Travel is one of the most thrilling and filling ways to spend one’s time. But the costs can quickly add up. It can seem daunting and almost impossible to travel to cool places on a budget.

Here are four wonderful and understated affordable US East Coast travel destinations.

Richmond, VA

Average Hotel Rate: $120

Cheap Hotels:

Fun (Cheap) Things to Do:

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA)

The VMFA is a wonderful, free art museum in Richmond. The Museum itself is huge, and has art from all over the world spanning from early civilizations to modern art. The museum also has a restaurant, and beautiful outside gardens and sculptures.


Carytown is the name locals have given to the abundant shops located on Cary Street. Catch a show at the Byrd theater or get some delicious food at Galaxy Diner or the Magic Mushroom Pizza Shop. Some other fun Carytown shops include Clementine (a thrift store), Plan9 Records, BBGB Books, Creme de la Creme (a make your own pottery place), World of Mirth (a fun toy store for all ages), BK Music, Fab’rik (funky clothes for a fabulous price), Bygones Vintage Clothing, and Rocket Fizz (the best candy store around).

Ellwood Thompsons Local Market

Ellwood Thompsons is a local haven. A benefit Corp., Ellwood Thompsons is a market, a cafe, and a bar all in one. Boasting the freshest and healthiest locally grown food, Ellwood Thompsons is a great place for the 3 Vs- Vegans, Vegetarians, or Very health conscious people.

Belle Isle

Belle Isle is the local watering hole with a rich history. According to their website, At 54 acres, Belle Isle is the second-largest island in the James River within Richmond city limits and one of the most historic sites in the city. Native Americans fished in the river there long before the English arrived. Captain John Smith was among the first Europeans to visit in 1607, and William Byrd I acquired the island in 1676. During the Civil War one of the most notorious prisoner-of-war camps in the South was located on Belle Isle. The remains of a Confederate gun emplacement still are visible on the western end of the hill. From 1904 to 1967, the Virginia Electric Power Company operated a power plant on the island’s south bank. In 1995, Belle Isle was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a nationally significant historic site. Today, Belle Isle is of Richmond’s most popular city parks, with hiking and running trails, bouldered quarry walls for rock climbing, historic ruins and “broad rocks” from which to view the river, especially the roaring rapids at its midpoint.

To learn more about Belle Isle, visit

Public Transportation? Yes

Ohiopyle, PA

Average Hotel Rate: Hotels range from $60-100 nightly. Other housing options include campsites located all around the National Park. For more information, check out

Fun (Cheap) Things to Do:

Falling Water

Falling Water, the famous house by Frank Llyod Wright, is a must see for people travelling through the area. Guided house tours are available from 10am-4pm daily, $30 for Adults and $18 for youth. Falling Water is a mesmerizing house built to be one with nature rather than to overpower it. A breathtaking sight to see.

More information can be found at

Ohiopyle State Park

Located on the southern reaches of the Laurel Ridge, Ohiopyle State Park encompasses approximately 20,500 acres of natural beauty. There are a billion and one things to do in the park including (but not limited to): Hiking, Biking, Horseback riding, Rock climbing, White Water Rafting, and many other activities that end in -ing. You can also explore natural waterslides in Meadow Run. The Ohiopyle State Park Website also gives their top ten activities to do in the park. The list is as follows:

View Ohiopyle Falls and stroll through the borough of Ohiopyle.

Explore rare plants and fossils on Ferncliff Peninsula.

See the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania from Baughman Rocks.

Brave the river with a trip on the Middle or Lower ‘Yough.’

Have a picnic with a view at Tharp Knob.

Spend the night under the stars at Kentuck Campground.

Start your backpacking trip on Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

Bike the Great Allegheny Passage to a nearby trail town.

Ride the sledding hill when the snow falls.

View the falling waters at Cucumber Run.

For more information, visit

Cucumber Falls

Cucumber Falls is a stunning local secret. The water cascades over a 30 foot drop and is known for being one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in Pennsylvania.

Public Transportation? No

Salem, MA

Average Hotel Rate: $170

Cheap hotels can be found here:

Fun (Cheap) Things to Do:

Salem Witch Museum

The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. Today, you can visit the museum for $12 and learn more about one of Mass. most historic tragedies. According to the museum website, the main presentation is based on actual trial documents. Visitors experience the drama of that dark time though thirteen life-size stage sets, figures, lighting and a stirring narration as they are witness to the web of lies and intrigue of the Salem Witch Hunt. For those interested in a less dark tour, the museum also offers an exhibit titled Witches: Evolving Perceptions. In this tour live guides take you through changing interpretations of witches, the truth behind the stereotypes, witchcraft practice today and the frightening phenomenon of witch hunting.\

For more information visit

Canobie Lake Park

Canobie Lake Park is a family amusement (and soon to be water) Park. For $39 you can explore all the park has to offer. From Thrill rides such as Untamed, and The Yankee Cannonball, to kids rides and arcade games, Canobie Lake Park is fun for the whole family.

To learn more, visit

Witch Dungeon Museum

The Witch Dungeon Museum is a unique and chilling way to experience Salem’s unique history. According to the website, “You’ll experience the acclaimed performance of a Witch trial adapted from the 1692 historical transcripts. Professional actresses in repertory reenact the electrifying scene.“ The museum is open every day from 10am-5pm and group rates are available upon request.

For more information visit

Public Transportation? Yes

Ogunquit,  ME

Average Hotel Rate: $165

Cheap hotels can be found here:

Fun (Cheap) Things to Do:

Ogunquit Beach

Ogunquit Beach is one of the longest sandy beaches in New England. With miles and miles of beach to explore, you’ll never get bored! A free, clean, and beautiful beach on the gorgeous coast of Maine- what more could you ask for?

Ogunquit Museum of American Art

The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is a small art museum. It sits on three acres on the coast of Ogunquit, Maine, at 543 Shore Road, and houses over 1,600 pieces in its permanent collection. Tickets are $10 and very much worth the money.

For more information visit

Marginal Way

Anything but marginal, Marginal Way is about a mile-long cliff walk with winding paths that edge around the Atlantic. According to New England Today Travel, “The view spreads out and down—to the icy, thundering seawater, smashing against rocks, spraying out over tide pools, buffeting seal-smooth wet-suited surfers and divers.”

For more information visit: and

Public Transportation? No