Top Bargain U.S. Travel Destinations for Memorial Day and Summertime Travel from Moon Travel Guides

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Moon’s American Nomad travel blogger and seasoned travel guidebook author, Laura Martone, names her top 15 budget-friendly U.S. travel destinations—from Denver to New Orleans—to kick off the beginning of summer.

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With unique and fun cities like Austin and Portland, and some smaller, more family-friendly gems, like Traverse City, MI, this list of budget-friendly destinations is a great starting point for any budget-conscious traveler

With AAA predicting a 5.4 percent increase in U.S. travelers for Memorial Day travel, Moon Travel Guides is offering a list of 15 budget-friendly U.S. travel destinations to help inspire travelers to hit the road, while saving money at the same time.

Moon’s American Nomad blogger and travel guidebook author, Laura Martone, helped Moon Travel Guides compile a list of 15 top budget-friendly U.S. travel destinations for summertime travel.

“With unique and fun cities like Austin and Portland, and some smaller, more family-friendly gems, like Traverse City, MI, this list of budget-friendly destinations is a great starting point for any budget-conscious traveler,” said Martone.

The list, which was recently published in a three-part series on Laura’s blog, American Nomad, includes the following destinations and helpful travel tips:

The Florida Keys: The hot summer months technically constitute the off-season, which means many hotels—even places like the Eden House in Key West—offer discounted rates.

New Orleans, LA: In the French Quarter, visitors can get reasonably priced muffulettas and jambalaya at Café Maspero and next-to-nothing beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Free live music is also offered throughout the Quarter and in the nearby Faubourg Marigny neighborhood.

Hot Springs, AR: Camping is inexpensive here ($10 for primitive sites, $24 for full-hookup sites). Naturally, hiking, picnicking, scenic driving, and touring historic bathhouses are all free.

Austin, TX: Austin is a terrific town for outdoor enthusiasts, who appreciate free diversions like the 10-mile Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. In addition, it's free to visit the Congress Avenue Bridge, where you can watch North America's largest urban bat colony take to the skies every night at dusk.

South Padre Island, TX: South Padre features fairly inexpensive food and lodging, from cheap fried seafood at Dirty Al's ($9-12) to affordable rooms at Motel 6 (less than $90).

Santa Fe, NM: Santa Fe serves plenty of cheap eats (think breakfast burritos and tasty blue corn tacos). The Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery is a great spot for a bite—and the New Mexican shepherd's pie is a must!

Las Vegas, NV: Whether you head to Sin City for a family vacation or a romantic getaway, you'll find plenty of free sights, including the Fremont Street Experience, the lion habitat at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, and the spectacular musical fountain at the Bellagio.

Los Angeles, CA: The City of Angels is such a sprawling metropolis, filled with so many museums, amusement parks, ethnic enclaves, and other diversions that it's hard to select just a few budget-friendly spots. One ideal place, though, is the Original Farmers Market in the Fairfax area, which offers an array of inexpensive eateries, shops, and produce.

Portland, OR: Travelers planning to stay in the Portland area for a few days should consider purchasing the Portland Perks Package, which includes exclusive rates at more than 35 hotels, free overnight parking, complimentary breakfast for two, and the discount-packed Portland Perks coupon book.

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks: One seven-day entrance permit ($25 vehicles, $20 motorcycles, $12 bicyclists and pedestrians) will grant access to both Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.

Denver, CO: The Mile High City hosts plenty of free attractions, including weekday tours of the Colorado State Capitol, a stroll through the Centennial Gardens, and the First Friday Art Walk in the Art District on Santa Fe.

Chicago, IL: With plenty of free concerts and lots of free attractions, Chicago is a great summer getaway. The Billy Goat Tavern in downtown offers cheap eats; and for less than $6, you can get a one-day pass for unlimited rides on CTA busses and rail lines.

Traverse City, MI: Traverse City is home to the National Cherry Festival, an annual event in July that offers plenty of free spectator events like bed races and leaping-dog competitions, plus inexpensive opportunities to sample regional wines and cherry-related treats.

Washington, D.C.: It's free to visit the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, the United States Botanic Garden, the Smithsonian, the National Building Museum, the National Zoological Park, and the memorials in the National Mall.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which encompasses parts of verdant Tennessee and North Carolina, is one of the only major national parks with no entrance fee.

For additional information on these budget-friendly destinations, visit Laura’s American Nomad blog at To interview Laura, or feature this list in your publication or on your website, please contact Jen Rios-Burns at Moon Travel Guides.

About Moon Travel Guides
Moon Travel Guides makes independent travel and outdoor exploration fun and accessible. With expert writers delivering a mix of honest insight, first-rate strategic advice, and an essential dose of humor, Moon guides ensure that travelers have an uncommon and entirely satisfying experience. Moon not only guides, Moon inspires. Moon is based in Berkeley, Calif. and is a member of the Perseus Books Group. For more information, visit


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