Looking for the best cheap cities to visit in the U.S. with kids? I’ve got you covered! One of the most important factors when traveling with kids is making sure you can afford to travel as a family. The United States offers a wide variety of landscapes, cities, and activities to make every type of traveler happy!
All of these cities were chosen because they have features that family travelers love! Some of the cities have a lot of space for kids to run and play outdoors, some have amazing children’s museums and parks, and some offer learning opportunities for kids while traveling. Don’t think you have been forgotten; these cities are great for parents as well!
Whether you’re looking for a true city getaway, a beach vacation, a dive into nature, or anything in between, these cheap cities to visit in the U.S. will give you a variety of options to fit every travel style.
35 Fun & Cheap Cities To Visit In The U.S. With Kids
The cities on this list are chosen based on first hand experience, free or cheap things to do in each city, cheap day trips available, and the ability to find accommodation for less than $100/night. Hopefully, our experiences and information on this list will help you find fun and affordable cities to visit in the U.S. with kids!
St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine is a city full of history, beautiful architecture, family-friendly, and budget-friendly activities. The cobblestone streets, charm, and water front attractions draw people in from all over the world. One of my very favorite cheap cities to visit in the U.S. with kids, St. Augustine is a must visit if you are traveling with kids on a budget.
Castillo De San Marcos, The Fountain of Youth, and The Alligator Farm are all popular and kid approved attractions in St. Augustine. Although these attractions will be loved by adults as well, you may enjoy the historic district and the beaches more! There are tons of free activities in St. Augustine. You can read more about the free things to do, where to stay, where to eat, and more in my guide to St. Augustine with kids.
Finding cheap cities to visit with kids isn’t easy. In St. Augustine, when it comes to hotels, they can be found for less than $100/night outside of the peak season and occasionally during peak season as well, which is amazing for such a historic and beautiful coastal city! If you would rather camp while you are visiting St. Augustine, there are several options for you. The most popular being The Anastasia State Park and the St. Augustine Beach KOA.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Since moving to North Carolina three years ago, Raleigh has become our go-to day trip. The town is full of free and cheap options for family travelers. A favorite for most people traveling with kids is the historic Pullen Park. Pullen has been around since 1887 and is free to enter. The park has a carousel, train ride, paddle boats, and more. Each ride is just $1.5o each, making it a great budget friendly option! If you don’t want to ride any rides, the rest of the park, including the many playground, sand pits, and beautiful walking paths are all free.
The Marbles Children Museum is a must visit when in Raleigh if you have kids younger than ten years old. The museum is a hit for kids, they can play for hours, and I consider it the best thing to do in Raleigh with kids! There are also a lot free museums in Raleigh that your kids will love. The Museum of Natural Science and The North Carolina Museum of History are two kid favorites. They both offer interactive learning opportunities and fun exhibits that kids will love.
The town has tons of yummy North Carolina barbecue, coffee shops, and more! If you have a sweet tooth, consider popping into Amorino Gelato in downtown Raleigh. It’s a favorite of ours! When it comes to accommodation in Raleigh, hotels for less than $70/night can be found even during peak season. You really can’t visit a town that is so kid and budget friendly! It’s also important to know that Raleigh is a great jumping off point for visiting other popular cities in North Carolina. There are a lot of kid friendly day trips to take from Raleigh!
For those looking for three things to do while you’re traveling, Knoxville is one of the best cheap cities to visit in the U.S. with kids! If you’re looking for outdoor attractions, Ijams is a must visit when in Knoxville. This outdoor nature center has a wooden boardwalk that clings to a rock facing around a the Mead’s Quarry Lake. There are also mountains biking and zip-lining opportunities at Ijams!
The Knoxville Botanical Gardens, Marble Springs State Historic Site, and the famers market are also good options for free things to do in Knoxville. When it comes to food, Tennessee is famous for its sweet tea, country ham, and tomatoes, among other things. You can find delicious southern cuisine at restaurants and markets all around the city.
For accommodation, prepare to be blown away. Just like Raleigh, hotels can be found in Knoxville for less than $70/night, even during peak season! If you want to change things up and stay somewhere other than a hotel, Knoxville has camping and glamping locations around the city. There is the popular Southlake RV Park, Poland Creek Campground, and GlampKnox Canvas Campground.
San Diego, California
Moving over to the West Coast, San Diego is a super fun city to visit with kids. There’s a lot of kid approved activities in San Diego, making it one of the best cheap cities to visit in the U.S. with kids.
You can take a trolley tour of downtown San Diego, walk along Seaport Village, and visit La Jolla Cove where you can see sea lions sun bathing! If you want to splurge on one activity while you’re in San Diego, you have a few good options to choose from. San Diego is home to SeaWorld, Legoland, and the San Diego Zoo.
