This ” Best USA Vacation: 10 Best Places To Visit For FREE ” post describes the different tourist destinations in the US that are free or cost close to nothing. See disclosure policy.
Traveling from one place to another to visit new places, meet new people, see what’s out there, etc. is fun. Sure it’s fun but it doesn’t mean that it’s cheap.
It is easy to burn thousands of dollars on a single trip especially if you are looking at staying at pricey hotel, exclusive tourist destination, among others. Do you know that on average, Americans spend $581 for 4 nights for domestic trip and $3,251 for 12 nights for international trip?
Yikes, that’s a lot of money. Good thing there are places where you can go and not spend a lot of money.
I’m referring to National Parks or those places that are near where you live.
My family is so lucky to have traveled so many great destinations in the past year or couple of years. We’ve done domestic and international trips and have used clever ways to save a ton of money on travel and have spend a little of our own money as much as possible.
I’ll tell you that blogging is one of the reasons we are able to travel all over the US and some outside the US. With my blogging money, we never have to use our day job salaries to pay for our travel expenses. Our blog money pays everything.
When I say everything, I mean not a single dime comes out from our day job pocket.
- How To Travel For Free or Next To Nothing
- Big Family: How We Live Off Well On Under $37,000/Year
- How To Save Money On Road Trips
Best USA Vacation: 10 Best Places To Visit For FREE
As much as we want to explore the world, we like to visit beautiful places within the US. There are a plenty of them that I can tell you. Plus, we don't want to go abroad right now because my wife is pregnant and travel abroad may not be the best thing to do right now.
In the past couple of months, we’ve managed to travel across the US, most of which in places inhabitable by businesses (i.e. parks and natural spots).
Here are the places we’ve gone and places we want to visit sooner or later. We like to visit national parks. So, many of the places we listed down here are those places. I say these are the top destinations in the USA.
Las Vegas – NV
Best USA Vacation: Top #1
Well, Las Vegas has to be on our list. When you hear Las Vegas, you may think about money, money, and money. Of course, why would you not? It’s the gambling capital of the US (if not the world).
That doesn’t mean that this place is going to suck all your money away from you. No, not at all.
My wife and I used to live here. We know, by experience, that Las Vegas is a cheap place to visit. Visit the strip but stay away from spending money there and you’ll be good.
There are a ton of great restaurants that are cheap. Just don’t eat at any restaurants somewhere in the strip. Whether you prefer authentic Asian, Mediterranean, European foods or something else, you can definitely find them outside the strip.
Here’s a fun fact: my wife and I used to live on a $30 weekly grocery budget when we lived there. That’s for two of us. But we were eating shrimp, chicken, beef, and all those good stuff even when our budget was only $30.
If you ask me this is one of the best vacation spots in the US for couples.
If you plan on going to Las Vegas, I highly recommend you book in advance (air travel wise) as tickets become more and more expensive the closer your intended travel data is. I always use either AirfareWatchDog and/or Kiwi. These are gems when it comes to finding the cheapest tickets.
Washington – DC
Best USA Vacation: Top #2
We live close to D.C. now. Yikes, this means that the cost of living is way too high. It is but we have a way around to spending as little as we could even when we live close to the nation’s capital.
Granted everything is expensive in D.C. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great place to visit even when you are a budget.
There are a ton of great places in D.C. that are just truly mesmerizing. Many of them are FREE to get in. Well, many of them are outside so you don’t really have to get in. It always comes in handy when you have a travel guide with you since D.C. is such as compact but busy city.
You can visit the Air and Space Museum if you are into space, planes, and anything along those lines. If you like architectural stuff, you can visit the famous White House (subject to restrictions of course or just be outside the gates of the White House where people from all parts of the world are). You can visit the Lincoln Memorial, too.
If you are a nature-type person, the best time to go is during the Cherry Blossom Festival. That’s around the start of the spring season. You’ll see lovely pink cherry blossoms everywhere. There are also events almost every month there, many of which are FREE to the public.
In short, there are a ton of things to do in D.C. that doesn’t cost a lot of money.
Philadelphia – PA
Best USA Vacation: Top #3
If you are into architectural designs or buildings, your best bet is to go to Philadelphia, PA.
You will find a ton of magnificently-designed buildings (I’m even using some beautiful words here haha). It’s one of the most historic cities in America. No wonder it has some intricately-designed, built buildings that you may not see elsewhere.
Be sure to visit the Liberty Hall and Independence Hall. This hall is where the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence was signed.
Oh, don’t forget to try the classic Philly cheese steak sandwich (it’s called PHILLY cheese steak for a reason). There are a ton of restaurants and mom and pop stores there that served that sandwich.
Hoover Dam – NV
Best USA Vacation: Top #4
Just minutes away from the heart of Las Vegas, Hoover Dam is a staple for many Las Vegas visitors. It attracts more than a million visitors a year. If you are into heights, then, Hoover Dam is the best place for you. If you are into architecture and engineering, then, this is a must-see place.
Even if you are afraid of heights, Hoover Dam features a lot of things that will surely captivate your eyes and appreciate the beauty of this iconic dam.
