You need and want a vacation, but you don’t have an unlimited budget.  Here are 10 cheap vacation ideas that are wallet-friendly while still giving you a great adventure.

1. Go Camping At the Beach 

Those vacation rental houses can add to the cost of a beach trip really quickly, so why not consider going camping?  You can often find campgrounds within walking distance of the beach for $20-$30 per night. State campgrounds usually provide cold showers and grills. You can step it up and head to a private campground that has hot showers, wi-fi, recreational facilities, and even a swimming pool in some cases.  Campgrounds often have space for tents or RVs, you can reserve in advance, and this is one vacation that won’t cost a fortune.

2. Go On a “Staycation”

Going on vacation doesn’t have to take you far—you can stay right in your own home. Taking a week off to work in the garden, complete a project, work on your hobby, watch your favorite movies, eat your favorite foods, have a cookout, go on long hikes, or any number of possibilities, can be just what the doctor ordered!

3. Head to Your Nearest Resort Hotel

You know that hotel you’ve always wanted to stay at, right in your own city? Whether you live in the country, the outskirts of town or right downtown, you can head to the four-star hotel for a night or two and spoil yourself with a local vacation. Treat yourself to the hot tub and spa, play a game of tennis, drink some wine, get a manicure, do some window shopping, walk around the premises, or have a nice dinner. The possibilities for entertainment abound.

4. Stay with family

Do you have in-laws that live in Orlando? And have you been to Disney World? If you really do have family in Orlando and haven’t been to Disney World, this might be a great way to take a vacation. Spend a day or two visiting Mickey Mouse and exploring Space Mountain, then arrange for a nice dinner with the in-laws.

5. Visit a National Park

There’s Mesa Verde, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, and Big Bend. From California to North Carolina, national parks offer opportunities to see incredible vistas, see rich cultural history, landmarks, and points of interest. Many have activities for children, campgrounds, visitor’s centers, hiking or biking trails, and much more.  These make for great summer vacation destinations.

6. Consider a Housing Swap

If you’re flexible about places and times, head to Craigslist and check out the “housing swap” section or the “vacation rentals” links. Try the links out for different cities that you like, and you might just find an incredible deal for a place you’ve never been. This is a great way to do a fun family vacation.

7. Go Off-season

You can find some of the best deals around if you’re willing to wait until the tourist season is over, when rates are a fraction of the normal cost. Stay in a posh hotel for $99/night (normally $500/night) because it’s at the very end of ski season and the ski resort is shutting down for the summer, or, spend a winter vacation where most people would go to in the summer.

8. Stay In a Hostel

Consider staying in a hostel: you can find high-quality hostels that rival a nice hotel stay in just about any sizable town in the US or around the world. Some hostels might have marble floors, free breakfast and courteous staff, for a fraction of what neighboring hotels cost, but make sure to research ahead of time: you don’t want to find yourself in a place that seemed like a deal, but turned out to be a nightmare.

9. Look for Places “Off the Beaten Path” 

Discovering hidden gems can be a wonderful adventure—you get a unique experience and you don’t have to pay premium prices that tourists typically pay. Have you ever been to the “Home of the Throwed Rolls”? Then you need to visit Sikeston, Missouri. Or how about the hot springs in the mountains of Colorado? That requires a visit to the collegiate peaks on Colorado’s western slope.

10. Rent a Cabin in the Woods

If you’re looking for a getaway that is a step up from camping and still situated in a natural setting, why not go for a remote cabin?  You can often find weekend bulk rates, so be sure to take your significant other along, or more people to share in the cost and adventure.

No need for many vacation days: The Benefits of Taking Quick Getaways

Featured photo credit: couple camping in the wilderness via Shutterstock

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