Five Worthwhile Destinations On A Budget

Staycations are great for taking a break from the daily routine and not breaking the bank at the same time. But let's face it, there is only so much to see and do within a few hours’ drive from home. The good news is, there are several destinations around the country that are very budget-friendly making a trip there quite affordable such as the following five.

Cowee Mountain Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway (MM 430)

#1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

North Carolina and Tennessee share the most visited national park in the United States. The area is beautiful in the spring, summer and early fall. Admission to the park is always absolutely free. Free activities include hiking, fishing, touring historic sites, scenic drives and wildlife watching. Camp out or stay in an inexpensive motel well within driving distance.

#2. Chickasaw Country, Oklahoma

Variety is the spice of a great vacation, and that is just what you will find in Oklahoma's Chickasaw country. Drive the scenic and colorful Route 66 for a variety of terrain to enjoy. Along the way, you will find camping or cheap, clean accommodations. This part of Oklahoma has many great discount coupons for travelers as well as free attractions. You may not have thought of taking an Oklahoma vacation before, but here’s an opportunity to re-think that. It won't be hard to find amusement parks, aquariums and low-entrance fee state park throughout the Chickasaw Nation. If that sounds too family-oriented for your taste, rest assured you will find great nightlife and casinos too.

#3. Western South Dakota

For a taste of the Wild West, head for Western South Dakota for a budget-friendly vacation full of Americana. You will feel at home on the range where buffalo still roam free at Custer State Park. Modern and primitive campsites, cabins and lodges provide very affordable accommodations. Historic sites and museums are all packed into about a 100-mile range. Visit Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial. For the best deals, plan your trip for late August or early May when the weather is still comfortable.

#4. Niagara Falls

Around eight million people each year marvel at 700,000 gallons of water per second cascading over the falls at Niagara Falls for free. Additionally, dozens of free events and attractions are scheduled throughout the year. For even greater savings and fun, the Niagara Falls State Park sells a USA Discovery Pass for admissions to attractions like the Maid of the Mist boat tour and Cave of the Winds observation deck. The key to saving on accommodations is to stay further out for downtown and visiting during the slow season which includes April, May, September and October.

#5. Washington, D.C.

Surprisingly, our nation's capital is the ultimate budget vacation. That's because you are only going to be spending money on meals and accommodations. All of the attractions that people want to visit in the District of Columbia are completely free. These attractions include the 19 Smithsonian Museums, Capital Hill and the National Zoo. Rates and accommodations are lowest December to February. Enjoy free concerts and ice skating at the National Mall during December. The Capital City has many stay-two nights-third-night-free deals around town.

Enjoy a well-deserved vacation. Take advantage of free and low-cost activities such as these. With some smart planning, some great deals can be found. Expand your horizons and set out to see the country.

Photo by Mary Anne Baker via Flickr Creative Commons