Summertime is prime vacation season, but just because you want to get away doesn’t mean you have to splurge on a trip. Whether you want to travel by car, train, cruise ship, or plane, there are many destinations in the U.S. and abroad that will enchant you without emptying your pockets. Looking for cities, shorelines, or mountains? No matter what you’re interested in, you’ll find something intriguing among our 10 budget-friendly ideas. —Andrea M. Rotondo
Home to a dizzying number of historic sites from the colonial period, this university-heavy metropolis is a pleasure to visit in the quiet summer months, when the city empties out and there are fewer students around. Explore the Freedom Trail on foot, then take a break on the Swan Boats at the Public GardenLagoon. Spend some time exploring the Museum of Fine Arts or Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and when it's time for a meal, head to Faneuil Hall, Chinatown, or the North End for an authentic Italian dinner.
Insider Tip: The Charles River Esplanade is a fabulous place to walk, rollerblade, bike, or enjoy an outdoor concert at the Hatch Shell.
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Surprisingly affordable year-round, Chicago is arguably at its best in the summer, when the city comes alive with a flurry of events. Why not see a Cubs game at Iconic Wrigley Field while you're in town? Spend some time on the beaches lining Lake Michigan, and enjoy the pizza and hot dogs the city is famous for. For exploring away from the crowds, head to some of Chicago's great neighborhoods north of downtown, including Wicker Park, Bucktown, and Lincoln Park.
While you might assume that Bermuda is best left to well-heeled individuals with private yachts, there are plenty of budget and mid-priced accommodations for those making the two-hour flight from the East Coast. Enjoy the turquoise water, rocky cliffs, and pastel houses complete with signature moon gates (an interesting architectural element and symbol of good luck).
Insider Tip: The island is always hopping during the annual summertime Bermuda Big Game Classicfishing tournament, where some 40 teams compete for bragging rights and prizes.
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While the city may be particularly hot and crowded, June, July, and August are still fantastic months to visit if you don't mind those inconveniences. Hotel rates are low and package deals — including airfare, rental car, theme park tickets, and even some meals — abound. Don't forget about Orlando's top-ranked golf courses, like Bay Hill.
Asheville, North Carolina
A pleasantly uncrowded city nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville makes for a highly affordable and equally enjoyable summer trip. The area is a magnet for both hikers tackling the Appalachian Trail as well as artists and chefs who live and work here. Spend your time hiking and biking, visiting art galleries, sampling craft beer, and dining out in one of the many excellent restaurants in the city. Try local-favorite 12 Bones Smokehouse for out-of-this-world barbecue.
Insider Tip: Asheville is second only to Miami when it comes to preserving America's Art Deco architecture. Check out City Hall to see a prime example of the style.
For the rest of the best budget-friendly summer trips, like Art Deco architecture and barbecue haven Asheville in North Carolina, visit Fodor's.