Top 10 Cheap Travel Destinations Across America

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Brent Bradley, Travel Portland

If you're like us, you have a need to travel. Here are ten low-budget vacation destinations that everyone can enjoy. Some are major metropolitan areas, others couldn't be less so. While price is the big factor, we also need to make sure these places have the things we like to see and do -- otherwise, what's the point of going?
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Top 10 Cheap Travel Destinations Across America

If you're like us, you have a need to travel. Here are ten low-budget vacation destinations that everyone can enjoy. Some are major metropolitan areas, others couldn't be less so. While price is the big factor, we also need to make sure these places have the things we like to see and do -- otherwise, what's the point of going?

Top 10 Cheap Travel Destinations Across America

The Texas capital is perched on the edge of Hill Country, so hiking and mountain biking options are plentiful (and free of charge). The art scene ranges from funky to highbrow, with a multitude of galleries and shows to see. This city is billed as the "live music capital of the world," with shows for just about any musical taste. However, no visit to Austin is complete without the show put on by the Congress Bridge bats. Nope, that isn't a band; it's over a million Mexican Free-tailed Bats that emerge from under the bridge nightly.

Top 10 Cheap Travel Destinations Across America

In Vegas, you can be fed, transported and entertained for less than you'd imagine possible. If you're on a tight budget, don't expect to get a lot of comps (freebies) from the casinos. You have to spend some to get some back. Grab every coupon book you see and watch for daily or hourly specials for food, drinks, clubs, and shows. Many food specials are off-menu, so you'll need to ask your server for it.

Top 10 Cheap Travel Destinations Across America

Inner Harbor is a must-see even if you have only a passing appreciation for boats and sailing. Here you'll be impressed by the museums and the National Aquarium. Civil War buffs can visit Fort McHenry, the birthplace of "The Star-Spangled Banner." You can also take in an Orioles game for as little as $8. Little Italy is a vibrant area full of great, cheap dining places, and if you're lucky enough to schmooze your way into a crab boil, your life will never be the same again.

Top 10 Cheap Travel Destinations Across America

Touring California Wine Country is possible even on a canned-beer budget. Tasting-room visits and winery tours are usually inexpensive and are occasionally free. Don't be discouraged by some restaurants and hotels that don't fit in with your monetary plan: Bargain food and lodging is still reasonably easy to find. Along the way, make it a point to cruise along California's Highway 1, even if it means driving out of your way -- you simply can't put a price on the coastal views.

Top 10 Cheap Travel Destinations Across America

Uptown boasts great public art displays and hosts. The Taste of Charlotte food festival each June is worth checking out, but if you're traveling in the fall, Charlotte Shout is September's month-long celebration of art and culture. You can always immerse yourself in NASCAR too. Lowes Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Hendrick Motorsports Museum, Richard Childress Racing Museum, and North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame should all be on a race fan's list.

Top 10 Cheap Travel Destinations Across America

Over at the lakefront, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a mandatory stop. (Adult admission is $22 for a one-day ticket.) Later, wander next door to the Great Lakes Science Center and experience Robots + Us: Where Humans Meet Machines exhibition. Throughout Cleveland, we found it to be inexpensive, yet more clean and more sophisticated than we'd ever imagined.

Top 10 Cheap Travel Destinations Across America

LoDo, the historic, culturally diverse downtown area, can also be "low-dough." For about the price of a bottle of Coors Light ($4), you can head over to Coors Field to see a Colorado Rockies game. Right field reserved tickets are just $9 a piece. Getting around Denver is not a problem, because the city offers decent public transportation, including a light rail system. Denver locals tend to be outdoorsy, so you'll easily find biking, camping, hiking, and skiing outlets.

Top 10 Cheap Travel Destinations Across America

"The Birthplace of Rock and Roll," Sun Studio, asks just $8.50 for a tour. This is where the careers of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and B.B. King all began. W.C. Handy Memphis Home and Museum on Beale Street is a mere $2 to visit. Graceland (Elvis' home and final resting place) mansion tours are $28 (see all the attractions for $69). On a somber but important note, make a point to visit the National Civil Rights Museum ($12), located on the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.

Top 10 Cheap Travel Destinations Across America

Portland is blessed with a temperate climate and everything is close by. Feel like a trip to the mountains? Mount Hood is about an hour east of the city. Would you rather head west and check out the Pacific? That's an easy day trip too. Portland is known as the City of Roses, with a month-long rose festival each June. If you find that agreeable, you may have a hard time leaving after your visit.

Top 10 Cheap Travel Destinations Across America

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