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Six Inexpensive U.S. Vacation Destinations
Everyone Should Consider

With gas prices at record highs, many companies talking of lay-offs and the U.S. economy nearing, or already in, a recession, vacations are the last thing on many people's budgets -- but not on their minds.

travelling with the family

No matter where you travel, take advantage of free attractions, like exploring nearby parks and strolling through city gardens.

Under this kind of stress, a vacation is just the thing to keep your stress levels under control, and your mind from losing it. Fortunately, it is possible to get away without breaking the bank.

Vacation Destinations That Won't Bust Your Budget

1. Las Vegas, NV

If you like glitz and glamour, a trip to Las Vegas will keep you entertained 24/7. Discounted hotel rates abound, airfare averages are low, and cheap buffets and free entertainment are easy to find. You can take advantage of the area's free light shows, museums, animal parks and casino drinks and still stay within your budget (as long as you don't go overboard on the gambling).

2. San Antonio, TX

Three airlines have just added new flights to San Antonio, which means airfares will likely be reasonable. You can check out the Alamo, the San Antonio Botanical Garden and the San Antonio Children's Museum for reasonable rates, and if you go to, The San Antonio Vacation Experience (S.A.V.E.) offers discounts on hotels, attractions, shopping and more.

3. Yellowstone National Park

For $25, your entire family can enter Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks for seven days, and take in Old Faithful, the Roosevelt Arch, and a petrified tree, not to mention endless quantities of nature at its finest. Lodging within the park starts at just $64 a night for a "Roughrider Cabin" in the Roosevelt Lodge, and other deals can be found in the areas near Yellowstone. Of course, for an even bigger discount, try camping out -- a campsite for up to six people is just $18.50 a night.

staying at a hotel

If you're traveling with kids, keep an eye out for hotel specials where the kids can stay for free.

4. Branson, MO

If your family is hard to please, Branson offers something for everyone, from live shows galore to the Titanic-shaped Titanic Museum and numerous family fun parks. Free attractions include the Branson Entertainment Hall of Fame, Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery, the Stone Hill Winery and the Table Rock Lakeshore Trail.

Visit the Branson Tourism Center to find discounts on lodging, shows and even gas, and check out their last-minute specials and spring break packages that start at just $239 per couple.

5. Wisconsin Dells, WI

The Wisconsin Dells, otherwise known as the "Waterpark Capital of the World" is a favorite among families. There are numerous outdoor and indoor water parks, along with scenic tours, live shows, museums, and more. Coupons for popular Wisconsin Dells attractions are everywhere, so be sure to check attraction and hotel Web sites for these savings.

6. Portland, OR

Portland is a great city to explore on foot, and there is a 330-block "Fareless Square" where public transportation is free of charge. You can take in most of the city's zoos and museums for just $6 to $13, while other gardens and attractions are free. To offset potentially high lodging costs, stay just outside of the city limits, or look for discounted hotel rates, which can be as low as $60.

Recommended Reading

Spending Your Money on Doing Things vs. Owning Things Will Make You Happier

Six of the World's Grimmest Tourist Destinations

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