If you were under the same impression that I was, that California is super expensive… well it’s not. Yes, a lot of California is expensive and gas prices are definitely higher when compared to the eastern U.S., but you can actually find hotels for well under $90/night in San Diego. If you prefer to stay in vacation rentals or Air BnB’s, you would be hard pressed to find one for less than $115/night after taxes and cleaning costs. So, if you want the most budget friendly option, hotels are the way to go in San Diego.
San Antonio, Texas
This list wouldn’t be complete without adding San Antonio! There are so many cool things to do with kids in San Antonio! The most popular attraction is the River Walk. You can walk by the water, over bridges, and around the bends for free. There are restaurants and sweet shops all along the River Walk if you want to grab a bite.
The ever popular, Alamo, is both educational and free. You can walk through and learn a bit of history for free and it’s also a great place for family pictures. If finding beautiful locations to walk around is a must for you when traveling, consider going to the Breckinridge Park, The Pearl District, or The Japanese Tea Garden. (All are free!) If you and your kids love animals than the drive through safari in San Antonio is a must!
Hotels for less than $80/night? Yes! San Antonio is another surprisingly cheap place to visit with kids. If you prefer Air BnB’s to hotels, you’re in luck! Air BnB’s can be found for just as cheap if not cheaper than hotels! Something unique you could do is to stay in a tiny home. They are becoming popular in San Antonio and there are several listed on Air BnB.
Fun Things to do in San Antonio with kids.
Rapid City, South Dakota
South Dakota is, in my opinion, not only the best state to visit with kids, but one of the best cheap cities to visit in the U.S. with kids as well. As a solo travel mom, I’m always looking for a places that are safe, cheap, beautiful, and have room for my kids to run and play. Rapid City has all of that and more! That’s why I included it my 7-Day South Dakota Itinerary. The itinerary is catered to traveling moms and includes tons of free attractions and outdoor adventures.
Rapid City is home to Canyon Lake Park and it is a good spot to stop if you have toddlers or young kids. For outdoor lovers, consider hiking the Skyline Wilderness West Dinosaur Trailhead. The trails are easy and if you like to mountain bike, they have trails for that as well! The Dinosaur Park is also a big hit with kids. The Journey Museum and Learning Center and the Museum of Geology are also great for family travelers. You won’t be at a loss for things to do in Rapid City!
Hotels can be found in Rapid City for less than $70/night. Having come from a small town, to me Rapid City isn’t small, but relatively speaking, Rapid City really isn’t all that big. There aren’t tons of hotel options at your disposal. That being said, if you visit during peak season and aren’t able to get a room at the cheapest hotels, rest assured that none of the hotels in Rapid City are outrageously priced.
Ready to be surprised? Cheyenne is a beautiful city that you and your kids will love to visit! As with many other western cities, Cheyenne is one of the best cheap cities to visit in the U.S. with kids. There’s just something about these quaint, history filled cities that are surrounded by mountains and natural beauty that draw family travelers in.
Cheyenne, and Wyoming as a whole as a lot of interesting history and is scattered with museums. The Cheyenne Depot Museum, Wyoming State Museum, and The Nelson Museum of The West are all great to visit with kids. If you’re looking for a true Wyoming experience, head to a rodeo! Every year from July, September, Cheyenne holds events at Frontier Days where you can see bull riding, barrel racing, and more!
Hotels in Cheyenne can be found for less than $90/night which is always great! Plus, Cheyenne is in the southernmost part of Wyoming and is a great jumping off point for visiting The Rocky Mountain National Park, as well as other beautiful destinations in Colorado.
Four ways to have a great time in Cheyenne, Wyoming
Lexington, Kentucky has a special place in the hearts in everyone who visits. Despite the size of the city, the town is great for family travelers. For outdoors-y families looking for free things to do in Lexington, head to Raven Run Nature Sanctuary for hiking and a picnic in nature. The Arboretum is a good option as well. The trails take you through beautiful flowers and trees, making for a great place for family travel pictures.
Other free attractions that are great for family travelers in Lexington include, The Aviation Museum of Kentucky, Thoroughbred Park, and Jacobson Park. If you’re like me, you love taking your kids to a good children’s museum. Lexington has a great one called The Explorium. I went as a child and took my girls there when they were babies, it’s a blast!
You lucky dog! Hotels in Lexington can be found for less than $70/night! However, if you want to stay downtown, the hotel prices are through the roof. Do not recommend. Plus, there really isn’t a reason to stay downtown. Kid-friendly attractions are scattered all over the city. Staying downtown wouldn’t put you close to all of the things you would want to do in the city.
