Best 5 Cheap Vacations in the USA for 2023

In the quest for adventure and relaxation, the notion of budget-friendly vacations in the USA often seems like a distant dream. Yet, the landscape of America is as diverse in its offerings as it is vast, providing hidden gems and affordable getaways that defy the odds. In 2023, from the golden beaches to the mountain retreats, let’s explore the best 5 cheap vacations in the USA where you can make memories without the worry of overspending.

1. Experience the Great Outdoors in the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

A Nature Lover’s Dream

Nestled on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers an abundance of natural beauty and activities, all with no entrance fee. It’s a haven for hikers, wildlife enthusiasts, and those who simply want to breathe in the fresh mountain air.

What to Do: Hiking and Historic Sites

Explore over 800 miles of trails, discover the charm of Cades Cove, and step back in time with a visit to the historic buildings scattered throughout the park.

2. Soak Up the Sun in South Padre Island, Texas

A Beach Getaway on a Budget

South Padre Island is a slice of paradise offering expansive beaches without the hefty price tag associated with other coastal destinations. It’s perfect for those seeking sun, sand, and sea, with a side of Texan hospitality.

Activities Galore: Watersports and Beachcombing

Engage in affordable or free activities like bird watching at the Birding and Nature Center, or enjoy watersports rentals for a day on the Gulf.

3. Discover the Culture in New Orleans, Louisiana

Rich History and Vibrant Nightlife

The soulful city of New Orleans offers a cultural explosion without the extravagant costs. From jazz clubs to historic French Quarter walks, the city brims with activities and sights that are often free or low-cost.

Must-Sees: Live Music and Street Performances

Enjoy the legendary live music scene, indulge in the culinary delights at local markets, and marvel at the street performers that make this city uniquely enchanting.

4. Explore the Urban Landscape of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

History Meets Modernity

Philadelphia, the birthplace of America, offers a wealth of historical sites alongside modern attractions. Many of its museums and historical sites, including the iconic Liberty Bell, are free to visit.

Educational and Fun: Museums and Parks

Take a historical tour through Independence Hall, enjoy contemporary art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (pay what you wish on the first Sunday of the month), and relax in one of the city’s many green spaces.

5. Venture into the Wilderness of Olympic National Park, Washington

A Diverse Ecosystem Awaits

Olympic National Park provides an affordable escape with its diverse ecosystems, from rainforests to rugged coastal lines. The park’s entrance fee is modest, and the natural beauty is priceless.

Adventures in Nature: Hiking and Tide Pooling

Explore the Hoh Rainforest, hike the trails offering breathtaking views, and visit the beaches to discover tide pools teeming with marine life.


Embarking on a cheap vacation in the USA doesn’t mean compromising on experience. The diverse landscapes of the country offer numerous opportunities for exploration, adventure, and relaxation, all while maintaining a budget. Whether it’s the mountain air of Tennessee, the Texas beaches, the cultural vibrancy of New Orleans, the historical richness of Philadelphia, or the natural wonders of Washington, 2023 is your year to discover the affordable treasures of the USA.


Q. When is the best time to visit these destinations to save money?

Traveling during the shoulder seasons, typically spring and fall, can provide the best deals and smaller crowds.

Q. Are there any tips for finding affordable accommodations?

Consider staying in hostels, budget hotels, or using vacation rental platforms. Booking in advance and being flexible with your dates can also lead to significant savings.

Q. How can I save on food while traveling?

Opt for accommodations with kitchen facilities to cook some meals, eat like a local at affordable eateries, and explore street food options.

Q. What are some free activities in these destinations?

Each destination offers a plethora of free activities, from hiking and visiting national parks to enjoying public beaches and exploring historic sites.

Q. How can I minimize transportation costs?

Look into public transportation options, consider renting a bike, or plan a trip where most of the attractions are within walking distance of your accommodation.

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