Sunday, August 9, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Cheap Vacation Ideas That Won’t Bust Your Budget

Budget constraints have a tendency of dashing our vacation dreams. While a week on an exclusive Caribbean island or in a romantic European capital may be just what the doctor ordered, filling the prescription might be too expensive. But there is nothing worse than being stuck at home during those well-earned days off and there is absolutely no reason anyone should have to be.

You don’t have to max out your credit cards or blow your entire savings to have a fun, memorable vacation, no matter what those glossy travel brochures tell you. Nobody needs to waste their precious vacation days binge watching reality tv instead of heading out into the world. There are plenty of affordable options across the USA where you can recharge your batteries without breaking the bank.

So when vacation rolls around again and you’re a little short on cash, don’t worry about it. Hit the open highway and point your vehicle towards one of these locations to set your world back on its axis without burying yourself in debt.

Grand Canyon

A common misconception is that the Grand Canyon is no more than a bunch of scenic overlooks for snapping photos of the view. First of all; the views are a magnificent display of natures beauty, so yes, photos are being taken left and right, and if you go, you’ll be snapping away also. But once you have attempted capturing the canyon’s radiance on camera, you won’t by any means be done with all else there is to do.

There are a couple of ways to get more up close and personal with the birds-eye view and perhaps the best of these would be by taking a mule trip where you can experience the canyon’s floor the same way early explorers and prospectors did. Or, see it by water from the Diamond Creek or the Colorado Rivers. One day trips are available, or if you’re really in for a true adventure, they can last up to 25 days.

Desert View Drive leads visitors down a less crowded scenic road through the flatter portion of the canyon which is no less breathtaking. Picnic areas are scattered about and it’s the perfect area to do some unsupervised exploring. The Pueblo Village is located along this road where numerous Native-American artifacts are on display.
Grand Canyon
Glacier National Park

What better way to get reacquainted with one’s self than by allowing nature to take the wheel, and there is no better place to accomplish this than at Glacier National Park located on the USA/Canadian border. There is hardly a more humbling experience to be found with its 700 lakes, numerous waterfalls, and two mountain ranges spread out over one million acres.

Even if a person is not a seasoned hiker the park is loaded with trails for all skill levels. From a simple walk through the countryside to more daring mountainous climbs, the beauty and splendor await. Whichever trail is chosen, an abundance of wildlife can expect to be seen.

If hiking is not possible, or even desirable, this should not stop anyone. Everything can be experienced from the comfort of a vehicle by driving the 52 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun-road which leads right into the thick of things.

The parks lodges, chalets, and hotels were all built during the 20th century and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They range from inexpensive rooms to elaborate suites so money or not, Glacier National Park can be enjoyed by all.
Glacier National Park

Anchorage, Alaska is one of those places where nature borders all of the modern amenities a person could ask for. A ten-minute drive will take a person from dining in a 5-star restaurant to watching moose frolic in a field of wildflowers. From drinking in a local pub with pool shooters and dart throwers to total immersion in the solitude of the wilderness are both possible all within the same day.

Anchorage is full of nice accommodations to fit any budget and even the smaller less expensive diners serve fresh locally sourced ingredients since they are in such abundance.

The city itself offers a plethora of things to do from visiting reasonably priced museums, shopping in the many specialty shops, or catching some live music while enjoying Anchorage’s tremendous nightlife. A summer visit is recommended to catch the City of Lights when over 80,000 wildflowers bloom throughout the city, some growing in the 460 flower boxes the city puts out, some growing out of sidewalk cracks.

This number one tourist destination in Tennessee has enough activities to keep anyone busy for as long as they choose, but if relaxing among nature is all someone is looking for, this is also easily accomplished. Condos and hotels in town can be had to fit most peoples budget, but the mountains and hillsides are reserved for cabins for those not wishing to stay in the thick of things. Of course, the best of both worlds can be had by renting a cabin and making the easy drive into town for recreation.

Gatlinburg is a town of only 4,000 fulltime residents though during peak tourist season as many as 40,000 visitors are in town at any one given time. They come to enjoy scenic helicopter rides, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, and viewing wildlife, but they also come for the quaint pubs with live music, excellent dining, shopping, biking, and a host of other activities.

A huge attraction for this area is Dollywood. An entire day could easily be spent having a blast at Dolly Parton’s famed amusement park, and the prices aren’t nearly as damaging as they are at other well-known parks.
Just because Paris or Amsterdam might be out of the question does not mean you can’t have just as much fun without spending nearly as much money. The trick is in being creative and in realizing America has just as much to offer if not more.

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