You can stop by Hoover Dam or be part of a tour. For just $30/person (no kids under age of 8 permitted), you can be part of the tour, which includes a 1-hour guided tour of the power plant passageways within the dam and admission to the Visitor Center.
Sequoia National Park – CA
Best USA Vacation: Top #5
Touted by many as a land of giants, Sequoia National Park’s landscape is definitely heaven on earth. You’ll be in awe and amazed with the park’s size, beauty, and diversity.
If you’ve seen commercials with big trees, deep canyons, and vast caverns, chances are, these commercials were taken from this national park.
There are a lot of things to do in this great-looking park. Aside from backpacking, picnicking, and hiking, there are campgrounds, ranger programs, museums, etc. that are just designed for any ages. Make sure you have your travel gear with you like hiking shoes, camping tents, water bottles, and others, if you like to stay close to the nature and/or want to camp there.
I suggest you bring plenty of water because you will do a lot of walking. Plus, it gets in the upper 90s and lower 100s there during summer season.
Myrtle Beach – SC
Best USA Vacation: Top #6
If you like to go on the beach, then, Myrtle Beach is your best beach destination. I say it's one of the best places to visit in USA in summer.
One of the reasons many people like to visit this place is for its 60 miles of beaches. Does it cost anything to visit the beach? No, nada, zilch. It’s totally free.
Aside from the beaches, there are so many things you can do without having to spend a lot of money. You can stroll around the boardwalk, go to the shopping and entertainment complex, just to name a few.
My extended family always goes to Myrtle Beach once or twice every year. I’ll tell you that we don’t get tired visiting this place.
Be sure to wear a ton of sunscreensand wear comfortable clothes especially if you want to stay on the beach and do a lot of fun stuff. You don't want to get sun burn that's for sure.
New York – NY
Best USA Vacation: Top #7
My list won’t be complete without including New York. Ok, before you head out, I just want to tell you that while New York is an expensive place to visit, it has a ton of tourist attractions that you can visit for free.
I always like to go to the Penn Station where you’ll see just how gorgeous the train station is in New York. You can also try the Staten Island Ferry for FREE. It’s one of the world’s most beautiful ferry rides and it’s free 24/7. You will pass the Statue of Liberty and get a glimpse of downtown Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Jersey City.
You can also go to the Radio City Hall and Time Square, both of which are free tourist attractions. But one of the most sentimental places I like to go to is the National September 11 Memorial. While the admission is FREE, an advance reservation is required.
I suggest you bring plenty of water because you will do a lot of walking. It's best also to wear comfortable shoes, too. I highly recommend you get shoes with insert gel soles or soft sandals.
Grand Canyon National Park – AZ
Best USA Vacation: Top #8
Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever find in the world. Period. Many people consider it to be one of the seven wonders of the natural world.
Grand Canyon is popularly known for its unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms. Many experts say that the strata (horizontal) exposed in the Grand Canyon trace geological history at least 2 billion years.
When my wife and I went there a couple of years ago, I’ll tell you that its beauty was incomparable. You can literally see the different color and formations of rocks everywhere. It’s truly breathtaking. Thanks to the travel guide we bought we were able to fully experience what this place had to offer.
Grand Canyon is one of those places that will always amaze you and surprise you every time you go there. The experience will always be different every time you visit that wonderful place.
Rocky Mountain – CO
Best USA Vacation: Top #9
Widely known as the “Roof Of The World”, Rocky Mountain boasts at least 70 named peaks, which are higher than 12,000 feet. You can’t find another place in the world where you can access an unbelievably great-looking alpine scenery with ease.
If you are into hiking, wildlife watching, and the likes, then, Rocky Mountain is the best place for you.
Did you know that there are 385 miles of hiking trails (maintained) in Rocky Mountain National Parks? This means that you’ve got long miles to do day hikes and multi-day backpacking trips.
Be sure to take pictures because you are going to see the true beauty of Mother Nature.
Grandfather Mountain – NC
Best USA Vacation: Top #10
This list won’t be complete without mentioning the Grandfather Mountain in NC. It’s considered as an icon in North Carolina’s landscape for generations. I say it's one of the places to visit in Eastern US.
When I was in school at Appalachian State University, this was the go-to place when my friends and I had down time and had nothing else to do. There are a ton of trails to get your feet busy all the time.
Try to visit there during Fall season and you will find different colors of trees. They are absolutely magnificent.
You can drive on top of the mountain and visit the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge. When you are on that bridge, you can see the city down and the nature that surrounds you. At the top is a wildlife habitats and nature museum.
Whether you like hiking, picnicking, climbing, driving by, or something else, you can see and do a lot in this mountain.
There you have it… the 10 best places in the US that you can go for FREE or close to nothing. A lot of them are National Parks, which are preserved and protected by the government.
Truly, there are so many things to see in the US. You don't really have to go overseas to find the best tourist spots. More importantly, you can visit these places for FREE. Can't beat that.
Which one are you going to visit first? Are you bringing your loved ones to these places to share the travel experiences?