When you get the urge to travel across the country, you can jump in the car and create your own adventure. Or if hours behind the wheel don’t appeal to you, you can throw a few days’ worth of gear in a duffel, buy some cheap travel tickets for a bus or train trip and let someone else do the driving.
Here are 20 cheap trips that you can take for $350 or less — yes, cross-country road trips can be affordable if you know how to travel cheaply.
Atlanta to Orlando, Fla.
- Miles Round-Trip: 926
- Bus Fare: $39
- Two Nights at a Hotel: $98
- One-Day Disney Park-Hopper: $170
A road trip to Walt Disney World and other Disney theme parks in Orlando doesn’t have to come at a premium if you take a Megabus to Orlando. At the Magic Kingdom, enjoy yourself in all four parks in a single day and spend the rest of your time sightseeing or relaxing at your hotel pool. Or buy a two-day ticket that lets you visit one park each day for $199 — just forgo the pricey souvenirs.
Baltimore to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tenn.
- Miles Round-Trip: 1,036
- Gas Cost: $95
- Two Nights Camping: $90
Explore the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains as you drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Stop off at Linville Falls where frothy cascades tumble 2,000 feet through a scenic gorge. Tuck into a Campin’ Cabin at Linville Gorge Campground for $70 for the night.
The next day, enter Great Smoky Mountains National Park through Asheville and slice through its heart on Highway 44. Meander along Laurel Creek Road, and pitch your tent at the Cades Cove Campground for $20 or less. Rent a bike, take a hike, ride a horse and — when you’re ready — head back to Baltimore on I-81, which will get you home in less than eight hours.
Boston to Fundy National Park, New Brunswick, Canada
- Miles Round-Trip: 946
- Gas Cost: $114
- Two Nights at a Bed-and-Breakfast: $166
Head along the coast of Maine and lose yourself in New Brunswick’s Fundy National Park. Discover some of the most dramatic tide changes on earth — two high and two low every 24 hours — as 160 billion tons of water enter and leave the Bay of Fundy twice daily. Spend your nights at the Captain’s Inn — a seaside B&B that puts you close to Hopewell Rocks, the oldest lighthouse in New Brunswick and the national park.
Chicago to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
- Miles Round-Trip: 1,110
- Train Tickets: $146
- Two-Night Hotel Package: $159
Grab your passport and gaze out over Lake Erie — the fourth largest Great Lake — as you rumble along the tracks to Niagara Falls using cheap train tickets. The Niagara Falls Getaway hotel package through Amtrak includes two nights at a hotel overlooking the falls, offering stays with brands such as Marriott, Sheraton and Hilton.
You’ll also enjoy a breathtaking Voyage to the Falls boat ride and admission to the Skylon Tower Observation Deck, which offers beautiful and inexpensive views of the waterfall.
Dallas to Santa Fe, N.M.
- Miles Round-Trip: 1,282
- Gas Cost: $117
- Two-Night Hotel Package: $214
From Texas grasslands to open deserts and soaring pine forests, the trip to Santa Fe rolls out a buffet of scenery. Stop to see Cadillac Ranch, made entirely from old cars in Amarillo, Texas, and take the business route through Tucumcari to step back into the neon heyday of Old Route 66.
Follow the historic route all the way to Santa Fe, and retire at the Old Santa Fe Inn where you can sink back in rustic handmade furniture and rise to a complimentary full breakfast.
Denver to Salt Lake City
- Miles Round-Trip: 1,042
- Bus and Train Fare: $131
- Two-Night Hotel Package: $219
Enjoy majestic mountain and river views as you wind your way through national forests and stunning passes on this leg of the California Zephyr. You can save money when you travel by train — book Amtrak’s Salt Lake City Getaway, which includes two nights at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel at Temple Square or the Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel and a sightseeing tour of the city.
While you're there, take a self-guided tour of Temple Square and dig up your ancestral roots at its genealogical library, which is the largest in the world.
Detroit to Nashville, Tenn.
- Miles Round-Trip: 1,068
- Gas Cost: $97
- Two-Night Hotel Package: $92
Get your yee-haw on with a cross-country road trip to Nashville. Once you arrive in Music City, book a couple of nights at the conveniently located Fiddler’s Inn, and walk to the Grand Ole Opry. Check out local music venues along the Honky Tonk Highway on Lower Broadway.
