Cheap Road Trip Ideas Anyone Can Make Happen

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Let's face it, we all love to travel, but often those pesky dollar signs can put a damper on our plans. But who said you need a hefty bank balance to quench your thirst for adventure? Enter cheap road trips — the perfect blend of fun, affordability, and entertainment. They offer a unique combination of frugality, fun, and the sheer thrill of discovery. 

It gets even better — ever considered RV rentals for your budget road trips? An RV rental is your ticket to saving money on your road trip. Imagine having your transportation and accommodation rolled into one! No more shelling out for steep hotel bills or pricey restaurant meals.

This article will explore the many advantages of RV rentals and offer some cheap road trips to get you started!

The Appeal of Cheap Road Trips

Cheap road trips are a gateway to the great outdoors without the sticker shock. They offer an opportunity to experience natural wonders firsthand, from majestic mountains to serene beaches, all within a small budget. The beauty of a budget road trip lies in the journey as well as the destination!

The flexibility and freedom to customize your itinerary is a liberating experience. Want to hit the pause button and soak in the sunset? No problem! Want to detour and explore that quaint little town in Western North Carolina? Go for it! Your journey, your rules. This freedom extends to the people you share your journey with — cheap road trips also provide endless opportunities for bonding with family and friends.

Cheap Road Trips 

Here are some popular cheap road trip ideas that will help you kickstart your adventure:

Coastal Adventures

If you're a beach lover, what could be better than winding along the shoreline with the salty ocean breeze in your hair? Here are some of the best coastal routes to explore for an epic road trip:

Exploring the Pacific Coast Highway

Stretching from the southern tip of Dana Point, near San Juan Capistrano, to the northern terminus in Leggett, Mendocino County, this route is bursting with diverse attractions and activities, including whale watching, camping, and surfing. You can spend days exploring over 500 beautiful beaches like Monterey State Beach, Pfeiffer Beach, and Carbon Beach, or simply pull over at one of the many scenic overlooks to enjoy the views.

Discovering the beauty of the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks, a 200-mile chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina and a portion of Virginia is a road-tripper's dream. It uniquely blends abundant natural beauty, rich history, and cultural charm. From the wild horses of Corolla to the historic lighthouses and pristine beaches — perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing — each stop along the way tells a fascinating story.

Soaking up the sun along the Gulf Coast

An adventure along the Gulf Coast offers miles of sandy beaches for sunbathing, swimming, and shell collecting. Beaches like Florida's St. George Island and Georgia's Cumberland Island offer plenty of sights, sounds, and activities to keep you entertained throughout your journey. On St. George Island in Florida, you'll find breathtaking beaches, excellent fishing spots, and rich biodiversity. Cumberland Island, Georgia's largest barrier island, is a treasure trove of natural and cultural wonders. Visit the Dungeness Ruins, take a guided tour to spot the island's famous wild horses, or explore over 300 species of birds!

National Park Escapes

Exploring the outdoors is another one of the most affordable road trip ideas. It's a great way to reconnect with nature by hiking, stargazing, and appreciating the beauty of our planet. Here are some of the top national parks for your budget-friendly road trip:

Exploring the wonders of Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a spectacular destination full of geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, and canyons. It's also home to abundant wildlife, from bison and elk to grizzly bears. There's no shortage of things to do in Yellowstone, ranging from fishing and horseback riding to wildlife watching and photography.

Hiking and camping in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, straddling the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, is a great choice for budget-friendly road trips. This stunning oasis of nature is home to over 800 miles of trails, offering plenty of hiking and camping opportunities. Not only that, but the park also offers free Ranger-led programs, which are an excellent way to learn more about the area's history and wildlife.

Marveling at the breathtaking landscapes of Yosemite

Yosemite National Park is an absolute must for road trip enthusiasts. This stunning landscape of waterfalls, granite cliffs, and lush forests is filled with breathtaking views. Best of all, it's free to enter and offers a variety of activities such as camping, swimming in lakes and rivers, hiking, and rock climbing.

Historic Routes

Taking a trip down memory lane is another great way to explore America without breaking the bank. The following routes provide insight into America's past, with iconic stops that will make for a memorable journey:

Following the iconic Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica

Route 66, also known as 'the Mother Road,' offers a great opportunity to explore the country's history and culture. Highlights include historic sites like the Meramec Caverns in Missouri and Route 66 Museum in Oklahoma, and roadside attractions like the giant Jack Rabbit in Arizona.

