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Budget Travel

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We’re spotlighting the best summer vacations for a perfect balance of affordability and fun. After analyzing the average cost of vacation homes across the country, here’s where to go to get the most bang for your buck.

Best Budget Summer Vacations

Ask your cousin or co-worker where to spend summer vacation, and they’ll likely mention a lively city or popular beach spot. We’re all for following trends, but with increased popularity comes inevitable price hikes during summertime in many traveler-favorite destinations.

Here’s the good news: the best summer vacations don’t have to a cost fortune—especially when you book a vacation rental from FlipKey. Whether your idea of an epic getaway is relaxing on the beach, exploring downtown, or hiking backcountry trails, there’s an affordable summer destination here for you.

Prices reflect the average cost of a two-bedroom vacation rental in that destination for a weeklong stay this summer, according to TripAdvisor Rental data. FlipKey is a subsidiary of TripAdvisor.

Delray Beach, Florida: $955/Week

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Best Summer Vacation For: Beach Vibes with City Sophistication

Florida is no stranger to top summer vacation spots, but choose your beach wisely. The more you save on accommodations, the more you can spend on food, water sports, and boat cruises. Delray Beach’s Atlantic Avenue offers gourmet dining, eccentric cafes, and live music, while the Pineapple Grove Arts District boasts more than 20 galleries. The city strip reaches all the way to the shore, which makes Delray one of the rare destinations where the beach and downtown area are truly connected. The cost of a two-bedroom rental here is as much as $1,500 less than other Florida hotspots we analyzed.

See all Delray Beach rentals from FlipKey!

Cudjoe Key, Florida: $1,145/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: Appreciating Florida’s Scenery & Wildlife

If you’re set on a summer vacation in the Florida Keys, make it an affordable one. A two-bedroom rental in Cudjoe Key costs only $1,145 on average per week. You’ll be a half-hour drive from the colors of Key West (and save about $800 on your accommodation). Things are quieter in Cudjoe Key, where Mother Nature plays first fiddle. There are two national wildlife refuges and crystal-clear waters ideal for diving and snorkeling.

See all Cudjoe Key rentals from FlipKey!

Atlanta, Georgia: $1,149/Week

“I stayed here with a group of my girlfriends for a ‘mommy’ weekend…and it was the perfect getaway. […] We loved being close to restaurants and bars, and when we were too tired to hit the streets, we laid around in comfort all day. I would encourage all my friends to stay here.” – Traveler Review

Best Summer Vacation For: City Life with Southern Hospitality

A best summer vacation (and affordable)…in Atlanta? You bet. Yes, this major connecting hub is one of the biggest (and busiest!) cities in the region, but you can definitely enjoy it on a budget. Whether you want to sample soul food, tour iconic filming locations, or rollerblade along the BeltLine—a multi-use trail connecting 45 neighborhoods—Atlanta offers a host of activities that won’t break the bank. Rent a renovated bungalow or chic townhouse downtown for easy access to attractions like Centennial Olympic Park and Fox Theatre, a historic performing arts venue.

See all Atlanta rentals from FlipKey!

Dennis, Massachusetts: $1,167/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: A Peaceful Cape Cod Getaway

Located in the heart of Cape Cod, Dennis is the perfect spot to enjoy the wind and waves while catching up on a little culture in between. Take a break from the surf with a scenic afternoon drive along Route 6A—a highway dotted with renowned art galleries—or cap off a sunny beach day with a theatrical performance at the Cape Playhouse. Watch for “Free Fun Fridays” at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, a summer event offering complimentary activities for kids including face-painting and pottery-making. The Cape is one of the best summer vacation spots in the country, and Dennis provides the perfect home base.

See all Dennis rentals from FlipKey!

Boulder, Colorado: $1,179/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: Active Days & Lively Nights

Colorado isn’t just a good winter escape. With its vibrant mix of outdoor recreation and downtown activities, Boulder offers one of America’s best summer vacations. Go tubing and boating at the Boulder Reservoir, or just lay out a picnic and relax on the beach. You’ll find live music at local venues on any given night. Check out Monday’s “Meadow Music” series at Chautauqua Park, Wednesday’s “Beer on the Bricks” at Pearl Street, or Saturday night shows at Twenty Ninth Street. (Better yet, the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre is less than 30 miles away!) And we’d be remiss not to mention Boulder’s incredible breweries. Book this guided bike-and-brews tour to experience the local beer scene for yourself.

See all Boulder rentals from FlipKey!

Dallas, Texas: $1,181/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: Barbecue & Brews

A summer vacation in Dallas revolves around one thing: food. When you’re spending as little as $1,181 for a weeklong stay in a two-bedroom rental, you’ll have extra cash to hit the city’s many food festivals, breweries, and steakhouses. This summer’s main event—the 31st Annual Taste of Dallas—features more than 80 restaurants, food trucks, and craft breweries, plus demonstrations from some of the country’s best pitmasters. It’s true everything is bigger in Texas… except the price tag on your vacation rental.

See all Dallas rentals from FlipKey!