Dine on Hattie B’s famous fried chicken and enjoy morning breakfast at the Pancake Pantry — a Nashville tradition since 1961.
Houston to New Orleans
- Miles Round-Trip: 696
- Bus Fare: $62
- Two Night Hotel Package: $234
The close bond between Houston, Texas and New Orleans, La. goes back to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when Houston opened its arms to New Orleans' hurricane refugees. When Hurricane Harvey blasted Houston in 2017, the Cajun Navy and other New Orleans volunteers raced to help Houstonians. Buy cheap bus tickets for a Megabus ride to the Big Easy to see how the city has recovered.
While you’re there, enjoy the bustling nightlife, smooth jazz and traditional cuisine. Afterward, kick back in a two-room suite at the downtown Embassy Suites. The hotel will give you freebies including a complimentary breakfast buffet and happy hour.
Las Vegas to Napa Valley
This cheap road trip — which takes you through some of California’s most beautiful landscapes — will leave you with plenty of cash for good food and wine that only tastes expensive. To get started, head north out of Las Vegas, wind through national forests crowning the Sierra Nevada and even stop by Yosemite.
Spend time in Napa Valley exploring wine country or take a day trip to San Francisco or a nearby beach. At night, relax in a tent cabin at Vineyard RV Park in Vacaville with amenities that include a pool, Wi-Fi and sports courts. Loop back to Vegas along the western side of the mountains, and pop by Sequoia National Park on the way home.
Los Angeles to Reno, Nev.
- Miles Round-Trip: 946
- Bus and Train Fare: $137
- Two-Night Hotel Package: $109
Grab a couple of Greyhound tickets, and head out of Los Angeles to try your luck in Reno. Check out views of the distant Sierra Nevada Mountain range before climbing from 13 feet above sea level in Sacramento to more than 4,400 in Reno.
Spend a three-day getaway in “America’s Biggest Little City” with Amtrak’s Reno Getaway deal, which offers two nights at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa or Silver Legacy Resort Casino. When you’re tired of gambling, visit the National Automobile Museum — admission included. On your return trip, enjoy a train ride passing through California wine country.
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Miami to Atlanta
- Miles Round-Trip: 1,328
- Bus Fare: $79
- Two-Night Hotel Package: $262
Enjoy the view from a double-decker Megabus as you traverse most of Florida and Georgia on this road trip. Stay at Embassy Suites Buckhead in the heart of some of Atlanta’s premier shopping and dining districts, and enjoy a spacious two-room suite. A cocktail hour each evening and made-to-order breakfast are included, making this a super way to travel cheaply.
Check out the Atlanta History Center while you're in the Buckhead neighborhood where you can browse museums for free, see historic homes and meander 32 acres of gardens and woodland trails.
Minneapolis to St. Louis
The road from Minneapolis to St. Louis abounds with interesting sights to see including the Spam Museum and Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home. In St. Louis, check out the city’s most famous sight — the Gateway Arch — from a rooftop pool at City Place Hotel. You’ll find plenty of cheap and free things to do in St. Louis, including the famous St. Louis Zoo and the Laumeier Sculpture Park.
New York City to Portland, Maine
- Miles Round-Trip: 628
- Train and Bus Fare: $114
- Two-Night Hotel Package: $209
Ride a Megabus to Boston, and arrive in time to spend an hour and a half having a late breakfast and seeing a few local sights. Board a Concord Coach Lines bus, step off in Portland and enjoy a late lunch before heading to your hotel.
Amtrak’s Portland, Maine Getaway includes two nights at the Westin Portland Harborview and walking distance to city attractions including the McLellan-Sweat Mansion and Children’s Museum. You’ll also get a complimentary sightseeing tour of the city and admission to the Portland Museum of Art. Return home on a train that rolls out views you won’t see from the highway.
Philadelphia to Montpelier, Vt.
- Miles Round-Trip: 818
- Train Fare: $152
- Two-Night Hotel Package: $118
Take a scenic train ride that leads past New York City, along the Eastern Seaboard and up through the heart of New England. Check travel sites to find plenty to do in the city — from visiting its gold-domed statehouse in the historic district to wandering through the dramatic funerary works of art gracing the Green Mount Cemetery.
