In this economy, you can’t be too careful about where you go, stay and do while on vacation. While vacations are great fun, but they can also break the bank or bust your budget for the year ahead. Food, lodging, transportation and sightseeing definitely adds up. Even airfares can leave you high and dry. Sure, driving can save a bundle, but this year the cost of gasoline may cause you to think twice about leaving town for vacation.
Before you have second thoughts about vacation this year or cancel plans altogether, check out these All Time, Cheapest Vacation Destinations on the East Coast. With a little planning, along with online deals and discounts, this year’s vacation can be both fun and cost-effective.
These vacation spots, in particular, offer great value for singles, couples and families alike. For example, most museums, art galleries and other attractions in Washington, DC offer free admission. The beach and Boardwalk in Atlantic City couldn’t be cheaper. The views in the lovely Hudson Valley and Poconos are yours for the taking. Cheap vacation spots are awaiting your arrival this year.
1. Washington, DC
True the Nation’s Capital is an expensive place to live or visit. But, hands down, for singles, couples and families alike, Washington, DC can be an excellent – and cheap – vacation destination. Where to visit? The Smithsonian Institution, including National Zoological Park, National Gallery of Art, and US Botanical Garden. What’s the cost? Free, absolutely free. Where to stay? Check out hotel chains in Bethesda, Maryland or Arlington, Virginia. Both cities offer lodging adjacent or near the Metro Rail stations. By staying in a hotel or motel outside of town, you can get a better price on lodging. In addition, by using metro, you can avoid the high cost of parking in the Nation’s Capital.
2. Atlantic City, New Jersey
Atlantic City? Yes! This East Cost casino hot spot is also an affordable vacation destination for singles, couples and families alike. Where to visit? The ocean views and legendary Boardwalk, of course. Where to stay? I recommend Tropicana Casino & Resort. It’s right on the Boardwalk. Young ones in your party will enjoy the beach or The Quarter, a little bit of Old Havana, while you take a chance at the slots or blackjack tables. Fine dining abounds in Atlantic City as does cheap eats on the Boardwalk and side streets.
3. Portland, Maine
From your dockside in Portland, Maine, you can hit the harbor, head downtown, or check out the beautiful Maine countryside dotted with lakes, orchards, and so much more. Portland’s also within hours of seaside resorts and lakeside wonders. You won’t find a more affordable, fun place for families than in Maine, and Portland’s got it all. Museums. Shops. Historic sites, and more. Where to stay? Check out South Portland for some great rates on Comfort Inn, Hampton Inn, and the various suite hotels and chains. Or, check out Scarborough, Maine for any number of great hotel and motel properties. Staying outside of Portland will save you big bucks yet you’re within 20 minutes of downtown Portland. What to do? Get discount tickets on harbor cruises and other tours. Affordable and well worth the trip. Portland, Maine is a great vacation destination and a great value for everyone in your family.
4. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Ready for a vacation off the beaten track? Check out Lancaster and Amish Country in the beautiful, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Thrill to the sights and sounds that only the Pennsylvania countryside can offer. Where to stay? A bed and breakfast would be most enjoyable. What to do? Check out the Lancaster Barnstormers at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster. The Barnstormers offer All-American baseball for everyone in your family, at a great price and in a wonderful, charming venue. What else to do? Take a ride in an authentic Amish Buggy. Or, take a trip on a Steam Locomotive. Are you a foodie? Lancaster is teaming with farmers markets, including an old marketplace in downtown Lancaster. Or, maybe you’d like to visit a local candy factory? Lancaster’s got it all, particularly in Spring, Summer and Fall months. Check online for deals and discounts on food, lodging, events and activities.
