The Top 6 Budget Friendly Weekend Getaways in the U.S.
My family loves weekend getaways and everyone deserves a vacation. Between the long work weeks, kid’s schedules, and boredom of your own town, you know when it’s time to take a break.
Like most families, however, money can get tight, and the idea of spending a fortune on travel costs, hotels, rental cars, and excursions can seem daunting. Whether you’re traveling alone or with the whole gang, vacations can get expensive.
However, that doesn’t mean you should rule them out completely! With proper planning, short vacations like weekend getaways can still serve their purpose.
Vacations are about sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying your time off, not about constantly worrying and pinching every penny.
While there are a few factors to take into consideration such as distance, the number of family members and your own personal vacation budget, these top 6 budget-friendly weekend getaways in the U.S. can help you save.
Let’s take a look at some of the most affordable cities from coast to coast.
1. Nashville, Tennessee
From honky-tonk bars to breweries, Nashville has plenty of nightlife and daytime excursions to explore. Stroll through Centennial Park, a gorgeous urban park known for its full-sized replica of the Parthenon of Athens.
Brush up on your country music trivia, children 5 and under can get into the Country Music Hall of Fame for free. At night, you can stumble up and down Broadway, the cities main street, known for live music, bars, and always a good time. Take a tour of one of Nashville’s hidden gems, their breweries.
Many offer tours for less than $10 (and include a free tasting and souvenir glass)!
Whether you prefer a relaxing day in Nashville’s parks or a wild night on Broadway, Nashville has plenty of budget-friendly activities for the perfect (and affordable) weekend getaway.
2. San Antonio, Texas
If you can plan a short vacay when the Texas heat has cooled down a bit, San Antonio is a perfect destination for budget-friendly weekend getaways.
Perhaps the main attraction of the city, The San Antonio River Walk features a beautiful running river through the heart of the city, with shops and restaurants lining the river.
You can stroll through this urban oasis, rent a bike for the day, or simply sip margaritas on the patio as you people watch all afternoon. Take this opportunity to give the kids a history lesson and head over to The Alamo; admission is free.
However you choose to spend your vacation in this Texas favorite, don’t leave before trying one of their famous Tex-Mex creations.
3. Denver, Colorado
If you love the great outdoors or want the kids to remain active during your trip, Denver is the perfect destination for you. With the mountains to the west and a plethora of national parks surrounding Colorado’s state capital, there are more adventurous things to do that you can fit into this affordable weekend getaway.
Head over to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a large music venue that has hosted The Beatles and Grateful Dead, as well as hundreds of other artists.
You can explore this venue nestled in the huge red rock formations during the day, admission to the venue and museum is free, just make sure to arrive early if a show is planned for that evening.
You can plan a day trip down to Colorado Springs and explore The Garden of the Gods, a national park known for its miraculous vertical rock formations.
Admission to the park and visitor center is also free. Surprising for a landlocked state, Denver has quite a few lakes, many of which have sandy beach shores, perfect for an afternoon picnic and cool down from the sun.
4. Portland, Oregon
Known for their eclectic style, hipster coffee shops, and vegan bakeries, Portland is another weekend getaway unique destination and affordable option on the west coast. Sip on some craft beer at one of the many craft breweries, or take a brew cruise (bike tour + beer) through the city to burn off those bubbles and experience the city in a fun and original way.
If you’re a fan of the show Portlandia, you can create your own tour of the hilarious favorite destinations (Women and Women First, anyone?) of this IFC classic.
Catch a flick at the historic Hollywood Theatre, make sure to check out the calendar before your trip, as there are plenty of fun events, such as B-movie bingo night.
Before you leave, grab a donut from Voodoo Doughnuts, a donut shop known for its wacky and outrageous pastry creations.
5. Kansas City, Missouri
Not only is this city known for its affordable hotels; it is home to a handful of free museums. Stop by Union Station, home to Science City, an interactive science center for kids, or spook the kids out at Mummies of the World, a mummy exhibit.
Spend the afternoon in the lovely Loose Park Rose Gardens, one of the most popular historic parks in the city. Tour The National WWI Museum and Memorial, voted the number 5 museum in the U.S. by Trip Advisor.
Before you leave, make sure to grab a bite of some famous southern barbeque and catch a classic jazz performance at a local bar.
6. Minneapolis, Minnesota
If you can plan a trip after the brutal winter months, Minneapolis is a great northern budget-friendly weekend getaway.
Take your best family photo yet at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, where giant spoons and sculptures that spell out “LOVE” reside. If that doesn’t satisfy your craving for art, head over to world famous Walker Art Center.
Catch a show at the historic Guthrie Theater, check the calendar before you go to plan a budget-friendly evening. If you’re feeling outdoorsy, rent a bike and explore some the hundreds of trails throughout the city, or head over to The Chain of Lakes, a series of lakes lined with pedestrian walkways.
If you love art and museums, make sure to check out their handful of renowned art centers before you go.
Whether you are looking for a small town to visit or love to explore parks and culture, these list of weekend getaways will surely satisfy your travel thirst.