50 Affordable Trips to Take After You Turn 50

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Certain trips are better when you’re young and spry, but most vacations can wait until later in life when you really have the time to enjoy them. Some destinations can become even more enjoyable when you share them with kids and grandkids who are old enough to learn from and appreciate them. Whether you’re retired or not or traveling with family or alone, there’s something to be said for stretching the dollar as far as possible so you can travel for longer.

To help you start planning, here are 50 affordable trips across North America, stretching from the southern reaches of the States all the way up to the Great White North. GOBankingRates compiled the average cost per day, hotel, and airfare to show you a variety of destinations where you can get the best bang for your travel buck.

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1. San Antonio, Texas

  • Daily Cost: $89
  • Airfare: $200
  • Hotel: $38

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the South, San Antonio has plenty of culture and history to offer visitors looking for cheap vacations. The home of the Alamo, San Antonio offers guests vibrant restaurants and bars along the River Walk and the largest urban ecosystem in the nation.

A narrated boat cruise can provide an in-depth history of the area before you set off to explore the San Antonio Mission homes, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas. Downtown is a 15-minute commute from the airport, and it’s easy to get around relying solely upon the open-air streetcars and robust bus network. It does get rather hot in the summer, so spring, fall, and winter are ideal for a visit.

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2. Sedona, Ariz.

  • Daily Cost: $34
  • Airfare: $157
  • Hotel: $18

Located two-hours from Phoenix, a rental car is likely necessary to reach this otherworldly landscape. Multi-hued rock formations jut out of the Sedona desert, twisting and spiraling up into the heavens. There are art walks in town, but visitors should not miss taking a day trip to the Grand Canyon, an easy two-hour drive. Summers in Arizona can be brutal, so spring, fall and winter are your best bet.

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3. Eureka Springs, Ark.

  • Daily Cost: $113
  • Airfare: $321
  • Average Hotel: $80

A small Southern town with only 2,500 people and over 100 boutiques and galleries, shopping is the main attraction in Eureka Springs. Other must-dos include the wineries, stables, a castle, and a dinner ride on the vintage steam engine. With four distinct but mild seasons, it is a year-round destination. There is a trolley downtown, but having your own set of wheels is helpful as Branson, Mo., is the closest big airport — 81 miles away.

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4. Virginia Beach, Va.

  • Daily Cost: $60
  • Airfare: $150
  • Hotel: $23

A relaxing escape along the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is actually three beaches in one. You could spend all day soaking in the sun, but if you’re up for exploring, First Landing State Park and Cape Henry Lighthouse are area mainstays. There are buses and a light rail to get around town, as well as an Amtrak Station nearby. Winters have been known to get some snow, so take advantage of the shore in the summer months

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5. Monterey, Calif.

  • Daily Cost: $111
  • Airfare: $154
  • Average Hotel: $56

Monterey might sound surprising as far as cheap places to travel to, but it really is one of California’s most affordable spots in wine country. Located on the iconic Highway One, Monterey boasts breathtaking views of Big Sur, legendary golf courses, and more vineyards and tasting rooms than you could tour in a single visit.

Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monarch Butterfly Grove Sanctuary offer opportunities to take in the incredible nature of the area. There are local train lines and airport shuttles from SFO or SJC, but driving the coast is one of the highlights, so a rental car is recommended.

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6. Estes Park, Colo.

  • Daily Cost: $50
  • Airfare: $210
  • Hotel: $27

Get off the grid in a rustic river cabin in Estes Park, your base for exploring the incredible Rocky Mountain National Park. Lazily watch wildlife meander by, stroll the Riverwalk or cast a line in Fall River.

The towering peaks make this beautiful area a year-round destination. There is a free shuttle throughout the national park, but you will likely need a rental car to make the 70-mile trek from Denver.

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7. Moab, Utah

  • Daily Cost: $124
  • Airfare: $210
  • Hotel: $82

Another area of great natural beauty, Moab offers easy access to two national parks, Canyonlands and Arches. For the more adventurous set, it is home to world-class mountain biking and rafting, but the scenery can also be taken in on a relaxing drive or hot air balloon. You will need a rental car to get around and make the four-hour commute from Salt Lake City.