5. Shenandoah Valley, Harrisonburg, Virginia
The home of James Madison University is also a cheap vacation destination at the midpoint of the great Shenandoah Valley which runs from Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, through Central Virginia and beyond. Where to stay? By the Side of the Road, B&B where room rates are $99 to $169, and cottages rates are $219 to $279. What to do? Mosey on down to the river. It’s a lovely 4-season spot. At various spots, you can canoe, kayak, fly fish, and more. Or, check out the Caverns at Luray, battlefields at New Market, artwork at Oasis Gallery in Harrisonburg, and so much more. Visit vineyards and family farms galore. Take a drive in the countryside. The Shenandoah Valley can’t be beat for great views, affordability and value. Check online for deals and discounts.
6. Outer Banks, North Carolina
Long known as a cheap beach destination, you can’t beat the sights, sounds, and ocean roar of the Outer Banks. 150 miles of coastland and fun for everyone in your family. Check out the dunes of Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers did their thing, or you might prefer the North Carolina Aquarium. Dinner in Duck might be just the thing. Or, maybe you want to just take in the beach? Where to stay? If you’re looking for value, check out The Driftwood, from $65 per night. Check online for other deals and discounts.
7. Finger Lakes Region, New York
200 bed and breakfasts. More than 100 wineries and vineyards. 9,000 square miles of beautiful, glacial thin lakes. What more could you ask for than New York’s lovely Finger Lakes region? Where to stay? Check out Bristol Woodlands Campground, where you will find 100 acres of sheer bliss in scenic Bristol Hills, about 45 minutes from Rochester, New York. Or, try your luck at any number of B&Bs, motels or hotels in Ithaca, New York, home of Cornell University. What to do? Nature walks, hiking, canoing and kayaking come to mind. But, the Finger Lakes are also fun for motoring, wine tastings, antiquing and so much more. Check online for deals and discounts.
8. Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
Nothing could be finer than to be in…the Poconos? Yesiree, the Pocono Mountains have it all, from scenic views to historic attractions. Where to stay? Any number of hotels, motels and resorts. What to do? In summertime, you can hit the backwoods and great outdoors for swimming, hiking and so much more. In winter time, checkout Camelback or Jack Frost for skiing and snowboarding delights. In May, East Stroudsburg Community Alliance (ECA) hosts a great gathering an exhibition of local artists (called Books, Brushes and Brooms) in David Miller Park. Or, you might want to check out The Crossings Premium Outlets in Tannersville. Or, visit the Delaware Water Gap east of Stroudsburg. There’s something for everyone in the Pocono Mountains today. Check online for great discounts on weekend getaways, and couples and family vacations.
9. Hudson Valley, New York
Want to do something new and different. Check out beautiful and historic Hudson Valley in New York. Beautiful views. Lots to do, like visit the 150-acre Innisfree Garden, which is lovely in Spring and Summer months especially. Chinese-inspired Innisfree carries a nominal entrance fee ($4 during the week/$5 weekend rate) and offers a serene setting in a lovely part of the country. Where to stay? At a local Bed and Breakfast, of course. What else to do? Artists abound in Hudson Valley. Check out the Woodstock art colony, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Walkway-Over-The-Hudson, or take a balloon ride with Blue Sky Hot Air Balloon Rides? Check online for deals and discounts.
10. Frederick County, Maryland
Looking for beautiful countryside, and more? Look no further than Frederick County, Maryland. 45 minutes from Washington, DC and 20 minutes from Camp David and Mount St. Mary’s College and Grotto, Frederick County’s got it all for singles, couples and families alike. Friendly and affordable, Frederick hosts Mayfest and other events and festivals year-round. Looking for more? The City of Frederick boasts a 50-block downtown Historic District, with cheap eats as well as fine dining. Frederick’s also a short drive from any number of historic attractions, like the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Brunswick Railroad Museum C&O Canal Visitor Center, Harpers Ferry, Monocacy National Battlefield, South Mountain Battlefield State Park, and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Frederick’s the home of Top Chef finalist Bryan Voltaggio whose restaurant Volt on Market Street offers award-winning cuisine. Where to stay? There are lots of national hotel, motel and suite chains on the outskirts of town. Or, you might want to check out Frederick’s hostels, cabins and campgrounds. Whatever your budget, Frederick will exceed your expectations as a great getaway and vacation destination. Check online for deals and discounts.
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