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East Coast Vacation Spots If You’re On A Budget

East Coast Vacation Spots If You’re On A Budget

With inflation surging, many of us are searching for budget-friendly places to vacation this summer. After all, while New York City and Charleston provide historical architecture and rich cuisine, the destinations’ allure wanes once we check our bank accounts. For less expensive places to travel, here are some of the best east coast vacation spots. 

Assateague Island, VA

South of Ocean City, MD, find Assateague Island, an area stretching along the coast of Maryland and Virginia. While Assateague has expanses of white-sand beaches, marshlands and forests, what draws tourists to the island are its horses. 

Though many peg Assateague’s horses as “wild,” according to the National Park Service website, the horses on Assateague are actually “feral animals, meaning that they are descendants of domestic animals that have reverted to a wild state.” The website adds that Assateague’s horses divide into two main herds–one on the Virginia side of the island and one on the Maryland side. 

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East Coast Vacation Spots If You’re On A Budget

Start your visit at Assateague State Park for a beach day or access to quality camping grounds. Watch horses approach waves and rush through the water. You may even spot some in the parking lot, rummaging for food in trunks left opened. For views of Assateague’s marshland, stroll down the Life of the Forest Nature Trail, and bring binoculars to search for bounding animals. If you would like to explore the island on water, head to Assateague Outfitter’s Bayside Rental Stand and rent a canoe or kayak. 

Lake Placid, NY

In the northeastern corner of the Adirondacks, find Lake Placid, a town filled with maple syrup shops, lakeside views and a summer concert series. Once host of the 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid merges outdoor attractions and historic sporting sites.

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While autumns at Lake Placid bring bursts of amber and orange leaves, the summertime offers the opportunity for lake activities. Kayak or canoe on Mirror Lake, named for its resemblance to a sheet of glass. There is also a path surrounding the lake that passes cobbled cottages and wildflowers as well. If you’re looking to explore more of the Adirondacks, just a ten minute drive from the village, see High Falls Gorge, a park with hiking trails and bridges that cut across waterfalls.

East Coast Vacation Spots If You’re On A Budget

If you’re looking to see some Olympic sites, one of the most popular attractions is the Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumping Complex. With the Skyride Gondola, you can experience views of the Adirondack peaks as you travel toward the top. 

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Ocean City, NJ

One of the most classic east coast vacation spots is the Jersey Shore, and Ocean City combines the best features of New Jersey’s beaches. For only $5, you can set up your umbrella and beach chair on the sand and wade through the curling waves. 

East Coast Vacation Spots If You’re On A Budget

With one of the best boardwalks in New Jersey, even if you get tired of sitting in the sun all day, there are still plenty of things to do in Ocean City. Enjoy rides and rollercoasters at Castaway Cove, or take home some of the town’s famous salt water taffy.  

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Baltimore, MD

Whether you’ve heard of its crab cakes or avian sport teams, Charm City attracts tourists every summer with its harbor views and colorful architecture. 

Start off your trip to Baltimore in the Inner Harbor neighborhood. There, you can spot historical ships such as the U.S.S. Constellation or travel across the hub by water taxi. Another must-see Inner Harbor destinations is the National Aquarium, a host to award-winning exhibits and aquatic life. Jellies Invasion, one of the most popular attractions, holds nine species of jellies that glide through water. 

East Coast Vacation Spots If You’re On A Budget

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Any trip to Baltimore should also include a stop at the Hampden neighborhood, a trendy sweep of vivid buildings, vintage shops, cocktail bars and cafes. Make sure to try Golden West Cafe or The Food Market after a day of walking and thrifting. 

Tallulah George State Park, GA

In the northeastern corner of Georgia, find the collection of cliffs, forests and waterfalls at Tallulah George State Park. Walking the park’s suspension bridge, which stands 80 feet above a sheet of boulders, will enclose you in pines and white oak trees. The park also offers hiking trails such as the paved Shortline Trail which runs next to the Tallulah River. 

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For those staying overnight, the park’s campgrounds often host stargazing events to search for constellations amid the break from city light. 

Acadia National Park, ME

If you’re looking for east coast vacation spots up north, Acadia National Park is the place for you. One of the most popular national parks in the country, Acadia  mostly stretches over Mount Desert Island, according to the National Park Service website. Watch waves crash onto the rock inlet Thunder Hole or enjoy popovers and tea at the historic Jordan Pond House. Stargaze at Sand Beach or hike on the Hike Great Head Trail. 

East Coast Vacation Spots If You’re On A Budget

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Everglades National Park, FL

On the southern tip of Florida, find the only place on the planet where alligators and crocodiles coexist. The Everglades, a retreat from the traditional Floridian beach destinations, protects species such as the Florida panther, manatee and over 300 species of birds. 

According to the National Park Service website, the Everglades “span across 1.5 million acres” and allow you to explore eco-systems such as “freshwater sloughs, marl prairies, tropical hammocks, pinelands, cypress, mangrove, coastal lowlands, marine, and estuarine.” 

The 15-mile loop of Shark Valley holds the park’s best concentration of wildlife (be sure to stand at least 15 feet from all animals). From the Shark Valley Observation Tower, you can see miles of Everglade bends and tracts and perhaps an alligator sunning on a bank. 

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Cape Cod, MA

The quintessential summer destination, Cape Cod offers New England seashores, a lively town and lighthouses. Cape Cod is also one of the best east coast vacation spots for whale watching, with the peak migration period for whales occurring between June and September (according to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce website). 

If you’re looking to view rare art pieces, drive down to the Sandwich Glass Museum, located in the oldest town of Cape Cod. View the museum’s glassblowing presentations, offered every hour, or check out the glowing and flower-shaped vases.  

If you’re on a budget, these east coast vacation spots will provide exciting experiences without breaking your bank account. Let us know in the comments where you like to travel on the east coast. 

Featured Image: Inera Isovic on Unsplash