Atlantic Beach, North Carolina: $1,200/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: Laid-Back Beach Fun

This walkable town is your classic seaside escape, with a popular fishing pier, local bistros and pizza shops, and affordable beach houses for rent. Be sure to tour the historic Fort Macon State Park, TripAdvisor’s top-rated attraction in Atlantic Beach, followed by a sunset meal at the Oceanana Pier House Restaurant. June also brings the Crystal Coast Music Festival straight to the sand for a unique concert experience.

See all Atlantic Beach rentals from FlipKey!

Wells, Maine: $1,240/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: Seafoodies

A clean, peaceful stretch of paradise one reviewer calls “the perfect New England beach,” Wells is known for its refreshing summer temperatures, great surf, and mouthwatering seafood joints. Take an early morning walk along the dunes and keep an eye out for seals and whales during the day. Don’t miss Spiller Farm, known for its excellent produce, fair prices, and summer berry picking. At mealtime, hit Fisherman’s Catch Restaurant. “Best clam chowder in all of New England!” writes one reviewer. “Try the lobster roll!” At just $1,240/week on average for two-bedroom rentals, Wells is a more affordable summer vacation spot than other Maine staples that can cost considerably more.

See all Wells rentals from FlipKey!

Clearwater, Florida: $1,244/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: An Award-Winning Beach

Clearwater Beach ranked among the top five Travelers’ Choice Best Beaches in the United States in 2017. If it’s pristine sand you seek, Clearwater might be the best summer vacation spot. The city is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, which means extra entertainment and promotions all summer long. One deal you can enjoy before you even arrive? An affordable beach house from FlipKey, at just $1,244/week for a two-bedroom property. During your stay, you’ll have your pick of top-notch activities and attractions from sunset boat cruises and jet-ski rentals to craft breweries and wineries—not to mention the beach!

See all Clearwater rentals from FlipKey!

Minneapolis, Minnesota: $1,248/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: Sports & Entertainment

Shocked to see Minneapolis on our list of best summer vacation spots? You shouldn’t be—especially given the number of family-friendly activities in the Twin Cities. Start with the annual Minnesota State Fair (located next door in St. Paul), one of the largest of its kind in the US. From the end of August to early September, nearly two million visitors flock to experience a showcase of agriculture, livestock, art, and music featuring more than 1,000 vendors and 900 free shows. The local Major League Baseball team, the Minnesota Twins, are also in full-swing come summertime, and Target Field is considered one of the best baseball diamond experiences in the country. Our recommendation: grab a pint at Cowboy Jack’s or Freehouse before the game—or just stay there and watch it on the big screen! If it’s a light sports night, catch a performance at the famous Guthrie Theater. You’ll enjoy having a vacation rental to retreat to after a day of city adventures.

See all Minneapolis rentals from FlipKey!

West Palm Beach, Florida: $1,248/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: Leisurely Pursuits

With sunny skies and a range of outdoor and cultural attractions, West Palm Beach is one of the best affordable summer vacation spots. Enjoy a game of golf at a number of pristine local courses, or hit the beach and catch up on your reading. You could spend an entire day on Peanut Island, a popular tourist attraction with a bunker built for President John F. Kennedy during the Cold War. The island also includes a museum and plenty of picnic areas, plus biking and walking paths. For those who prefer indoor endeavors, the Norton Museum boasts an exceptional collection of American, Chinese, and European art. Famous performers appear at “The Harriet” and the Kravis Center. Of course, there’s always shopping (one of the city’s favorite pastimes). From designer boutiques to big-name department stores, West Palm has it all.

See all West Palm Beach rentals from FlipKey!

Memphis, Tennessee: $1,295/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: Seeing the Real Music City (A Great Nashville Alternative)

While Nashville may be nicknamed “Music City,” Memphis is a pilgrimage for those who want to visit the birthplace of the blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll. On Beale Street, W.C. Handy put blues music on paper for the first time. Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash all recorded at the historic Sun Records Studio, now a museum with great guided tours. Graceland, the second most-visited home in America (and another tour worth your while), welcomes visitors from around the world who yearn for a peek into the life of “the King.” Beyond the music, Tennessee’s largest city combines Southern tradition and hospitality with modern amenities. You’ll enjoy great dining (don’t miss the barbecued ribs at Marlowes or Corky’s), art galleries, and exciting nightlife.

See all Memphis rentals from FlipKey!

Orlando, Florida: $1,297/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: Amusement Parks

Regardless of the season, it’s tough to exclude Orlando from “best of” lists. Put simply, it’s the premier vacation destination for families—and it’s becoming even more popular for adult couples looking to channel their inner child. When it comes to renting a home, Orlando can’t be beat. It’s okay to admit it: as fun as the theme parks are, spending a full day there can be quite exhausting! You’ll appreciate having a more secluded home base than an on-site resort, allowing for home-cooked meals (and more savings!) or relaxing on the patio.

See all Orlando rentals from FlipKey!

Williamsburg, Virginia: $1,331/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: American History

Perhaps the best-known point of Virginia’s Historic Triangle (along with nearby Jamestown and Yorktown), the area’s heart and soul is living-history museum Colonial Williamsburg, featuring actors, educational reenactments, and 18th-century shops. Williamsburg claims to be a summer vacation “filled with freedom, fireworks, theme parks, and thrills.” Indeed, there is plenty of fun to be had here by the whole family aside from Revolutionary War history. Spend one day at Busch Gardens riding roller coasters and the next on a kayaking tour of the Chesapeake Bay.

