Spring break season is the perfect time to get traveling, but it can also mean higher prices in some of the country’s top destinations. If you’re short of funds, fear not: we’ve got you covered! Check out these off-the-beaten-path cities where you can make the most of your spring break on the cheap.
The beaches are gorgeous, the tacos are plentiful, and the sun is always shining. What’s not to love about San Diego? If you’re looking to save some cash on a spring break trip to America’s Finest City, base yourself at one of HI USA’s two San Diego hostels and you’re already off to a good start. Guests can grab free breakfast every morning, join free walking tours of local neighborhoods and beaches, and borrow free beach equipment, from towels and Frisbees to stand-up paddle and surf boards. Between visits to the city’s free beaches, parks, and hiking trails, we recommend eating your way through San Diego’s best cheap tacos.
The laid-back capital of California, Sacramento’s known for its warm weather and farm-to-fork dining. And, sitting just about halfway between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, it makes a great stopover if you’re spring breaking in Northern California. At HI Sacramento, guests can sleep in a historic mansion on a backpacker’s budget, enjoy free breakfast, and take advantage of a fully equipped game room. And it’s all within walking or cycling range of some of the city’s best breweries, farmers’ markets, and farm-fresh, cheap local eats.
You won’t have to spend a lot to experience the southern charm of this capital city just two hours from Washington, DC. By day, get out on the water in the James River or sunbathe on Belle Isle. By night, enjoy the city’s booming craft beer scene. HI Richmond hostel’s based within walking distance of just about everything, and its free breakfast and frequent group outings will help you save cash so you can splurge on a concert later at the Dominion Arts Center or the National.
The quirkiest spot on our list, Portland is the kind of city it’s easy for just about anyone to fall in love with. And it won’t cost you much to do it. Portland’s known for the food trucks and “pods” (groups of tiny, portable restaurants) scattered across the city. What these mini food-stops save in rent, they pass on to diners, so you can feast for less. To work off heavy meals, take advantage of the city’s sprawling parks and wide network of bike trails. They’re a great way to see much of the city on the cheap. Stay at HI Portland Hawthorne hostel and you can rent a bike on-site after filling up on a free pancake breakfast.
Less than an hour by train from the nation’s capital, Baltimore has a more laid-back feel but still boasts plenty of culture. Art fans will want to hit the Baltimore Museum of Art or the Walters Art Museum, both of which are free, or catch a free concert at the famous Peabody Institute. To check out the edgier side of Baltimore’s art scene, take a walk down graffiti alley or splurge on a visit to the American Visionary Arts Museum. There are also tons of great happy hours all across town where you can scoop up food and drink specials for just a couple of bucks. Ask the staff at HI Baltimore hostel for their favorite recommendations.
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What’s not to love about the summer? Long days and warm nights, road trips and outdoor adventures, new cities to see and new friends to make at HI USA hostels.