I think everyone can agree when I say that this global pandemic is getting old and driving us all a little mad.
You’ve likely been hunkered down in your hometown for the better part of the last two years, and just itching to get out there and explore the world again. Because this pandemic has done a number on everyone’s accounts, a budget vacation is the way to go.
I’ve done the research, and found a handful of amazing vacation spots in the east coast that won’t break the bank.
Whether you’re wanting a family vacation, a romantic getaway, a wild weekend with friends, or a solo adventure, one (or more) or these destinations is likely to entice you to get back on the road.
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A mix of old and new, reserved and trendy, laid-back and exciting, check out Savannah, Georgia.
A lovely coastal city with so much to see and do, you won’t know where to start. Beaches, galleries, museums, historic streets, amazing shopping, and world-class tours – did I mention Savannah is a foodie’s paradise?
It’s been voted one of the friendliest cities in the world! And the best part is you can enjoy all this and more on a budget.
Savannah has plenty of affordable vacation rentals. A unique place to stay is a great alternative to a hotel room, and you’ll have a more authentic experience.
What to do in Savannah, Georgia
- True Crime and Wine, Savannah Pub Crawl: Sip on beer or cocktails as you make your way through the haunted streets of Savannah, and stop at some of the city’s best bars along the way. This after-dark tour investigates some of the city’s most frightening and shocking events including outrageous scandals and unsolved murders.
- Hilton Head Island: Scenic Helicopter Tour: Hilton Head Island is beautiful, and the best way to see its stunning landscape in all its glory is from the air. During this helicopter trip you’ll see the best views, but you also have a good chance of spotting some dolphins and other marine creatures frolicking in the surrounding waters. A professional pilot and guide narrate the past and present of the island as you sit back and enjoy the ride.
- Riverboat Cruise and City Tour Combo: Enjoy some of Savannah’s best land and sea attractions with this incredible combo package. Sail down the river and admire the city’s beautiful waterfront and skyline. Follow up this amazing experience with a trip on an open-air trolley. The history of the city is intriguing, but it’s the stories you hear from knowledgeable guides that paint a true picture.
Situated a short drive away from Savannah’s Downtown District, this home is located on a beautiful beach. You’ll have access to a swimming pool, tennis court, waterfront patio, full kitchen, and a large bedroom. What’s not to like?
This cozy loft apartment is a fabulous mix of historic and modern. Carefully styled for comfort and relaxation in a central location. You have everything you need including a kitchen, dining area, laundry facilities, and luxurious full bathroom.
I don’t know about you, but a rooftop swimming pool sounds like heaven to me. How about morning coffee from the on-site coffee shop after a rejuvenating workout at the gym? Followed by a refreshing dip of course!
Annapolis is the capital of Maryland. With a small population of only 40,000, you won’t find large crowds here. Enjoy sandy beaches and wide-open countryside, only minutes from the city centre!
Historic buildings, museums, boat races, and a vibrant arts scene are some of the things you’ll get to explore during a vacation in this fascinating little city.
You can find many great deals for a budget vacation on the east coast in Annapolis. The places to stay are cosy, centrally-located, convenient and affordable, with all the amenities you need! What more could you ask for?
What to do in Annapolis, Maryland
- Creative Appetizers in Downtown Annapolis: Combine fun with learning in a hands-on, exciting environment. You can join a top chef in a beautiful historic house in downtown Annapolis. He’ll show you how to put together delicious concoctions that you can share with your loved ones back home.
- Adventures in Annapolis, MD Scavenger Hunt: Can you think of a more entertaining way to discover a city’s attractions than with a scavenger hunt? I can’t! Get familiar with the city, learn more about it and have a blast as you interact with locals to solve the clues that will lead you to the next spot.
- Baltimore and Annapolis Skyway Helicopter Tour: Annapolis isn’t all that far from another beautiful city in the region – Baltimore. A great way to experience the best of these cities is with an aerial tour in a helicopter. Embark on a thrilling ride high above, and see some of the most popular landmarks of the area.
Enjoy a riverfront location where you can spend evenings on a patio watching the sun go down as a fire burns away in the fire pit. You won’t need to go out to find something to eat because you can just make your own dinner in the full kitchen. Or just kick back with some local take-out in the massage chair.
This small space with amazing amenities is a perfect getaway in nature, not far from the city. Believe it or not, this tiny home packs in a full kitchen, full bathroom and plenty of sleeping space. You will have access to tennis courts, and a patio with views of the river.