See all Williamsburg rentals from FlipKey!

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: $1,398/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: The All-American Family Trip

Myrtle Beach is one of America’s top family vacation destinations, and for good reason. Book a summer beach house to save money on the front end and spend that extra cash on memorable experiences your kids will love. Ride on the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, catch a baseball game at TicketReturn.com field, or compete in mini golf at one of 40 different courses. For top-notch amusement, check out the shops, restaurants, putt-putt, and paddle boats at Broadway at the Beach. One TripAdvisor reviewer writes, “[It has] something for everyone. There are jewelry stores, t-shirt shops, candle shops, fudge makers, and the list goes on. The kids can play in the amusement park or feed the fish in the pond. Broadway also has a movie theater and aquarium. You could really spend all day there and everyone would come away with something different.”

See all Myrtle Beach rentals from FlipKey!

Asheville, North Carolina: $1,400/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: Local Produce & Microbrews

It’s fair to say Asheville is having a moment. The vibrant city has elevated itself into one of the best summer vacation spots around the country thanks to its numerous farmer’s markets, locally-sourced food scene, world-class breweries, and proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If Boulder is a laid-back session ale, Asheville is a hopped-up IPA. Start your summer stay with some outdoor recreation: a hiking tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway and surrounding waterfalls or a guided stand-up paddleboard tour on the French Broad River. Next, experience downtown Asheville, known for a restaurant scene the community nicknamed “Foodtopia.” Organic, farm-to-table, and hormone-free are a few common adjectives used on local menus. The area boasts more breweries per capita than any city in the US—each with its own unique blends and atmosphere.

See all Asheville rentals from FlipKey!

Leavenworth, Washington: $1,401/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: A Cozy, Scenic Cabin Rental

Leavenworth has become a bustling tourist destination known for its Cascade Mountain scenery, Bavarian-style alpine village, and a packed calendar of festivals and performances. Don’t leave without catching an outdoor show at the Leavenworth Summer Theater. Other top activities include hiking, birding, and horseback riding, but it’s the mountain lakes and rivers of Wenatchee National Forest that really steal the show. The variety of trout and perch is a fisherman’s dream. As hunger strikes, get a true taste of Leavenworth’s German influence with a brat and beer at fan-favorite Munchen Haus.

See all Leavenworth rentals from FlipKey!

Ocean City, New Jersey: 1,509/Week

“The house was right down the street from the heart of the boardwalk, which was awesome! I would recommend this rental to anyone.” – Traveler Review

Best Summer Vacation For: Boardwalk Bliss

Hailed as “America’s Greatest Family Resort,” Ocean City has everything you’d want in an affordable summer escape. It’s safe (many beaches have lifeguard supervision), clean, and kid-friendly. During the summer, every Thursday is family night—think special activities and entertainment at venues all over town—and events like the annual boat parade are particularly great if you’ve got little ones in tow. Gillian’s Wonderland Pier offers rides like bumper boats, a carousel, Tilt-a-Whirl, and log flume, while the famous Ocean City Boardwalk is an all-time classic. Don’t leave without trying the salt water taffy at Shriver’s.

See all Ocean City rentals from FlipKey!

Anaheim, California: $1,531/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: Disneyland (And More!)

Disneyland is the main event in Anaheim, but there’s plenty more to do if you’re not the fantastical type. Catch a baseball game at Angel Stadium or taste the incredible array of foods in the Packing District, an upscale food court with local vendors. Grab a bite at The Kroft, dessert at Han’s Homemade Ice Cream, or a drink at The Hammer Workshop. If you’re seeking a Disneyland alternative—less crowded, more low-key rides—buy a ticket to Adventure City, a kid-favorite.

See all Anaheim rentals from FlipKey!

Cape May, New Jersey: $1,610/Week

Best Summer Vacation For: The Quaint Tip of the Jersey Shore

In 1976, the entire city of Cape May was declared a National Historic Landmark. That’s one reason why this peaceful seaside getaway is so pristine, from the beaches and natural beauty to its architectural achievements. You can bike almost anywhere, and pedaling across town is the perfect way to take in the stunning scenery. Make sure to get a picture of the Cape May Lighthouse, and the Naval Air Station Museum is great for kids. Willow Creek Winery appeases the grape-lovers, while Cape May Brewing Company is one of the East Coast’s best breweries. Many of the rental homes—from modern bayfront condos to classic Victorian cottages—are close to both the beaches and the charming downtown scene, making Cape May one of America’s best summer vacation spots for all travelers.

See all Cape May rentals from Flipkey!

This post was originally published on the TripAdvisor Rentals blog. It has been repurposed here with permission.

Ahh, Disney. The castles, the characters, the rides. Who could resist this wonderful paradise with the slogan “Where Dreams Come True?” Here at FlipKey, we figured out, NO ONE can. Our research shows that requests and rental prices are pretty consistent year-round. Meaning, it’s always a good time for a Disney vacation. And with 50% of inquiries coming from groups of 4-6 people, Disney is a clear favorite among families. So, Griswolds: pack up your bags, take out those mouse ears, and get ready to cross off “Disney Family Vacation” from your bucket list. After all, who wants to miss out on the magic?

