You can enjoy a weekend trip without breaking the bank.
Sometimes you need to get out of town but aren’t able to spend too much doing so. These weekend trip ideas will help you relax, unwind and get away from it all without draining your bank account or requiring you to trek too far from home.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
The Gulf Coast of Alabama boasts 32 miles of white sand beaches that are perfect for hours of relaxation. Here, you can book a one-bedroom beachfront condo that can sleep up to four guests for less than $700 per week. Plus, you don’t have to visit during the summer to experience the area’s best weather. Spring and fall boast temperatures that are still comfortable for sunbathing and swimming. If you can drive (it’s less four hours from Montgomery, Alabama, Tallahassee, Florida, and New Orleans), you’ll save even more.
Holiday World Theme Park & Splashin’ Safari Water Park: Santa Claus, Indiana
If you live in the Midwest, consider making the drive to Holiday World — a theme park and water park with daily entrance fees starting at $29.99 if you buy online. In addition to plenty of thrill rides, Holiday World offers several complimentary perks, including parking, sunscreen, Wi-Fi and soft drinks. What’s more, you can camp next door at Lake Rudolph campground for less than $50 per night.
Circa 39: Miami Beach, Florida
Seeking a solo weekend getaway? Drive or fly to Miami Beach to stay at Circa 39. The hotel’s “Solo at Circa” package includes two nights of lodging, free daily breakfast, two free drinks at the WunderBar and a calendar that chronicles all the fun events happening in Miami Beach during your stay, starting at $123 per night. Circa 39 also boasts a pool and is conveniently just a block away from Miami Beach.
Bahia Honda State Park: Big Pine Key, Florida
Bahia Honda State Park is a great place to visit for those wanting to experience the Florida Keys on a budget. You can rent kayak and snorkeling gear here, or even hop on a boat to snorkel at Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. Entry fees start at $8.50 per vehicle. Plus, you can camp here for $36 per night (plus a $6.70 reservation fee) and renting a cabin costs just $120 per night plus reservation fees from May 1 to Oct. 31.
A glitzy getaway in Las Vegas can be yours, and it may be less expensive than you initially thought. Hotels on the strip can cost as little as $50 per night, but beware of resort fees, which can tack $29 or more on to the daily rate. Try not to spend too much time at the casinos while here. Instead, spend your time watching characters come and go on The Strip or catch a free outdoor show at the Bellagio Fountains.
While Sedona isn’t always cheap to visit, you can find some hotels for as little as $100 per night during off-peak months in the summer and fall. Book a stay to enjoy the iconic red rock scenery and plan some extraordinary (and free) hikes on the Cathedral Rock, Fay Canyon and Devil’s Bridge trails.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is quirky and fun, with an ancient old town that features brick-lined streets and adobe-style buildings. Visit during spring or fall for the best weather, then take advantage of local festivals like the Albuquerque Wine Festival (spring) or the famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (fall). Take a ride up the nearly 3-mile-long Sandia Peak Ariel Tramway or splurge for a hot air balloon ride, which can cost around $139 per person. Opt for a vacation rental rather than a hotel to save some coin.
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is an affordable destination brimming with cultural flair, historical significance and free things to do. You can visit the Alamo or the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park for free, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. You should also take a stroll along the River Walk, which features waterfront restaurants, shopping and beautiful natural scenery.
Some say Stowe is a hiker’s paradise, but you’ll also find ziplining and performing arts events, plus ample opportunities to enjoy cold-weather sports like skiing and snowboarding during winter months. Fall is especially beautiful here, and cheaper if you stick to free activities like hiking and strolling to discover fall foliage. Stay at The Stowehof, Grey Fox Inn & Resort or Butler House Stowe for less than $150 per night in October and November.
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Dells is home to dozens of world class water parks and family-friendly hotels. You’ll also find theme parks along with haunted houses, a “circus world” and a Ripley’s Believe it Or Not! Museum. You can frequently find hotel and attraction discounts on the Wisconsin Dells main website, but the best prices are available when kids are in school.
Indianapolis has gained international acclaim for its bustling racing scene, but it’s also affordable and fun to visit — particularly for families. The city hosts the largest children’s museum in the world, the 250-acre White River State Park and an interactive history museum known as Conner Prairie, which lets children see how families lived and worked centuries ago. Various hotel deals are available year-round, too.
Glacier National Park: Montana
Head to Glacier National Park in northern Montana for a camping and hiking weekend with scenery you’ll never forget. The park offers 700 miles of trails with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. What’s more, you can camp here for as little as $10 to $23 per night during the summer.
Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Dollywood can complete any Smoky Mountain getaway, offering visitors a theme park, water park, themed dinner shows and a resort complete with a pool and spa. The theme park alone boasts 40 different rides, including a 20-story free-fall ride known as Drop Line) and three-day passes to both parks start at $114 per person. Rather than staying at Dollywood, consider one of the nearby hotels, which average around $100 a night or less.
Tupelo is more than Elvis Presley’s birthplace: It’s a fun, affordable and quirky destination with numerous attractions ranging from its own Buffalo Park and Zoo ($11 admission) to a children’s museum ($5 admission). You can even follow the Elvis Guitar Trail around town and take your picture with 25-plus iconic guitars the star once played.
Olympic National Park: Washington
Olympic National Park is worth a weekend visit, whether you want to hike, stare at the stars or explore its more than 70 miles of untouched coastline. While here, visit the famous Hoh Rain Forest, Lake Crescent and Rialto Beach. You can camp within the park for as little as $40 per night for up to 10 people sharing a site.
