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These 30 Cities Are THE MOST Expensive Places To Vacation In The U.S.

These 30 Cities Are THE MOST Expensive Places To Vacation In The U.S.

If you’re planning to take a trip, where you go will have a big impact on how much you spend. That’s because some destinations are pricier — actually, a lot pricier — than others.

To pinpoint which places would put the biggest dent in a traveler’s budget, GoBankingRates surveyed food and drink costs, hotel rates and airfare for popular tourist cities throughout the U.S. All costs assume two plane tickets, a three-night stay for two adults at the cheapest hotels, as well as a total of nine meals and drinks per person.

Keep in mind, though, that there are ways to keep costs down even in expensive destinations. For example, one of the best ways is to visit these tourist spots during shoulder season.

“Traveling to touristy places right before or after peak season can be a great way to save up to 50 percent and avoid crowds,” said Jason Soss, president of global business development for Tourico Holidays, a travel brokerage company.

Soss also recommended staying just outside big cities to find more reasonably priced accommodations and parking. And, take Monday off instead of Friday because “Sunday is typically the cheapest night at a hotel,” he said.

Here are the 30 most expensive tourist destinations in the U.S., ranked from least to most expensive. Here are travel savings tips and low-cost activities for each place.

  1. Las Vegas
  • Meals: $354
  • Drinks (including beer): $49.68
  • 3-night hotel stay: $68
  • Airfare: $474.20

Savings tips: Although it’s already easy to save money in Las Vegas, you can avoid paying full price for entertainment by buying half-price tickets to shows at one of the 11 Tix4Tonight kiosks located along the Las Vegas strip. Also, check attractions’ websites for discounts for purchasing tickets online.

Low-cost or free activities: For free, you can see the spectacular fountains at the famous Bellagio hotel and casino, the 117,000-gallon saltwater aquarium at the Silverton Hotel and circus acts at Circus Circus hotel.

  1. Miami
  • Meals: $390
  • Dinks (including beer): $54.48
  • 3-night hotel stay: $67
  • Airfare: $616.10

Savings tips: The least expensive month to visit this beach destination is in June, according to And, you’ll find cheaper hotels inland than at beachfront properties.

Low-cost or free activities: You can enjoy Miami’s star attraction — the beach — for free. Families should head to South Pointe Park, a park on the beach with a small water park.

  1. Tampa, Fla.
  • Meals: $279
  • Drinks (including beer): $40.68
  • 3-night hotel stay: $266
  • Airfare: $619.24

Savings tips: Look for deals on activities, hotels and restaurants You can save 53 percent on the top five Tampa Bay attractions — including Busch Gardens and the Florida Aquarium — with a Tampa CityPASS.

Low-cost or free activities: You can see manatees for free from Nov. 1 through April 15 at Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center. And if you venture a little outside of Tampa, you can enjoy three miles of white-sand beaches for free at Fort De Soto Park, which also has nature trails, fishing piers and a camping area.

  1. Orlando, Fla.
  • Meals: $318
  • Drinks (including beer): $39.90
  • 3-night hotel stay: $312
  • Airfare: $546.46

Savings tips: Find discounts on hotels, restaurants and attractions on the Deals & Tickets page of You can save up to 55 percent on admission to 32 Orlando attractions with a Go Orlando Card, which ranges in price from $120 to $275.

Low-cost or free activities: You can visit the CityArts Factory — a collection of art galleries — for free Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. And you can hold a baby alligator and take a photo with for a small fee at Blue Hammock Adventures.

  1. Denver
  • Meals: $336
  • Drinks (including beer): $44.88
  • 3-night hotel stay: $251
  • Airfare: $622.20

Savings tips: Browse coupons and discounts for restaurants, attractions, concerts, events and more on the’s Deals & Discounts page.

Low-cost or free activities: Listen to jazz on Sunday nights in June, July and August at the City Park Bandstand and Pavillion, take a tour of the U.S. Mint to see how coins are made or take a tour of Coor’s Brewery in nearby Golden, Colo.

  1. Dallas
  • Meals: $279
  • Drinks (including beer): $48.36
  • 3-night hotel stay: $240
  • Airfare: $695.24

Savings tips: Save more than 40 percent on the top four Dallas attractions — including the Dallas Zoo — with a Dallas CityPASS.