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Volume 8: Santa Barbara, CA

Meet Big Tree, a quintet out of Brooklyn, New York with high hopes and empty pockets. Three dashing young men and two friendly ladies make up this indie pop band. We are the luckiest people on the planet. Our job is to drive from one amazing place to the next, play a show, make new friends, and explore new cities. While we’re on the road, FlipKey invited us to share our experiences living like locals everywhere we go.

Santa Barbara BeachEach time Big Tree ventures down to Santa Barbara, this earthy, mystical city fills our heads with dreams of surfer rockstardom and the fantasy of never returning to the real world.  The Pacific Ocean and endless throngs of university students give us musician folk every excuse not to leave.  And why would we want to?  Young people, great food, endless outdoor activities, and more make up this fine town.

First things first: BEACH!  We made our way to a very secret path (so secret that we had take off our shoes and walk through a sketchy aqueduct to get to the other side) and took a nice stroll through the meadows, hills, and woods until we reached a manmade trail in the side of a cliff that we could scale down to reach the isolated nude beach.  For those of you who would prefer NOT to scale cliffs or go to a nude beach, there are endless paths that lead to pristine public beaches all over the county.  We brought a few beers to celebrate our friend’s birthday, and felt beautiful and alive as we spent the afternoon playing in the waves.

Next: a trip to Freebirds.  Any self-respecting food enthusiast must visit the popular Mexican restaurant, frequented by college students and locals alike.  They make killer nachos and burritos, layered with beans, salsa, chicken, sour cream, guacamole, hot sauce, cheese, and the works.  We ordered way too much food and ate it all, wishing we could meet for lunch here everyday.  “Let’s move here!” someone cries.  “Ok!” we all chime.  Why not?  There’s Main Street for shopping, perusing, and bar hopping!  There are beaches everywhere!  There are hikes and adventures galore!

Path to the BeachFinally, it’s time for the showMuddy Waters Coffee House is a fantastic mixture of café, bar, and music venue.  The owner is informative, gracious, and friendly, and the drinks and snacks are delightful.  Inside, you’ll find a hodgepodge of furniture from tables to living room couches.  The artwork on the walls is creative and beautiful.  Touring and local bands stop here often, making it a hang out for youth, music enthusiasts, and people of all ages and backgrounds just looking for a good time.

We played to a great audience, and made many friends.  After our set, an awesome local horn band had a show, and we stayed late dancing to the funky sounds of synthesizer and saxophone.  That night we all dreamt of the ocean and building a new home by the sea…

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Volume 6: New Orleans, LA

Meet Big Tree, a quintet out of Brooklyn, New York with high hopes and empty pockets. Three dashing young men and two friendly ladies make up this indie pop band. We are the luckiest people on the planet. Our job is to drive from one amazing place to the next, play a show, make new friends, and explore new cities. While we’re on the road, FlipKey invited us to share our experiences living like locals everywhere we go.

There is no place like New Orleans, especially when it comes to music. Big Tree scheduled an extra day off in this magical city so that we could take some time to forget about our own music and absorb some of the incredible talent and art scattered all over the town.

Mardi Gras Beads on a New Orleans Fence

We played a cozy coffeehouse uptown on the first night. Neurtral Ground Coffee House is the place to go for dim lighting, bowls of popcorn and goldfish, and open mic nights aplenty. Our sound was way too loud for this tiny joint, and the audience was packed in pretty tight, so we decided to pack up our gear when we were done and take the party elsewhere. Some locals told us that a killer band was playing at one of their favorite venues. “Didn’t we miss the show?” we asked… “It’s already midnight!” They laughed at us and said “Remember where you are! This is New Orleans!”

We drove up several blocks, where it was clear we were far away from tourists and visitors. This was the late night local scene, close to the universities and several neighborhoods. We went inside of the Maple Leaf Bar, where neon lights and the smell of spilled booze set the scene. The Honey Island Swamp Band, a “Bayou Americana” rock group from New Orleans, was playing funky songs about whiskey and women, and the dance floor was packed. We spent the night enjoying the sounds of mandolin, guitar, and saxophone while we got our groove on and drank our local Abita beer. We were all in heaven!

Treehouse in Audobon Park, New OrleansThe next morning we got some grub from the grocery store and took it to Audobon Park to enjoy an afternoon picnic. We sat below the old trees covered in Spanish moss, sipping on tall boys of beer in brown bags and getting some sun. While we were there, we got a phone call from a friend of a friend, asking us if we wanted to play another last minute show tonight at the “Tree House.” We had no idea what this place was, but a show’s a show, and we’re always ready for an adventure. We left uptown for the Nola Art House, also known as the Treehouse, somewhere between Treme and the Seventh Ward. When we arrived, we were greeted by several mangy dogs, a huge dilapitated mansion full of 10-12 inhabitants, and a GIGANTIC treehouse made from leftover roller coaster parts and netting. Overhead, the roar of traffic whizzed by on the highway overpass, completing the ambiance.