For a different type of graveyard adventure, catch a bus to nearby Waterbury and visit flavors-gone-by at the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Flavor Graveyard. You’ll find Turtle Soup, Wavy Gravy, Cow Power, Vermonty Python and others commemorated.
Phoenix to San Diego
- Miles Round-Trip: 710
- Gas Cost: $74
- Two-Night Hotel Package: $140
Although it’s not uncommon to find Phoenicians on a San Diego beach on any given summer day, late autumn offers a sweet spot to travel without summer or winter crowds. Take the Interstate 8 turn-off on your way there to fill up the tank one last time for Arizona prices.
Once in the city, savor crowd-free days at Balboa Park and discover the San Diego Zoo, Fleet Science Center, Japanese Friendship Garden and various museums. Or head off for a day at Sea World or the beach.
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St. Louis to Hot Springs National Park, Ark.
- Miles Round-Trip: 800
- Gas Cost: $71
- Two-Night Hotel Package: $124
Get ready to pamper yourself at Hot Springs National Park. On the way, stop by the Parachute Inn Restaurant inside a Boeing 737 for a unique dining experience. When you arrive at the park, step back in time to the elegant 1920s with a stay at the Park Hotel.
Fill up your water bottles from natural spring water fountains found throughout the city, and visit Buckstaff Baths on Bathhouse Row to indulge yourself with a mineral bath and full body massage.
San Diego to Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz.
- Miles Round-Trip: 1,123
- Gas Cost: $111
- Two-Night Hotel Package: $230
You’ll get plenty of kicks along Old Route 66 through Arizona as you head for the Grand Canyon. Stop at the Route 66 Museum at the old Cool Springs Gas Station about 20 miles west of Kingman and visit the general store in Hackberry that was one of the inspirations for locations in Pixar’s “Cars.”
Once you arrive at your destination, see a side of the Grand Canyon few do — underground — at Grand Canyon Caverns. When you finally head into the national park, enjoy staying at Yavapai Lodge, which is only half a mile from the canyon’s edge.
San Francisco to Portland, Ore.
- Miles Round-Trip: 1,272
- Train Fare: $151
- Two-Night Hotel Package: $189
Get your Amtrak tickets and hop on board the Coast Starlight that runs between Los Angeles and Seattle. Enjoy views of the Cascades, Mount Shasta and the Pacific Ocean along the way.
Take advantage of Amtrak’s Portland Getaway package that includes a hop-on, hop-off trolley tour or free admission into the Oregon Historical Society. You’ll spend two nights in the historic Benson Hotel that still has its original Italian marble flooring, imported walnut paneling and crystal chandeliers.
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Seattle to Bullards Beach State Park, Ore.
Take a sweet and simple road trip getaway and experience the sand between your toes at Bullards Beach. Meander down Highway 101 and see sights along the way like the Tillamook Cheese Factory and the Neahkahnie Overlook, the highest viewpoint along the coast.
Tuck into a cozy yurt at Bullards Beach State Park where you can whale watch, delve into the inner workings of a lighthouse and wonder at faces in the towering rock formations.
Washington D.C. to Montreal, Quebec
- Miles Round-Trip: 1,170
- Train Fare: $187
- Two-Night Hotel Package: $139
Enjoy the sights of upstate New York as you settle back on a bus ride north of the border. When you travel cheap during any of the last three Mondays in November, enjoy ultra-low pricing on Amtrak’s Montreal Getaway with two nights of accommodations and a city sightseeing tour included.
Don’t worry; it won’t feel like a cheap road trip when you unpack your suitcase at the Le Nouvel Hotel & Spa, Renaissance Montreal Downtown and Le Centre Sheraton. Just remember to pry yourself out of your luxe surroundings to stroll the cobbled streets of Old Montreal.
Methodology: Gas costs are figured using the GasBuddy’s Trip Cost Calculator using the national average gas mileage of 25 mpg, according to the EPA. Ticket costs are according to round-trip journeys for trips beginning Nov. 6 and do not include taxes and fees. Pricing was gathered Sept. 15, 2017. using Wanderu. Hostel costs are according to Hostel World and campsites are from ReserveAmerica.