The summer travel season can be a letdown if you don’t like to fly. While your friends are packing their bags and jetting off to amazing locations abroad or across the country, you’re stuck at home wishing you could snap your fingers and magically land on some tropical beach.
But, you don’t have to stay home and watch Netflix all summer if you refuse to get on an airplane. There are many beautiful sights and cities here in the U.S., and plenty of ways to reach them without walking through body scanners and hurtling through the atmosphere.
If you want to get out of your geographic area and see another part of the country, Amtrak has an entire page dedicated to deals. Since train travel is fairly cheap and can offer beautiful views of the countryside along the way — that you can actually sit back and enjoy while someone else does the driving — it can perform double-duty as both a mode of transportation and a fun part of your journey.
Feel like a road trip? Gas prices are predicted to be at their cheapest levels in 12 years this summer, so why not pack up the family car and hit the road, Griswold style? If you don’t have a car or don’t want to subject it to a cross-country trek, you can consider renting a car with unlimited miles — or even an RV — and plotting a course to some must-see sights. With a loaded trunk and the kids in the back, you can enjoy the scenery and some family fun as you drive to your destination — and, best of all, you won’t have to pay for airfare or rent a car when you get there.
Summer Vacation Ideas for People Who Don’t Fly
Whether you decide to take a train, car, or even a boat, here are some frugal attractions to consider in every corner of the country.
1. Visit a national park
To celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, you can gain free entry into any national park April 16-24, 2016. But even after this week, you can easily turn a national park visit into a frugal vacation or weekend getaway.
Use FindYourPark.com to search for national parks and local accommodations, whether it’s in your immediate area or on the other side of the country. From Rocky Mountain National Park and Yosemite in the West, to Great Smoky Mountains or Dry Tortugas in the South, to Acadia in the Northeast, National Parks offer landscapes to please nearly everyone, nearly anywhere in the country.
While the cheap campsites inside these parks fill up fast, much of the time, and depending on the park, you can find affordable lodging nearby. Think a rustic cabin, a family-friendly motel, or a historic bed and breakfast right next to one of America’s natural wonders – some of the most scenic places on earth.