Every summer, it seems like there are several new lists of must-see travel destinations. The problem with this is, those destinations are usually exotic, expensive places that are spread out all over the world. That may be fine if you are someone with loads of cash who is not affected by the sagging global economy.
However, if you are one of the tens of thousands of average consumers who are really feeling the crunch, then you need a list of suggestions for fun, inexpensive travel destinations – after all, everyone deserves a vacation! This list will reveal the top ten must-see travel destinations all across the United States for summer 2009. These getaways will not break the bank, yet they have a lot of excitement to offer. Who knows, you might not need to look any further than your own proverbial back yard to have a good adventure!
1.) Orlando, Florida – Yes, it’s the home of Disney World. Who can resist the big ears of Mickey Mouse, visiting with Cinderella, or going on a boat ride with the Pirates of the Caribbean? It’s not surprising that Orlando is the top family travel destination, with its low prices and wide array of world-class entertainment. Even if you aren’t interested in going to Disney World, or maybe you’re a couple with no children, or a single person traveling with friends – there is something fun in Orlando for everyone. Cruise down to Old Town Orlando on Saturday night, take in a rock concert, tour the Daytona Speedway, or visit one of the nearby beaches.
2.) Atlanta, Georgia – It’s another family-friendly vacation spot, with sights such as the Coca-Cola Museum (they offer free tours on certain days, and you can get free Coke!) and Six Flags over Georgia. Go for a thrilling ride on roller coasters like the Cyclone or the Ninja. Visit the CNN or the Weather Channel news headquarters. Go out to eat and taste the most fabulous, yet inexpensive, down-home Southern food. Atlanta is famous for being a hotbed of musicians and rappers, so go see one of the numerous local shows. Atlanta has a little something for everyone, and the prices there can’t be beat.
3.) Las Vegas, Nevada – Even Las Vegas has some inexpensive fun for the family in one the city’s many daytime magic shows or a Cirque Du Soleil event. At night time, though, it’s best to leave the children with a babysitter because no one under the age of 21 is allowed in the casinos. The casinos offer plenty of excitement – just don’t get addicted to playing the slot machines or play one too many games of poker. Nevertheless, Las Vegas and the surrounding areas are chock full of things to do, such as a tour of the Hoover Dam. And, on the plus side, with all the revenue coming in from the casinos, Las Vegas travel accommodations and the countless means of entertainment you won’t have to empty your wallet.
4.) Phoenix, Arizona – Yet another hot (quite literally) top summer destination, Phoenix offers plenty of fun to be had. You will be thankful for the numerous low-priced hotels and resorts, and for the swimming pools at those resorts. Take some time out to drive around and view the beautiful desert scenery and mountain backdrop. Take an inexpensive tour of the Desert Botanical Gardens and see the lush plant life that the desert holds. Drive down to Tucson to visit Old Tucson Studios and see where many of the most famous Cowboy/Western movies were filmed. Browse through gorgeous handmade Native American arts and crafts at one of Phoenix’s several Indian markets. There’s much more to Phoenix than meets the eye.
5.) Tampa, Florida – Tampa offers some deep discounts during the summer since its most popular tourist season is during the winter. Take advantage of the low prices and beautiful beaches and have the time of your life at a must-see travel destination. Score cheap tickets to a Tampa Bay Devil Rays baseball game. Chow down on delicious burgers at the Hard Rock Cafe. Spend as much time as you want on any of Tampa’s free public beaches. Not only will you leave Tampa with an awesome tan, but you will have a blast!
6.) Los Angeles, California – Sun, celebrities, concerts, shopping, surfing, and fun! Need I say more? Go see the Hollywood Walk of Fame where so many stars have placed their hand and footprints. Go on a trolley tour of celebrities’ homes in Beverly Hills. Take a thrilling drive down Mullholland Drive. View the entire city from on top of one of the several mountains. Dance the night away at one of L.A.’s plentiful night clubs. Drive down to the coast and stare in awe at the majesty of the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps the sheer thrill of possibly meeting a celebrity is enough for you. Whatever the case may be, Los Angeles is most definitely a must-see travel destination, and contrary to popular belief, it’s quite feasible to have an entire L.A. vacation on a budget.
7.) New York, New York – Yes, believe it or not, even New York City can be seen on a low budget. There is so much to see in New York: Broadway plays, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Museum of Natural History, Chinatown, Greenwich Village, the Saturday Night Live studios. The list is nearly endless! Remember to check for matinee tickets to shows, group discounts (if you are traveling with friends and family) to the Museum, daytime baseball games, and many other sights to see that are low-cost or totally free. Book your hotel room several weeks in advance to get the best price.
8.) San Francisco, California – Go take a peek at the awesome sight of the Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy the wonderful Bay weather, because even in the height of summer, San Francisco rarely has temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Ride the trolley through downtown San Francisco and the Historic District and glimpse the lovely Victorian-era architecture. Stand at the famous Haight and Ashbury Street intersection. Sample incredible food in the open marketplace at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. Stop by the San Francisco Art Institute to see some student work showcased and to glimpse some Moorish architecture. Whatever tickles your fancy, you are sure to find it in San Francisco!
9.) New Orleans, Louisiana – Since Hurricane Katrina, tourism has been at an all time low for New Orleans. It is slowly picking back up, but the Big Easy needs your help. Mosey on down to New Orleans for a memorable trip to one of the most unique cities in this entire country. Not only will you be helping the locals rebuild with the business you bring in, you can have a wonderfully fun time for very little money. Stop into any Cajun or Creole restaurant in New Orleans to taste some of the best food in the entire Southern United States. Creole cooking is a delicious taste that you won’t soon forget. Go to the Mardi Gras World factory for an off-season, up close look at Mardi Gras behind the scenes — and it’s open all year round. For those of you that are into the spooky side of New Orleans, there are low-cost “vampire tours” that go all throughout the French Quarter, speaking of vampire legends along the way. You can also drop into Marie LaVeau’s House of Voodoo for a look at authentic hoodoo and occult supplies and books. Make sure to visit New Orleans during its “off season” times during the summer to find the best deals on hotels and plane tickets. Mardi Gras (in March), Jazz Fest (May), and Halloween are the busiest tourist seasons for New Orleans.
10.) Chicago, Illinois – Last on the list of top ten must-see travel destinations is the Windy City. If you love music, and especially blues, then Chicago is a must-visit destination during June — for that is when Chicago Blues Fest begins. Other spectacular summer fun during June in Chicago would be the enormous outdoor food extravaganza, called “Tastes of Chicago.” Tickets for the huge food festival are wonderfully cheap, especially considering the vast quantities and varieties of food available at Tastes of Chicago.
Another huge, and free, attraction to visit in Chicago would be the public beaches along Lake Michigan. Take advantage of the refreshing lake breeze to cool down from the summer heat. Don’t forget to check out one local cuisine that Chicago is famous for – Chicago style pizza! One more free attraction would be the famous Sears Tower. Whatever the Windy City holds for you, make sure you don’t get blown away!
Thus concludes my list of the top ten must-see travel destinations for summer 2009. Not only are they tons of fun to visit, but these destinations are perfect for people who have to travel on a budget. Make sure to book all your reservations in advance and search for special deals and coupons online. Also search around for any free tours or discounts to special events at the destination of your choice. And don’t worry – even in a recession, you can budget for travel to great places, and have yourself an adventure.