With Memorial Day weekend behind us, the unofficial start of summer has begun. Naturally, you’re probably considering where you can go explore over these months of sun and heat, but you don’t have a large budget to work with. While a European holiday might be out of the question this time around, there are still plenty of options out there for you have a great getaway without putting your bank account in the red. Here are the best places for mini vacations:
Check Out the Beaches of San Diego With an Airbnb
California is known to be an expensive destination, but if you know how and where to look you can find lodging and plenty of free activities to keep you entertained if you end up having your fill of the sun and sand. The lodging on Airbnb can range in price from around $50-$150 depending on how close you want your access to the beach to be, but you’re sure to find something that fits the confines of your pocketbook — and in the form of a whole apartment, complete with kitchen.
Explore the Midwest — Yes, I’m Serious
Don’t worry if you’re smack dab in the middle of the country and your budget makes oceanside out of the question. Even the Midwest has its gems — one of those is in the form of Lake Michigan. In particular, you should definitely check out Door County, Wisconsin, a fantastic area located on the peninsula of Lake Michigan just north of Green Bay.
All along this area you’ll find really, truly beautiful scenery and idyllic small towns with artisan food and boutiques, as well as local craft beer and wine. To top it all off, there’s also bearable summer temperatures, and you escape the blown-up costs of other major tourist cities.
Experience the Great River Road
One way you can go a bit further without spending an arm and a leg on airfare is doing it the old-fashioned American way: organize a road trip. Gas prices are lower than they’ve been in about eleven years. If you follow a portion of the Great River Road, you can check out some of the best sites of the country all in one go.
I’d recommend overnighting in Memphis to catch some Blues on Beale Street, and if you have the time continue on until the end to check out NOLA. You can even save more on lodging by deciding to camp along the way. It’ll be an adventure you never forget.
Plan an Outdoor Adventure in the Appalachians
New England is worth exploring anytime of the year, but the summer hiking trails are especially brilliant. Check off a bucket list item by hiking part of the Appalachian Trail. The scenery will be unmatched, and you’ll get the much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In New Hampshire and Maine, they even make it super easy to find lodging and places to camp.
You’ll spend quality recharge time, and come back refreshed and renewed. The great outdoors always seems to have that effect for me, anyway.
Get a Little Weird in Austin, Texas
If city life is still more your scene for a getaway, then you should definitely plan your next adventure to Austin, Texas. This anomaly of a city in the Longhorn State is full of music festivals, good food, and probably the friendliest people in America. This great site gives you week by week happenings in this great city, and if that’s not enough Thrillist even put together 40 free things to occupy your time, when you’re not eating great BBQ and having some brews. Not only will you never run out of things to do, but you also won’t break the bank.
The summer is waiting for you. Now that you’ve got some affordable and fun ideas to fill those vacations days you have, get out there and go plan it!