The list of winners for American destinations contains familiar favorites such as Los Angeles, Seattle, and New Orleans, as well as some unexpected gems. Here are they!
Houseboating on Lake Powell — Arizona and Utah
If you’re looking for a cheap vacation idea that’s a little outside the box, consider a stay aboard a houseboat, where you have the comforts of home (kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom) in super scenic lake, river, and reservoir settings. One of the most popular houseboating destinations is Lake Powell, where you can gaze at sandstone canyons while water skiing or simply relaxing.
Where to Rent: Antelope Point Marina
Cape Ann — Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Cape Cod can be pricey, but you can find deals on its other cape — Cape Ann, less than an hour north of Boston and home to the charming village of Rockport and the fishing community of Gloucester. Like Cape Cod, you’ll find historic lighthouses, lobster shacks, and strands like Long Beach — but it’s all a bit more mellow.
Where to Stay: Atlantis Oceanfront Inn
Gulf Shores — Alabama
Everyone knows that Florida has sublime stretches of sugar-soft sand to sink your toes into, but next-door neighbor Alabama also has lovely strands in the town of Gulf Shores, in the southern part of the state. In addition to pristine beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, the area also has a water park, golf courses, and dolphin cruises.
Where to Stay: Best Western on the Beach
Stylish Hostels — Los Angeles and Other Cities
Forget about the notion of a drab hostel. Freehand offers stylish, reasonably priced hostels in major U.S. markets like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami. Its LA property has shared rooms (for groups of four, six, or eight) with custom cedar bunk beds and a rooftop space with a pool and a tiki-style bar.
Where to Stay: Freehand Los Angeles
Myrtle Beach — South Carolina
This 60-mile stretch of beach, known as the Grand Strand, offers a little something for everyone — without breaking the bank. Kids can spend all day at Broadway at the Beach amusement park, while adults will love that the area has more than 100 golf courses, as well as affordable seafood restaurants and fun bars.
Where to Stay: Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort at Grande Dunes
Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark — Poconos, Pennsylvania
Located at Camelback Resort, Aquatopia is an awesome waterpark — and because it’s indoors, it can stay open year-round, making a visit cheaper during non-peak times. When the weather cooperates, the resort also operates Camelbeach, an outdoor waterpark with 37 rides and slides.
Where to Stay: Best Western Plus Poconos Hotel