We set up outside and played on the concrete with the massive treehouse as our backdrop. We were wondering if anyone would come listen, but sure enough, plenty of young people showed up with their own six-packs right before we started playing. We made tons of new friends and climbed through the boughs of these incredible trees, staring up at the stars from man made birds nests, above the traffic.

Since time loses all meaning in this magical place, we decided to spend the rest of our night/morning back down in the French Quarter. We bought some drinks to go and walked to Frenchmen Street, where there are bars and music venues and po’ boys on every corner. We hopped from door to door, checking out what kind of music was at each place. When the sun started coming up, we started heading home, knowing we had to leave this place for our next gig. But somehow, we always end up back in New Orleans, so it’s not really goodbye.

Volume 4: Delaware

Meet Big Tree, a quintet out of Brooklyn, New York with high hopes and empty pockets.  Three dashing young men and two friendly ladies make up this indie pop band.  We are the luckiest people on the planet.  Our job is to drive from one amazing place to the next, play a show, make new friends, and explore new cities. While we’re on the road, FlipKey invited us to share our experiences living like locals everywhere we go.

After giving a “grease talk” about our vegetable oil-powered tour van, we played an awesome show at Wilmington University in Delaware. The show, our drummer’s birthday and the last leg of the tour before a few weeks off gave us three excellent excuses to go all out and splurge.

Now, you might think, “why on Earth would you splurge in Delaware!?” Well, the folks of Big Tree can have fun just about anywhere, so we drove towards the coast to make the most of the one-square-mile town of Rehoboth Beach. We surprised our drummer by getting a place to sleep with enough beds for everyone! We even had a balcony.

We had planned on taking a tour of the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware, but our afternoon show went a little longer than expected and we missed the tour. Luckily, the Dogfish Brewpub right down the street also gave tours of their craft beer-making facilities. We walked down to the pub, taking note of the adorable ice cream, candy, and surf shops that line the sidewalks. The end of March meant that this sleepy beach town was about to transform into a hoppin’ boardwalk! We imagined the quiet streets full of sandy kids eating cotton candy and ladies shopping at the boutiques.

The Brewpub was packed even on this chilly almost-spring evening. Our friendly hostess pointed us to the back of the room where several people were waiting for the tour to start, and the woman in charge of distilling Dogfish Head gin and vodka came over and casually led us behind the scenes, where a couple of huge metal tanks sat, brewing up a storm. She explained to us how it all works (I honestly stopped listening and started waiting to get a pint of the “Aprihop”). Next, she took us upstairs to show off her “Frankenstillery,” where she makes the most delicious peanut butter infused vodka, along with other types of liquor.

Full of information, we sat down at a big table and ordered fried pickles, spicy buffalo wings, and a reasonably priced “beer tasting.” We got to try 6 different beers each, several of them brewed right on the premises. They were all amazing, from the sweet fruity flavors to the heavier brews, with names like Namaste, Pangea, and Chicory Stout.

Full of beer and yummy burgers, we decided we needed a walk. In just a few blocks we reached the Atlantic, where the peaceful, sandy shore stretched for what seemed like miles, and small waves lapped at the beach. We walked along the water, singing happy birthday and watching the sunset.

New York Walk Light

One of the best ways to de-stress, get exercise, save money, and really enjoy your surroundings while on vacation is to simply ditch your car for the week. Here are some of the most pedestrian-friendly destinations in the U.S. – consider it our guide to skipping the gas stations in favor of a walking vacation!

1. New York, NY

Fast-walking pedestrians and jaywalkers rule this city, and most residents don’t even want to own cars – it’s not worth the hassle. When you visit Manhattan, you can join the crowds surging through Times Square, Wall Street, and other world-famous locales. Or, for more peaceful walks, try the Hudson River Greenway (which runs almost the entire length of Manhattan), Central Park (over 800 acres of carefully planned park land), or the High Line (an elevated train trestle that was recently converted into a public park).

2. Boston, MA

You might get lost trying to drive the curved and cobblestone streets of this historic city, but walking is a cinch. Pedestrians have easy access to the waterfront, shopping districts, green space, and residential neighborhoods. If you’re interested in our nation’s history, follow the Freedom Trail, a red line on the sidewalk that leads you to 17 historically significant spots. Nature lovers will appreciate the Emerald Necklace, a series of connected parks and waterways that provide ample opportunities for walking and feeding the ducks.

3. San Francisco, CA

Dense, scenic and culturally diverse, San Francisco earned the highest ranking in Walk Score’s 2008 list of the most pedestrian-friendly cities. It’s easy to find everything you need within walking distance, and there are always people out and about on the sidewalks. But the hills here are no joke, so be sure to get in shape before your trip, and wear comfortable, supportive sneakers; that way, you’ll be able to appreciate the stunning angles at sites like Coit Tower and Lombard Street. When your legs just can’t take it anymore, you can always hang onto a cable car and let it pull you up the steepest blocks.

