Every place you need to know about for an affordable summer vacation


Or just choose from our list of top 12 U.S. destinations

Affordable summer vacations don’t get any better than the Grand Canyon.

But if giant chasms aren’t your thing, there are a lot of other places to spend your time and your money.

“The United States is home to a wide range of vacation spots that offer plenty of things to do at reasonable prices,” says U.S. News & World Report, which, along with Women@Forbes, has plenty of ideas to make sure you get the most from your summer vacation.

But first, here’s our list of the best affordable, most affordable and/or cheapest vacations in the U.S. based on destinations that appear on more than one list (boldfaced below):

1. Grand Canyon, Arizona
2. Williamsburg, Virginia
3. Tucson, Arizona
4. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
5. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
6. Daytona, Florida
7. Branson, Missouri
8. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
9. Moab, Utah
10. Biloxi, Mississippi
11. Phoenix, Arizona
12. Bar Harbor, Maine

This is what U.S. News has to say about the top destination on our list:

“‘Grand’ doesn’t begin to do this canyon justice. Measuring [about] 277 river miles in length, up to 18 miles in width and a mile deep, this massive chasm in northern Arizona is truly a natural wonder. For six million years, the Grand Canyon has expanded with the help of the mighty Colorado River, and for centuries, people from all over the globe have traveled to gaze out over its red and orange grandeur.”

The compilation below comprises destinations in 28 states, but 14 of those include at least two, so here is our ranking of the states that have the most vacation spots:

1.  Florida (8)
2.  Tennessee (5)
T3.  New York (4)
T3.  South Carolina (4)
T5.  Arizona (3)
T5.  Maryland (3)
T5.  Texas (3)
T8.  California (2)
T8.  Missouri (2)
T8.  New Mexico (2)
T8.  North Carolina (2)
T8.  Oregon (2)
T8.  Virginia (2)
T8.  Utah (2)

Great but affordable

Here is U.S. News’ ranking of the 17 best affordable vacation destinations in the U.S., based on expert opinions and the votes of U.S. News readers:

1. Grand Canyon, Arizona
2. San Antonio, Texas
3. Las Vegas, Nevada
4. Tucson, Arizona
5. Albuquerque, New Mexico
6. Memphis, Tennessee
7. Williamsburg, Virginia
8. Salt Lake City, Utah
9. Phoenix, Arizona
10. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
11. Jacksonville, Florida
12. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
13. Raleigh, North Carolina
14. Daytona, Florida
15. Branson, Missouri

16. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
17. Biloxi, Mississippi

To learn more about these vacation locales, visit Best Affordable Destinations in the USA online.

Family vacations

If you’re planning to travel with a family in tow, U.S. News has a slightly different take:

1. Yellowstone, Wyoming
2. Grand Canyon, Arizona
3. Niagara Falls, New York
4. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
5. Outer Banks, North Carolina
6. Ocean City, Maryland
7. Branson, Missouri
8. San Diego, California
9. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
10. Hilton Head, South Carolina
11. Williamsburg, Virginia
12. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

13. Portland, Oregon
14. South Padre Island, Texas
15. The Catskills, New York

To learn more about these vacation locales, visit Best Affordable Family Vacations online.

‘Cheap’ destinations

And if affordable isn’t, well, affordable enough, here are some “cheap” vacation destinations, also ranked by U.S. News:

1. Grand Canyon, Arizona
2. Williamsburg, Virginia

3. Fort Myers, Florida
4. Albuquerque, New Mexico
5. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
6. Tucson, Arizona
7. Boca Raton, Florida
8. Daytona, Florida
9. Biloxi, Mississippi

10. Tampa, Florida
11. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
12. Moab, Utah

13. Annapolis, Maryland
14. Bar Harbor, Maine
15. Surfside Beach, South Carolina

To learn more about these vacation locales, visit Best Cheap Summer Vacations online.

More ‘cheap’ destinations

And then there are these destinations from Women@Forbes, in no particular order, but most of which do not appear on any of the U.S. News rankings:

 Mount Desert Island (Bar Harbor), Maine
 Monterey, California
 Traverse City, Michigan
 Saint Michaels, Maryland
 Greenport, New York
 Virginia Beach, Virginia
 Whitefish, Montana
 Lexington, Kentucky
 Astoria, Oregon
 Boise, Idaho
 Panama City, Florida
 Nyack, New York
 Nashville, Tennessee
 Bloomington, Indiana
 Greenville, South Carolina
 Kauai, Hawaii
 Snowmass, Colorado
 Orlando, Florida
 San Juan Island, Washington
 St. Louis, Missouri
 The Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
 Boston, Massachusetts
 Phoenix, Arizona

To learn more about these vacation locales, visit Cheap Summer Travel: 23 Places to Go in 2018 online.

Five U.S. destinations also appear on Women@Forbes’ The 33 Cheapest Places to Travel in 2018, which also includes destinations in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia:

 Santa Fe, New Mexico
 Moab, Utah
 Central Coast, California
 South Lake Tahoe, California
 San Juan, Puerto Rico (a U.S. territory)

There you go – everything you need to know to pick an affordable summer vacation spot.

Unless, of course, you want to go somewhere affordable beyond U.S. borders. In that case, look for these reports on top-rated (and other) affordable international destinations:

Then enjoy your summer, no matter where your road takes you.