If you want to be close to the city centre, the Hotel Hilton Garden Inn Annapolis is a perfect choice. Walk to nearby attractions, or hang out at the hotel and order room service from the on-site restaurant. You can spend the day relaxing at the outdoor pool.
St. Augustine, Florida
As the oldest city in the country, St. Augustine has the longest history in the United States. Spanish architecture and colonial tales are popular draws to this coastal Florida location, but that’s not all!
From its founding in 1565 to the present day, you can learn all about this fascinating city with a tour of its museums and historic sites. Take advantage of the fabulous weather with a day trip exploring 42 miles of beaches, or immerse in nature in Anastasia State Park wildlife sanctuary.
In keeping with the budget theme, the places to stay in St. Augustine are affordable yet beautiful!
What to do in St. Augustine Florida
- A Bike Ride Through Time: There’s no better way to explore a laid-back, scenic city like St. Augustine than with a bike ride. As you glide through the pretty tree-lined streets and admire the Victorian homes, waterways, and scenic parklands, you’ll stop at some of the top attractions. You can bring your own bike or rent one for a discounted price. This totally beats walking around in the heat!
- Sea Dragon Airboat Safari: Get ready for a breathtaking adventure on the water in an airboat. When you are speeding along the narrow waterways of the St. Johns River, keep an eye out for alligators, snakes, and manatees. Keep your hands away from the water! Listen to the captain’s narration as he tells you about a pirate ship that once traversed these waters, and sank in the river.
- St. Augustine Craft Beer Walking Tour: Beer, food, and history? Sounds like my kind of tour! You can embark on adventure through the historic streets while getting familiar with its top craft breweries. Learn all about the city, its craft beer legacy, and how the business of craft breweries came to be as it is today. Throughout this in-depth history lesson, you’ll step into some of the city’s top watering holes, and sample a total of a dozen delicious brews.
Why stay in a hotel room or a regular house when you can stay on a boat? Your home-away-from-home in St. Augustine can be a 36-foot cabin cruiser with a spacious salon, kitchen, and harbour-view deck, perfect for watching those famous Florida sunsets. You get to hang out with the local manatees and sea turtles, too.
If a remote location in the woods is more your pace, perhaps a well-equipped camper will tickle your fancy. This serene and secluded vacation rental is more like luxury camping with a hint of nostalgia. You get Wi-Fi, a full bathroom, and full kitchen inside, and a bench and a fire pit outside. Enjoy the peaceful, natural surroundings around you.
This property is far enough from the city to be peaceful, but close enough to have easy access to all the attractions. Well-equipped rooms, laundry facilities and an outdoor swimming pool are great to have, and your furry family members are welcome as well.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a small city in North Carolina that is set to become a popular east coast budget vacation destination.
You get the best of both worlds. One day, you can immerse in the arts, culture, and the history of the city, and the next be embarking on a thrilling outdoor adventure in the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. The eclectic downtown district is alive with craft beer breweries, culinary wonders, museums, galleries, and live music venues. The surrounding wilderness is where you can disappear into the remote mountain landscapes, and enjoy whitewater rafting, hiking, biking, and ziplining.
What to do in Asheville, North Carolina
- Appalachian Farm and Mountain Trail Ride: There are many ways to enjoy the wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but horseback is the most exhilarating. After a quick lesson, you can spend two hours on a horse exploring a historic dairy farm and admiring stunning scenery. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the peaceful surroundings.
- Guided Hike to 3 Amazing Waterfalls: Who doesn’t love waterfalls? Seeing one is incredible enough, but on this incredible hike you’ll get up close and personal with three different waterfalls! Even the forest they’re located in is fascinating in itself. Snacks and beverages are provided so all you need is yourself, some good hiking shoes, and a need to get out in nature to see some of the most beautiful sights in the area.
- 1-Hour Haunted Walking Ghost Tour: Beyond the natural beauty and vibrant culture, Asheville has some dark secrets that come to light during this tour that explores the city’s most haunted locations. As you make your way around the historic downtown district, you’ll learn about the city’s brutal past, hear chilling tales and eyewitness accounts of paranormal activity.
Escape the crowds and retreat to this cozy, quiet, tiny home surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery. There’s no need to head back into town in search of something to eat. Relax with a homemade meal made fresh on the outdoor grill, and enjoy a campfire in the nearby fire pit, all with the silhouette of the mountains. I’ve always wanted a loft bedroom, there’s something so cozy about being able to just climb up to a little nook. You can fall asleep to the sounds of a nearby creek.
