Cheap Vacation Ideas

Cheap Vacation Ideas #1: Solomon’s Island, Maryland - One of the most economical and beautiful places to go for a vacation is Solomon’s Island. Solomon’s is away from the hustle and bustle of the beaches, but if you are looking for a quiet place to bike, enjoy the water and have some down time it is perfect.

There is a small town area with some quaint shops to visit and a few hotels offering waterfront views. On Solomon’s Island the Calvert Mariners Museum is a popular spot to visit, offering harbor cruises. For the most part Solomon’s is a quiet paradise. 

But you are a close drive to Annapolis or Baltimore, Maryland. If you are looking for more nightlife, you are also close to Washington, D.C. There is limited availability of rooms on Solomon’s Island, so you will have to make your reservations early. More information for vacation ideas on Solomon's Island, MD.

#2: San Carlos, Mexico is an easy and inexpensive trip. When we're looking for hassle free cheap trip idea, we like to drive south about six hours to the seaside village of San Carlos, Mexico.

There are a variety of budget lodging options—beach house rentals, luxury resorts, or, for the truly thrifty, plenty of beach available for camping. Places like San Carlos are often skipped over for more touristy spots like Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, or Cancun, but that is precisely what makes a place like San Carlos so charming.

There is great SCUBA diving available, boating, and other water sports, as well as off road ATV riding, and a variety of other adventure activities. For a more thrifty option, spend the day lounging by a pool or the beach with a margarita.

For meals, there are a number of delicious restaurants serving quality meals for half the price of the same meal in the U.S. The great thing about San Carlos is that you can set your budget wherever you want and still find plenty to see and do. - From Geoff from CA

Lake Erie KayakingLake Erie Kayaking

Cheap vacation ideas #3: Ohio has loads of places for camping. If you like both camping and history, then Ohio is the right place for you. Not many people know this, but there are over five hundred documented Underground Railroad sites in the state of Ohio. You can visit the Underground Railroad Museum in Lorain County, Cincinnati.

You can also go to many small towns in Ohio such as Ripley and Marietta and stay in campgrounds, either private or run by the state park system. If you look up “Underground Railroad Sites Ohio” you will find information from the Ohio Historical Society and the Friends of Freedom, including lists of sites.

This kind of vacation can be a fun learning experience in both the planning process and the experiencing process. The Underground Railroad is an example of people joining together not just to right a wrong but also to do something materially about it by aiding people. You can have an inexpensive vacation learning about and celebrating these many heroes.

#4: Texas Gulf Coast - Nature is an affordable vacation attraction. If you are looking for an affordable way to spend a family vacation, one good option is to choose a place that offers a wealth of natural attractions. The gulf coast of Texas covers hundreds of miles, and you can have your choice of popular tourist spots like Padre Island and Galveston.

Or less familiar parts of the coast like Matagorda BeachMatagorda Beach retains its natural beauty and has a rebuilt jetty pier from which you can fish or even look for dolphins. Just up the road is a recently added harbor, with restaurants and hotels available.

The nearby town of Bay City is home to a public birding center, because this area is tops in the nation for different bird species. In Bay City, you can enjoy the feel of a small town with the convenience of the nation's third biggest Wal-Mart newly built here for restocking your vacation supplies.

You could even visit the information center of the STP nuclear facility just 20 miles up the road, for an educational side-trip. Or pack up a picnic lunch and inner tube and head over to the Colorado River at the Rio Colorado Park, also located in Bay City. You won't have to spend much to find plenty of things for your family to do.

Cheap vacation ideas #5: Las Vegas, Nevada provides lots of entertainment and deals are always available. To get the best bang-for-your-buck, visit Las Vegas during the summer, when the temperatures go into the triple digits and the number of tourists goes down accordingly.

Las Vegas is an easy city to vacation cheaply in, as long as you keep your time at the gambling tables to a minimum. Room rates in Las Vegas are famously low, even for very high end accommodations. Further, because most Las Vegas Hotels have been constructed over the past few decades, the quality of accommodations for the price is far higher than in many cities.

In an attempt bring in gamblers, many restaurants and shows offer dining and entertainment at a far lower price than comparable venues in other cities do. This makes Vegas one of the best affordable vacation ideas I know.

To really stretch your dollars, consider not staying at the glitzy strip and instead go to downtown Las Vegas, which offers smaller and older hotels and casinos at a price far below that of the strip. These are the "Old Las Vegas" places that cater to small-time gamblers and budget tourists.