Low-cost or free activities: You can ride the D-Link bus to explore the districts of downtown Dallas, and visit several museums: the Dallas Museum of Art, the African American Museum of Dallas and The Samurai Collection.

  1. New Orleans
  • Meals: $348
  • Drinks (including beer): $39
  • 3-night hotel stay: $219
  • Airfare: $658.40

Savings tips: Travel to New Orleans in June for an extra savings of 20 percent compared with the most popular travel month — April, according to

Low-cost or free activities: You can visit New Orleans’ best-known attraction, the French Quarter, and enjoy its gardens, architecture and musicians and artists who gather in Jackson Square.

  1. St. Louis, Mo.
  • Meals: $270
  • Drinks (including beer): $41.40
  • 3-night hotel stay: $245
  • Airfare: $723.06

Savings tips: Save up to $15 on tickets to the Six Flags St. Louis by buying them on the park’s website. Or, see a St. Louis Cardinals game by watching it on the big outdoor screen at Ballpark Village next to Busch Stadium.

Low-cost or free activities: You can see several educational and interesting attractions, including the Saint Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Science Center and the Saint Louis Art Museum.

  1. San Diego
  • Meals: $336
  • Drinks (including beer): $50.52
  • 3-night hotel stay: $185
  • Airfare: $718.46

Savings tips: You can save up to 55 percent on more than 40 attractions with a Go San Diego Card, which ranges in price from $79 to $265 for the all-inclusive pass.

Low-cost or free activities: Hang out on San Diego’s beaches, stroll through Seaport Village or explore tide pools at the nearby Cabrillo National Monument.

  1. Chicago
  • Meals: $388.50
  • Drinks (including beer): $51.84
  • 3-night hotel stay: $205
  • Airfare: $649.34

Savings tips: Save more than 50 percent on Chicago’s top five attractions, including the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum, with a Chicago CityPASS.

Low-cost or free activities: You can spend a day at a public beach, catch a concert at Millennium Park during its summer music series or visit the Lincoln Park Zoo.

  1. Anaheim, Calif.
  • Meals: $348
  • Drinks (including beer): $52.50
  • 3-night hotel stay: $222
  • Airfare: $729.56

Savings tips: Take advantage of Disneyland’s special discounts, such as those offered to military members, some credit union members and more. And, plan to visit on “value days,” which are less-busy days typically during the week when tickets are cheaper.

Low-cost or free activities: You can visit the Carnegie Gallery of the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center, or stroll through the 140-acre Yorba Regional Park.

  1. Austin, Texas
  • Meals: $294
  • Drinks (including beer): $44.40
  • 3-night hotel stay: $284
  • Airfare: $731.30

Savings tips: To save money on accommodations in Austin, avoid visiting when there are big festivals in town — such as South by Southwest — and when the University of Texas has home football games.

Low-cost or free activities: Splash in Barton Springs Pool — a spring fed three-acre pool in Zilker Park.

  1. Memphis, Tenn.
  • Meals: $198
  • Drinks (including beer): $34.80
  • 3-night hotel stay: $348
  • Airfare: $773.70

Savings tips: You might save money on accommodations if you book a room in a hotel in the suburbs — or maybe even across the state line in Mississippi.

Low-cost or free activities: Stroll along the Mississippi River on the Mud Island Riverwalk, and take advantage of the pay-what-you-can admission on Wednesdays at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

  1. Atlanta
  • Meals: $309
  • Drinks (including beer): $40.68
  • 3-night hotel stay: $298
  • Airfare: $725.70

Savings tips: Save more than 40 percent on Atlanta’s top five attractions — including the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and College Football Hall of Fame — with an Atlanta CityPASS.

Low-cost or free activities: Check out the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area outside of Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Park and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

  1. Nashville, Tenn.
  • Meals: $294
  • Drinks (including beer): $43.92
  • 3-night hotel stay: $322
  • Airfare: $745.90

Savings tips: Avoid staying in hotels in downtown Nashville because they can cost twice as much as hotels in other parts of the city and Nashville suburbs.

