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The best budget-friendly summer vacations, according to US News & World Report

April 20,2018 20:15

While spring break might just be winding down, summer will be here before you know it, bringing along with it ample opportunity for some fun in the sun. If you're aiming for an affordable summer getaway, U.S. News & World Report announced its Best ...



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Sarah Berger | @sarahelizberger
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While spring break might just be winding down, summer will be here before you know it, bringing along with it ample opportunity for some fun in the sun. If you're aiming for an affordable summer getaway, U.S. News & World Report announced its Best Cheap Summer Vacations ranking on Thursday.
To determine the list, U.S. News & World Report analyzed over 700 destinations by combining travelers' opinions with expert and editor analysis. Each destination was scored in 10 categories like sights, culture, food, nightlife, adventure and romance.
Check out 10 of the magazine's top budget-friendly summer destinations, and get busy booking.
1. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Topping U.S. News & World Report's list is the Grand Canyon in Arizona. This tourist hot spot, manged by the National Park Service, offers breath-taking views and activities ranging from hikes to horseback riding to river rafting. U.S. News recommends really saving money by forgoing formal lodging at a hotel or rental, and instead, opt for camping. Campsites at the Desert View Campground, for example, cost just $12 for each space per night.
2. Williamsburg, Virginia

Next up is Williamsburg, Virginia, a historical town with roots tracing back to the American Revolution. In fact, one of the most popular things to do in Williamsburg is take a visit to Colonial Williamsburg. The tourist spot has been touted as a "Disney theme park for history fanatics," according to U.S. News & World Report. A single-day ticket for one adult costs $50, and gives you access to all of Colonial Williamsburg's historic sites and trade shops, including two art museums, and a free shuttle. Williamsburg also offers theme parks, beaches, trails, a vineyard and art galleries. Many VRBO vacation rentals in town cost less than $100 per night.
3. Fort Myers, Florida

This family-friendly destination, located in southwest Florida, not only offers white sand beaches, but museums and tours of the Everglades, as well as a manatee park and a butterfly estate. Currently, Airbnb rentals in Fort Myers for mid-June are going for as low as $65 per night.
4. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque is rich in history and culture, and is also known for its delicious cuisine, which combines Mexican, Native American and Spanish flavors. Airbnb rentals in Albuquerque for mid-June are currently going as low as $56 per night, and there are a number of museums and monuments in the city that offer free admission. If you can't squeeze in a trip this summer, consider checking out Albuquerque's International Balloon Fiesta in October, which garners hundreds of bright, big hot-air balloons.
5. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Another Florida hot spot claims the fifth spot on U.S. News & World Report's ranking: Fort Lauderdale. This popular vacation spot has beaches and plenty of palm trees, as well as 185 miles of waterways and canals (earning it the nickname 'Venice of America'). Tourists can enjoy river cruises, shopping on Las Olas Boulevard or embarking on a fishing trip in the Everglades. The city also ranked eighth on U.S. News & World Report's Best Florida Beaches list and 11th on its Most Relaxing Beaches ranking. Rentals on Airbnb for mid-June are going for as low as $68 per night.
6. Tucson, Arizona

If you can tolerate some pretty high temperatures, consider checking out Tucson. This desert city offers plenty of nature and canyon views, like the Saguaro National Park and Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway, as well as culture and history. U.S. News & World Report notes that due to the weather, hotel rates drop as much as 60 percent from winter to summer. It also ranks fourth on U.S. News & World Report's Best Affordable Destinations in the U.S. and seventh for Best Golf Destinations. Fun, free things to do in Tucson include checking out the Mission San Xavier del Bac and the Turquoise Trail. VRBO rentals in the area start at less than $100 a night.
7. Boca Raton, Florida

This beach destination is located between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale and boasts everything from parks to nature centers. The town might seem expensive — the pink Boca Raton Resort & Club looks ritzy and the town is dotted with high-end boutiques — but currently on Airbnb, rentals for mid-June are going for $56 per night.
8. Daytona, Florida

Yet another Florida location makes U.S. News' ranking: Daytona. While this destination might be known as a spring break spot (it's ranked sixth on U.S. News & World Report's Best Cheap Spring Break Destinations list), it's also great for summer travel. There are miles of beaches and it's home to Daytona International Speedway, attracting NASCAR fans from all over the country. Rentals are affordable, too: on Airbnb, rates are currently as low as $50 per night for mid-June.
9. Biloxi, Mississippi

If you still want a beach getaway without the Florida crowds, consider checking out Biloxi, Mississippi located on the shores of the Gulf Coast. It has sandy beaches, golf and beautiful lighthouses. The city is known for its affordability, (it's also ranked in the top 20 for U.S. News' Best Affordable Destinations in the U.S.), and a tour of the Biloxi Lighthouse costs just $5. However, it's also home to many casinos. Beach-area rentals on VRBO start at about $85 a night.
10. Tampa, Florida

Tampa offers a little something for everyone. Besides the beach, top attractions include its Big Cat Rescue and the Florida Aquarium. Known for being family-friendly, it also ranked 12th for U.S. News & World Report's Best Winter Family Vacations and 14th on its Best Affordable Family Vacations list. Rentals on Airbnb for mid-June currently feature rates as low as $67 per night.
Check out the rest of U.S. News & World Report's top 15 Best Cheap Summer Vacations, which includes Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (60 miles of free, sandy beaches); Moab, Utah (think free, beautiful hiking trails); Annapolis, Maryland (Airbnb rooms are as low as $55 per night); Bar Harbor, Maine (access to Acadia National Park is just $12); and Surfside Beach, South Carolina (resort condos are as low as $120 a night).
Don't miss: This is the most expensive zip code in the US — and it's not in California or New York

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