15 Budget-Friendly Vacation Spots For Couples

By Zach Buchenau

Last Updated: March 28, 2023

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budget friendly vacation spots for couples | Be The Budget

Are you searching for some fun, relaxing, and budget-friendly vacation spots for couples?

These days, inexpensive vacation spots can be difficult to find. With airline travel and hotel prices as high as they are, it’s easy for a relaxing vacation turn into a financially overwhelming endeavor. However, if you know where to look, there are actually quite a few destinations you should explore.

In fact, whether you’re looking for a cheap romantic weekend getaway, or a budget-friendly honeymoon destination, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best budget vacation spots in the USA.  

1. Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona is a great budget destination that has a little of something for everyone including interesting art, food, culture, golfing and more. There are plenty of pools and outdoor activities as well like hiking.

Scottsdale has plenty of resorts, spas, art galleries and country club activities but you can also see Scottsdale on a budget.

There is also a huge Native American heritage in Scottsdale, and you can find unique gift shops, restaurants and museums in the city.

The best time of year to visit Scottsdale is in the early spring or fall when it’s not too hot!

Arizona temperatures can get over 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, so visit before June or after August. It doesn’t get too cold in Scottsdale AZ in the winter, but the ideal time to visit is in Spring or Fall.

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2. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona is another popular budget destination for couples. The town has plenty of hiking, art, tours and even a wine trail.

Sedona is most popular for its outdoor appeal, which also makes it a budget-friendly vacation spot because you can do many activities there for free or inexpensive.

For instance, Sedona is near the Grand Canyon and is part of Red Rock Country with some of the most spectacular scenery in the U.S.

People travel from all over the world to view the natural beauty in Sedona.

Oh, and it’s also a pet-friendly vacation spot.

The best month to visit Sedona is either October or November, when the fall weather is still mild and there will be fewer crowds in the city and on hiking trails.

The closest major airport near Sedona is Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport; however, it is still a two hour drive from the airport so you may need to plan to rent a car or get an Uber.

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3. Glacier National Park, Montana

Another popular nature spot, Glacier National Park is located in Montana near the Canada and U.S. border.

There is a fee to enter the national park (unless you have a park’s pass), but it includes all the hiking, swimming and climbing you want inside the park.

Glacier National Park also has free activities led by rangers like day hikes and stargazing.

Make sure to enjoy a sunset or two along Going-to-the-Sun road and don’t miss a visit to Lake McDonald, Trail of the Cedars, and Logan Pass.

To get the most out of your time at Glacier National Park, plan to spend at least three days exploring the park so you can see the trails, sunset, and visit the Many Glacier.

The best month to visit Glacier National Park is typically in July or August when temperatures are the warmest, around the 70s.

But it still will cool off at night, so be sure to bring a jacket.

4. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Visiting the Grand Canyon is a bucket list item for most people, and it also makes for a pretty inexpensive trip if you plan it right.

You can camp and hike around the Grand Canyon for cheap, and the gorgeous sunsets and views will make it the perfect romantic getaway.

The Grand Canyon park is 277 miles long, so there’s plenty to explore including Cave of the Domes, shops in Grand Canyon Village, and the many trails.

The best part is it only costs $30 to go to the Grand Canyon. The park’s $30 entrance fee will cover most of your activities inside, and there are even a few free entrance days.

Inside, the park offers a free shuttle service so you can explore along the rim and get more views on your trip.

If you have a little more in your budget, you might want to take a helicopter around the park for a beautiful overview of the canyon.

The best time to visit the Grand Canyon is in spring or fall when it’s the coolest – summers can get hot and crowded.

5. Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park is the polar opposite of the Grand Canyon! The lush green landscapes are a stark contrast to Arizona’s red rock.

In Olympic National Park, you can explore glacier-capped mountains, rainforests, and view wild animals like elk, bears, bald eagles and even whales.

Olympic National Park, located in the Washington State Peninsula, is a massive 922,651-acre park with a variety of views from the Pacific ocean to rainforests and mountains.

The best months to visit Olympic National Park are July and August when it’s the warmest. Plus, in the winter the rainforests will get up to 50 inches of rain. If you want to go when it’s the greenest, visit Olympic National Park in the springtime.

You’ll want at least a weekend, but up to a week, to visit Olympic National Park. There’s just too much to see.

6. Finger Lakes, New York

The Finger Lakes region in New York is one of the best cheap vacations in the U.S. It’s especially great if you like fishing, hiking, and waterfalls.

For the couple’s getaway, Finger Lakes also has many famous wineries, and a bunch of Bed and Breakfasts to enjoy. You can also find an Airbnb or decide to camp to save even more.

You will want to plan at least a weekend at the Finger Lakes to see the scenery.

The Finger Lakes is only 300 miles or about five hours from New York City. So, if you want to spend an extra day or two in the region, you can also visit the big apple.

The best time to visit the Finger Lakes is from late spring to summer, or May to September.

However, if you want to go when all of the attractions are the cheapest, avoid visiting during the summer months.

7. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City is great to visit year-round.

In the summers you can explore the state and national parks, and in the winter Salt Lake gets some of the best snow on the slopes. Just north of Salt Lake City, you’ll find some of the best slopes for skiing or snowboarding, and if you take a day trip to Park City you can see where the 2000 Olympic Games were held and even take a bobsled ride down the mountain.

Oh, and to top it all off, within a few hours’ drive of Salt Lake City, there are a half dozen state or national parks like Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Antelope Island or Bryce Canyon.

8. Branson, Missouri

Branson is a popular site for pop culture lovers. It’s known for a group of theaters on 76 Country Boulevard, which includes Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction that includes a live performance with 32 horses and riders in a 35,000 square foot arena.

However, the dinner attraction is one of the more expensive things to do in Branson, costing about $55 a ticket.