Dinosaur lovers unite! Glendive should be named the town of the dinosaur. Like South Dakota, Montana is known for its many dinosaur fossil finds. In Glendive, there is the Makoshika State Park which is a badlands area where many dinosaur fossils have been found and can be seen. If you still want to see more fossils, head to Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum!
Make sure to keep your eye out for all of the murals that are in the town! They are mini history lessons in themselves because they depict the history and culture of Glendive. If you have fishers in your family, Glendive is a dream! The Yellowstone River runs through the town and is perfect for fishing, kayaking, or paddle boarding.
Glendive has hotels for less than $70/night! If you prefer to camp, head to the Green Valley campground or the Makoshike State Park. Camping in glendive can be really beautiful with the prehistoric landscape as your backdrop! If you like camping on free public lands, the Glendive OHV Park is the place to be!
If you’ve never heard of Columbus, Georgia, you aren’t alone. I hadn’t heard of this cute little city before visiting for work. The Chatahoochie River runs through the town, providing water sport opportunities as well as a beautiful river walk. There are even a few shallow areas where you and your little ones can wade in the water. Be aware though, every so often, they occasionally release water into the river which will cause a wave and rapids in the river. (You will hear a horn blow before this happens.)
For history and science lovers, you’re in luck. Columbus is home to Coca Cola Space Science Center, The National Infantry Museum, The Columbus Museum, and The National Civil War Naval Museum. For those wanting to spend time outdoors, there are plenty of options for you as well! The Columbus Botanical Gardens, Flat Rock Park, Cooper Creek Park, and Goat Rock Lake, just to name a few!
Hotels in Columbus, Georgia are easy to find for under $70/night. What’s so great about hotels in Columbus is that hotels can be found for this price all throughout the city. You don’t have to worry about being away from the action in order to find a cheap hotel. Cheap hotels can be found in the city center and in the outskirts as well.
Fun things to do in Columbus with kids.
If you are looking for a lively city that is packed and I mean PACKED with things to do with kids, Gatlinburg is for you. Nestled into the stunning Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg has a little bit of everything. You can find arcades, putt putt golf courses, mountain coasters, museums, hiking trails and so much more! If you want to splurge on something in Gatlinburg, The Aquarium of The Smokies and Ober Gatlinburg are popular choices.
Candy shops, ice cream shops, and shops filled with local produce and products can be found all throughout Gatlinburg. A few popular ones are the Apple Barn, Pepper Palace, and Ole Smokie Moonshine. When it comes to restaurants, you can get yummy southern cuisine like fried chicken, chicken fried steak, cornbread, and much more. If you want to eat out while you’re in Gatlinburg, I recommend The Old Mill Restaurant. There is a river behind the restaurant that you can walk along while you wait for your table and the food is delicious!
For free things to do in Gatlinburg, consider driving through Cades Cove. The land landscape is beautiful, there are historical cabin, churches, and graveyards that you can pull off at and you can often see black bears and other wildlife along the road. Getting around Gatlinburg is free! You can ride the Trolley around the city for free from mid-June to mid-August, after that the trolley is just two dollars for unlimited rides! Hotels outside of the main strip can be found for less than $100/night in Gatlinburg! Another popular option is camping and booking a cabin in the Smokies.
Fun things to do in Gatlinburg with kids.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach is a popular destination for family travelers because it is one of the most fun and cheap cities to visit in the U.S. with kids. Growing up, we made many trips to Myrtle Beach and now as an adult I can see why it was so highly visited amongst family travelers. You can get a lot of bang for our buck in Myrtle Beach. The boardwalk is free to walk, you can spend hours on the beach, and there are many near by towns that are great to visit with kids.
Play mini golf on the cheap, visit the Market Common, or watch tigers play for free at the T.I.G.E.R.S Preservation Station. You can watch tigers play after 5p.m. and get your picture taken with a cub for a fee. (Yes, this is owned by Doc Antle from Tiger King.) Myrtle beach is also home to the Children’s Museum or North Carolina and The Myrtle Beach Pinball Museum.
Hotels can be found in Myrtle Beach for less than $100/night even during spring and summer. In the off season you can expect to find rooms for less than $80/night. If you are a fan of staying in Air BnB’s, Myrtle Beach may not be the best place. You would be lucky to find one for less than $110/night. Hotels are your best bet for cheap accommodation in Myrtle Beach.
Fun things to do in Myrtle Beach with kids.
Custer, South Dakota
Custer is a must visit city if you are planning on traveling to South Dakota. I’ve included it on my 7-day South Dakota Road Trip Itinerary and it seriously one of the best cheap cities to visit in the U.S. with kids. (I swear by it!) The best cheap thing to do in Custer is visit the Custer State Park. It only cost $20 to get a vehicle pass for the whole week and there is so much to do and see in the park. You can see buffalo, paddle board or kayak one of the lakes, go fishing, swimming, and more!
