What are the top cheap travel destinations this summer?

What are the top cheap travel destinations this summer?

Summer is right around the corner and vacation is top of mind. And while any trip will set you back a bit, there are plenty of destinations that won't break the bank. The trick is picking the right one — places where the summer season is quieter or lodging and food are more affordable. And when you're traveling with kids, things like pre-packing snacks and shopping at local grocery stores to prepare your own meals can go a long way toward lowering overall costs.

Key Takeaways

  • Orlando, Florida has been named the cheapest place to travel in the U.S. this summer.
  • Ft. Myers, Florida offers affordable lodging and food options, making it a great budget-friendly destination.
  • Tampa, Florida is another cost-effective choice, especially with low-cost airline carriers increasing service.
  • Detroit, Michigan provides a mix of cultural experiences and affordable travel options.
  • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is a winner for budget travelers, thanks to competitive hotel and airfare prices.

Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida, stands out as the most affordable travel destination in the U.S. this summer. With roundtrip flights starting at just $51, it's a budget-friendly option for many travelers.

  • Less Crowded: August is an ideal time to visit as many schools are back in session, leading to fewer family vacationers and shorter lines at popular attractions.
  • Affordable Amusement Parks: Lower demand can result in slightly cheaper tickets to the famous amusement parks.
If you can handle the summer heat, Orlando offers a perfect blend of affordability and entertainment.

Ft. Myers, Florida

Ft. Myers is a fantastic budget-friendly destination for summer travelers. Ranked as the second most affordable place to visit in the U.S., it offers a blend of beautiful beaches, historical sites, and outdoor activities.

  • Beaches: Enjoy the pristine sands and clear waters of Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island.
  • Historical Sites: Visit the Edison and Ford Winter Estates for a glimpse into the past.
  • Outdoor Activities: Kayaking, fishing, and hiking are popular activities in the area.
Ft. Myers is a top choice for those looking to enjoy a memorable vacation without breaking the bank.

According to a recent analysis, Ft. Myers ranks just behind Orlando in Florida's top five best budget-friendly summer vacation destinations.

Tampa, Florida

body of water at golden hour

Tampa is a fantastic destination for budget travelers this summer. Ranked third among the cheapest domestic destinations, it offers a variety of affordable experiences. From the Florida Aquarium to the Tampa History Cruise, there's something for everyone.

  • The Florida Aquarium
  • Tampa History Cruise
  • St. Petersburg Speed Boat Adventure
  • The Official Downtown Walking Tour
Tampa's blend of cultural attractions and outdoor activities makes it a must-visit without breaking the bank.

Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan, is an excellent choice for a budget-friendly summer getaway. The city offers a rich blend of history, culture, and entertainment without breaking the bank. One of the most attractive aspects of Detroit is the availability of $30 cheap flights from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County. You can find flights to various destinations on airlines like Frontier and Spirit Airlines, making it an affordable hub for travelers.

  • Historical Sites: Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts or the Henry Ford Museum for a dive into the city's rich history.
  • Outdoor Activities: Enjoy a day at Belle Isle Park or take a stroll along the Detroit Riverwalk.
  • Culinary Delights: Savor local favorites like Detroit-style pizza or visit one of the many food trucks around the city.
Detroit offers a unique blend of urban excitement and historical charm, making it a must-visit destination this summer.

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Ft. Lauderdale is a fantastic summer destination that offers both affordability and a variety of activities. Known for its boating canals and stunning beaches, this city provides a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

Things to Do

  • Explore the scenic Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District.
  • Visit the historic Bonnet House Museum & Gardens.
  • Enjoy a day at Las Olas Beach.

Affordable Dining

Ft. Lauderdale boasts numerous budget-friendly dining options:

  • Coconuts: A waterfront spot offering fresh seafood.
  • El Camino: Known for its delicious and affordable Mexican cuisine.
  • Gilbert's 17th Street Grill: Famous for its burgers and casual atmosphere.

Budget Accommodation

Finding a place to stay without breaking the bank is easy in Ft. Lauderdale. Some options include:

  • The Drift Hotel: A cozy, budget-friendly hotel near the beach.
  • Oasis Hotel: Offers comfortable rooms at reasonable rates.
  • Tranquilo: Known for its affordability and excellent service.
Ft. Lauderdale combines the charm of a beach town with the amenities of a larger city, making it an ideal summer getaway for travelers on a budget.

Atlanta, Georgia

city skyline under blue sky during daytime

Atlanta, Georgia, is a vibrant city that offers a mix of history, culture, and modern attractions, making it an excellent choice for budget travelers. The city is known for its affordable accommodations and diverse dining options.

