Budget travel is so rewarding. Who needs 5 star hotels, elegant restaurants and expensive accessories? I have found that my favorite vacation spots are those close to home, right on American soil. Having had such positive experiences, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite spots. Although I didn't have to clean up my savings account or fail for these "on budget" sorts of destinations, they were worth every penny I spent. Here are 5 of my best places to travel, whether you are on a budget or not.
This American hot spot is a fantastic place to travel whenever you can get there. We all know the power of experiencing the Grand Canion, but there is so much more to it, whether it is spring, summer, fall or winter, Arizona gets a plus from me from a great climate to a variety of affordable things to see and do. It can get really hot, so pack some more casual clothes. because if you're like me, the best place for you is outside. The state has done a great job of creating hiking trails, botanical gardens, campsites, outdoor tours and other nature-loving trips. The country is full of big cities and small places full of art, culture and history and delicious food. For example, Tucson, Arizona, is full of Southwestern and Mexican heritage. There is very little or no need to charge for places like Sabino Canyon and Saguaro National Park, then head to Sedona, Arizona for a chance to see 100 plus art galleries and events happening all the time. They are amazing places to see if you are an art lover or not.
2. Dr. Baltimore
I have visited Baltimore many times and it is by far one of my favorite places to see. The seafood is as fresh and tasty as any fare in town, and for those who cost a budget, the dollar goes a long, long way. Steamed crabs are like no other in the world. The National Aquarium is beautifully located right on the harbor of Baltimore and the day spent there is a good time. Beautiful, family views, scents and sounds are unique! The Harborplace and Galleri is located near the harbor and offers an amazing mecca for shopping and dining where you can choose what is right for your wallet and taste. Depending on the time of year (remind that Baltimore is cold in winter), there is even free entertainment. The American Museum of Visionary Art is worth the short trip from the harbor. They charge a fee to get inside, but the building and property itself are packed with sculptures and art that you can view for free. And there are so many museums during your stay in this family friendly family.
3. Hershei, PA
Hershei, Pennsylvania has become one of the most famous destinations in our country, and offers so many free and inexpensive things to do. There is a world-class amusement park, a notorious daycare center that can be very expensive, but there are many memorable bargains too. Hershei Chocolate Vorld, is a ride through Hershei Park but is totally free. It is a wonderful historic ride that is both enjoyable and instructive. If you are traveling with children, they will receive a free sample of sweets at the end of the ride, where they will take you straight to the gift shop. There is also a Hershei stroller that will transport you around the city complete with kiss-shaped lanterns crossing the streets. It was started by Milton Hershei while planning the city and continues to this day … well worth your time. If you have time (and I would suggest making time) visit ZooAmerica, Hershei Gardens, Milton Hershei School and other fantastic museums located in Hershei, PA.
4. Dallas, Texas
In a city known for everything big, the cost of a visit is not that bad. We had a bit of an adventurous spirit, so we booked a city PASS that offered discounted rates to some of the city's most popular attractions. We couldn't hit them, but we saw the George V. Library and Museum. Bush (he was president) and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Pretty cool to add a little culture to your vacation. My travel partners enjoy visiting the zoos, so we went to a great zoo in Dallas and met two beautiful African elephants and fed a giraffe. There are so many family-oriented events and presentations at this zoo, you may need to stay for more than a day. The Dallas Farmers Market is an unavoidable market. Food, vendors and an extremely memorable experience are like no other market I have visited. If you go, get a street taco at La Ventana or pork tamales at El Mero Mero. I must mention Audubon River Square for all your hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. This urban forest is an escape from the city into the characteristic Texas terrain.
5. Nashville, TN
Nashville, home to countri music, American history and the like, so much that can be seen and done. First, all you need to see is the Hall of Fame Countri Music and the infamous Grand Ole Opri. Just the view from the outside of these famous buildings must be well seen. When filled with countri music, take a peek at the beautiful college campuses of Vanderbilt University and Belmont University, or visit the Adventure Science Center or Belmont Mansion and spend an afternoon learning something new. Campuses are full of history and tradition and the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors. And we didn't even mention Nashville food. It has to be Nashville is a pot with a cooked kitchen. There are all kinds of trains to satisfy any palate. My favorites were found on food trucks that offered fast, delicious and affordable meals on the go. If you have places for pie, I recommend peach or pastry.