The best time to visit Custer is in the summer. They have the perfect weather for picnicking which is a great way to save many while you’re visiting. At restaurants in Custer, you can find Poutine and a lot of burgers. Burger joints are common and being that you are in the northern part of the U.S., you can find some Canadian influences.
Hotels in Custer can get expensive in the summer. However, you can find them for less than $100/night on Booking.com. If you are van camping or RV camping, you can stay in Custer for quite cheap. However, even in the summer months, it can get down into the upper forties at night, so tent camping isn’t a great idea unless you are properly prepared for the weather.
Find other great South Dakota destinations.
Hershey is close to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, giving you a good option for a day trip with your little ones. You won’t be at a loss for free things to do in Hershey. You can take a free tour of the Hershey Chocolate World Attraction and there is an awesome kids playground called Cocoa Castle. A short drive to Harrisburg will give you access to other free things to do nearby. You can take a free tour of The Pennsylvania State Capitol, walk along River Front Park, or walk the trail around Italian Lake.
Some other cool things to do in Hershey include the Zoo America, Hersheypark, Hershey Gardens, and the Hershey Story Museum. Hershey Park is a chocolate themed theme park and at Hershey Gardens you can explore beautiful trails, a rose garden, and butterfly house. There are also playgrounds, arcades, and museums in Hershey that you and your kids will love!
Hotels directly in Hershey are quite expensive. Hotels surrounding the city are much cheaper. Like, less than $70/night cheap! If you prefer vacation rentals, you can find entire homes, apartments, and rooms around Hershey for less than $100/night.
Greenville, South Carolina
Home to the scenic Falls Park Drive, Falls Park on The Reedy, The Children’s Museum of Upstate, Treetop Quest, The Greenville Zoo, and Paris Mountain State Park, Greenville, South Carolina is a great family friendly destination. To keep your travel costs low, consider some of the best free things to do in Greenville. You can take a walk in Falls Park, bike the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail, and use the town trolley to get around the city for free!
If you love to visit museums on your travels, Greenville has you covers. The city has a baseball museum, music museum, military museum, and more! Seafood and southern cuisine is easy to find in Greenville, South Carolina. In fact, if you are a foodie, Greenville will be a little slice of heaven for you. You can find fried green tomatoes, tacos, crab, and a huge variety of foods to satisfy your foodie soul!
If you are looking for some outdoor adventure you can consider a day trip to Chimney Rock and Lake Lure in North Carolina. About an hour from Greenville, Chimney Rock is a popular hiking trail in North Carolina. When it comes to finding accommodation in Greenville, it can be found for less than $90/night! You can find hotels this cheap almost anywhere in Greenville, but the largest concentration of budget friendly hotels are found in the southeaster part of the city.
Find other great South Carolina destinations.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Home to the International Balloon Festival, Albuquerque is one of the coolest cheap cities to visit in the U.S.! Albuquerque sits in the high dessert of north central New Mexico and is full of outdoor and educational activities for family travelers! The city is full of museums, including Albuquerque Museum, The Museum of Natural History, National Museum of Nuclear Science, and The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. There’s a zoo and a botanical garden in Albuquerque as well!
If you prefer more nature based activities, you can head to the Petroglyph National Monument. At the monument, you can see a chain of dormant volcanoes, hunt for petroglyphs, have a picnic, and hike the trails on the grounds. If you want to splurge on an activity while in Albuquerque, consider riding the Sandia Peak Tramway! This tramway ranges from $15-$25 per person and gives you stunning views of the surrounding area on the ride up. For decades, the tram was the longest arial tramway in the Americas. Once you arrive in the Sandia Mountains, there are trails to hike and great views!
For accommodation in Albuquerque, you won’t struggle to find budget friendly options. Hotels can regularly be found for less than $80/night and if you are willing to stay outside of the center of Albuquerque, you can find them for less than $60/night! Air BnB’s in Albuquerque tend to be well over $100/night for family travelers, so hotels will be your best bet for budget friendly accommodation!
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Idaho Falls is one of the best cheap cities to visit in the U.S. for travelers with young kids. Little ones will love the zoo, falls, fun museums, and parks that the city has to offer. The highlight of a visit to Idaho Falls is the River Walk. The falls are beautiful and offer paved walking trails around the area, as well a great view of the Idaho Temple in the background. This area is especially pretty when the leaves begin to change in the fall!
One of the best deals for large families in Idaho Falls is at the Museum of Idaho. They have a package deal that allows eight member from the same household to get into the museum for only $42. (This could cost more than eighty bucks without this family deal!) For learning and exploration, head to the Museum of Idaho, the Idaho Falls Zoo, East Idaho Aquarium, or the art museum! If you’re ready to get outdoors, consider visiting the Idaho Snake River Plain! There area trails, amazing views, and you can see several volcanic buttes and lava flows.
