There are so many beautiful and fun places to see in the US, and you might be surprised at how affordable some of them are for a weekend getaway! Although some of the bigger cities might be pricier than other places around the world, there are so many wonderful destinations across the US to suit any traveler, no matter what the budget. From colorful cities to spectacular National Parks and pristine sandy beaches, here are some less well-known places across the US to visit without breaking the bank!
10 Las Vegas
Las Vegas might not seem like a cheap weekend getaway, but it can be more affordable than you think! Due to the sheer abundance of hotels, rates can be competitive, even for hotels right on the strip. To keep costs down, instead of spending time in the casinos, try catching the free water and light show at the Bellagio Fountains, or explore the many unique hotels along the strip, including the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas or the Volcano at the Mirage Hotel. Las Vegas is also a great base to explore the spectacular Grand Canyon.
- Best Hotel Choice: Platinum Hotel
- Price/Night: $169
9 Albuquerque, New Mexico
Another affordable weekend destination is Albuquerque, New Mexico. The city is known for its quirky old town with beautiful adobe-style buildings and a multitude of interesting museums, many of which are free. Another free highlight of the city is the Petroglyph National Monument. The National Hispanic Cultural Center also hosts lots of free events, and there are often free festivals in the summer. For alternative city views, visitors can ride up the 3-mile-long Sandia Peak Tramway, or those with a bigger budget can splurge for an iconic hot air balloon ride.
- Best Hotel Choice: Sandia Peak Inn
- Price/Night: $99
8 San Antonio, Texas
Colorful San Antonio is another weekend break perfect for any budget, particularly between November and April, where visitors can take advantage of the low-season hotel rates. The city is a perfect blend of American history and Mexican culture, making it the perfect destination for history buffs or foodies. The highlight of the city is the River Walk, which has waterfront shops and restaurants spilling out onto the streets. There are also two incredible UNESCO World Heritage sites that are completely free to visit – the 18th century Alamo Mission which is a living history museum, and the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Summer visitors wanting to beat the heat should visit nearby Natural Bridge Caverns or Six Flags Fiesta water park.
- Best Hotel Choice: Drury Plaza Hotel
- Price/Night: $99
7 Tupelo, Mississippi
Tupelo is a little town in the eastern part of Mississippi. It is well-known for being the birthplace of Elvis Presley, and visitors can explore the house he was born in, along with the church he attended. But Tupelo is more than just Elvis’ birthplace; it is an affordable weekend destination with various attractions, including the Buffalo Park and Zoo and a children’s museum. For those who are really just there for Elvis, there is an Elvis Guitar Trail around the town where visitors can take photos with 25 iconic guitars Elvis once played.
- Best Hotel Choice: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tupelo
- Price/Night: $114
6 Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City is known for its barbecue and jazz, but it is also home to a remarkable number of free or affordable attractions and a free streetcar serving many of the main districts in the city. There is also an abundance of pretty fountains around the city for visitors to check out. Sports fans can visit the Arrowhead Stadium, and admission-free museums include the Haskell Indian Nations University Cultural Center and Museum and the Money Museum. Nearby Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens and Ernie Miller Park and Nature Center are free outdoors options.
- Best Hotel Choice: Sonesta Select Kansas City
- Price/Night: $80
5 St Augustine, Florida
As the oldest permanent European settlement in the US, St Augustine is rich in history and architecture. As this city is often overlooked in favor of Miami or Disneyland, it is a very affordable option for those wanting a Floridian weekend getaway. It is home to the impressive Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and a beautiful Historic District filled with colorful shops and restaurants. There are also 42 miles of beaches around St. Augustine for visitors to enjoy the Florida sun!
- Best Hotel Choice: Southern Oaks Inn
- Price/Night: $99
4 Gulf Shores, Alabama
For an affordable beach vacation, look no further than Alabama’s Gulf Coast, found right at the southernmost tip of the state. With its spectacular white sandy beaches and sparkling turquoise waters, it is a side of Alabama that many people have never imagined. One of the most popular spots is the Gulf State Park, where the park’s Nature Center offers a variety of free educational programs and activities, including guided nature hikes and fishing classes.
- Best Hotel Choice: Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Gulf Shores
- Price/Night: $93
3 Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is another affordable destination that is perfect for a weekend getaway. Many bars offer free country music which spills out onto the streets, and there are quirky microbreweries and burger joints scattered across the city. Music fans are spoiled for choice with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Johnny Cash Museum, and the Ryman Auditorium.
- Best Hotel Choice: Sonder 16th South
- Price/Night: $107
2 Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is a hidden gem that is often overlooked by other cities up in the Northeast, making it a very affordable option for a weekend getaway. Downtown Providence is full of beautiful architecture, including the gorgeous Providence Athenaeum, and there are so many fantastic restaurants and bars to try. Fall is an incredible (but expensive) time to visit the city, with the beautiful fall colors, but Providence is a great weekend choice any time of the year.
- Best Hotel Choice: Clarion Inn Seekonk - Providence
- Price/Night: $111
1 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is another often overlooked city in favor of Chicago but is a wonderful destination for an affordable weekend by the lake. There are many water-based activities to try out, including a sunset cruise or paddle boarding. Milwaukee's brewery scene has also exploded in recent years, with many homegrown breweries now found throughout the city.
- Best Hotel Choice: Best Western Plus Milwaukee
- Price/Night: $82