4. Philadelphia, PA

Philly feels relatively small, friendly, and easy to get around on foot. You can wander residential neighborhoods to admire the quaint cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and patriotic décor, or join a walking tour to soak up some history. Another fun way to see the city is by following the colorful route of the Mural Mile, which offers a self-guided tour of some of Philly’s most creative and socially significant spots.

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Volume 2 – Atlanta, GA

Meet Big Tree, a quintet out of Brooklyn, New York with high hopes and empty pockets.  Three dashing young men and two friendly ladies make up this indie pop band.  We are the luckiest people on the planet.  Our job is to drive from one amazing place to the next, play a show, make new friends, and explore new cities. While we’re on the road, FlipKey invited us to share our experiences living like locals everywhere we go.

We love Georgia. Peaches, college students, grits, and beaches, all in one state! Whenever we’re invited to play in this fair region, we jump at the chance. This time we had two shows  in a row in Atlanta, which meant plenty of time to hang out in this awesome city!

Meet the Band

We were particularly excited to perform at the Spring Festival at Emory University, where we would be sharing the stage with the band OneRepublic. We’d heard their single “Too Late to Apologize” all over the radio, and now here we were on a giant stage setting up next to all of their gear! We played our set as the sun went down, looking out at all of the college students and the beautiful campus, and feeling lucky as ever.

After the roadies loaded all of our things back into our tour van, a local friend suggested that we celebrate in Five Points – a charming and fun part of town full of shops, bars, and restaurants. We set out to check out The Porter, with its, “brilliant beer bar, grub, and suds in the heart of Little Five Points.”

When it comes to indulging in a last-minute getaway, one of my favorite things to do is hop a red-eye flight to Fiji for a week of fjord hopping and relaxing on white sand beaches. At least I assume that would be one of my favorite things to do, seeing as I’ve never actually done it.

When it comes to a real last-minute getaway, nothing beats the great American road trip. Unlike a trip to Fiji, all it takes is hopping in your car and choosing a direction. At least that’s the theory… One thing I’ve learned in the past decade of road tripping is that it helps to have an awesome destination to look forward to—and the perfect FlipKey rental to relax at. So whether you’re a permanent resident of the Emerald City, like myself, or only visiting for a short while, I think you’ll find that a visit to the following list of destinations Is worth the price of gas.

Click on the destinations and images below to see all available FlipKey rentals in that location. Staying in a rental means extra living space, a full kitchen, and amenities like laundry or outdoor barbecue area.

Rearview shot of a couple reading a map while sitting in a car

Day Trips

Tacoma, WA (35mi, <1hr)

One of the top reasons to make the drive to Tacoma is to admire its world-renowned glass art. The Museum of Glass showcases hand-blown glass pieces from around the world and includes a glassblowing studio. The Museum District is connected by the Bridge of Glass and pays homage to the craft with more art, glass, and history, including installations by the native Dale Chihuly. Other cultural attractions worth stopping for are the Tacoma Art Museum, the Le May-America’s Car Museum and the Washington State History Museum. Although, Tacoma is rooted in the arts, it is ideally situated on the banks of Puget Sound and offers a vibrant, urban pit stop for road trippers. Shop in the historic Proctor and Stadium districts or stroll through the city’s parks and gardens. Explore the shores by kayak or boat to see the abundance of wildlife that inhabit Tacoma. If you’re looking for a nature wonderland where hiking boots aren’t required, then Tacoma is the destination for you.

See all rentals in Tacoma!

Fall City, WA (30mi, <1hr)

Fall City is situated within the scenic Snoqualmie Valley, an area just east of Seattle, criss-crossed with quiet back roads that carve paths through forests, mountains, and a network of streams feeding into the Snoqualmie River. On your drive in to town, you’ll notice totem poles scattered about Fall City, evidence that the town was originally home to the Snoqualmie Indian tribe, as well as the 130-year old Hop Shed where farmers brought hops to be transported to the Puget Sound. The massive Snoqualmie Falls is arguably one of the biggest attractions for visitors to Fall City. The 270-foot falls boasts magnificent views from the top and bottom and is an impressive site to see. Snoqualmie Falls isn’t the only attraction, though. Odds are you’ll find yourself sticking around to tour the wineries, hike the trails, and maybe even do some antique shopping.

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The majestic Snoqualmie Falls in Washington plunges into the water below.

The majestic Snoqualmie Falls in Washington plunges into the water below.

Ashford, WA (80mi, <2hrs)

Hidden amongst towering fir and cedar trees at the foothills of Mt. Rainier National Park, Ashford is a popular “base camp” location for those venturing deep into the Cascade Mountain Region of Central Washington. However, this enchanting area has plenty of natural wonders to offer the day tripper as well, including the nearby Alder and Mineral Lakes, over 300 miles of hiking trails, plus snowshoeing and sledding in the winter. Adjacent to Ashford you’ll find the small town of Elbe, where you can board the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad, which is by far one of most relaxed ways to take in the secluded back country of Mt. Rainier National Park.

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Leavenworth, WA (120 mi, 2hrs)

Leavenworth is unique in that the town offers visitors an authentic German experience, right in the heart of Washington State. Boasting a Bavarian village main street, replete with Tudor revival architecture, this mountain town plays host to monthly festivals, one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in the United States, and an annual month-long Christmas extravaganza that has to be seen to be believed. While you might expect the hiking, biking, and skiing adventures waiting to be had in the surrounding Cascade Mountains, what you might not expect from this Pacific Northwest landmark is the 300 days of sunshine they receive every year!