You should have no trouble at all finding hotels for less than $100/night in Idaho Falls, even in the summer! The city is pretty awesome and to top it off, there are many great day trips as well! Some of the best day trips from Idaho Falls: Grand Teton National Park (less than an hour and a half), Mesa Falls (less than an hour and a half), and Yellowstone National Park (two hours).
Bismark, North Dakota
Located in the mid west USA, Bismark is a fun and family friendly city in North Dakota! A kid favorite is the Keelboat Park along the Missouri River. There are things for kids to climb on and educational signs about Lewis and Clark. The area is beautiful and features an old train bridge over the river!
Other fun things to do with kids in Bismark include the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park where you can learn about the history of the area and hike the trails, and the State Historical Society where you can see a dinosaur bones and other cool things that kids will love! Like most kids, my daughters love trains, and if your little ones are the same way, Bismark is perfect for you! They have a train museum as well as the Fort Lincoln Trolley near by where you can relax and enjoy views of the area.
Northern states like North Dakota have Canadian influence and because of this, you can get poutine in a lot of restaurants in Bismark. It’s a unique, local thing to try while you’re in the city, a good opportunity for kids to learn about how Canada has influence the northern U.S., and how cuisine is different everywhere you travel! For accommodation, budget travelers will rejoice in the fact that you can expect to find hotels for less than $90/night in Bismark!
Atlanta may not be the first city you think of when choosing a place to visit with kids, but it should be! It’s actually one of the coolest, cheap cities to visit in the U.S. with kids! They have a zoo, a history center, The King Center which is dedicated to sharing the story of MLK, the stunning historical home called Swan House, LEGOland, the Georgia Aquarium, and many museums, including a children’s museum and the Fernbank Museum which is dedicated to the natural sciences.
If you prefer to be outdoors you can walk around the beautiful Skyline Park, Atlanta Botanical Garden, explore the farmers market at Piedmont Park, or have your little ones play in the fountains at Centennial Olympic Park where the 1996 summer olympics where held. If you prefer to go hiking and be near water, you have several options in Atlanta, including the Sweetwater Creek State Park, Sope Creek, and the Cascade Springs Natural Preserve!
Despite the size of Atlanta and there being so many fun things to do in the city, you can still find budget accommodation quite easily as a family traveler. There is so much to do in Atlanta and hotels can be found all throughout the city which is great because you can find a place to stay no matter which part of the city you want to stay in. Budget hotels in Atlanta can be found for less than $85/night!
Fun Things To Do In Atlanta With Kids
Most people seem to freak out when you recommend a travel destination and it turns out to be in the “boring” state of Kansas! There’s no need to think this way because Wichita is amazing! I would argue that it is not only one of the very best cheap cities to visit in the U.S. with kids, but it is also one of the most fun! The city is jammed pack with museums, parks, walking trails, and much more for you to experience.
Complete with a botanical garden, wildlife park, and a zoo that is focused on education, the city is perfect for those traveling with children. Wichita has you covered with tons of awesome museums for you to choose from, including the Derby Museum, Toy Train Museum, The Original Pizza Hut Museum, Aviation Museum, and many others. Other educational opportunities can be found at the science center called Exploration Place or at the Great Plain Education Museum where you can see locomotives and memorabilia.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, don’t worry, I haven’t forgot about you! The Pawnee Prairie Park and the Splash Aqua Park will be right up your alley. Although I can’t tell you about absolutely everything that there is to do in Wichita, I have to tell recommend a visit to the Water Walk where you can see tons of fountains that come aglow with colorful light at night time! Finding accommodation to fit your budget as a family traveler has never been easier than in Wichita, Kansas! Hotels can easily be found for less than $60/night in the Wichita! (Especially if you aren’t staying in downtown!)
Best visited in the summer or the fall seasons, Augusta is a beautiful city that is perfect for family travelers. Augusta is quite small for being the capital city of Maine, but it as much more to offer than most small towns. You can explore museums, be in nature, hike, and try delicious foods in the capital city of Maine!
For those looking to spend time outdoors, you can head to the Augusta Nature Education Center, head north to the glacial Messalonskee Lake, hike the Vaughn Woods Trail, or visit the Viles Arboretum. Take advantage of the learning opportunities in Augusta to add a bit of education into your travels! This can be done at the Maine State Museum and the old British outpost called the Old Fort Western. Or if you have young children, you will be delighted to hear that Augusta has a children’s museum!
Augusta is surprisingly famous for their brisket and barbecue, so make sure to try some if you want to experience Augusta at its fullest! For accommodation for less than $100/night, consider booking a hotel room in the fall or off season. Or if you’re willing stay outside of the city a little bit, you can find Air BnB’s can be found for less than $100/night as well!
