Cheapest Places to Travel in the USA
While it may seem to you that the United States is an expensive country to travel to, it is not the whole truth. After all, how cheap or expensive a place is, depends on your choices. It is also true in the case of the USA. Some places here are cheaper, while others are expensive. While all places have their own culture and history, a traveler is sure to find all of that travel-worthy. To help you out, here is a list of all the budget-friendly and cheapest places to travel to in the USA:
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The cheapest hostel in Albuquerque is just $30, and meals range from $15 – $20. But Albuquerque is much more than a cheap US destination. It is steeped in Native American culture and you’ll find a more prominent Spanish influence here. But Albuquerque is where the world’s best hot air balloon festival takes place. The best things to do here are visit museums, the historic Old Town of Albuquerque, Petroglyph National Monument, and you can take the Sandia Peak Tramway for fantastic panoramic views. No wonder, it is one of the most budget friendly places to travel to in the USA
Glacier National Park, Montana
If you love wild adventures in the great outdoors, head to Glacier National Park in Montana. This is one of the best national parks in the US and borders Canada. You will find adventure trails and trekking routes here on a budget. You will see Ice Age glaciers here, and there is no dearth of shimmering lakes too. If you like cycling in raw nature, then you will find Going-to-the-Sun Road to be best for this purpose. There is wildlife to spot like Grizzly Bears, Mountain Goats, etc.
San Antonio, Texas
One of the cheapest places to visit in the USA is San Antonio in Texas. Here you will get to taste some of the best Tex-Mex cuisine and that too at $20. You can visit the Alamo Mission, a museum that’s rich in history and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can sit at leisure at a restaurant along the river walk, or enjoy live entertainment. Japanese Tea Garden and San Pedro Creek Culture Park are must-visit sites. You will get cheap hostels at $40 onwards.
Hostel rates hover around $40 and travel is comparatively cheaper than in other US states. So, why not travel to Phoenix which is one of the cheapest travel destinations in the USA? You will get many hiking trails in Camelback Mountains. Desert Botanical Gardens is also one of the many places near Phoenix where you will get unending desert views. If you love art, then the Downtown Phoenix area is full of hip cafes, restaurants, galleries, art museums, bowling clubs, live music gigs.
New Orleans, Louisiana
In New Orleans, you get most travel experiences on a cheap budget making it one of the best places to travel in the USA for free. If you are staying in a decent hostel, then you may have to shell out $20 or even less, and if you are interested in local cuisine, then some popular restaurants offer some mouth-watering Cajun and Creole varieties at just under $20. You can enjoy a soothing Algiers Ferry ride on the Mississippi River or a streetcar ride. New Orleans Museum of Art, Garden District, French Quarter are some top places to visit in New Orleans.
Salt Lake City, Utah
There is so much you can do in Salt Lake City for free like visiting Temple Square with its famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir practicing its music sessions. There are skiing slopes that are affordable and fun. There are outstanding architectural monuments like Utah State Capitol, City Creek Center. You can stroll along many parks and gardens like International Peace Gardens, Liberty Park, and soak in the peace and greenery. You can hit a bike trail on the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, view flowers in Red Butte Garden, or enjoy fresh farm food like hand-made chocolates.
Some hotels and rooms might seem expensive to you in Tucson, but you can always go for cheaper options. Get aboard the Sun Tran bus and you can explore more than 40 different routes, or take the leisurely Sun Link Streetcar in downtown Tucson, which is way cheaper than the car rental service. Local cuisine is varied and offers authentic local dishes at less than $25. Take a hike on the Turquoise Trail, Saguaro National Park trail, or take a tour of the Tucson Museum of Art if you are interested in contemporary art. All these reasons make it one of the less expensive places to travel in the USA,
Atlanta is one of the cheapest destinations in the US for travelers. Hotel rates are not pricey and at $40 you will get to stay at a decent hotel. Flights are cheaper too, and you will have the extra buck to spend here. You can try unlimited meals at restaurants and cafes at affordable prices. Traveling around in MARTA rail and bus public transport is also a cheap way to travel. Hiking in the Appalachian Mountains, Stone Mountain Park is good for nature lovers. In downtown Atlanta, landmarks like Fernbank Science Centre, National Historic Site, Atlanta Contemporary Art Centre are a must-see.
Washington, DC may not look cheap to you at first glance, but you will get to stay at a decent hotel at below $100. But what makes Washington, DC cheap is the efficient public transport system and free visits to famous landmarks. You can take the bus and MetroRail to traverse through the corners of this bustling US capital city at cheap rates. Smithsonian Museum, National Mall, National Zoo, Ford’s Theatre, Air & Space Museum, all are free to enter and mind you! These are huge places and it will take you days to marvel at the exhibits here.
You can travel to Philadelphia and see many things for free like Independence Hall, Liberty Bell Centre, Rocky Statue and Rocky Steps, Valley Forge National Historical Park, and others. And the public transport options are many like the PHLASH buses ($5 for an all-day pass), SEPTA buses, Full day Independence Pass ($13 per person or $28 per family) where you can take trolley rides, bus, subway, trams and travel through the city. You will find cheap hostels at $20 per night, and delicious American cuisine at under $25.
