The 17 best places to go this summer that don’t cost a fortune

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The Grand Canyon is like a painting come to life.
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Shutterstock/Galyna Andrushko

You don’t have to be flush with cash to enjoy a great summer vacation.

In fact, according to the most recent U.S. News & World Report’s best vacations rankings, some of the highest-rated destinations in the US are also the most affordable.

To determine the best places to travel, U.S. News calculated an overall score for more than 300 destinations, and ranked them based on the following:

    A score given by U.S. News editors between one (worst) and five (best) in 10 categories – sights, culture, people, food, shopping, family, nightlife, adventure, romance, and accessibility – for each destination. The percentage of travelers who voted “yes” to whether the destination belongs on the list of best places.

U.S. News then deemed a destination affordable if the average nightly rate for hotels with three-stars and above is $150 or less based on data sourced from Expedia. Read more about the methodology here.

The list of the best and most affordable destinations in America runs the gamut, from bucket-list spots like Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon to quaint mountain towns like Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Branson, Missouri.

Below, check out the top 17 best and most affordable destinations for travel in the US this summer, including how they fare in the sights and food categories. All scores are out of a possible five points.

Note that cities with ties were broken by scores from U.S. News editors.


17. Biloxi, Mississippi

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Rob Hainer/Shutterstock

Overall score: 2.42

Sights score: 2.33

Food score: 2.17


16. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Matthew Rutledge/Flickr

Overall score: 2.42

Sights score: 2.33

Food score: 3.00


15. Branson, Missouri

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Michael J. Munster/Shutterstock

Overall score: 2.49

Sights score: 2.83

Food score: 1.83


14. Daytona, Florida

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istock/Sean Pavone

Overall score: 2.53

Sights score: 2.00

Food score: 2.17


13. Raleigh, North Carolina

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Overall score: 2.53

Sights score: 3.00

Food score: 3.00


12. Dallas, Texas

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Shutterstock

Overall score: 2.57

Sights score: 3.33

Food score: 3.83


11. Jacksonville, Florida

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Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Overall score: 2.61

Sights score: 3.00

Food score: 2.67


10. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Overall score: 2.83

Sights score: 3.00

Food score: 2.67


9. Phoenix, Arizona

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Gregory E. Clifford/Shutterstock

Overall score: 2.88

Sights score: 2.83

Food score: 3.33


8. Salt Lake City, Utah

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Aqua Mechanical/Flickr

Overall score: 2.92

Sights score: 3.00

Food score: 2.83


7. Williamsburg, New York

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Jon Chica / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 3.06

Sights score: 2.83

Food score: 2.17


6. Memphis, Tennessee

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f11photo/Shutterstock

Overall score: 3.13

Sights score: 3.33

Food score: 3.83


5. Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Larry and Linda/Flickr

Overall score: 3.19

Sights score: 3.33

Food score: 2.83


4. Tucson, Arizona

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Anton Foltin/Shutterstock

Overall score: 3.27

Sights score: 3.17

Food score: 2.83


3. Las Vegas, Nevada

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f11photo/Shutterstock

Overall score: 3.29

Sights score: 4.00

Food score: 5.00


2. San Antonio, Texas

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Overall score: 3.31

Sights score: 3.5

Food score: 3.67


1. Grand Canyon, Arizona

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Shutterstock/Galyna Andrushko

Overall score: 3.79

Sights score: 5.00

Food score: 1.83