Ready for a dip into the old west in Wyoming? Try Laramie! It’s not only one of the best cities to visit in the west, but it’s also one of the best cheap cities to visit in the U.S. with kids! For families looking for a destination that will allow for a lot of educational activities in a beautiful location.
A visit to the University of Wyoming Geological Museum should be on your Laramie Bucket List! Kids can get up close to dinosaur fossils and other exciting items at this museum. You can also explore the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, Laramie Plains Museum, Museum of Vertebrates, LeBonte Park, and the Rocky Mountain Herbarium,
When it comes to accommodation in Laramie, you can find hotel rooms for less than $80 a night even during the summer months. This is a great news for families! If you prefer to stay in a vacation rental, they can be found for less than $80/night as well. For campers, there are several campground to choose from, including the Laramie KOA!
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe is a city rich in history, has beautiful architecture, and is situated in the middle of a stunning natural landscape. You can find museums, historical sites, and outdoor activities in New Mexico, making it one of the best cheap cities to visit in the U.S.!
There are many interesting and educational museums to check out in Santa Fe that both parents and kids will love. You can visit the Museum of International Folk Art, New Mexico Museum of Art, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, New Mexico History Museum, and many more! For outdoors attractions, a visit to the 18th century Spanish Village, El Rancho de las Golondrinas is a must! The Hyde Memorial State Park and the Dale Ball Trails are two other great options for getting everyone outdoors to explore Santa Fe!
Hotels in Santa Fe can be found for less than $90/night during the high season months of September-November. Vacation rentals on Air BnB tend to run more expensive than hotel rooms, so for budget travelers, the best option for accommodation are hotels. For campers, there are a few RV campgrounds, as well as a few tent camping campgrounds as well, so you will have a large selection to choose form when looking for a place to camp down for the night!
For nature lovers looking for a budget friendly vacation with kids, it doesn’t get much better than Billing Montana! From outdoor adventures and animal encounters to museums and cowboy cuisine, Billings has it all. With the variety and general awesomeness of everything that Billings has to offer, it’s easy to see how it made it onto our list as one of the best cheap cities to visit in the U.S. with kids.
A trip to Billings with kids wouldn’t be complete without a visit to ZooMontana where parents and kids both can enjoy the vast array of wildlife that now calls the zoo home. For outdoor experiences, make sure to make a trip to Pictograph Cave State Park and Zimmerman Park for hiking, climbing, biking, amazing views, and to learn about the history of Billings. To add a little education goodness to your trip or to just simply enjoy your time in Billings when the weather isn’t ideal, you can visit the Yellowstone Art Museum, Moss Mansion Museum, or the Yellowstone County Museum!
There are few cities in the U.S. with such affordable accommodation. In Billing, you can find hotel rooms for less than $75/night during the high season summer months. If you prefer to stay in vacation rentals, don’t be surprised if you can’t find rentals for less than $100/night during the high season. For campers, you have a few choices when it comes to campground. There is a Billing KOA, another RV park, as well as the Yellowstone River Campground!
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is a great city to visit with kids! The landscape is stunning and there are a lot of opportunities to enrich your travels with educational experiences while exploring the city! Home to the Natural History Museum of Utah, the Hogle Zoo, the Clark Planetarium, the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum, and the Tracy Aviary & Botanical Gardens, it’s easy to see why Salt Lake City has made its way to this list!
From exploration and adventure to yummy food and a taste of history, there is something to please every family member! The Navajo tribe has had a huge influence on Salt Lake City and one of the most popular dishes in the area is Navajo Tacos. You can try them for yourself at Navajo Hogan!
Salt Lake City is a very affordable city and hotels can be found for less than $80/night and sometimes even as low as $60/night. Private rooms on Air BnB can be found for less than $80/night and occasionally you can find entire homes for rent for less than $100/night as well. For campers, you will not struggle to find a campground in Salt Lake City! There are more than ten campgrounds and most are RV friendly!
It’s time to visit white sandy beaches in the Gulf of Mexico! Clearwater, Florida is one of the best cheap cities to visit in the U.S. because of its stunning natural beauty. The city is only thirty minutes from Tampa and only thirty minutes from the city of St. Petersburg as well. This gives you a couple of nearby cities to visit as day trips from Clearwater if you like. This beach town is perfect for budget travelers as there is so much fun to be had outdoors for free!
First, we have the Clearwater Marine Aquarium that families will love! There is also indoor surfing, the downtown market, jet ski rentals, a fishing pier, playgrounds, kayaking and paddle boarding opportunities, a police and military museum, and much more! Of course, a trip to Clearwater wouldn’t be complete without time spent on the beach. Clearwater Beach and Sand Key Beach are both popular and beautiful beaches!
