smart spending

7 classic American vacations on the cheap

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park © iStock

Yosemite National Park

More than 4 million people visited Yosemite National Park last year to soak in the park's nearly 1,200 square miles of wildlife, waterfalls and towering sequoia trees, as well as to hike, camp and ski.

"It's nature's greatest theme park," says Jeffrey Hentz, managing partner and chief strategist at Catalyst Destinations International.

It's also affordable. Admission costs $30 per car for a seven-day pass.

Once inside, the park has a free shuttle to ferry visitors between many of the major attractions.

To stretch your travel dollars, visit during the offseason from September to April. "A room that is $200 in the summer can drop to $40 to $60 a night in the offseason," Hentz says. Camping is a year-round saver, with spots starting at $12 to $26 per night. But there is limited space, so book early, he says.

Many visitors on this American vacation save on food by picnicking, Hentz says. Local tourism groups also offer package deals on lodging and activities, and coupons for attractions and restaurants.

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