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8. Albuquerque, N.M.

  • Daily Cost: $73
  • Airfare: $211
  • Hotel: $25

Consistently ranked as one of the best cheap holiday destinations in the U.S., Albuquerque boasts over 300 days of sun and blue skies a year. Explore historic Route 66, take in the art scene, and get a taste of Southwest flair at one of the many museums, music or dance festivals.

With a dry, arid climate, it’s an enjoyable year-round destination. The city is a major stop for both Amtrak and Greyhound, or you can take in the views by train.

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9. St. Augustine, Fla.

  • Daily Cost: $94
  • Airfare: $124
  • Hotel: $49

The nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine comes alive at the living history museums and reenactments. Take a trolley around the cobblestone-studded Old Town and explore the world’s largest collection of pirate artifacts before retreating to a peaceful seaside abode.

There is a local bus, but you will likely need to rent a car to drive the hour from Jacksonville. The Sunshine State can be hot and humid, so plan accordingly — you’re going to the tropics, after all.

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10. Portland, Maine

  • Daily Cost: $120
  • Airfare: $129
  • Hotel: $104

A mix of East Coast sophistication and relaxed seaside charm, Portland, Maine, is the quintessential New England escape. Explore the lighthouses and indulge in freshly caught lobster as you tour by land and by water. There are food tours, seal cruises, and day trips to see the sights by train or bike.

The area also has bus, train and ferry service along with a Greyhound terminal and cruise port. Summer is the best time to visit to take advantage of the waterfront.

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11. Eureka, Calif.

  • Daily Cost: $102
  • Airfare: $139
  • Hotel: $53

The largest coastal city between San Francisco and Portland, Ore., Eureka is an old Victorian seaport. A visit there is a trip back in time with a beautifully restored old town and maritime museum. Take a guided ferryboat cruise and peruse the local galleries, gift shops and seafood haunts.

It’s not the easiest place to get to, but as they say, it’s the journey, not the destination. After a long Greyhound ride from San Francisco, you just might agree. Mild northern California weather makes it an ideal destination year-round.

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12. Savannah, Ga.

  • Daily Cost: $123
  • Airfare: $133
  • Hotel: $68

Chosen by Condé Nast as one of the “World’s 30 Friendliest Cities,” Savannah’s southern hospitality is unrivaled. Tour pre-Civil War architecture, famous movie sets, and see why it’s also been named “America’s most haunted city.”

Georgia does get hot in the summer — winter, spring and fall are ideal times to visit. Savannah is also a hot spot for transportation — it is both an Amtrak and Greyhound hub.

Also in Travel: The Most Haunted Hotels in America

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13. Boise, Idaho

  • Daily Cost: $62
  • Airfare: $185
  • Hotel: $25

The heart and soul of the Gem State, Boise’s culinary scene is booming with a number of new restaurants, craft breweries and wineries. Peruse the farmers markets for tasty treats or take a road trip to one of the many state parks for fishing, rafting, and other outdoor pursuits.

Fall and spring are the mildest times to visit, but there are plenty of reasons to plan a skiing or hiking trip too. Boise has a few public transportation options, but a car is generally preferred for getting around.

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14. Jasper, Alberta, Canada

  • Daily Cost: $72
  • Airfare: $158
  • Hotel: $38

One of the most underrated national parks in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is the small alpine town neighboring Banff. The Icefields Parkway is an incredibly scenic drive with amazing photo opportunities to see waterfalls, rushing rivers and wildlife around every bend. There are bus and train options, but driving is really the way to see the sights.

Winter in the Rockies can be brutal, so unless you intend to visit the ski resorts, the warmer seasons are your best bet. Don’t forget to pack your passport — you will need it to get into Canada.

Keep Heading North: Try These Places in Canada Where Your Dollar Goes Further

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15. Ann Arbor, Mich.