Low-cost or free activities: You can listen to live music almost any time of day and pay no cover charge at many of downtown Nashville’s honky tonks. Or, visit Hatch Show Print to see how legendary posters were made.

  1. Seattle
  • Meals: $336
  • Drinks (including beer): $51.72
  • 3-night hotel stay: $310
  • Airfare: $734.50

Savings tips: Save 45 percent on Seattle’s top five attractions — including the Space Needle and Seattle Aquarium — with a Seattle CityPASS.

Low-cost or free activities: Visit Pike Place Market, one of the oldest continuously operated farmers markets and home to the original Starbucks coffee store. Catch a concert during downtown Seattle’s summer concert series, or visit the Frye Art Museum.

  1. Honolulu
  • Meals: $360
  • Drinks (including beer): $51.84
  • 3-night hotel stay: $267
  • Airfare: $755.86

Savings tips: Avoid the cost of a rental car, and take TheBus, Honolulu’s public transportation system that costs $2.50 for adults, $1.25 for children ages 6 to 17 and free for kids 5 and younger.

Low-cost or free activities: Relax on the famous Waikiki Beach. You can also get a history lesson by visiting Pearl Harbor and taking a tour of the USS Arizona Memorial.

  1. Los Angeles
  • Meals: $345
  • Drinks (including beer): $51.72
  • 3-night hotel stay: $284
  • Airfare: $766.96

Savings tips: If you want to see several attractions, consider buying an all-inclusive Go Los Angeles Card, which offers admission to more than 30 attractions at a savings of up to 55 percent.

Low-cost or free activities: You can stroll along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, hang out on Venice Beach and visit The Getty art museum.

  1. Charleston, S.C.
  • Meals: $345
  • Drinks (including beer): $45.72
  • 3-night hotel stay: $321
  • Airfare: $747.52

Savings tips: If hotel prices are too high, consider booking a vacation rental property through a site such as Or, stick to hotels outside the historic district for lower rates.

Low-cost or free activities: You can visit the Charleston City Market, featuring authentic Charleston products and souvenirs. If you have kids, let them splash in the fountains at Waterfront Park.

  1. Portland, Ore.
  • Meals: $309
  • Drinks (including beer): $44.40
  • 3-night hotel stay: $409
  • Airfare: $701.34

Savings tips: Rather than rent a car, use Portland’s MAX Light Rail to get around town for $5 an adult day pass, $2.50 for a youth day pass and “honored citizen.”

Low-cost or free activities: Check out locally made arts and crafts at the Portland Saturday Market, or hike through Forest Park, the nation’s largest urban forest.

  1. Washington, D.C.
  • Meals: $390
  • Drinks (including beer): $58.44
  • 3-night hotel stay: $296
  • Airfare: $721.50

Savings tips: Avoid the cost of a rental car and the District of Columbia’s traffic by using the city’s public transportation system. The Metrobus regular fare is $1.75 using a SmartTrip card or cash, and the Metrorail fare ranges from $1.75 to $5.90.

Low-cost or free activities: Take advantage of free admission to the Smithsonian National Zoo. Also, visit any of the 17 museums and galleries in DC metro area — including the Air and Space Museum — that are part of the Smithsonian Institution. Most of the museums are free.

  1. Key West, Fla.
  • Meals: $330
  • Drinks (including beer): $49.80
  • 3-night hotel stay: $478
  • Airfare: $616.10

Savings tips: For savings opportunities, late summer and early fall are typically the best times to visit Key West for vacation since fewer people tend to vacation here during those times.

Low-cost or free activities: Enjoy the entertainment during the nightly sunset celebration at Mallory Square, or stroll along Duval Street to soak up the city’s quirky, tropical vibe.

  1. Philadelphia
  • Meals: $324
  • Drinks (including beer): $46.08
  • 3-night hotel stay: $365
  • Airfare: $742.98

Savings tips: Save 45 percent on Philadelphia’s top four attractions — including the Philadelphia Zoo — with a Philadelphia CityPASS.

Low-cost or free activities: You can see some of Philadelphia’s most famous attractions, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

  1. Boston
  • Meals: $375
  • Drinks (including beer): $57.48
  • 3-night hotel stay: $323
  • Airfare: $732.80

Savings tips: Save more than 40 percent on Boston’s top four attractions — including the Museum of Fine Arts — with a Boston CityPASS.