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A couple drives down the road on a road trip in their red convertible.

Weekend Trips

Vancouver, BC (140mi, 2.5 hours)

Canada’s third-largest city, and one routinely featured on lists of the world’s greatest places to live, has been thrust into the global spotlight thanks in part to its young metropolis vibe, overall quirky appeal, and role as the host city for the 2010 winter Olympics. A melting pot of cultures nestled between city beaches and lush waterfront forests, this British Commonwealth is still very much forming its identity: something reflected in its eclectic art scene, diverse shopping districts, and laid-back hipster hangouts, all topped off with the myriad of outdoor activities right outside their door. Make Vancouver your destination if you want to experience both bustling city life with attractions like the Vancouver Aquarium and the Orpheum Theatre as well as a quiet, oceanfront setting that is home to a variety of wildlife, including fish, birds, and whales.

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Portland, OR (175mi, 3 hrs)

If you’ve never been there, you might be inclined to assume that Portland and Seattle are interchangeable from a destination standpoint, especially given the similarities in their cultural and natural landscape. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Where Seattle offers more of an urban flavor, Portland has a quaint, almost small town feel relative to its size. Although replete with museums, fine dining, and a vibrant night life, Portland provides a level of hospitality and accessibility to these attractions unparalleled anyplace else in the Northwest. While in the area, popular things to do in Portland include touring the Portland Japanese Garden, exploring the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and browsing at one of the many Portland farmers markets. With so much to do and its laid-back, friendly atmosphere, Portland is a must-visit place along the Pacific Northwest.

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Sunrise view overlooking the city of Portland, Oregon

Sunrise view overlooking the city of Portland, Oregon

Friday Harbor, WA (100mi, 3hrs including ferry travel)

One of the main hot spots in the San Juan Islands, Friday Harbor has long been recognized as a top travel destination in Washington. Although relatively small, the island offers a dynamic landscape ranging from pebble-lined beaches, to lush valleys and mountain meadows. Since it rests in Seattle’s rain shadow and is often sunny when nowhere else in the Puget Sound region is, it is routinely referred to as “nature’s playground.” One of the top attractions here is orca whale watching in autumn, although many animals such as harbor seals, porpoises, and sea otters are year-round residents. To really get into the casual spirit of island living, enjoy an art tour, or of course, find your own little corner of paradise on one of the many pristine local beaches.

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Seaside, OR (195mi, 3.5hrs)

The North Oregon Coast is a place of great history, entertainment, and natural beauty. While scenic vistas and amazing day hikes can be found throughout the region, Seaside has really become the place to go for a wide variety of traditional “coastal” activities, such as bike tours, festivals, and fresh, local cuisine. Wander along the Tillamook Head Traverse Hike for impeccable views of the landscape and dine by the ocean to start your day. When you’re ready to hang on the beach, you’ll be delighted with how wide they are here, leaving plenty of room for sand castle building, cookouts, or even a round of beach volleyball. Make sure you also swing by Funland Arcade, the largest on the Oregon Coast, to take a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl and feel like a kid again! Whether you’re on a romantic road trip or embarking on some family fun, Seaside has something for everyone in your car.

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Victoria, BC (185mi, 4.5hrs including ferry travel)

Green and beautiful year-round, Victoria offers an enchanting place for visitors to escape every day life. It is the oldest city in the Pacific Northwest, and here, new world experiences complement old world charm. Snap photos of the spectacular parliament building  and tour the opulent rooms inside. Nearby churches and castles showcase impressive architectural designs and interesting historical significance. Take a walk through the historic James Bay neighborhood or head to the boutiques on Johnson Street and Trounce Alley to purchase wares from local designers. The island has a mild climate throughout the year making it an ideal place for outdoor exploration. Whether you drive through the city, cycle one of the many trails or swim in the ocean, Victoria’s lush landscape can be enjoyed by all. Before getting back on the road, enjoy the time-honored tradition of high tea at the Empress Hotel National Historic Site of Canada.

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A young man sits down with coffee to plan his US road trip on a map.

Week Trips

West Glacier, MT (550mi, 9.5 hrs)

West Glacier is really more of a gateway destination, as it anchors the western entrance to Glacier National Park, offering an ideal location for lodging while exploring the surrounding area. A trip to Glacier National Park is without a doubt more rooted in natural beauty than it is commercial obligations. The views as seen from the historic Going-to-the-Sun Road are breathtaking as you cross the Continental Divide at 6,646-foot-high Logan Pass, and will undoubtedly stay with you forever. The town of West Glacier and the surrounding National Park play host to a huge assortment of activities for the outdoor enthusiast, including whitewater rafting, golfing, hiking, and horseback riding.

