Sometimes, you just need to get away. However, as every frequent traveler knows, some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations are also some of the most expensive.
But who says you have to break the bank to see breathtaking sights and national landmarks? Click through to discover tons of cheap and free things to see and do in the U.S.
Rocky Statue and Steps
Philadelphia — also known as the City of Brotherly Love — has much more to see besides Independence Hall, the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. In fact, there are several things you can do without hurting your wallet.
Located at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rocky Statue and Rocky Steps are two of the most famous landmarks in the city. The statue — located adjacent to the museum stairs — was donated to the City of Philadelphia by Sylvester Stallone himself, according to Visit Philly. Take a photo in front of the statue, and then race up the steps and give your best Rocky cheer.
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You can see Plymouth Rock — one of the most historic sites in America — and get a snapshot of history by visiting the Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, Mass. While inside the park, enjoy scenic views of the Plymouth Harbor and a replica of the Mayflower ship. The state park’s website doesn’t list any daily parking fees, but you might want to call ahead to make sure.
‘Southernmost’ Point in the U.S.
A visit to Key West, Fla., isn’t complete without a visit to the “Southernmost” Point in the Continental USA. The “Southernmost” Point buoy is located near the corner of Whitehead and South streets. One of the most popular things to do here is taking a picture next to the buoy and the location is also a prime spot to capture amazing shots of a sunrise or sunset.
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Las Vegas Strip
The legendary Las Vegas Strip is lined with casino hotels, restaurants and bright lights. And you don’t have to be a gambler to take a stroll down the strip for an unforgettable memory. Plus, the famous Strip offers plenty of free attractions, including the Fountains at the Bellagio where you’ll see a mesmerizing show of water, music and light.
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, located in our nation’s capital, explains the history of the holocaust that took place between 1933 and 1945. Plan a visit to receive a history lesson unlike any other. Tickets are only required from March 1 to Aug. 31 in order to see the museum’s Permanent Exhibition.
The good news: Tickets are free. But if you reserve them online before your visit they’re subject to a $1 transaction fee.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, Calif., is a must-see on your next trip to Los Angeles. The landmark is located on a public sidewalk, so it’s free to visit 24 hours a day — but you might have to pay for parking.
While you’re in Los Angeles, plan a hike to the Hollywood Sign for a memorable photo op. You won’t get an up-close-and-personal picture because the sign is protected behind a restricted gate. But, there are a few hiking trails you can access that’ll take get you semi-close to the sign. Plus, there are some good viewpoints in other parts of the city, such as Hollywood and Highland and nearby The Griffith Observatory.
Cathedral Rock is a famous landmark in Sedona, Ariz. If you use Cathedral Rock Trail #170, there’s no fee to hike it, but there’s a $5 parking fee at the beginning of the trailhead, a representative of the Coconino National Forest office told GOBankingRates. If you’re looking for a shorter hike, paying the small fee is the way to go — it’s just about 0.3 miles from the lot to the summit.
This legendary park in New York City is one of the most popular tourist attractions in America, attracting millions of visitors from around the world. You can ride your bike, read a book, go for a run or plan a picnic. The park itself is free, but there are fees to enjoy some attractions within the park, such as the Central Park Zoo that’s located near the park’s southeast corner.
The Lincoln Memorial is situated on the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The 19-foot statue of Lincoln weighs 175 tons, according to Washington.org, but the Memorial itself is 100-feet tall, 190-feet long and 119-feet wide. The memorial is open for visits 24 hours a day, and you don’t need to worry about fees or reservations to visit this landmark.
Perhaps one of the most legendary landmarks in New York, Times Square is famous for its New Year’s Eve celebrations. It’s also a major transportation hub for the city, so getting there should be easy.
‘Field of Dreams’ Movie Site
The baseball field in Dyersville, Iowa, featured in the 1989 film “Field of Dreams,” has become a major tourist attraction for fans of the movie. Although admission is free, you might want to bring some cash since souvenirs are available.
Mall of America
The Bloomington, Minn., mall opened in 1992 and has become a top tourist destination. In addition to 520 stores and 50 restaurants, the mall offers several entertainment attractions, such as Nickelodeon Universe, an aquarium, a flight simulation center and more. As a bonus, you’ll save money because there’s no sales tax on clothes or shoes in Minnesota.
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Founded in 1634, Boston Commons is America’s oldest park. With its sculptures, frog pond, memorials and landscapes, it’s the perfect place for a quick, relaxing stroll.
Located on an island in South Carolina, Fort Sumter played an important role in American history. It’s here where the first shots were fired to begin the American Civil War. There’s no entrance fee for Fort Sumter. But since the fort is only accessible by boat, you’ll need to purchase a ticket.
Historic Route 66 is a highway that stretches about 2,400 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. Put this on your to-do list if you’re planning a cross-country trip. But even if you don’t have time for an extended vacation, driving along a small stretch of the highway is a memorable adventure in itself.
The Smithsonian actually includes 19 museums and galleries, a zoo and nine research centers — and most of the museums and the National Zoo are free. For example, you can explore the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of American History for free.