cheap vacation ideasThese days, everybody's cutting corners. Whether it's switching to cheaper groceries, carpooling, or riding your bike more, everyone's trying to find ways to save a few bucks here and there. So for the family who needs a break from the routine, here are some cheap vacation ideas from VacationRentals.com.

Washington, D.C.

The nation's capital boasts an unreal amount of free things to do, from tours of the White House, FBI, and Pentagon to Union Station and the Navy Museum. Plant lovers will love a walk through the beautiful National Arboretum and the marshy Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. As far as cheap vacation ideas go, it doesn't get much easier than DC.

Las Vegas

If you book right, you can get a pretty good deal on flights to Sin City. Even if you're not huge into gambling, there are still plenty of options for entertainment. See the Fremond Street Experience, every half hour for free. Stroll through the exciting Las Vegas Strip, save money with lots of buffets, and set a gambling limit to prevent overspending.

St. Louis

The Missouri capital has tons of cheap, fun things to do. For $10 (half that for kids), you can take a ride to the top of the 630 foot tall arch. If you book online, you'll get a free parking pass! The multi-acre Forest Park has an art museum and a zoo, both free. For the same cost, you can take a tour of the Anheiser Busch Brewery Tours.

cheap vacation idea

Pensacola

This hot Florida getaway is great for the beach-jonesing family on a budget. In addition to the 52 miles of beaches in this lovely northwestern Florida town, your family can learn a thing or two at the National Museum of Aviation. It's one of the largest aviation museums in American, and it's completely free.

Hawaii

This may seem like a pretty expensive outing, and it usually is. However, Hawaii's tourism rates have dropped significantly in the past few months, making this a prime time to take advantage of the discounted travel rates being offered by the tropical islands. Find yourself a lovely condo or a quaint house right on the beach. Thanks to vacation rentals, you don't have to stay close to home in order save money. Plenty of exotic and cheap vacation ideas, like Hawaii, exist. Check out our guide to Maui lodging deals.

San Diego

There are plenty of places you can go for relatively little money in southern California, but San Diego offers by far the most options. The world famous San Diego Zoo is a must see, and sports fans can catch a Chargers or Padres game.

Solomon's Island

Less is truly more at this quaint Maryland town. Sometimes popular, crowded beaches are more trouble than they're worth. Solomon's Island is a breath of fresh air for those looking for a place to enjoy a quiet bike ride or a dip in the water, plus it's a nice small town with plenty of cute shops. It's also only a short drive from Baltimore and D.C.

South Padre Island

This southern Texas town is a fantastic, affordable getaway. The beautiful weather and clear beaches are a welcome respite from ice scrapers and slush. Great fishing, abundant wildlife, water sports, golf, and amazing spas—all at affordable prices—make South Padre Island hard to say no to.

Gatlinburg

This Tennessee city is famous for being in closest proximity to the Smoky Mountains National Park. Nature enthusiasts of all ages will love the gorgeous park in all its beauty. Check out our cabins and houses available either right inside or close nearby the Smoky Mountains.

Hutchinson Island

Another fantastic, relatively quiet Florida beach, this one stretching 22 miles along its eastern side. The nearby reefs with shipwrecks make this area a fantastic, ideal place for snorkeling. You can also go horseback riding along the beach or wade in Bathtub Beach, a calm, shallow area created by a reef.

These are just a few cheap vacation ideas to get you going. Browse the listings to find the most affordable ones and you'll soon be on your way! Bon voyage.

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