Traversing the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachian Mountains

This 469-mile stretch of highway provides stunning vistas and incredible access to some of the country's oldest mountains. Take in the breathtaking views from one of the many overlooks, explore waterfalls and hiking trails, or discover the area's rich history by visiting its numerous museums and galleries. Make sure you explore the likes of the Asheville Art Museum, Avery County Historical Museum in Newland, and the Folk Art Center!

Exploring the rich history along the Freedom Trail in Boston

Driving along The Freedom Trail isn't just a drive — it's a dive into the rich tapestry of America's past. It highlights 16 different sites, including the starting from the Boston Common, Park Street Church, Paul Revere House, the USS Constitution Museum, and Faneuil Hall. It's a great way to experience the city without spending any money!

Urban Adventures on a Budget

Cities and towns also offer plenty of attractions and activities to explore if you're searching for cheap road trip ideas. Here are some urban exploration ideas for your next road trip:

Exploring the vibrant streets of New Orleans

New Orleans is known for its vibrant culture, diverse cuisine, and rich history. Wander the streets to explore its hidden gems, from jazz clubs to vibrant French Quarter markets. Enjoy a beignet in Jackson Square, shop for souvenirs on Magazine Street, or take a stroll along the banks of the Mississippi River. 

Enjoying the cultural attractions in Austin, Texas

Austin offers a vibrant cultural landscape of music venues, bars, and restaurants. You can walk around Lady Bird Lake, explore the unique street murals in South Congress, or discover the nightlife along 6th Street. Don't forget to take advantage of the city's many free or low-cost attractions, such as the Texas State Capitol and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Soaking up the cosmopolitan atmosphere in Portland, Oregon

This hip, vibrant city is packed with attractions, from its renowned food scene to its eclectic mix of bars and music venues. Explore the Stumptown coffee culture, browse the unique boutiques and shops in the Pearl District, or admire the vibrant street art. There are plenty of free activities here as well, from art galleries and museums to parks and farmers' markets.

Hidden Gems and Local Delights

Cheap road trip ideas don't have to confine you to the usual tourist spots. They can also provide an opportunity to discover lesser-known attractions and hidden gems that make a place special. Here are some local gems to explore on your next road trip:

Discovering the charm of Asheville, North Carolina

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is a quaint city nestled amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering a vibrant arts scene and rich history. It's a perfect stop for architecture buffs who can admire the historic Biltmore Estate and art lovers who can explore the River Arts District.

Uncovering the beauty of Sedona, Arizona

This enchanting destination is known for its stunning red rock formations and vibrant arts scene. It offers breathtaking hiking trails in Red Rock State Park and an array of local art galleries, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty and culture.

Indulging in the culinary delights of New Mexico's Green Chile Trail

If you're a foodie, then you shouldn't miss the Green Chile Trail in New Mexico. This unique trail allows you to indulge in the state's famous green chiles, featured in various dishes from traditional enchiladas to innovative fusion cuisines, providing a spicy twist to your road trip.

The Economical Choice of RV Rentals

Choosing RV rentals for your road trip can be a game-changer for budget-conscious travelers. One of the primary benefits of RV travel is that it combines transportation and accommodation, eliminating the need for hotel expenses and reducing meal costs as you can cook your meals in the RV's kitchen. Additionally, RV rentals offer the convenience and flexibility of mobile accommodation. With a home on wheels, you can change your plans as you wish, lingering longer in places you love or moving on when the mood strikes.

With a bit of planning, RV rentals can make your road trip affordable and unforgettable. However, you must book well in advance for affordable RV rentals, especially during peak travel seasons. Comparing prices from various rental companies can also help you secure the best deal. Once on the road, plan your route carefully to save on fuel, cook your meals to cut down on food expenses, and consider staying at free or low-cost campsites.

Go on a Road Trip with Cruise America

Cheap road trips offer many benefits for budget-conscious travelers, from the flexibility and freedom to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations to opportunities to save money on accommodations and meals. With Cruise America, you can easily make this dream a reality. We provide various RV options to suit your needs, ensuring you can live the road trip life to its fullest. So, if you're ready to create unforgettable memories,  pick a road trip route and explore with us. Let us make your dream road trips happen!