Don't be fooled—spring break doesn't have to break your budget. From the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee to the chic metropolis of Montreal, we've found wallet-friendly destinations perfect for the whole family.
Tucked away in the Smoky Mountains, this Tennessee resort town may be best-known as the home of Dollywood. However, Pigeon Forge has much more to offer than Dolly Parton's famous theme park. Visitors can also take advantage of a robust shopping district, live music, including the Smoky Mountain Opry, as well as access to more than 800 miles of Smoky Mountain National Park hiking trails. You can find plentiful lodging for under $100 a night in Pigeon Forge, even during the height of spring break season.
Acclaimed as a surfing mecca, Cocoa Beach is where famed surfer Kelly Slator got his start. This sleepy Florida beach town is a perfect destination for families, with pristine beaches and a lack of raucous nightlife that can be the hallmark of the typical Florida spring break destination. There's no entry fee for any of Cocoa Beach's famous coastline and there is a wide range of free activities for the family, including Manatee Sanctuary Park, a protected manatee habitat. Cocoa Beach also is a short drive to the Kennedy Space Center. If you time your trip right, you may even be able to catch a rocket launch!
Looking for a destination outside of the typical beach vacation? Check out Montreal. The European vibe of this Canadian city will make you think you've made a trip across the pond rather than just north of the border. Old Montreal is one of the most charming areas of the city with narrow cobblestone streets, shopping, museums, and the majestic Notre-Dame Basilica, which is free to tour. You can also check out the Redpath natural history museum and the Montral Museum of Fine Arts at no cost.
This small mountain town features a unique combination of history, natural wonder, and arts and culture. One attraction that can't be found anywhere else is the famous Taos Pueblo. Thought to be the longest continuously occupied village in the U.S., its adobe buildings are open daily to the public. If you're looking for an adrenaline boost, Taos also has plenty of opportunities for skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing. If a lift ticket isn't in your budget, there are a wide variety of free activities in town, including touring the scenic Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and the beautiful adobe San Francisco de Assis Mission Church, a favorite subject of painter Georgia O'Keeffe. Compared to nearby Santa Fe, you'll find Taos lodging to be much more affordable with many hotels and bed and breakfasts with daily rates under $120.
When you think Alabama, college football or southern rock may come to mind, but don't forget to add white-sand beaches to the list. You can find more than 30 miles of soft quartz beach in the resort town of Gulf Shores. This family-friendly destination has attractions for everyone from deep-sea fishing to golfing, amusment parks, and dolphin tours. However if you're looking to stay on budget, you can't go wrong parking an umbrella and devoting your days to soaking up the sun at the fee-free beach.