Things to Do

  • Visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden
  • Explore the Georgia Aquarium
  • Walk through Piedmont Park
  • Discover the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park

Affordable Dining

Atlanta boasts a variety of budget-friendly dining options, from Southern comfort food to international cuisine. Some popular spots include:

  • The Varsity
  • Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q
  • Taqueria del Sol

Budget-Friendly Accommodations

You can find a range of affordable places to stay in Atlanta, including:

  • Hostels
  • Budget hotels
  • Vacation rentals
Atlanta offers a unique blend of Southern charm and urban sophistication, making it a must-visit destination this summer.

Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas, is a fantastic budget-friendly destination this summer. With average nightly hotel rates under $115, it offers great value for travelers. Houston's affordability makes it a top choice for budget-conscious tourists.

  • Affordable Accommodations: Many hotels offer competitive rates, making it easier to find a place that fits your budget.
  • Diverse Culinary Scene: Enjoy a variety of cuisines without breaking the bank.
  • Cultural Attractions: Visit museums, parks, and theaters that often have free or low-cost entry.
Houston combines affordability with a rich cultural experience, making it an ideal destination for summer travel.

Cincinnati, Ohio

bridge over water during night time

Cincinnati, Ohio, is a fantastic destination for budget-conscious travelers this summer. The city offers a variety of highly rated activities with free entry that can make your trip both enjoyable and affordable. From exploring the beautiful parks to visiting the numerous museums, there's something for everyone.

  • Parks and Outdoor Spaces: Cincinnati is home to several stunning parks where you can enjoy a day out without spending a dime. Smale Riverfront Park and Eden Park are must-visits.
  • Museums and Cultural Sites: The Cincinnati Art Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center offer free admission, making it easy to soak in some culture without breaking the bank.
  • Festivals and Events: Throughout the summer, Cincinnati hosts a variety of free festivals and events. Be sure to check out the city's event calendar to see what's happening during your visit.
Cincinnati is a city that offers a rich blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, all while being easy on the wallet.

Chicago, Illinois

Late summer is a fantastic time to visit Chicago. The weather is warm but not overly hot, making it perfect for exploring the city and the nearby midwest lakes. Roundtrip flights to Chicago are starting at $61 right now, and there are plenty of good hotel deals available.

Chicago offers a vibrant summer experience with a mix of cultural events, outdoor activities, and affordable travel options.

Dallas, Texas

a view of a city at night from the top of a building

Dallas is a fantastic destination for budget-conscious travelers this summer. With average nightly hotel rates under $115, it's an affordable option for those looking to explore a vibrant city without breaking the bank. The city offers a mix of cultural attractions, outdoor activities, and a bustling food scene.

  • Visit the Dallas Museum of Art for a dose of culture.
  • Take a stroll through the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.
  • Enjoy a day at Klyde Warren Park, a unique urban green space.
Dallas is the ultimate resource to help you plan your next getaway, whether you're looking for a staycation, a weekend road trip, or a weeklong escape.


As summer approaches, the desire to explore new destinations grows stronger. Fortunately, traveling doesn't have to be a financial burden. From the sun-soaked beaches of Florida to the charming streets of European cities, there are plenty of affordable options to consider. By choosing destinations where the summer season is quieter or where the cost of living is lower, you can enjoy a memorable vacation without breaking the bank. Remember, a little planning goes a long way—pre-packing snacks, shopping at local grocery stores, and taking advantage of travel deals can significantly reduce your expenses. So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure without worrying about your wallet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the cheapest travel destinations this summer?

Some of the cheapest travel destinations this summer include Orlando, Florida; Ft. Myers, Florida; Tampa, Florida; Detroit, Michigan; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Houston, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; and Dallas, Texas.

Why is Orlando, Florida considered a cheap travel destination?

Orlando, Florida is considered a cheap travel destination due to the increase in low-cost airline carriers adding routes to leisure destinations and affordable hotel prices.

How can I save money on food while traveling?

You can save money on food while traveling by pre-packing snacks, shopping at local grocery stores, and preparing your own meals.

Is travel expensive right now?

Yes, travel can be expensive right now, but there are still affordable destinations and ways to save money on your trips.

What are some tips for budget travel with kids?

Some tips for budget travel with kids include pre-packing snacks, shopping at local grocery stores to prepare your meals, and choosing destinations with affordable lodging and food options.

Are there affordable travel destinations in Europe?

Yes, there are surprisingly affordable travel destinations in Europe, especially if you choose locations where the summer season is quieter.

Florida is a popular budget travel destination due to its affordable airfare, low hotel prices, and the abundance of leisure activities available.

Can I find last-minute travel deals for the end of summer?

Yes, you can find last-minute travel deals for the end of summer, especially in destinations like Chicago, Illinois and other affordable spots.

Curtis Duggan

Curtis Duggan

Curtis is a serial tech entrepreneur, content creator and the host of the Remotely Serious podcast on the future of remote work and digital nomadism.


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