Although you might not find much cheap accommodation in downtown Denver, you may scourge through local hostel or hotel listings and find a decent hotel at below $100. But then you can always travel in MallRide buses and explore galleries, theatres, restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions of Denver. But the real joy is outdoors and hiking and cycling trails are best to see jaw-dropping panoramas of the Rocky Mountains. Adventure doesn’t stop here and you can observe the stars from Chamberlin Observatory, visit Buffalo Bill Museum, or Red Rock Amphitheatre.
San Diego, California
California is one of the most expensive places on the west coast of the USA, but don’t just strike it off from your budget travel itinerary of the USA just yet. You can opt for cheaper hostel over pricey luxury hotels, do more outdoor activities, and opt for cheap but decent restaurants in San Diego. Beaches on the Pacific Ocean are there for surfing or beach walks, a ferry ride to Coronado Island is just $5 for one way trip, window shop in the beach town of Embarcadero. But the 59-Mile Scenic Drive will take you to see the best landscapes that the United States of America has to offer.
Austin is among the cheapest cities to travel to in the US, where hotel rates start from $45 onwards. You will have the finest Tex-Mex cuisine starting at $25, and if you love music and outdoor adventures, then Austin will not disappoint you. There are several cheap things to do here like hiking in Butler Trail, exploring the greenery of Zilker Park, visiting downtown Austin and marvel at the fantastic architecture of the Texas Capitol Building and St. Mary’s Cathedral. You can paddleboat, take a dip in Barton Springs, or a day trip to the Hill Country.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas might seem glitzy due to its casinos, but you will also find some incredibly cheap hotels here at Las Vegas Strip, that is, as cheap as $40. If you avoid the expensive casinos and the glamorous discotheques, there’s plenty of free things to do here like enjoying the colorful Fountains of Bellagio display, the tranquil environs of Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo, exploring art murals in downtown Las Vegas, live fashion show at Fashion Show Mall, visiting Cola-Cola Store, see chocolatiers at work at Ethel M Chocolates.
If you like beaches you will love them here in Daytona. Beaches here stretch for miles and miles. Travel is affordable and you can take the local transport which includes shuttle bus, taxi rides. Meals only cost $30 or even less, and there are some free things to do here like the guided tour of the Angell & Phelps Chocolate factory, tour of Southeast Museum of Photography, Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens, or visit to the many parks and recreational areas for peaceful and quiet surroundings. Without any doubt, it is listed amongst one of the cheapest places to visit in the USA all around the year.
You will do some wonderful things in Indianapolis that are mostly free. At Indianapolis Cultural Trail, you can bike, run, walk, or don your skates and enjoy 8 miles of absolute fun, wonder at art installations at Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park, take a walk, jog or cycle through the urban greenery of Monon Trail. You can eat some delicious food dishes at Indianapolis City Market, or explore the old neighborhood of Irvington. Admission to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is free and it is a treat for all kids and parents.
Kansas City, Missouri
There are hotels and places in Kansas City, where you can stay for under $100 or even less than that. Guesthouses and dorms charge even up to $50 or less. Food is cheap and you might munch on the best BBQ here in Kansas City. Travel in KC Streetcar and see the most wonderful sights of downtown Kansas City. A free tour of Boulevard Brewing Company, River Market and all its fabulous restaurants and shops, outdoor hiking through Ernie Miller Park and Nature Center, learn through interactive exhibits at Money Museum and so much else.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
You will be able to find a hotel in Oklahoma City that charges $45 onwards. But that is not what makes Oklahoma City a cheap US travel destination. Restaurants serve the best Latin, Mexican, American, Tex Mex, Caribbean cuisine at just around $30. Landmarks are here in plenty, and you can visit National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, go for free hikes in Keystone Ancient Forest, explore art installations and galleries in Paseo Arts District, or take kids and family on a free ride in Frontier City.
St. Augustine, Florida
Enjoy the warm sun on St Augustine Beach is only one of the many free things to do in St Augustine. Compared to other cities like Miami, St Augustine is cheap. Hotel rates will start from $90 onwards, and you can also eat delicious meals at less than $40. Some things are cheap to do here like exploring Old Jail, spotting wildlife at Anastasia State Park, explore the history of Florida in Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, visit the miles and miles of sun-kissed beaches, taste wines in wineries, self-guided tour of Coquina Quarry.
You will get to visit Athens in Georgia and stay in hotels whose rates start at $80 per night. There is plenty of hip and college culture here as well, so you will find budget restaurants, live music venues, happy hours, and art and culture spots in Athens. The University of Georgia has a fabulous campus and the Botanical Garden of Georgia has astounding greenery and a diverse array of flowers and exotic plants. Athens Farmer Market is a great place for hanging out with live music, events, and to see the local culture of Athens.
Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania is one of the cheapest vacation destinations in the US. Hotel rates start from $45 onwards. You will find cheap restaurants that serve delectable BBQ cuisine too. You can take a walk in downtown Pittsburgh, or visit the Andy Warhol Museum to see memorabilia of this celebrated artist. Restaurants run live music and you can also visit Allegheny Observatory for a free tour of celestial skies and astronomy. But nothing beats the awesome views from Mount Washington, which is the most spectacular free thing to do in Pittsburgh.
What’s next waiting for you?
Whether are looking for some of the budget-friendly places to visit in the USA or the best places to travel in the USA for free then the above travel guide covers everything. If you are looking for best places to visit near the USA then don’t forget to check our North America travel guides.