  • Daily Cost: $27
  • Airfare: $111
  • Hotel: $12

Despite its college town reputation, Ann Arbor offers plenty of attractions for the older set to enjoy, too. Nicknamed “Tree Town,” the urban oasis has a plethora of hiking, biking and fishing nestled along the Huron River. The botanic garden is world-class, and the sandhill crane migration is also not to be missed. There is an extensive bus network, so it’s easy to get around without a car.

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16. Dallas, Texas

  • Daily Cost: $103
  • Airfare: $107
  • Hotel: $58

With 2,200 daily flights and over 80,000 places to stay, Dallas is a huge city that welcomes tourists from all walks of life. Must-see museums include the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Frontiers of Flight, and the Museum of the American Railroad.

Summers in Texas can be sweltering, so your best bet is to visit in the fall, spring and winter. It is easy to get around with free transportation options like the M-Line Trolley and D-Link, DART’s shuttle service.

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17. Kansas City, Mo.

  • Daily Cost: $129
  • Airfare: $169
  • Hotel: $70

One of the most affordable Midwest cities, Kansas City gives you two destinations for the price of one. Get to know the area on a self-guided film tour or streetcar ride before filling your belly with world-famous barbecue. There is a bus and metro to get around, but people generally have cars to travel across the river between Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan. Spring and fall are the mildest times to visit.

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18. Louisville, Ky.

  • Daily Cost: $96
  • Airfare: $167
  • Hotel: $56

A hip downtown that neighbors Churchill Downs, Louisville gives you the chance to see a legendary horse race before tasting your way around one of the “10 best new food cities” in America. Whet your whistle at one of the many distilleries and pay homage to the baseball greats at the Louisville Slugger Museum. The city is both a Megabus and Greyhound hub, and it offers public transit options throughout the area.

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19. Portland, Ore.

  • Daily Cost: $128
  • Airfare: $162
  • Hotel: $71

One of America’s best big cities for budget travel, Portland is the shining star of the Pacific Northwest. Must-see attractions include quirky bookstores, crafts markets, and the local coffee and doughnut shops, where you can get a true taste of the region.

Once you’ve filled your belly, the International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden are a great place to work it off. There are plenty of public transportation options, so having a car is not necessary no matter what time of year you visit.

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20. Salem, Mass.

  • Daily Cost: $119
  • Airfare: $70
  • Hotel: $59

The setting of the notorious Salem witch trials, Salem is best known for its sordid part in American history but offers plenty of fascinating attractions for modern-day visitors. Explore the bewitching area’s live reenactments, cemetery tours, historic homes, wharf and tall ships. And you can leave your broom at home — the bus, ferry and train all run to Salem from Boston.

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21. Mackinac Island, Mich.

  • Daily Cost: $101
  • Airfare: $288
  • Hotel: $86

If you’re looking for cheap vacation ideas, sometimes it’s best to get back to the basics. A place to get truly off the grid, the entire island of Mackinac is car-free — transportation consists solely of bikes and horse and buggies.

A gem among the Great Lakes with only 500 permanent residents, Mackinac Island is where you can rent a cozy B&B or cottage and catch up on some much needed R&R. Midwest winters can be brutal — unless you plan on snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, plan a visit during the warm-weather months.

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22. Tampa, Fla.

  • Daily Cost: $114
  • Airfare: $140
  • Hotel: $54

Known for its wild theme parks, Tampa also has a new Riverwalk that is a bustling entertainment district and home to the Florida Aquarium, Tampa Bay History Center, and dozens of bars and restaurants. Transportation is easy and plentiful with streetcars, water taxis, and bike rentals available anywhere you might want to go. It can get hot and muggy in the summer, but Florida is a great option for snowbirds in the winter.

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23. Duluth, Minn.

  • Daily Cost: $89
  • Airfare: $241
  • Hotel: $81

Home to the largest freshwater lake in the world, Duluth is celebrated as much for it’s nature as it is its culture. Charter a fishing boat to get out on the water or explore the community’s museums, galleries, and theater. The city is a 2.5-hour drive from Minneapolis-St. Paul, so having a rental car is helpful, but there are buses and trolleys in the summer. Winters in Minnesota can be quite biting, so you might want to visit in the milder seasons.

