s national parks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Aside from its beaches, the city is also known for its rich nature trails and parks. Watch a free concert at the Cleveland Institute of Music, view art from local and international artists at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Don’t miss the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and learn more about the history of rock music as well as the artists that shaped this genre.
Pack Up and Travel Now!
Weekend trips are just some of the ways we can de-stress after a hectic week of work or school. Contrary to popular belief, these trips don’t have to be expensive, and you don’t have to book plane tickets for a change of environment. Because these trips are often decided on at the last minute, you don’t have to plan too far ahead depending on your itinerary. Whether you want an adventure-filled weekend or just a casual vacation, there are cheap weekend getaways you shouldn’t miss.
Now that you know some of the best weekend getaways in the U.S., what are you waiting for? Pick your destination and plan your perfect weekend trip now!