Summer isn’t the cheapest time to travel, but it is the time of year when most families have more time to travel. I reached out to some of my friends in the travel writing world to ask for their favorite cheap vacation ideas for U.S. travel in the summer. Travel doesn’t have to break the bank, even in summer!
Beyond finding a great destination for summer travel, I’m always looking for new ways to save money while traveling. Dosh is my favorite app for booking hotels because you’re guaranteed the best price for hotels and you’ll get cashback on your bookings. The app is free and promises to put money back in your pocket “auto-magically” when you book hotels as well as at restaurants in their system.
When you are planning a trip, you can book hotels, tours and more as you normally would with the added bonus of cashback. While traveling you can also dine at restaurants and earn cashback with the Dosh app.
Below are a wide variety of cheap travel destinations in the U.S. including ideas for outdoor fun, glitz, and glam as well as some 4th of July fun!
Cheap Vacation Ideas in the U.S. for Summer
Acadia National Park, Maine
My first visit to Acadia was as a poor college student as my honeymoon with my wife. We took advantage of camping in the park for a low-cost experience. If you are looking for something fancier there are also hotels in the Bar Harbor area which shares Mount Desert Island with the national park. Make sure you plan a stop for popovers at Jordon Pond Tea House, but expect to wait as this is a popular destination with summer crowds.
To learn more about Acadia National Park listen to the Amateur Traveler podcast episode on Acadia National Park.
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is an ideal summer vacation destination. Located “way up there,” the Upper Peninsula is rarely crowded and offers a lot of good old fashioned fun. There’s absolutely stunning scenery to enjoy for free or nearly free: Pictured Rocks National Park, Presque Isle Park, and Tahquamenon Falls State Park, to name a few, but the best thing about the UP is that it really encourages you to unplug and just be. There’s no such thing as fancy resorts with resort fees, so local/small hotels, airbnbs, and campgrounds are your best bet. Without a huge bustling tourist industry, we save money when traveling to the UP by going on free hikes, enjoying the beautiful lakes and scenery, and by cooking our own meals at home. It really is an off the beaten path, budget-friendly vacation destination.
Las Vegas, Nevada
This great summer travel deal is from James Hills of Mantripping.com
Vegas is more glitz and glamour than ever before and for the most part, the days of deals are over. However, summer is the exception and it is surprisingly still a great time to visit. Sure, the temperature will exceed 100 degrees and the sun will be so bright that you’ll have to squint with sunglasses on. Inside however, you can bask in the ice cold air as you shop, drink, eat, or enjoy a show. When you want to go outside, there are great pools to relax by and drinks to chase the heat away. Resorts that might be $200-300 per night during the spring and winter will often have summer deals for a fraction of that.
This great summer travel deal is from Suzanne Fluhr of Boomeresque.com
Celebrate the USA’s birthday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where it all began in 1776. In the City of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection), we don’t just celebrate on the 4th of July. We have a Welcome America celebration starting on June 29th. There are 7 days of free events, outdoor movies, concerts, block parties, and parades.
Philly is so much more than cheesesteaks and somewhat poorly behaved sports fans. Philly is a great cheap travel destination in the U.S. for so many reasons! We also have the USA’s most historic square mile. In Old City, visit Independence National Historical Park to tour Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Museum. Adjacent to the National Park are the National Constitution Center and Philadelphia’s newest museum, the Museum of the American Revolution.
Check out the museums along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, ending at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where you can channel your inner Rocky Balboa by running up the “Rocky Steps”.
In 1776, founding father, John Adams, wrote that Independence Day should be celebrated with “Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other … forever more.” And so it has. Watch your 4th of July fireworks in the very city where he penned those words.
Hope you found some inspiration and a few cheap vacation ideas for your summer vacation that won’t break the bank.
Dosh is a free app that allows you to save money during your travels at shops, restaurants and hotels. The Dosh app is free and one of the best ways to save money on hotels and restaurants when you travel.
Join me and click here to sign up for the beta version and start to save money on hotels and restaurants when you travel.
This article contains my affiliate link for Dosh. If you click through and sign up for Dosh, it costs you nothing and we may earn a small commission which goes towards running this website.
Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.