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home : opinions : columns February 26, 2015

6/17/2014 2:24:00 PM
Budget travel suggestions
Brenda Harrison

It time when most of us set our hearts and mind on a summer vacation. I was surfing on the net recently, (one of my favorite pastimes) and I came across Budget Travel’s 10 Best Budget Vacations for Summer. They rounded up some of the best beaches, national parks, mountains, and big-city blowouts, with hotel rooms ranging from $49 to $149 a night. Interestingly, Myrtle Beach was on the list with beach front rooms starting at $79. Orlando, Fla., was also listed with rooms as low at $67 and located less than 20 minutes from Disney and Universal Parks.

Budget didn’t list houses and condos, but if you research vacation rentals online, you can find lots of deals in the Greater Orlando area. Last summer, I rented a four bedroom house with a small inground pool for just $500 a week. It was located in Davenport, Fla., 15 minutes and an easy drive from the Disney Parks. Also on the list was the Great Smokey Mountains, Tenn. A Gatlinburg hotel was listed for $79 a night. Yellowstone National Park in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming has some jaw-dropping scenery, warm western hospitality, and the closest thing to a safari experience that the lower 48 can offer.

Best known for the Old Faithful geyser, Yellowstone is also home to 1,000 miles of hiking trails, 67 species of mammals and ranger programs, including walks, hikes, and campfire programs. And, rooms listed for $149 a night. How about Chicago, Ill.? Budget lists affordable rooms on the Magnificent Mile from $137 a night. Mackinac City, just a half-hour ferry ride from Mackinac Island in Michigan, has rooms as low as $88 per night. If you desire mountains, the ocean and pine-scented air, you might consider visiting Acadia National Park at Bar Harbor, Maine.

Rooms in nearby Ellsworth, 18 miles away, can be booked starting at $129 per night. If you’re feeling like California is the place to be, consider Morro Bay. Located on the central coast not far from the sprawling Hearst Castle, Morro Bay can be a bargain for vacationers, with rooms starting at $106 a night. If art and museums turn you on, you may want to consider the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. There you can explore one of the U.S.’s largest collections of modern art at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams; see the comprehensive collection at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown; and step back into 19th-century New England by crossing the border into Bennington, VT., for the Grandma Moses collection at the Bennington Museum and Grandma Moses Schoolhouse. North Adams has hotel rooms starting at $119. Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky offers natural history with an air of mystery. Half an hour drive away, rooms are available for as low as $49,

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