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If one is looking for a cheap vacation in the United States, then the state with the lowest cost of living is the Southern state of Mississippi. While Mississippi is not normally on many people's radar for vacationing, it is potentially the cheapest one to visit (or at least live in).

Motor on down into the Mississippi to stretch one's budget the furthest. If one is on a budget, then consider skipping the most expensive states - like New York and California and above all, Hawaii. While New York City is often the world's most expensive city, it has recently been replaced by Israel's Tel Aviv - now the world's most expensive city.


Mississippi Has The Lowest Cost Of Living

According to statistics released for 2022 (retrieved June 2022), Mississippi is the cheapest state in the United States to live in. Its expenses are lower than the average state across the board. That being said, Mississippi also has the lowest income per capita in the country and so it may not seem to be cheap for folks living there.

A look at the average gasoline prices by state (June 2022) also shows Mississippi to be one of the cheapest (or these days - least expensive) states in the country. Mississippi has either the cheapest gasoline and diesel in the Union or just marginally more expensive than the next cheapest state in some octane levels according to gasprices.aaa.com. Overall, Mississippi has the lowest transportation costs in the country.

  • Gasoline: The Lowest (or Almost Lowest) In The USA

Mississippi is particularly cheaper when it comes to housing. So if one is looking for a cheap second home, consider this Deep South state.

  • Housing: 66 Index (The Lowest In The Country)

Related: NYC Isn't The Most Expensive City, But Here's Why It's Close

What The Cost Of Living Index Is

The cost of living is a measurement of the money needed to cover basic expenses (like rent, food, transport, and healthcare). This means that on vacation one can expect to pay lower than average prices for fuel and eating out.

The most expensive states in the country are Hawaii and New York while the states with the lowest costs are Mississippi and Kansas.

  • Tip: There Are Plenty Of Free Camping Sites In The Western Half Of The USA

The average cost of living in the United States is set at a baseline of 100. States with a higher score than 100 are more expensive on average, while those with a lower score are cheaper. A cost of living index of 200 is twice the national average while a state with 50 would be half the national average.

According to Worldpopulationreview.com (retrieved June 2022) the least and most expensive states in the USA are:

Most Expensive States:

  • Hawaii: Index 193.3
  • New York State: 148.2 (NYC Is Likely More Expensive)
  • California: 142.2

Least Expensive States:

  • Mississippi: Index 83.3
  • Kansas: Index 86.5
  • Oklahoma: Index 87.9

If one would like a cheaper life (and especially housing) consider Mississippi. But there are some reasons why it has a low cost of living. It is also ranked as one of the worst states to live in the country.

Related: Revealed: Cheapest (& Most Expensive) Cities In Europe For Foodies

What To Do In Mississippi

Mississippi lacks the well-known attractions of other states - like Yosemite in California, Sin City (Vegas) in Nevada, Miami and the Everglades in Florida, and the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina. But that doesn't mean it is without things to see and do.

The Mississippi River itself is a significant attraction and if one has time, consider taking a cruise down America's mightiest river.

Some of the state's attractions include:

  • Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • USS Cairo Museum at Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
  • Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum
  • Mississippi Petrified Forest
  • Natchez Trace Parkway

In Mississippi, one can relax and feel the "charm of the South." So take one's time to get the feel for the state's atmosphere while learning about its traditions, culture, and food. Most of the state's national sites managed by the National Park Service are historic sites (like national military parks from the Civil War and historic homes) - although it does have the Gulf Islands national seashore and segments of the Natchez Trace Parkway and Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail.

That being said, if one is looking for grand national parks, mountains, and superb beaches - then go to California (just expect it to be much more pricey).