One of the best things about Clearwater is that you can get affordable hotel rooms in such a beautiful Florida location. Hotels can be found for less than $100/night even in the summer months! For campers, it seems as though most campgrounds in the area are focused more on RVers than tent campers.
Amazing Things To Do In Florida With Kids
Heading back out west, you can find a glorious little town called Salida, Colorado. You can find tons of outdoor activities, delicious food, and free things to do, making it one of the best cheap cities to visit in the U.S. for families. The Arkansas River runs through the town and it offers tubing and other water activities for visitors in the warm months.
Spending time outdoor is a must when visiting Salida. The town is small and most activities are centered around the great outdoors. Visiting the Arkansas Headwater Recreation Area is a great place to start. They have a campground, trails, places to bike, kayak, raft, fish, and more! You can even take a boat tour on Twin Lakes. Stop by the Salida Museum to learn about the history of the area and make sure to check out the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center to bathe in swimming pools that are fed by natural hot springs.
You will be happy to hear that hotel in Salida can be found for less than $90/night during most of the high season. This is such exciting news! Of course, you will have plenty of campgrounds in and around Salida to choose from as well. For free camping near Salida, you can check out the Shavano Wildlife Management Area!
Des Moines, Iowa
Have you ever been to Iowa? The state may just surprise you! Des Moines is a beautiful city that is great for family travelers and budget travelers as well. Museums, parks, government buildings, and much more awaits you in Des Moines! Ice cream is also quite popular in the city. You can find delicious frozen treats at Smookies Malt Shop, Granny’s Sweet Freeze, and the Dairy Zone!
There’s many cool attractions in the city that both adults and kids will love. You can visit The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Des Moines Art Center, Blank Park Zoo, the Iowa State Capital Building, and the Living History Farms. Des Moines also has a downtown farmers market which is a great way to save money while visiting the city as well as support the local small business owners. If you’re traveling with young kids that need to run off some energy, fear not, Des Moines has many awesome playgrounds.
Happy days! Hotels in Des Moines can be found for less than $70/night. Yes, you read that right. Accommodation in Des Moines is super affordable for such a fun packed city! If you prefer vacation rentals, you are yet again in luck, because you find places for rent on Air BnB for less than $100/night!Sp
Springfield is a city with governmental significance, free attractions, and countless opportunities for learning while traveling. In fact, for family travelers who prefer destinations that focus on history and education, Springfield is on of the very best cheap cities to visit in the U.S. There are museums, animal encounters, hiking, and more waiting for you in Springfield!
One of the coolest educational attractions of interest is the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum! You can also tour the old state capital as well as the current Illinois state capital building. A trip to the Illinois State Museum will be a hit with the kiddos! The museum has multiple floors, skeletal replicas of extinct animals and much more! Last, but not least, a trip to Springfield wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Henson Robinson Zoo.
This capital city is quite affordable. Hotels can be found for less than $70/night and if you want to splurge on a four star hotel, you can find them for around $110/night! For everyone who like to stay in Air Bnb’s, you can occasionally find place to rent for less than $100/night, but if you want to stick to your budget, renting a hotel room for the night will probably be the best way to not overspend.
Everyone loves to visit Florida, right? Well you’re in luck. We have another city that has made the list for the cheapest cities to visit in the U.S., Sarasota is a beautiful beach town in the Gulf of Mexico. White sands and crystal water calls Sarasota home and there are many cool things to do for family travelers!
Some of the coolest things to do in Sarasota include The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, and much more! Of course, nothing beats the stunning beaches of Sarasota. Longboat Key, Lido Key, and Siesta Key all have amazing beaches that you will fall in love with!
You will be thrilled to know that despite the beauty of Sarasota, you can find hotels in the city for less than $80/night! This is so exciting as there is so many free and exciting things to do in Sarasota. For RV campers, there are a few campgrounds in and around Sarasota for you to choose from.
St. George, Utah
The ultimate budget friendly city, St. George is a stunning natural beauty that you will fall in love with! Being in St. George is all about being in the great outdoors. You can find state parks, hiking trails, and stunning natural wonders to explore.
St. George is home to the Snow Canyon State Park, the Sand Hallow State Park, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, St. George Dinosaur Discover Site at Johnson Farm, Snow Canyon State Park Petrified Sand Dunes and Drive, Pioneer Park, the Red Hills Desert Garden, and other outdoor experiences! There’s also a St. George Children’s Museum, Town Square park where kids can play in the fountains, and the Rosenbruch World Wildlife Museum. For children and outdoor lovers, it doesn’t get much better than St. George!