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24. Corpus Christi, Texas

  • Daily Cost: $100
  • Airfare: $123
  • Hotel: $72

Featuring miles of beaches on Texas’s Gulf Coast, Corpus Christi is home to the Padre Island National Seashore, the last remaining barrier island in the world. Nature abounds at the South Texas Botanic Gardens where 2,500 different types of orchids and other tropical plants display a rainbow of color. There is a regional airport in the vicinity, but San Antonio is the closest large connection hub, and it’s about two hours away, so a rental car might be required. Keep in mind the Texas fun can be punishing in the summertime.

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25. Madison, Wis.

  • Daily Cost: $80
  • Airfare: $117
  • Hotel: $48

Madison consistently ranks as a top place to live, work, play, and raise a family. The capital of Wisconsin doubles as a college town, but it’s the lakefront setting that really makes it a gem of the Midwest. Biking is a popular pastime, and it should come as no surprise that the local food scene has standout cheeses. And don’t miss the Frank Lloyd Wright architectural trail. Madison is easy to navigate via public transportation, and much of the downtown area is walkable.

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26. Phoenix, Ariz.

  • Daily Cost: $115
  • Airfare: $157
  • Hotel: $47

One of the Southwest’s best landscapes, Phoenix is a haven for snowbirds. Explore ancient petroglyphs at South Mountain Park and Preserve, go antiquing in Old Town Scottsdale, tour Taliesin West — Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home — or attend the First Friday art walk along Roosevelt Row. Light rail and bus services are available, but the desert city is fairly spread out, so having a car is helpful. Plan for hot days: Summers can be unbearable with temperatures often soaring above 100 degrees.

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27. Bozeman, Mont.

  • Daily Cost: $76
  • Airfare: $283
  • Hotel: $46

The gateway to Yellowstone National Park, Bozeman attracts visitors to its geysers, hot springs, and wildlife. Fishing, horseback riding, hunting, rafting, golfing, biking and hiking are also popular pastimes in the rugged outdoor area. There is a bus, but you will likely want a car to traverse Yellowstone, which covers a whopping 3,472 square miles. It can be quite snowy in the winter, so make sure you prepare your vehicle if planning a cold-weather adventure.

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28. Tucson, Ariz.

  • Daily Cost: $122
  • Airfare: $166
  • Hotel: $71

With over 350 days of sun a year, Tuscon’s beautiful Sonoran Desert can be breathtaking. From caves to waterfalls, you can explore the unique ecosystem at Kartchner Caverns State Park, Tucson Botanical Gardens, Sabino Cavern and Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

When you’re ready for a spot of culture, visit downtown, which is comprised of six shopping districts connected by the Sun Link Streetcar. Summers get extremely hot, so plan to spend most of your time indoors or visit during a milder season. There is both an Amtrak and a Greyhound station in the area.

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29. Reno, Nev.

  • Daily Cost: $113
  • Airfare: $212
  • Hotel: $43

Calling itself the “biggest little city in the world,” Reno is known for its casinos and nightlife as it is its outdoor activities. Whether you try your luck at the tables, relax at the spa or soak in the sun, there’s a bit of everything for every traveler’s style. Public transportation options are available.

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30. Concord, N.H.

  • Daily Cost: $67
  • Airfare: $157
  • Hotel: $49

The state capital of New Hampshire, Concord is a charming New England town set against the dazzling backdrop of the White Mountains. Antiquing, touring the area’s covered bridges, kayaking, boating and walking the forested trails are popular pastimes. You can get around via trains and buses as well.

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31. Memphis, Tenn.

  • Daily Cost: $61
  • Airfare: $175
  • Hotel: $45

Memphis has deep music history roots as well as a rich modern music scene. Get your hips shaking at Graceland, indulge in tasty barbecue, pay homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the National Civil Rights Museum, and visit the ducks at the Peabody Hotel. You can get around town without a car.

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32. Nashville, Tenn.

  • Daily Cost: $129
  • Airfare: $142
  • Hotel: $70

A mecca for music lovers, Nashville is home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum along with dozens of cafes, listening rooms, honky-tonks, and recording studios where you can catch a live performance from an up-and-coming star. Visit a full-scale reproduction of the Greek Parthenon or enjoy the booming arts scene. Buses and trains make it easy to get around.