This open-concept studio is quiet, cozy, and central with many comforts including Wi-Fi, a refrigerator, and microwave. The lovely location at the end of a quiet road features an outdoor space with a fire pit and outdoor furniture, but the best part is the inflatable kayak you can use at your leisure.
Sometimes after a long day of exploring, you just want to retreat somewhere with easy access to everything including lots of homey amenities. What if I told you that you can have a swimming pool, gym, restaurant, bar, and fully-equipped room all for a highly affordable price? Oh, and did I mention a complimentary breakfast is included in your stay at this fabulous place?
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
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SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
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Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge is a popular vacation spot for families, country music fans, shopaholics, and nature enthusiasts. The town has something for everyone.
With a population of only 6000 people, you won’t have to worry about long line-ups and large crowds as you browse over 200 factory outlet stores, and immerse in southern culture. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is only five miles away, so you can escape into even more remote surroundings.
While Pigeon Forge is steeped in time-honoured traditions, that doesn’t mean you won’t find nice places to stay. Check out some of the best Airbnbs in Pigeon Forge!
What to do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
- Private, Guided Horseback Rides: You’ll have plenty of opportunities to hike and drive in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, but this is a peaceful tour on horseback. If you’re like me, you’re awkward on a horse, but that doesn’t matter! The expert guides will show you the ropes, and ensure that you’re comfortable before you head out to explore this large estate.
- Newfound Gap and Smoky Mountains Jeep Tour: One of the best ways to experience any landscape is with a thrilling 4×4 tour. The first leg of this trip is to learn about the history, geography, and nature of the Great Smoky Mountains. You’ll start at the visitor centre, and make your way along streams, picturesque look-offs, and forests, before reaching the high point of Newfound Gap. Fro there, you’ll embark on a heart-pounding off-road adventure.
- Lumberjack Feud Show and Adventure Park: Everyone is curious about lumberjacks. You can learn everything you need to know at this Lumberjack-themed adventure park. You’ll climb ropes and towers, ride rollercoasters, roll logs, and free-fall 80 feet. Don’t worry, it’s not as dangerous as it sounds. You’ll be provided with all the safety equipment needed to have fun.
When staying in the Smoky Mountains, you likely want to have amazing views of those mountains, right? You’re probably assuming you’ll need to pay a premium for such views, but at this spot, you get all the views and a whole lot of other amenities for a steal! Imagine gazing at the mountains from your own private balcony before heading to the on-site hot tub for a relaxing pre-bed soak.
Central, but secluded and surrounded by nature. Rugged, but modern. Care for a full kitchen, screen porch with views of the river, and a full bathroom? The fantastic fishing along the river just outside might entice you. How about a relaxing dip in the hot tub overlooking that river?
If a fully-equipped and central inn close to all of the town’s attractions is more your style, you’ll find everything you need at this hotel including in-room kitchen amenities, a full private bathroom, and laundry facilities. If you’re in town during the warmer months, a seasonal pool is available to cool off after a day of hiking in the Smoky Mountains.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
If Florida is the first palce that comes to your mind when thinking about warm-weather beach destinations in Eastern United States, let me introduce you to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The long, sandy beaches and warm, pleasant weather during the summer months are just the beginning. How does a side of world-class seafood along with colourful seaside villages, fascinating history, and stunning coastal scenery sound?
While it is known for being a playground for the rich and famous, that doesn’t mean there aren’t great deals on amazing vacation rentals. There are plenty of places to stay in Cape Cod for us regular folk.
What to do in Cape Cod, Massachusetts
- Sunset or Sunrise Outer Beach Adventure: There are many ways to enjoy Cape Cod’s spectacular sunrises and sunsets, but nothing beats enjoying them from a remote beach. Getting to Nauset Beach is the best part of the adventure. Ride the sand dunes in the back of a truck and arrive at the beach just in time to enjoy the dusk or dawn colours in the sky. You may even get a surprise visit from one of the resident seals, or spot whales or dolphins offshore.
- Private Open-Air Pedicab Tour in Provincetown: Provincetown is a must-visit spot. If you’re tired of walking everywhere and just want to relax while taking in the sights, a guided pedicab tour is a fun and informative way to do it. Let your hair blow free in the breeze as you soar along Commercial Street and get a history lesson from your knowledgeable guide. Don’t worry, you’ll stop at some of the town’s most well-known attractions including Pilgrim’s First Landing Park and Herring Cove Beach.
