Traveling on a budget is so rewarding. Who needs 5 -star hotels, elegant restaurants and expensive extras? I’ve found that my favorite vacation spots are ones close to home, right on American soil. Since I had such positive experiences, I wanted to share a few of my favorite spots with you. Even though I didn’t have to clean out my savings account or go broke for these “on a budget” one of a kind destinations, they were well worth every penny I spent. Here are 5 of my top places to travel, whether you are on a budget or not.
This American hot-spot is a fantastic place to go whenever you can get there. We all know the power of experiencing the Grand Canyon but there is so much more, Whether it’s Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, Arizona gets an A plus from me from the awesome climate to the variety of affordable things to see and do. It can get really hot, so pack some casual clothes. because if you’re like me, the best place to be is outside. The state has done an awesome job of creating hiking trails, botanical gardens, campsites, outdoor tours and other nature-loving excursions. The state is full of big cities and tiny towns full of art, culture and history and delicious food. For example, Tucson, Arizona is full of southwestern and Mexican heritage. There is very little or no admission charge to see spots like Sabino Canyon and Saguaro National Park and then head over to Sedona, Arizona for an opportunity to see 100 plus art galleries and events that are happening all of the time. They are amazing sites to see whether you are an art enthusiast or not.
2. Baltimore, MD
I’ve visited Baltimore many times and it is by far one of my favorite places to see. The seafood is fresh and delicious as is all the fare in the city, and for those of us on a budget, a dollar goes a long, long way. The steamed crabs are like no other in the world. The National Aquarium is beautifully located right on the Baltimore Harbor and a day spent there is a day well spent. The beautiful, family-friendly sights, smells and sounds are one of a kind! The Harborplace and the Gallery is located nearby the harbor and offers an amazing shopping and dining mecca where you can select what is right for your wallet and taste. Depending on the time of the year (remember Baltimore is cold in the winter) there is even free entertainment. The American Visionary Art Museum is well worth the short trip from the Harbor. They do charge a fee to get inside but the building itself and the property are full of sculptures and art to view for free. And there are so many other museums to visit during your time in this family-friendly city.
3. Hershey, PA
Hershey, Pennsylvania has become one of the most famous destination spots in our country, and it offers so many free and inexpensive things to do. There is a world-class amusement park, an infamous day spa that can be a but pricey but there are also many memorable affordable things to do. Hershey Chocolate World, is a ride that is on the Hershey Park grounds but is totally free. It is a wonderful historical ride that is both enjoyable and educational. If you are traveling with children they will get a free candy sample at the end of the ride where you are dropped off right into the gift store. There is also the Hershey trolley that will transport you around the city complete with kiss-shaped lights lining the streets. It was started by Milton Hershey while he was planning the town and continues to this day… it is well worth your time. If you have time (and I would suggest making time) visit ZooAmerica, Hershey Gardens, Milton Hershey School and the other fantastic museums all located in Hershey, PA.
4. Dallas, TX
In a town known for everything big, the cost to visit is not that bad. We had a bit of an adventurous spirit so we booked a city PASS that offered discounted prices into some of the city’s most popular attractions. We couldn’t hit them all but we did see the George W. Bush (he was the president) Library and Museum and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Pretty cool for adding a little culture into your vacation. My traveling partners enjoy visiting Zoos, so we went to the awesome Dallas Zoo and met two beautiful African Elephants and fed a giraffe. There are so many family-oriented events and presentations at this zoo, you might have to stay more than one day. The Dallas Farmers Market is a must see marketplace. The food, the vendors and the extremely memorable experience is like no other market I’ve visited. If you go, grab a street taco at La Ventana or a pork filled tamale at El Mero Mero. I have to mention the Trinity River Audubon Center for all you hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. This urban hardwood forest is an escape from the city into the distinctive Texas terrain.
5. Nashville, TN
Nashville, the home of country music, American history and so, so much to see and do. First, the must-see of all must-sees is the Country Music Hall Of Fame and the infamous Grand Ole Opry. Just the view from the outside of these famous buildings are a must see. When you get your fill of country music, head over and walk the beautiful college campuses of Vanderbilt University and Belmont University or go to the Adventure Science Center or the Belmont Mansion and spend the afternoon learning something new. The campuses are full of history and tradition and a perfect place to enjoy the outdoors. And we haven’t even mentioned Nashville’s food. Nashville has to be is a melting pot of cuisine. There are all kinds of fare to satisfy any palate. My favorites were found on the food trucks who offered quick, delicious and budget-friendly meals on the go. If you have room for pie, I recommend the peach or pecan.