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8 Affordable U.S. Travel Destinations You Can Get Away to This Summer


by Ariel C. Williams

This time of year, Instagram feeds are jampacked with admirable photos of trips luxurious enough to pique your traveling desires. But as lavish as international excursions to Dubai, Paris, or Johannesburg are, your budget may limit you to alternative options. Instead, enjoy a practical, stateside getaway that’ll settle your wander lust and offer happy memories without breaking the bank. If you live in one of the country’s big cities, take a moment to explore what’s around you. Here are eight low budget summer travel spots near major U.S. cities that are sure to give your mind (and Instagram) the much-deserved getaway it desires.

1. If you live in Los Angeles…

When living in or around the City of Angels (and hellish traffic) becomes too stressful, retreat to sister cities like San Diego, Santa Barbara, or even Vegas for the weekend. Here are 50 fun and free (or otherwise really inexpensive) things to do in San Diego, cultural events and hotel stays in Santa Barbara, and 100 ways to have fun in Las Vegas.

2. If you live in the Bay Area…

If you’re looking for less thrill and more chill, then visiting the wine countries of Napa Valley or Sonoma County are exactly where you should be. On a weekend trip, it’d be easy to go ballooning, enjoy a relaxing spa day, trek through a state park, tour the area’s various wineries, or retreat at a beautiful bed and breakfast. The possibilities of a weekend in Napa or Sonoma are endless. Learn more about them here or here, as well as other renowned wine countries in California and across the U.S.

3. If you live in New York or the Tri-State Area…

Take a break from the Big Apple and rest easy in the Hamptons. There, you’ll find tons of cozy bed and breakfast spots as well as a handful of yacht club themed waterfront restaurants. After shopping, dancing, or visiting historical museums, relax at the beach with your best friends and cocktails.



4. If you live in Orlando, Florida…

Theme parks can’t provide nearly as much solitude and shimmery skin as a weekend at the beach. Daytona Beach is one of the few Florida destinations where you can drive your car onto the sand, park it and let loose for a fun-filled day. You’ll also find entertainment, delicious seafood, and a boardwalk and pier made for postcards. (If you live in Miami, you could also visit Orlando or Daytona for a change of pace.)

5. If you live in Atlanta, Georgia…

This summer, enjoy a country escape in Blue Ridge Mountains. Just 90 minutes north of Atlanta, Blue Ridge is the place for creating memories with Mother Nature. A typical itinerary in the mountains ranges from normal dining and shopping to fishing and hiking the Appalachian Trail. Retreat at a bed and breakfast, cabin rental, or five star lodge.

6. If you live in Philadelphia…

With newly developed casinos, restaurants, and nightlife, a weekend in Atlantic City might be just what the doctor ordered. A summer getaway to Atlantic City would ensure time on the beach, the boardwalk, and multiple concerts and festivals. The annual Independence Day fireworks on the Marina are something to see. Find out more here.

7. If you live in Washington, D.C.…

When the nation’s capital becomes too much, a quick break in Downtown Baltimore, Annapolis, MD or Dewey Beach, DE could provide instant smiles. There are at least 15 things for you to enjoy in Downtown Baltimore, sailing and boating experiences in Annapolis, and affordable lodging and oceanfront views in Dewey Beach for you to enjoy.

8. If you live in Chicago…

Get out of Chicago and experience more of the midwest. For starters, take in the art, music, and food festivals of downtown Milwaukee. Or relish in the charming 19th century architecture, local culture, and breweries of St. Louis, MO. Here’s an additional 25 weekend getaways near Chicago. After all, you deserve this.

So what do you say? Where will you be escaping off to for a low-budget getaway that’s still high on fun and relaxation? Let us know in the comments.

Ariel C. Williams is a freelance writer, author and virtual assistant based in Florida. She talks about life, love and goals in her book The Girl Talk Chronicles (Amazon) and blog. Follow her on Twitter @ArielSaysNow.

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