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San Francisco, CA (800mi, 13hrs)

If I was going to recommend travel to any major city in California, or the entire West Coast for that matter, it would have to be San Francisco. Most endearing about this city is that even when you partake in one of the more cliched tourist activities like exploring Pier 39 or climbing one of the 40+ hills, you still never know what to expect. Take a drive down the city’s well-known Lombard Street, one of America’s crookedest streets, before ditching your car to cling to the side of a vintage cable car. Explore the neighborhoods like the Upper Haight or the Mission to see the different parts of the city that make it so unique. From the Marina district, enjoy picture-perfect views of the majestic Golden Gate Bridge before people watching at one of the hip bistros nearby. San Francisco is a city teeming with outlandish free thinkers and lovable weirdos, yet it manages to quickly find a place in the heart of your average Joe.

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View of the Golden Gate Bridge giving drivers access to San Francisco

View of the Golden Gate Bridge giving drivers access to San Francisco

Lake Tahoe, CA (750mi, 12hrs)

Lake Tahoe is a haven for outdoor adventures year-round. In the summer, visitors can enjoy swimming, windsurfing, and boating on the picturesque lake, while the surrounding parks and trails beckon to hikers. Mt. Tallac Trail and Emerald Bay State Park offer magnificent views of the lake area while the Gondola at Heavenly provides a peaceful ride with incredible panoramic views. During the winter, strap yours skis or snowboard onto your car and enjoy the epic amounts of snowfall that transform Lake Tahoe into a winter wonderland. Hit the slopes at Northstar or Squaw Valley for a fun day in the snow. Other things to do in Lake Tahoe include making a visit to the Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum or placing some bets at one of the 24-hour casinos in the area. Because Lake Tahoe straddles the border between California and Nevada, the area does also has a flashy nightlife scene and vibrant atmosphere. The area is perfect for a girls’ week away or a family getaway – it’s up to you!

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Las Vegas, NV (1,150mi, 19hrs)

Ah, Las Vegas. Some would say that no matter where you reside in this country, a rubber-meets-road sojourn to Sin City constitutes the ultimate road trip – a statement I’m very much inclined to agree with. Even if you’re not into the well-lit, nonstop party element Vegas is so famous for, you’ll find yourself easily charmed by its rugged beauty and frontier-inspired sightseeing opportunities. One thing is for sure though: going from Seattle to Las Vegas by car is a must-have experience. Cutting through the southern half of Central Washington, skirting the northeast corner of Oregon and the northwest corner of Idaho, then dropping straight down the eastern half of Nevada is an amazing journey that is nearly impossible to match. The ever-changing landscapes and classic roadside attractions encountered along the way make this trip completely worthwhile, even if all you do in Las Vegas is fill up your gas tank and turn right back around.

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Original post was written by Jay Ferris, a Seattle-based writer, husband, and father of three, whose penchant for outdoors-based travel is rivaled only by his dependence on a steady internet connection and spider-free existence. Follow him on Twitter at @jayferris.

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Volume 1 – Austin, TX

Meet Big Tree, a quintet out of Brooklyn, New York with high hopes and empty pockets.  Three dashing young men and two friendly ladies make up this indie pop band.  We are the luckiest people on the planet.  Our job is to drive from one amazing place to the next, play a show, make new friends, and explore new cities. While we’re on the road, FlipKey invited us to share our experiences living like locals everywhere we go.

Leaving Cali

After two years of playing shows all over the U.S.A, Big Tree was invited to play a showcase at the prestigious and epic South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin, Texas. We packed our bags, loaded the tour van, filtered some grease (our van runs on waste vegetable oil to recycle used fuel and save money!), and set out from the San Francisco Bay Area.

The beginning of March had been pretty in Northern California, but it was full-fledged spring in Austin, Texas, the hub of upcoming music.  The flowers were blooming, beautiful women were wearing cut-offs and sandals, and the sun was out and smiling.  Every street echoed with the sounds of indie bands and guitar effect pedals, and the sidewalks were crowded with excited festival go-ers.

Moe's BBQ, Alabma

If setting the clocks forward for Spring doesn’t get you looking forward to long summer days and warm summer evenings, then you probably already live in a tropical climate. For the rest of us, warmer weather and more sunlight spells the beginning of grilling and chilling season. This week, we started to get the first whiffs of what’s cooking for 2011.

Hilton Head visitors will be excited to hear about the annual Hilton Head Wine and Food Festival, which was held from March 8-12. The festival kicked off the season, showcasing great chefs of the South and fine wines from around the world.

Don’t worry about going hungry if you missed the Hilton Head Festival. . . Just head south. Alabama has a whole series of BBQ cook-offs, tastings, and festivals that’s just getting underway. This weekend is the BBQ and Blues festival in Foley, and you can find a culinary and cultural gathering almost every weekend through the summer. To plan your feast, check out the schedule here.

Travelers and homeowners with an interest in London vacation rentals will want to check out the London Vacation Rental Market Report, released last week by New York Habitat. The report shows that “renewed growth in the worldwide travel market brought more customers to London in 2010.”

An article in Colorado’s Summit Daily reported that Western ski towns are “moving forward with plans to hunt down illegal vacation rental owners.” Wherever your vacation rental is located, all rental owners should pay attention to local regulations and be sure to pay any taxes on your properties.

Happy Travel Tuesday! Have a great week and enjoy the daylight!