You Won't Believe America's Cheapest Vacation City

Published On 05/06/2015 Published On 05/06/2015

It's the time of year when everyone starts planning a summer escape. But more than any other factor, one thing rules vacation plans: what's cheap. While Europe's at a discount right now, well, not everyone's looking to go overseas. No sweat. There are plenty of cheap places Stateside. And the cheapest? It's actually Las Vegas.

No, seriously! Provided you don’t gamble your money away, Sin City was named the cheapest city in America. GOBankingRates compared the 50 most popular US vacation destinations, pulling data for the average cost of a night's stay in three-star hotels, food, drink, and transportation, before finding that pretty much everything is cheap in Vegas. That includes the lowest average round-trip airfare, and cheap-as-chips deals. That is, if you only eat at $15 all-you-can-eat buffets. Obviously you can go nuts if you so choose.

Jacksonville, FL, claims second place. It's actually an underrated place. OK, really it’s because the city’s got some of the lowest hotel prices in the country, with rooms averaging just $73 per night. But hey, you could do worse. Orlando managed to land in third, despite hefty admission fees at attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios. The City Beautiful serves up affordable dining options, airfare, and transit.

Other affordable destinations include Albuquerque, NM, where there’s a wealth of free museums and cultural activities that don’t include meth-making, and, oddly, Salt Lake City, UT, where everyone's super friendly

While Florida won the cheapest state title, California proved to be the most expensive state, with Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara all in the bottom 10. But the most expensive city, to no one’s surprise, is New York City, where staying the night in a hotel will likely set you back around $200 or more. Jacksonville's looking pretty good now, huh? OK, maybe not.

Assuming you haven’t already booked a plane ticket to J-Ville, here are the 10 cheapest cities for a vacation, followed by the 10 most expensive.

The 10 cheapest cities for a vacation:

10. Denver, CO
9. Memphis, TN
8. Salt Lake City, UT
7. Grand Rapids, MI
6. Albuquerque, NM
5. Detroit, MI
4. Kansas City, MO
3. Orlando, FL
2. Jacksonville, FL
1. Las Vegas, NV

The 10 most expensive cities for a vacation:

10. Houston, TX
9. Miami, FL
8. Los Angeles, CA
7. Boston, MA
6. Charleston, SC
5. Honolulu, HI
4. Jersey City, NJ
3. San Francisco, CA
2. Santa Barbara, CA
1. New York, NY

Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. Yes, that's a British accent. No, she doesn't watch Doctor Who. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.



Learn More