We live in a world where we are constantly engaging with social media, which means that for many of us, everything from what we eat for breakfast to where we travel on vacation is chosen based on the beautiful and exotic pictures it can provide for Snapchat and Instagram. Travel seems to be especially vulnerable to social media stigma, quietly pushing people to choose ever more expensive vacation options to keep up with millions of strangers on the internet.
Today’s traveler seems to prefer jetting off to Martinique or Thailand rather than staying stateside, but there is a ton to see and do within a few hours’ drive of your home that is absolutely Instagram-worthy. Some of the classic vacation destinations your grandmother would have loved are still packed full of amazing sights and awesome experiences, giving you the opportunity to experience Americana at its finest for a fraction of the cost of a more “glamorous” vacation.
If you want to take some breathtaking pictures on your vacation this year, look no further than Niagara Falls. One of the most beautiful landmarks in the United States, this vacation destination will provide a huge amount of value for your entertainment dollar.
You can take a boat ride under the falls on the Maid of the Mist. You can walk directly under the falls at the Cave of the Winds. You can eat dinner overlooking the edge of the falls at the Top of the Falls restaurant. You can walk along miles of hiking trails through the park. You can even explore the local Aquarium of Niagara, perfect for families with small children – and that is just on the American side of the falls! For visitors who bring their passports there is a wealth of entertainment options right across the border, including casinos, a rotating restaurant, go-kart racing, and more.
Niagara Falls is a New York state park run by a non-profit board, which means the prices for most events and activities are far lower than you would find with for profit tourist attractions.
Don’t forget to drive a few minutes south to Buffalo and try the wings – they are famous for them for a reason!
Travelers looking for a beach vacation can’t go wrong with a trip to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Walking along the boardwalk, whale watching cruises, and surf school are just a few of the activities available for people who want to spend their vacation relaxing in the sun.
For those who prefer high rolling to beach strolling, Atlantic City has plenty of casinos where you can play some slots or roll the dice. Like any city famous for gambling there are wide variety of hotel accommodations in every price range, so people looking for a cheap place to stay will have just as many options as people who are searching for a more luxurious experience.
Families will want to check out Storybook Land and the Imax theater while they are in town. There are also plenty of historical sites and museums to keep you busy, including the African American Heritage Museum and the Absecon Lighthouse.
Don’t forget to try some of Atlantic City’s famous saltwater taffy!
If you would rather head west for your vacation, look no further than the Grand Canyon. This national landmark is one of the most exquisite sights in the country, providing plenty of photographic inspiration for all of your social media followers. It is also part of a National Park, which means people looking to save a few bucks on lodging have the option of camping on the South and North Rims.
There is also plenty to do and see while you visit, including hiking, biking, river trips, walking the Trail of Time to learn the history of the canyon, exploring the Tusayan Ruin, and much more. Because this is a National Park, visitors will find that the trip is more affordable than some of the more common vacation destinations nearby such as Las Vegas or San Francisco.
Be sure to take a mule ride along the South Rim! How many other places in the world will you get to ride a mule?
The Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania are the perfect place for a romantic getaway while staying stateside. A loving couple could relax in their cozy bed and breakfast before exploring the festivals, wineries, and waterfalls for the ultimate romantic vacation. There are even a few adults only resorts that guarantee your relaxing afternoon in bed won’t be disturbed by children running up and down the hallway!
Families will find plenty to do as well, with outdoor adventure parks, water parks, whitewater rafting, and so much more to keep the entire family entertained. There is plenty of hiking, biking, and other physical, outdoor activity to wear out the kids along with dozens of restaurants and plenty of wine for mom and dad.
There are big events in the Poconos all year round, from farmers markets and festivals in the spring and summer to haunted Halloween events in the fall and Christmas and New Year’s celebrations in the winter.
If you are looking for a vacation and the ultimate wedding destination, look no further. You can exchange your vows and enjoy your honeymoon all in one fantastic location!
There is no better destination for a family vacation than the Wisconsin Dells. Known as the Waterpark Capital of the World, the Dells are home to more than a dozen amusement parks and adventure experiences, including go karts, escape rooms, zip lining, and much more. For kids who are obsessed with animals, there are riding stables, wildlife parks, a big cat rescue, and a deer park all waiting to entertain children of all ages.
There is also plenty to do in the Wisconsin Dells for people traveling without children. From the axe throwing range to the golf course and the casino, child-free adults will find more than enough to keep them entertained during their vacation.
While you are exploring the Dells make sure to try some of the cheese curds Wisconsin is famous for – you won’t regret it!