Budget-Friendly Weekend Destinations in the USA

If you're looking for a low-cost getaway for the weekend, and you live in the USA, you're in  luck. There are numerous amazing destinations in the United States you can visit that are affordable for many people. If the whole family is up for a break, a stay at one of the more than 1,000 water parks in America is an often overlooked treat that works in all temperatures year round (and when the kids take swimming lessons from an early age, a multitude of fun and affordable vacation ideas become possible). So whether you're looking to stay close to home or venture a bit further away, you might want to consider one of these locations.

Glacier National Park

This park was named because it contains remnants of glaciers from the ice age. It's located in northwestern Montana on the border of Canada. This is known as the Crown of the Continent because it sits at the headwaters of streams that lead to the Pacific Ocean, Hudson Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. The park is a favorite of hikers, with trails for people of all skill levels, from the easier Trail of the Cedars to the more difficult Grinnell Glacier. There are countless waterfalls, two mountain ranges, and over 700 lakes on its more than one million acres that contain bears, mountain lions, and other wild animals that you shouldn't approach. Take a 52-mile drive along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a national historic landmark that leads to numerous trailheads and offers spectacular views. Off-season here is November to April, when it's the least expensive to stay at lodgings or use the campgrounds.

Colorado Springs

Located in the state of the same name, Colorado Springs is a treasure, with a multitude of things to do. Overseen by the majestic Rocky Mountains, the town is set in an attractive locale. The drive to nearby Pikes Peak is a scenic memory, and closer to town, the sandstone pillars of the Garden of the Gods are remarkable. You may catch a presentation at the nature center. Take in the sights on a horseback tour with the Academy Riding Stables, or take an electric bike tour. Manitou Springs is an enjoyable spot that's a "hippie haven" with art galleries, cafés, and much more (and when traveling with the possibility of mingling in crowds, it's useful to get a rapid test for infection just before you leave). You'd most enjoy visiting this area between March to May or September to October when there are fewer crowds and you'll be more likely to find bargain rates. The foliage is something that you won't want to miss in the Fall.

Atlanta, Georgia

If you're looking for a Southern spot to trek to for a weekend, Atlanta is ideal. You can visit the aquarium, explore historic landmarks, check out the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park, and stop by the Ponce City Market. This place has a huge array of food and drinks under one roof as well as various shops. There's often live music and different seasonal events that happen at the Market and you also can play mini-golf on the roof. If you're looking for adult activity, Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping-Pong Emporium is an especially unique bar that tourists love. A great place for the whole family is the World of Coca-Cola where you can learn about how this beverage is made and its history.

Portland, Maine

This Northeastern city is great for people who are active, as well as creative types. It's got art galleries and shops on Congress Street, Allagash Brewing for excellent craft beers, and top-notch seafood along with affordable food trucks. If you'd like to get in some exercise and see the city differently, bring along your bike or find someplace for a rental. You also can get out on the water on a paddleboard or kayak for a wonderful experience. You absolutely should check out Great Diamond Island in Casco Bay, which is just a short ferry trip away from Portland. Take along a picnic to have while hiking and sit back to relax as you watch the boats on the bay, for a romantic experience.

Salt Lake City, Utah

This city is family-friendly and lodgings are reasonably priced. There is a wide assortment of natural spaces close by, including Big Cottonwood Canyon and Wasatch National Forest that are worthwhile at any time, while Park City and Snowbird Ski Resort are perfect in the winter. If you're an Olympics buff you might want to visit Utah Olympic Park, the sports facility where the 2002 Winter Olympic Games were held - check to see if there's a guided tour available when you'll be there. Red Butte Garden, which is operated by the University of Utah, features more than 100 acres of botanical gardens and hiking trails and is located at the Wasatch Range.

Orange Beach/Gulf Shores, Alabama

There's more to this locale than the beach. If you love nature, you'll love Gulf State Park Nature Center where you can go on a guided nature walk and view the living museum of animals and plants. Historic Fort Morgan is fascinating for those interested in military history, and the price to get in can't be beat. If you're feeling up for activity, the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is ideal with its 27 miles of paved trails. Relax with a fun game of disc golf at the Orange Beach disc golf course when you're done exploring. There's prime land for camping and fishing in this area - check out the fishing pier in Gulf State Park that extends over 1,500 feet into the Gulf of Mexico.

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