Average round trip: $308.60
The City of Angels checks in at No. 20 on the list of cheapest destinations. Visitors could spend weeks exploring the city known for its association with the film and TV industries. Tours provide a chance to gawk at the palatial homes of celebrities. Top sights include the iconic Griffith Observatory (seen in countless films), the art-filled Getty Center, Universal Studios, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Rodeo Drive.
Related: The Best of California on a Budget
Average round trip: $307.55
For music buffs, there’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For foodies, there is a dynamic and blossoming dining scene, thanks to a combination of celebrity chefs and locally renowned culinary stars. Other top attractions include the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Botanical Garden, and West Side Market.
Average round trip: $305.93
With parks, bike paths, microbreweries, coffeehouses, and snow-capped mountains, Portland is one of the country’s most picturesque and eco-friendly cities. Don’t miss Washington Park, which includes a formal Japanese garden and the Oregon Zoo. The city is also known for its vibrant art and music communities.
Average round trip: $304.12
Another historic city, Boston is home to the Freedom Trail and Paul Revere’s house. The city also offers fabulous dining, renowned museums like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, legendary educational institutions, and a great sports scene. Those who enjoy the outdoors shouldn’t miss the Boston Public Garden.
Average round trip: $303.70
The nation’s capital, with its many museums, government buildings, and iconic public spaces, needs little description. But one new attraction of note is the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in 2016. Focused exclusively on documenting African-American life, history, and culture, it is home to more than 36,000 artifacts.
Average round trip: $300.64
Pack up the kids and bring them to a city that showcases America’s history. Philadelphia is certainly ripe for learning, with the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed), and other American Revolution sites. Fans of the movie “Rocky” can run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art highlighted in the Sylvester Stallone film, while others may want to pop into the museum to enjoy its stellar artwork.
Average round trip: $297.45
There’s more to Detroit than cars and Motown. The city also boasts the Detroit Institute of Arts, showcasing the Detroit Industry Murals painted by Diego Rivera, as well as one of the largest art collections in the country. The Detroit Riverfront is a vibrant, revitalized space hosting everything from concerts to yoga classes. In a nod to the city’s auto industry roots, visitors can see the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, the first factory of the Ford Motor Co.
Average round trip: $287.26
Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best cities to live in, Tampa is also an interesting place to visit. Top attractions include Busch Gardens’ African-themed amusement park, the Florida Aquarium, and the unique Big Cat Rescue, one of the largest accredited sanctuaries in the world. The sanctuary is home to more than 80 lions, tigers, bobcats, and cougars.
Average round trip: $286.18
New Orleans offers up music and food that’s truly unique to the region, as well as historic plantations just outside the city. Summer also brings many festivals to the Big Easy, including a Fourth of July celebration on the Mississippi River.
Average round trip: $286.10
For those who’ve longed to visit the Mall of America, this summer is your chance. Located just outside the city, this must-see attraction is big enough to hold nine Yankee Stadiums. Minneapolis is also a city with many cultural landmarks, a notable music scene (it was home to Prince, after all), and an abundance of parks and lakes. Other attractions include the Minneapolis Art Institute and the Guthrie Theater, renowned for its classical and avant-garde productions.
Average round trip: $281.40
An up-and-coming place that has long been in the shadow of San Francisco, Oakland is less expensive and less chilly than its more famous neighbor. The city’s newfound appeal is due in large part to a growing creative community that includes artists, chefs, and directors and programmers from Pixar Animation Studios. Other reasons to visit include the Oakland Museum of California and the city’s wineries.
Average round trip: $274.44
A sprawling city that boasts 300 days of sunshine a year, Phoenix offers theaters, museums, and the Desert Botanical Garden, which provides an overview of the region’s flora and fauna. Some of the most popular places to visit include the Heard Museum and Old Town Scottsdale. Hikers flock to Camelback Mountain, which has outstanding views of Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Average round trip: $270.57
Setting aside the fact that temperatures in July and August climb to more than 100 degrees, Las Vegas offers something for practically everyone: gambling, nightlife, over-the-top hotels, immense buffets, and shopping (all air-conditioned!). Summer typically brings one more thing to Sin City: cheaper hotel room rates.
Average round trip: $264.90
A city known for its Cuban influence, massive collection of art deco architecture, and the uber-stylish South Beach neighborhood, Miami is one of the hottest vacation spots in the country. For a true immersion in the city’s iconic architecture, take an art deco tour. They’re offered by various companies and start at about $25 a person.
Average round trip: $263.37
Located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is a great base camp for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s also a foodie’s paradise thanks to an exploding culinary scene. In between eating and adventuring, check out some of the city’s museums, galleries, and nightlife. Families may want to explore the Denver Museum of Nature & Science or the Denver Zoo.
Average round trip: $262.45
This central Florida city is home to more than a dozen amusement parks. In addition to Walt Disney World, there are many appealing lesser-known attractions such as Warbird Adventures, where visitors can fly in World War II era planes, and Forever Florida, a 4,700-acre wildlife conservation area with nine diverse subtropical ecosystems that are home to alligators, black bears, white-tailed deer, and more.
Average round trip: $257.74
One of the best-known beach and golf cities on the East Coast, Myrtle Beach is a playground for young and old. The city is as famous for celebrity-designed golf courses as for its classic boardwalk lined with arcades, souvenir shops, and rides, including one of the country’s tallest Ferris wheels.
Related: 50 of the Best Beaches in America
Average round trip: $257.09
Dallas has many claims to fame, both historical and colorful. It’s the burial place of famed criminals Bonnie and Clyde, and visitors can still catch a movie at the Texas Theatre, where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. Home to the Dallas World Aquarium and Perot Museum of Nature and Science, this Texas city is also a popular destination for families with young children.
Average round trip: $254.44
Museums, shopping, nightlife, an impressive skyline, and sprawling parks are just some of the highlights of the runner-up on this list of cheapest destinations. Some of the top attractions in the largest city in the Midwest include the Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, and Grant Park, a 319-acre green space.
Average round trip: $250.32
Atlanta is the cheapest travel destination in the United States this summer, according to Skyscanner. This vibrant city combines Southern culture, history, outdoor recreation, and a mouth-watering food scene. Some of the top attractions include the Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center, the Atlanta History Center, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.