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33. Little Rock, Ark.

  • Daily Cost: $48
  • Airfare: $165
  • Hotel: $36

Agri-tourism is big business in Little Rock, with a number of working farms and farmers markets accessible to the public. Shopaholics will have no problem doing some damage at the Outlets, Promenade at Chenal, or River Market District. Getting to and around the city is easy with rail, bus and streetcar options.

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34. Niagara Falls, N.Y.

  • Daily Cost: $50
  • Airfare: $85
  • Hotel: $33

The roaring waters of America’s oldest state park have welcomed visitors for over 12,000 years. Two of the signature experiences are the Maid of the Mist boat tour, which will take you right up to the base of the falls, and the Cave of the Winds. You will likely need a rental car to drive from the Buffalo airport, but there is a Greyhound and Amtrak station and a trolley around town.

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35. Asheville, N.C.

  • Daily Cost: $106
  • Airfare: $165
  • Hotel: $71

Described as artsy, edgy and inviting, the high alpine town of Asheville is both funky and eclectic with flourishing art, culinary and outdoors scenes. Notable attractions include the Biltmore Estate, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the River Arts District.

With one of the most dramatic displays of fall foliage in the country, autumn is undoubtedly the best time to visit. The city is pedestrian-friendly and has trolleys and buses to get around.

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36. Cleveland, Ohio

  • Daily Cost: $112
  • Airfare: $112
  • Hotel: $60

Home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, major sports teams as well as world-class museums, there’s no shortage of culture in this Midwest city. Take advantage of the public transportation options and free downtown trolleys that run every 10 to 15 minutes, seven days a week.

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37. Colorado Springs, Colo.

  • Daily Cost: $104
  • Airfare: $210
  • Hotel: $54

The inspiration for the song, “America the Beautiful,” Colorado Springs is celebrated for it’s scenery, natural spring waters said to have healing properties and its history. Located at the base of Pike’s Peak, you can experience the area’s best attractions by meandering through Garden of the Gods Park, riding the Pikes Peak Railway and exploring the neighboring bohemian town of Manitou Springs. You will likely need a rental car to drive from Denver.

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38. Burlington, Vt.

  • Daily Cost: $111
  • Airfare: $190
  • Hotel: $26

With a relaxed downtown area on Lake Champlain, Burlington can be explored on foot, by bike or by ferry. Peruse the pedestrian-friendly Church Street Marketplace, a nationally registered historic district, or drink your way around the Champlain Coast Wine Trail. There is a bus to get around town. Most visitors come in the summer unless you plan on skiing.

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39. Tallahassee, Fla.

  • Daily Cost: $82
  • Airfare: $209
  • Hotel: $67

Florida’s capital is a melting pot of tourism opportunities. Home to five distinct dining districts and over 600 miles of trails, you could burn plenty of calories exploring before treating yourself at night. Sunset paddles and swamp tours are just a few of the many ways to get a lay of the land. Public transportation is available. Florida can be hot and humid, so time your visit accordingly.

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40. Eugene, Ore.

  • Daily Cost: $43
  • Airfare: $174
  • Hotel: $17

Located on Oregon’s Cascade Coast, Eugene has a plethora of natural attractions nearby, including waterfalls and great hiking. Bike through the wine country, follow the ale trail, kayak the estuaries, or pay homage to the University of Oregon’s famous athletic programs with a Ducks football game.

There is a local bus and Amtrak nearby, but having your own set of wheels is helpful to navigate the beautiful 90-minute drive through forest-covered hillsides to get to the coast’s gorgeous views and beaches. The area can get windy, rainy and chilly, so pack accordingly.

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41. Raleigh, N.C.

  • Daily Cost: $93
  • Airfare: $47
  • Hotel: $94

With extraordinarily cheap airfare and incredibly affordable daily expenditures, Raleigh is one of the best budget vacations on this list. Dubbed the “Smithsonian of the South,” the city’s abundance of high-quality free museums make it a haven for art and history buffs. Farm tours are also popular, along with spa and wellness retreats. There is a bus that runs throughout the area.