Hotels for less than $75/night? You got it in St. George! For those who prefer to use Air BnB, you can find rental for less than $100/night, however, they are harder to come by. If sticking to a budget is what is most important, definitely go with a hotel room! Given that St. George is such a natural wonderland, campgrounds and plentiful. To find the perfect campground for you, I recommend searching for them on the Campendium mobile app!
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
You are going to love Sioux Falls! There are so many things to do in the city that kids will love. This is why Sioux Falls made it onto the list of the best cheap cities to visit in the U.S.! Despite South Dakota being a part of the midwestern states, you can find food that is far from midwestern in Sioux Falls. From Asian to French cuisine, you can find delicious food in every corner of this neat South Dakota town!
When in Sioux Falls, visiting Falls Park is a must. Several layers of waterfall fall down over the rocks in the park and is absolutely beautiful. There’s areas for kids to play in the sand and climb on the rock. (not the we and slippery rocks of course.) Two other fan favorites for family travelers include the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History and the Butterfly House & Aquarium that I’m sure your little ones will love!
Hotels in Sioux Falls can be found for less than $75/night during the high season summer months! There are several campsites in and around Sioux Falls for everyone who chooses to camp. However, if you are someone who prefers to stay in free dispersed campsites, you may find yourself driving a couple hours to find one.
Fort Collins, Colorado
Are you ready to visit the beautiful state of Colorado? It’s something that a lot of travelers dream of and if you’re on a budget, fret not. Fort Collins is a fun and budget friendly town that has so much to offer its visitors. The Horsetooth Reservoir is a scenic lake with several little bays that are perfect for exploring. There are opportunities to kayak, paddle board, hike, mountain bike, and camping.
Other opportunities to get outside and explore the beautiful state of Colorado include Horsetooth Mountain and Lory State Park where you can see the rugged and scenic wilderness of Fort Collins for yourself. Or you can visit the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, the Museum of Art, Fort Fun, Swetsville Zoo, or play at one of the awesome playgrounds in the town. The list of things to do in Fort Collins goes on and on and is something that you really have to see for yourself.
Hotels for less than $70/night? Yup! As if Fort Collins couldn’t get any better, accommodation is very affordable! For campers, you can finding camping opportunities in Fort Collins and other options within an hour from the city in most directions!
The home of Blues and the birthplace of Rock “n” Roll, amazing barbecue, and much more… I’m going to show you why it was so easy to plant Memphis firmly on this list of the best cheap cities to visiting in the U.S. with kids. The town has so much history and interesting things to see and do, you and your family will fall in love with Memphis. There’s simply not enough time in the day for me to share all of the best things to do in Memphis!
One of the most popular attractions in Memphis is Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley. You can learn about the history of the racial equality movement at the National Civil Rights Museum, check out the conservation work done at the Memphis Zoo, see Sun Studio where legendary rock icons have recorded, walk through the interactive Memphis Rock “n” Soul Museum, step outside and enjoy nature by walking through the Memphis Botanical Garden or the Dixon Gallery & Gardens, or let your little ones explore and learn at the same time at the Children’s Museum of Memphis. Other museums, historical sites, restaurants, sweet shops, shopping, and musical points of interest await you in Memphis!
You may be thinking, with all of these awesome attractions and plentiful things to do in Memphis that you couldn’t possible find an affordable hotel. But, you’d be wrong! Hotels in Memphis can be found for less than $70/night, even during the busy summer months! You can stay for even less if you are camping. Several campgrounds can be around the outskirts of Memphis!
Located in the northernmost part of Texas between Oklahoma and New Mexico, Amarillo is full of natural beauty and fun attractions that children and parents will both enjoy. From rollercoasters and road side attractions to tropical plants and dinosaurs, you can do just about everything in Amarillo.
The iconic Cadillac Ranch where you can see an art installation of buried and spray painted cars is in Amarillo, bring some spray paint and make your own mark on the installation. Then, for some time in nature, consider visiting Palo Duro Canyon State Park for hiking and picnicking around the 800 foot cliffs. For family friendly fun, visit Wonderland Amusement Park, Amarillo Botanical Gardens, Amarillo Zoo, or the Don Harrington Discovery Center. Last, but not least, you can learn about the history of the area by visiting the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum, the Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian, Texas Air and Space museum, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, or the Amarillo Railroad Museum.
Amarillo is packed with exciting things to do as a family, and to top it all off, you can find hotels for less than $60/night! For Air BnB, you can find places for rent for less than $100/night during the high season summer months! Camping in Amarillo seems reserved for mainly RV campers. However, you can find tent camping opportunities north of Amarillo.
Whether you are looking for outdoor adventures, a city getaway, beautiful camping locations, or historical cities, this list offers something for every type of traveler. Which of these cheap cities to visit in the U.S. will you visit first?
For your travel inspiration and to stay up to date on travel trends, follow Gone With My Babies on Pinterest