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As the weather begins to warm up, families are starting to plan their summer vacations. While many Americans wish that they could travel to exotic parts of the world, most cannot afford to do so. Since we are becoming more conscious about our expenditures, vacations seem like a superfluous expense.

But a vacation doesn’t have to be a huge expense. Not if you’re smart about planning, cutting corners, and trying new things. If you’re a traveler, you probably are used to doing all of these things.

This summer, if you want to save money, you should plan your summer vacation in the United States. There are plenty of exotic destinations for you to discover, and they’re closer in proximity than you think.

I’ve put together a helpful list of ideas for summer vacaciones that your family will enjoy, depending on their interests. Whether you’re an art-centric family or a pack of beach bums, you don’t have to go far to satiate your summer dreams.

Go Camping
If your family is the outdoorsy type, taking a trip to a national park could be a great vacation. It’s also the perfect way to “disconnect” from technology for a while. You won’t have to spend much money on lodging and dining. Just pack a tent, sleeping bags, and food to cook.

Before you choose a national park, understand that some of them are extremely tourist-ridden. Take America’s first national park, Yellowstone, for example. About 1 million people visited the park in one month. There are many other parks that offer scenery, trails, and lakes with a minimal amount of tourists.
Yosemite National Park is one of the America’s grandest national parks. Located in California, Yosemite spans across 761,268 acres. Within the acreage lies Yosemite Valley, which is a glacial valley with majestic granite summits. Half Dome and El Capitan are two of the most popular sights to see at this park.

Canyonlands National Park is another ideal park to visit during the summer. It’s located in southeastern Utah and boasts hiking trails, and the Colorado River and Green River. Canyonlands also has whitewater rapids that are strikingly similar to those found in the Grand Canyon. The park only has 440,039 visitors a year; this is significantly less than Yellowstone’s 2 million tourists per year.

Take a Beach Trip
Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands, and Hawaii are all desirable beach destinations, and are part of the US. Both Puerto Rico and The Virgin Islands are Caribbean getaways. You can usually find a cheap cruise package, but do your research beforehand.

If you decide to visit Hawaii, be sure that you do your homework. While it’s a rather expensive destination (more expensive than other US destinations) you can save a few dollars on food, lodging, and transportation if you are informed.

You can also save money on beach destinations by considering continental beaches in California, Florida, and South Carolina. That way, you don’t have to take a flight or cruise to experience summer beach life.

Keep it Metropolitan
The best thing about visiting metropolitan cities like New York or Chicago is that there’s always something for you to discover. A major city simply cannot be explored in one or two days. Pick a city that you’ve always wanted to visit and plan a trip for the week. If you’re a big music buff, travel to Nashville. If you prefer art, visit New York or Chicago. Look up ways to travel cheap in any city you choose.
For a big city with a “small town” charm, try Austin. It’s a cultural destination for music, art, and food lovers in America. You can also cut expenses with travel and transportation. Learn about city public transit before you arrive. Also, staying outside of city limits can save you money on lodging.

Author: Marie Ortiz is a mother of two, a DIY enthusiast, and a freelance blogger. She loves sharing her travels, DIY projects, and experiences with people. When she's not writing, you can find her at the local farmer's market.

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