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42. Pittsburgh, Penn.

  • Daily Cost: $60
  • Airfare: $151
  • Hotel: $48

Located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, Pittsburgh was once the “Gateway to the West.” An industrious city with a fascinating past, it has a number of sites dedicated to the Civil War and the Underground Railroad. Explore the city’s neighborhoods and culture for their history and current offerings. It’s easy to get around by bike or bus, which is even free downtown from 4 a.m. until 7 p.m.

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43. Oklahoma City, Okla.

  • Daily Cost: $127
  • Airfare: $184
  • Hotel: $84

A Western city with a cowboy past, Oklahoma City is the “Horse Show Capital of the World.” There are a number of events throughout the year to give visitors a taste of rodeo life. For a more modern experience, opt for a water taxi along Bricktown Canal, the city’s bustling entertainment district. The city has an Amtrak station and bus, which is free downtown.

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44. Prince Edward Island, Canada

  • Daily Cost: $51
  • Airfare: $315
  • Hotel: $30

Ranked the “Top Island in the Continental U.S. and Canada” by Travel + Leisure, PEI is a destination unlike any other. The area was made famous by L.M. Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables,” and millions of book lovers have made the trek to PEI to see the home of the red-haired heroine. Beyond touring the heritage house, the beaches are impeccable, with miles of red sandstone cliffs to explore. Don’t forget your passport.

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45. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

  • Daily Cost: $106
  • Airfare: $185
  • Hotel: $21

When you’re planning a cheap trip, don’t overlook other great destinations in Canada. From the light and sound show at Parliament Hill to the artisan vendors at ByWard Market and the UNESCO-listed Rideau Canal, Ottawa has no shortage of cultural must-sees. There are two buses on both sides of the river. Pack your warmest clothes if you visit during the winter.

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46. Ocean City, N.J.

  • Daily Cost: $56
  • Airfare: $169
  • Hotel: $30

With nearly two and a half miles of boardwalk, it’s no wonder the Travel Channel named Ocean City the “Number 1 family beach community in the country.” Take in the Jersey Shore with nostalgic games, shops and amusements that will have you feeling like a kid again. The closest airport is Philadelphia, so you will likely need a rental car.

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47. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

  • Daily Cost: $59
  • Airfare: $119
  • Hotel: $30

Another gem on Canada’s eastern shores, Halifax boasts a number of attractions, from one of the world’s longest boardwalks to the longest continually running farmers market in the continent. The Victorian Public Gardens are an incredible place to relax, and the ferry is also one of the oldest running in North America. Pack your passport and get ready for adventure. Public buses make it easy to get around.

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48. Tahoe South, Nev.

  • Daily Cost: $94
  • Airfare: $212
  • Hotel: $43

Equally impressive in the summer and the winter, Tahoe South is one of the world’s leading ski, hiking and spa destinations. Whether you embark on a sleigh ride and snowshoe through the chilly scenery or mountain bike and paddle the crystal waters in the warmer months, it’s sure to be a vacation to remember. There are both ski shuttles and summer trolleys to get around.

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49. Williamsburg, Va.

  • Daily Cost: $90
  • Airfare: $225
  • Hotel: $53

The place where colonial North America began, Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown offer four centuries of American history with impressive battle reenactments and living museums. For the foodies, the wine and ale Tasting Trail is a big draw, and nature lovers can find plenty outdoors to enjoy. It’s easy to get around on the local bus, Amtrak or Greyhound.

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50. Rapid City, S.D.

  • Daily Cost: $93
  • Airfare: $352
  • Hotel: $48

The gateway to Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills area of South Dakota is stunning. Drive the Needles Highway, the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway or head further afield to Badlands National Park. You can get up close and personal with wildlife or explore the area’s many caves. You will want a car for this adventure.

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Methodology: All flights originate from JFK Airport in New York and are based on one-way ticket prices on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, from Skyscanner.com. All accommodations and daily cost estimates were sourced from BudgetMyTrip.com