Low-cost or free activities: You can climb to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument, the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution. You can also take a tour along the Freedom Trail.

  1. New York
  • Meals: $456
  • Drinks (including beer): $58.68
  • 3-night hotel stay: $195
  • Airfare: $811.30

Savings tips: Save up to 40 percent on the cost of the city’s top attractions — such as the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum — with a New York CityPASS. And, get tickets to Broadway shows at half price at a TKTS Discount Booth.

Low-cost or free activities: Stroll through Central Park or ride the Staten Island Ferry, which gives you a great view of the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor and skyscrapers.

  1. Savannah, Ga.
  • Meals: $360
  • Drinks (including beer): $42.60
  • 3-night hotel stay: $261
  • Airfare: $860.22

Savings tips: Get around the city’s historic district for free with the dot, Savannah’s express shuttle.

Low-cost or free activities: Stroll through Forsyth Park in the city’s historic district, and hike the trails through the maritime forests and marshes of Skidaway Island State Park.

  1. San Francisco
  • Meals: $405
  • Drinks (including beer): $59.04
  • 3-night hotel stay: $317
  • Airfare: $837.64

Savings tips: Save more than 45 percent on San Francisco area’s top four attractions — including the Monterey Bay Aquarium — and get unlimited cable car rides with a San Francisco CityPASS.

Low-cost or free activities: Enjoy street performers and sea lions at the Sea Lion Center on Fisherman’s Wharf. You can take a free walking tour of San Francisco’s most well-known landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge.

  1. Napa, Calif.
  • Meals: $565.50
  • Drinks (including beer): $70.56
  • 3-night hotel stay: $380
  • Airfare: $618.56

Savings tips: Visit during the off-season from November to April for lower prices. Also, Sign up to receive special offers from the Napa Valley Welcome Center at

Low-cost or free activities: Find wine tasting discounts with the Winery Finder app, and get two-for-one wine tasting coupons at

  1. Anchorage, Alaska
  • Meals: $359.52
  • Drinks (including beer): $55.56
  • 3-night hotel stay: $263
  • Airfare: $994.84

Savings tips: The peak season in Alaska is during the summer. If you visit before mid-June and after mid-August, you can save up to 25 percent on tours and lodging, according to Alaska travel planning site

Low-cost or free activities: If you’re feeling brave, take a walking ghost tour of Anchorage and see the city’s haunted sites. Tours will be returning on June 1, and according to, tickets are only $15.

  1. Jackson, Wyo.
  • Meals: $237
  • Drinks (including beer): $37.56
  • 3-night hotel stay: $298
  • Airfare: $1,298.98

Savings tips: Visit during the shoulder seasons in spring and fall to save money on accommodations.

Low-cost or free activities: You can visit nearby Grand Teton National Park to see wildlife, lakes and the Teton Range for $30 for a seven-day pass.


Methodology: To find the most expensive tourist destinations in the U.S., sourced from a variety of travel sties to find the most popular destinations in the country. GOBankingRates then used the following factors to determine which cities are the most affordable, assuming two adults are staying in the cities for three nights:

1) Food and drinks costs from Food costs include meals for two at mid-range restaurants (assuming three meals total) and meals at inexpensive restaurants (assuming 12 meals total). Drink costs include domestic beer prices (six total) and Coke/Pepsi prices (12 total). These figures are accurate as of May 3, 2016.

2) Hotel rates from Hotels with three or more stars and within 5 miles of the city center were considered, but the average price of the three cheapest hotels were used. These figures are accurate as of May 3, 2016.

3) Most recent airfare costs from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. If prices for a particular city weren’t available, the next-closest city’s fares were used. According to the BTS:

“BTS reports average fares based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares, unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. One-way trips accounted for 33 percent of fares calculated for the fourth quarter of 2015. Fares are based on the total ticket value, which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include fees for optional services, such as baggage fees. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or ‘zero fares.’ Constant 2015 dollars are used for inflation adjustment.”

This article originally appeared on GoBankingRates.




By Cameron Huddleston via

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