- Plimoth Patuxet Living History Museums: When a cold day prevents you from heading to the beach, there are still plenty of things to do. You can’t escape its history, so you might as well dive into it! With this all-inclusive immersion into local history, you’ll visit several sites. Watch the area’s story come alive as historians dressed in period costumes take on the roles of pioneers at the Century English Village, a reproduction of the Mayflower and Plimoth Plantation. If you’ve always wanted to see what life was like for early settlers, here’s your chance!
Live like a sea captain in private quarters in this historic house once owned by Captain Barnabus Wixon and his family. Enjoy a perfect mesh of peaceful beach getaway and central location, only minutes from the area’s top attractions. With access to a patio and backyard area furnished with beach chairs and umbrellas, you won’t have to venture far to enjoy a relaxing environment. You might want to test out those paddleboards and bicycles that are available for your use, too!
Overlooking scenic Alan Harbor, the rooms at this cozy property have everything you need to make the most of your stay in Cape Cod. There is a private deck to allow the fresh ocean air into your living space, mini kitchenette, and full bathroom for added luxury. If you’re not in the mood for a beach excursion, you can always hang out at the swimming pool.
Not just for the golfers, this resort has several swimming pools, more than 40 kilometres of bicycle trails, 11 tennis courts, a spa and a pub featuring live music on summer weekends, you’ll never be bored! Your room has a full kitchen but who wants to cook on vacation? No worries; the Ocean Terrace Restaurant serves top-quality meals including one of the best breakfasts around!
West Palm Beach, Florida
Looking for a vacation destination where you can party all night and lie on the beach all day? West Palm Beach in South Florida is the perfect place for your next budget break!
Whether you’re checking out lively Clematis Street in the downtown district, sampling local dishes at one of the many restaurants, immersing in the history and arts, or dancing the night away in one of the city’s vibrant nightclubs, there’s an energy in this city that can’t be escaped. Unless, of course, you find a quiet spot on the beach where you can relax and let the waves and ocean breeze carry away the remnants of last night’s events. Just make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen!
Fancy a beach house? How about access to a swimming pool or a spacious backyard? Where to stay in West Palm Beach is easy peasy!
What to do in West Palm Beach, Florida
- Snorkel the Underwater Trail: The South Coast of Florida is known for being an excellent snorkelling and diving location. You can experience what lies beneath the waves with a guided underwater tour! After some safety instructions, follow your guide to an area offshore in about 15 feet of water. You’ll see an abundance of sea life, including stingrays and octopus.
- Land and Lagoon Narrated Musical Tour of Palm Beach: Take a drive along city streets and waterways as lively guides tell funny and fascinating stories about life in Palm Beach. Yes, you read that correctly; you’ll “drive” in the water in a unique amphibious-type vehicle. During your land and sea adventure, you’ll pass by iconic landmarks such as The Breakers Hotel, and the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum.
- West Palm Beach Downtown Food Tour: See the sights and learn about the history as you eat your way around West Palm Beach and hit up some of the best restaurants in the city. Along the way, you’ll stop at six eateries and sample local favourites and dishes inspired by the local Cuban and Latin American population. You’ll also meet the chefs and restaurant owners responsible for getting these delicious dishes to your table. Try the best key lime pie in town!
It looks tiny (and it is) but it also has a full kitchen, bathroom and all the amenities you could want in a vacation property. Only a short distance away from the beaches and attractions, this home features a backyard equipped with outdoor furnishings and a BBQ area. And if swimming in the ocean isn’t really your thing, you’ll love the outdoor swimming pool!
Cute, beachy, and vintage are some words to describe this fabulous, well-equipped room. Only a short distance from all the things you want to be close to in West Palm Beach. Enjoy access to a shared kitchenette and lovely views from your private balcony. A swimming pool is also available for those days when you feel like staying put, but wish to cool off from the afternoon sun.
If being right on the beach is a must for your stay in West Palm Beach, then a beach house is the perfect pick! Imagine waking up and walking right out onto the sand, or relaxing on your patio and sipping a cocktail as the sun goes down. The place sounds like a dream! Did I mention you also have a fully-equipped kitchen, full bathroom, living area, and laundry facilities to make your stay all that more enjoyable?
It’s exciting to see signs that Covid is letting up, and travel is possible again. I know I’m looking forward to venturing away from my neighbourhood after seeing it day in and day out for the past two years!
With this list of great places to vacation on the East Coast, you will be spoilt for choice!
If you have the time, why not choose two or three and make it an East Coast road trip! Hit the sandy beaches of South Florida before making your way to the rugged coastline of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!