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Best (and Cheapest) Summer Destinations

Summer is finally here and it’s your opportunity to give your mind and body a well-earned rest from the rigors of college life. Sure, you could spend your precious vacation running the never-ending mouse-wheel of work, television, and family reunions. Or, you could keep doing school throughout the summer and run the risk of complete burnout when September arrives.

Take a little advice from the pros: use your vacation to go somewhere that will rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit. These 5 vacation destinations will inspire you without leaving you in financial ruin.

1. Blake Island, Washington

summer destination

If you have a hankering to get off the mainland but you can’t afford that Hawaiian airfare, look no further than the beautiful Native American respite of Blake Island. Just across the Puget Sound from bustling Seattle, you can take the ferry to Tillicum Village for just $40. You can explore the 400+ acres of natural beauty, attend the traditional salmon bake, or bring your tent and camp out next to the ocean. And, if you are looking for more exciting night life, you can always head back over to the city where you can check out the clubs, comedy, and shows that are sure to entertain on a budget.

2. Miami Beach, Florida

summer in us

At airfare of under $500 per person, going to Miami is all about adventure on a dime. Not only is the beach covered in attractive and available college vacationers, but the city offers benefits for every type of traveler. Stay in one of the modern hotels in the Art Deco District of South Beach or take in the beautiful camping sites at the Miami Everglades Resort for just $31 per day. In addition, the U.S. has just reopened the ferry service from Miami to Cuba. For just $300, you can literally leave the states behind and party Havana-style.

3. San Diego, California

summer vacation

Why spend all the money to go to Mexico when you can recreate a South-of-the-border adventure right here on U.S. soil? San Diego is not only an inexpensive choice (less than $400 per flight), but the ocean city is full of low-cost fun that will leave you relaxed and tan. Visit the acclaimed San Diego Zoo ($48), Seaworld ($35), or get a Go San Diego card ($189) that gives you access to those attractions plus Legoland, San Diego Safari Park and 35 other attractions. Or, if you don’t want to spend a dime, drive up the coast to beautiful Huntington Beach. You can take a free stroll up the boardwalk, browse the amazing art galleries, or just enjoy some of the best surfing in the USA!

4. Louisiana Scenic Byways

summer holiday ideas

Getting to Louisiana is the easy part, with airfare ranging from $350 and down. But, if you want to avoid the craziness and expense of New Orleans, a great option is to rent a car and drive the spooky back roads that act as a time vortex. You’ll be amazed at the gorgeous greenery and shocked at the tiny towns along the way where everyone still sits on their porch and waves to passersby. Enjoy Zydeco music, amazing food (like Boudin), and drive-through alcohol stands in tiny towns like Beaux Bridge, Bogalusa, and Ville Platte – where all the road signs are still in French and the radio announcers still speak Creole.

5. Denver, Colorado

usa holidays

At some of the best plane ticket prices on this list (between $100 and $300), Denver offers everything a college student could want except for free beer. The mile high city touts amazing camping, hiking, and rock-climbing as well as all the big-city amenities you could want. In addition, for those who are cannabis-friendly, the city offers a budding collection of growers, bakers, and dispensaries for you to peruse. If that’s not your speed, take a trip south to the small town of Castle Rock for one of the most amazing renaissance fairs in the west. Or, just hole up in Denver proper and visit the Denver Aquarium, Denver Aviation Museum, or Six Flags Elitch Gardens – all for under $50 each!