Travelling abroad can be a load of fun. But it’s also expensive, often requires a flight or two, and you generally need to stay a week or two to make the trip worth it. For those reasons and many more, a staycation may be a better choice for you or your family this year. But you don’t have to stay in your own city – there are great places to visit all around the country.
Whatever you reasons are for not wanting to go international, there are a ton of affordable and fun options for a staycation. The USA has some incredible destinations that can give you the much needed getaway that you need. To help you choose where to head to next, we’ve compiled the 12 cheapest cities for a staycation, based on a 2020 study.
12. Columbus, Ohio
The capital city of Ohio serves as the first location on our list. Just because it makes the cheap list for staycations doesn’t mean there isn’t much to do. Columbus is a big city with a small-town charm. Be sure to visit Ohio’s only public market at North Market, where you can find an abundance of fresh produce, cheese, meats, and much more. Take a stroll through the picturesque German Village, go for a jog down the Scioto Mile, and get your shopping fix at the Easton Town Center.
11. Mesa, Arizona
If you’re looking to escape some of the lackluster winter weather in your city, let Mesa warm your soul and give you that boost you need to make it through the rest of the season. If you’re travelling with your family, you’ll want to visit the adjacent theme parks Golfland and Sunsplash. The Mesa Arizona Temple is a serene spot to recharge. The Mesa Arts Center will satisfy your cultural and performing arts needs. Mesa is also only a short drive from Phoenix, so you can take a day trip or short jaunt into the bigger city if that sounds fun.
10. Fort Worth, Texas
On the western edge of the sprawling metropolis of Dallas sits Forth Worth, Texas. Staying in Fort Worth will have you in close proximity to all that Dallas has to offer but don’t look over Fort Worth on its own. The heart of the city rests in Sundance Square where you’ll find something for every taste. The oldest botanic garden in Texas is in Fort Worth. There are many art galleries and museums in this city to inspire your artistic side. You can also visit the Stockyards for a history lesson on the Old West – perfect for the kids or any history buffs in your party.
9. Austin, Texas
The capital of Texas makes it to number nine on our list. Austin is host to vibrant entertainment, delectable cuisine, and an infectious culture. Austin is becoming one of America’s most sought-after places to live and visit. Enjoy live music on Sixth Street, connect with nature in any one of Austin’s urban parks, visit the State Capitol building, and get above the city for a great view at Mount Bonnell. Austin will not disappoint.
8. San Antonio, Texas
You might be noticing a theme but if you are looking for a fun and affordable staycation, head to Texas. Just a short drive from Austin you’ll find San Antonio. The Historic Market Square will give you the feel that you’ve taken a trip to Mexico without ever leaving the States. The Guadalupe Cultural Center will further that feeling. After you get your fill of culture head to Artpace San Antonio to see an amazing collection of arts at the nonprofit center.
7. Indianapolis, Indiana
We return to the Midwest on this list to visit Indianapolis. The Central Canal is great for an afternoon walk or paddle through the city. Indianapolis is also home to some famous sport names like the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, and of course the Indy 500. Take a trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to see the track, museum, and if you time your visit properly, you might be lucky enough to see a race.
6. El Paso, Texas
We’re back to Texas again. If you have time for an extended road trip and want to do it on the cheap, Texas is the place to be. Franklin Mountains State Park offers some fantastic hiking trails and a place to find solitude seemingly a world away from civilization. With the city sitting right on the US-Mexico border, you can bet you’ll find some of the best Mexican food in the country. Take a walk on the El Paso Mission Trail to explore the complex history of this region.
5. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Heading North of Texas now we arrive in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Take a stroll through Brookside neighborhood to see trendy coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and shops. The Philbrook Museum of Art is as impressive on the inside as it is from the outside. Then head to Woodward Park for an afternoon walk or picnic on a sunny day.
4. Fresno, California
Who said California had to be expensive? That might be true for the coast, but you can catch some rays in Fresno without breaking the bank. Woodward Regional Park is a great spot to relax or feed the birds. The unique Forestiere Underground Gardens is a jaw-dropping maze of tunnels, patios, and gardens. If you find yourself there in spring, be sure to drive along the Fresno Blossom Trail.
3. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Coming in at third place in the cheapest staycations in the US is Oklahoma City. Scissortail Park is a new 40-acre urban park complete with gardens, lawns, concert venue, playground, pedal boats, and kayaks. Attending an OKC Thunder game will put you among the best fans in the NBA. Take part in the booming art scene in OKC by attending Factory Obscura’s Mix-Tape.
2. Houston, Texas
We head back to Texas for the silver medal of cheap staycations in the USA. If you’ve had a problem, call Houston’s Johnson Space Center. If you’re going to Texas, you are almost obliged to take in a rodeo and no better place for that than the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The Houston Museum District features a concentration of 19 different museums, so there’s plenty to do – even on a rainy day. After your day, unwind with the burgeoning nightlife in Houston.
1. Omaha, Nebraska
Our top inexpensive place for a staycation in the States is Omaha, Nebraska. Perhaps this feature is what has kept Warren Buffet around for so long. The Old Market is the heart of the city where you can find small coffee shops, art galleries, and fine dining all along the brick-paved streets. This neighborhood is absolutely charming. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a family favorite and the Joslyn Art Museum is sure to inspire. Visit the friendly Midwest city of Omaha to satisfy your travel desires.