Known for its lively music scene and as the home of Graceland (the former residence of Elvis), Memphis is is easy to reach by car from numerous nearby towns and cities. Memphis is also affordable to visit nearly year-round (downtown hotels start at less than $100 per night during the summer). Plus, you can count on delicious eats. Memphis has become somewhat of a foodie destination thanks to its barbecue and buttery grits, among other southern favorites.
Amtrak Weekend Train Getaway
Amtrak offers an array of affordable long weekend getaway options by train, including itineraries with overnight lodging. The Rails to the Grand Canyon experience starts (and ends) in Los Angeles and lasts five days for $649 per person. Along the way, you can sit back and relax while enjoying views of the mountains and plains as your train winds along this scenic route. The package includes an overnight hotel and train stays, round-trip transportation and some of your meals, but the scenery is priceless.
Dunedin, Florida, on the Gulf Coast, isn’t quite as popular as nearby tourist towns like Clearwater, and its prices reflect that — particularly during off-peak travel months of September through November. Yet, Dunedin offers the same coastal beauty as the rest of western Florida, a quaint downtown area and a gorgeous waterfront awash with picturesque beaches. Dunedin is also home to Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island, both popular spots for day trippers and nature lovers.
Glamping: Zion National Park, Utah
Luxury travel experts at Under Canvas offer “glamping” — or upscale camping — for less than you’d think in various scenic destinations, including Utah’s Zion National Park. You can book a basic safari-style tent with a king-sized bed, a carpeted floor and its own wood burning stove for $199 per night this spring and $229 per night through early fall.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
You can enjoy an affordable weekend in Atlantic City — provided you steer clear of the casinos. Truthfully, there are plenty of ways to spend your time here, including exploring the beautiful beaches and boardwalk, which has roots that date back to 1870. Atlantic City is also home to numerous arts and culture venues and offerings, including the African American Heritage Museum, an aquarium and the Atlantic City Ballet.
DogHouse Hotel and Brewery: Canal Winchester, Ohio
Beer-lovers can score a frugal getaway to the DogHouse Hotel and Brewery, located on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. This beer-themed hotel has its own brewery on-site, which guests can even view from some rooms. Room rates include breakfast, and the lobby features a bar with games and activities. Rooms come with beer on tap (for purchase) and rates start at $162 per night.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach is an affordable family-friendly destination with many low-cost or free activities for travelers of all ages. Watching the sunrise over the water, exploring the mile-long boardwalk and searching the iconic shoreline for shells are all free of charge. Stay at Crown Reef Beach Resort, which offers an on-site water park and nightly summer rates as low as $189 for a family of four.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is a beautiful destination to retreat to year-round, but especially during late spring, summer and fall when you can get outdoors and take advantage of free activities. Hike the trails in the nearby Grand Teton National Park, stroll around the rustic town square or head to the National Elk Refuge, where you can see these animals in their natural habitat.
Black Hills National Forest and Badlands National Park: South Dakota
This area of the United States is home to Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park and the fascinating caverns of Wind Cave, making it perfect for a road trip. The Black Hills also boast numerous affordable family-friendly hotels, including campgrounds and lodges. Nightly rates at Sylvan Lake Lodge start at $165 per night this summer.
Farm Sanctuary: Watkins Glen, New York
The Farm Sanctuary in the Finger Lakes region of New York is part animal sanctuary and part country retreat. Travelers eager for a break can book a tiny home and spend time with more than 800 rescued farm animals. Rentals start at $160 per night, although you do have to pay a $20 membership fee to make a booking.
Savannah is within a day’s drive of some parts of the Midwest and southern United States, yet its historical charm makes it seem a world away. There are plenty of free things to do in Savannah, including exploring the city’s many scenic parks and squares, visiting the beautifully decorated Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, strolling through the botanical gardens, enjoying distillery tours and more.
Jumbo Rocks Campground: Joshua Tree National Park, California
Jumbo Rocks Campground in Joshua Tree National Park offers the beauty and seclusion of Joshua Tree, plus affordable camping that can help you get away from it all — at least for a weekend. There are 124 primitive campground spots here available from May to October and a maximum of six people can camp for just $15 per night.
There’s so much to do and see in New Orleans, and it’s an affordable place to visit if you stay outside the French Quarter and avoid huge event weekends like Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday. Stay off the beaten path in the Garden District, then stroll along iconic Magazine Street, wander through the French Quarter in search of live music and shopping, or stop in a local eatery for a famous po’boy sandwich or beignet.
Cedar Point: Sandusky, Ohio
Ohio’s Cedar Point theme park is home to numerous thrill rides and roller coasters, including the 120 mph Top Thrill Dragster. Visitors can also ride the park’s Steel Vengeance, which is one of the tallest, fastest and longest roller coasters in the world. Daily admission tickets start at $49.99 and it’s easy to find affordable hotels or motels in nearby towns. The Holiday Inn Express in Sandusky offers free breakfast and starts at $158 per night this fall.
Gros Ventre Wilderness: Wyoming
The Gros Ventre Wilderness, which is part of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, is a natural wonder worth visiting. Plan a weekend here to discover rolling rivers, numerous species of wildlife and amazing geological features including rock formations and natural slides. As for accommodations, travelers can rent the Hoback Guard Station cabin for $30 for a party of four.
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