Frisco Woods CampgroundFrisco Woods Campground

Cheap Vacation Ideas #6: North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a natural treasure and enjoyed by thousands of vacationers every year.

Many return year after year. This can be an inexpensive vacation spot if you stay at the Frisco Woods Campground.

It’s located in Frisco, on the edge of Pamlico Sound with some of the camp sites right at the water’s edge.

Frisco Woods maintains a canopy of native pine and oak trees that give the campgrounds a comfortable natural atmosphere. No concrete pads here, just real earth camping spots. The sites vary from no hookups, some with water and electricity and some include cable television connection.

They also have a few cabins. This is a place to relax and watch the sunset. Do a little fishing or kayaking. Frisco Woods Campground is also a prime location for windsurfing. Fans of the sport rate this as one of the top windsurfing spots on the east coast.

#7: Woodloch Pines Resort is an all-inclusive resort in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountain. Woodloch can be a relatively inexpensive vacation idea. Especially if you live in the northeast within driving distance, you can save the airfare.

Family owned since 1958, Woodloch is known as one of the best all-inclusive and family resorts in the country. The great thing about going all-inclusive is that you know ahead of time what your costs will be and can plan accordingly.

In winter the Poconos is popular for skating and cross country skiing. Summertime it’s kayaking, tennis, horseback riding and hiking. Another good all-inclusive Pocono resort is the Skytop Lodge. They have a lot of great activities available like a 30-foot climbing wall, kayaking on the crystal clear water of Skytop Lake, and access to thirty miles of mountain trails for hiking and biking.

Cheap Vacation Ideas #8: Chicago, Illinois has many things to offer visitors looking for cheap vacation ideas. Here are a few inexpensive things to do if you vacation in Chicago.

Chicago Greeter is a program sponsored by the Chicago Office of Tourism. You can sign up and be connected with a knowledgeable local resident volunteer who will take you on a tour of select Chicago neighborhoods. This is a very unique opportunity to explore Chicago from the viewpoint of someone who knows and loves the city. This program is free.

Free Museum Days – Chicago has many wonderful museums and many have set times where the admission is free. For example, The Museum of Contemporary Art and The Art Institute of Chicago both offer free admission during one of the weekdays.

Lincoln Park Zoo GiraffeLincoln Park Zoo Giraffe

Millennium Park draws visitors from around the world. All year long you can find family-friendly activities that are free. There are about 24 acres of exhibits that showcase works by world famous artists.

Lincoln Park Zoo is always free admission. It’s open 365 days a year. Take the family here and enjoy the Sea Lion Pool, the Family Children’s Zoo, the Endangered Species Carousel, the Center for African Apes and all the 1200-plus animals that make this the wildest spot in Chicago.

Cheap Vacation Ideas #9: Moab, Utah is a popular adventure resort town. Moab is in the center of a "outdoor wonderland" surrounded by two national parks, state parks, the Colorado River, the beautiful La Sal Mountains and many other major attractions. Here are some cheap things to do in Moab, Utah.

  • Hiking - The Moab has numerous hiking trails for all skill levels. It’s the perfect spot for a family day hike. Negro Bill & Hunter Canyons and The Corona Arch are two examples.
  • Mountain Biking - This just may be the greatest mountain biking spot anywhere, from pleasant scenic rides to hardcore challenging rides for seasoned bikers.
  • Four-wheel Driving - The area has thousands of miles of old mining trails that are perfect for four-wheel driving through the scenic backcountry.
  • Canoeing & Kayaking - The Colorado River has many spots that are wide and quiet. Also the man-made reservoir, Ken’s Lake. The family can enjoy calm water float trips in canoes, kayaks and rafts.
  • Movie Museum - Many popular Hollywood movies have been filmed around Moab. Visit the Film Museum at Red Cliffs Lodge. Then take a self-guided tour of the many movie locations in the area.
  • Auto Tours - Take in the incredible scenery with a self-guided auto tour. You can use one or more of the three officially designated Scenic Byways and one Scenic Backway that wind through the Moab area.
  • Rock Art Tour - There are many local sites, all accessible by car, where you can view ancient Indian rock art in the Moab area.
  • Dinosaur Tracks - The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail and the Copper Ridge Sauropod Tracksite are spots where you can see tracks of several dinosaur species as well as recovered bone fragments.

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