Branson is a small town, with only 10,000 residents, but they receive almost 8 million visitors a year, because it’s considered the live entertainment capital of the world.

Other than shows, Branson also has plenty of museums, fishing, golfing, hiking and the area boasts over 6,000 caves to explore.

The best time of year to visit Branson, Missouri is just before Christmas when the town transforms into a winter wonderland.

The summertime between June and August is also a popular time to visit, but it will be more crowded.

9. San Antonio, Texas

Head over to San Antonio, Texas if you want to check out the Alamo and the famous River Walk. Cheap or free activities include visiting Brackenridge Park or the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park.

If you decide to do some bigger activities in San Antonio, like Six Flags or the Natural Bridge Caverns, you can purchase a San Antonio pass to save money. The pass includes admission to one premium attraction like Six Flags, SeaWorld or the Missions UNESCO World Heritage Site, plus admission to a list of attractions like the caverns, Legoland, a zoo, aquarium, and historical ghost tour.

The best months to visit San Antonio, Texas, are between November and April when it’s not too uncomfortably hot and you won’t be pushing through crowds.

Since there are fewer tourists, prices for hotels and attractions will also be cheaper.

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10. Huntington Beach, California

Huntington Beach in Orange County, California, is another great, budget-friendly vacation spot for couples. It is famous for its almost nine miles of beautiful beach, ideal weather, and has earned the nickname of Surf City for its ideal surfing waves.

Access to the beach is free; however, if you want to go surfing you will need to rent or bring your own gear. Surfing lessons cost around $260 for two people and typically includes your gear.

The water at Huntington Beach hovers around 55 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.

Because of its mild climate, you can visit Huntington Beach year-round, although it does get busiest in the summer months.

If you have some extra budget for your trip, Huntington Beach is also only 12 miles away from Disneyland and you could spend a couple’s day in the park.

11. St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine, Florida is worth a visit for anyone interested in history and learning about Florida’s colonial-era. Saint Augustine is also famous for being the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the continental United States.

In St. Augustine, you can walk across cobblestone streets, visit historic sites and museums, and even swim in Florida beaches. It’s also free to visit Fort Matanzas, Fort Mose Historic State Park, and several of the museums.

St. Augustine is only 127 miles (just over 2 hours) from Walt Disney World. So, if you do have a little extra budget for your trip, you can take a Disney day—or two—from St. Augustine.

The best time to go to St. Augustine is in the spring, between March and May because there will be fewer crowds, mild weather, and lower fees.

12. Nashville, Tennessee

Known as “Music City,” Nashville is a perfect budget-friendly vacation spot for couples. With plenty of museums, classic country vibes, and famous foods, you really can’t go wrong taking a trip to Nashville.

Don’t miss Lower Broadway, the ‘Batman Building’, and the shops along 5th Avenue in Nashville.

In Nashville, you may expect to pay a bit more on food but can find good deals on places to stay. As a general rule of thumb, you should plan to spend between $150 and $250 a day for a budget vacation in Nashville.

The cheapest time of year to visit Nashville is in the winter from December to February because tourism is generally lower. In wintertime, the town is also decorated with Christmas charms.

But it is warmest from April to October, so you’ll have to choose between weather and budget.

13. Estes Park, Colorado

Visit Estes Park, Colorado as a stop before entering the Rocky Mountains National Park. You can camp in the national park, but Estes Park is also the ‘base camp’ for all your needs and supplies.

Whether you’re in Estes, or Rocky Mountain National Park, you can catch a glimpse of wild moose, Elk, or get your fill of Fly Fishing.

It costs $35 per vehicle to get into Rocky Mountains National Park unless you have a park’s pass. But your entrance fee lasts for seven days.

An Annual Park Pass is only about $70, so if you go to two or more national parks a year it’s typically worth it. 

You should plan for at least three days in Estes Park to see everything, including all the town has to offer, and especially Rocky Mountain National Park.

You’ll want to visit Estes Park from April to September because it snows and freezes in the winter, with temperatures getting as low as 12 degrees Fahrenheit.

14. Cannon Beach, Oregon

Another beach town, Cannon Beach, Oregon, is one of the most famous beaches in the United States. It’s considered the best beach in Oregon.

Cannon beach features a large rock formation, Haystack Rock, a few hundred meters out. The picturesque scene is one of the most popular desktop backdrops.

In low tide, you can walk out to Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach and pose with the rock for a few snapshots. However, if the tide is too low, wildlife officers may barricade the area to protect the natural ecosystem. You can be fined for violating these policies.

T water is rather cold in the Pacific Ocean, so you likely won’t want to go swimming unless you visit in the summer. It also gets a lot of rain in the springtime, so the best time to visit is June through August.

15. Yosemite National Park, California

For our final budget-friendly vacation spot for couples, take a drive to Yosemite National Park in California. You can either drive through the park or take a free shuttle to reach the sites.

Make sure to see Mirror Lake, Vernal Falls, and the top of Half Dome. One of the most popular areas to stay around Yosemite is El Portal and Mariposa, both close towns to the Arch Rock entrance.

You should plan to spend at least three days in Yosemite National Park. This will give you enough time to experience the hikes and enjoy the scenery.

The best months to visit Yosemite are May and September when it is less crowded.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a budget friendly vacation spot for couples, there are plenty of great options in the US. These options all across America could make for a fun weekend away or even a longer road trip.

The only question is, which will you choose?

Do you know of a budget-friendly vacation spot for couples that wasn’t on this list? If so, be sure to drop it in the comments below.

Zach Buchenau

About The Author:

Zach Buchenau is a self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. When he isn't writing about budgeting, getting out of debt, making extra money, and living a frugal life, you can find him building furniture, fly fishing, or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.

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