29 Incredible Last-Minute Vacations That Don't Cost A Fortune

Elyse Moody

We're constantly counting down the number of days between now and the next long weekend. We know: All you want is to sit by a pool (or, better yet, the ocean) with a cocktail in hand, and your iPhone nowhere in sight.

Thankfully, a quick getaway is calling — and you don’t have to wait for the next holiday to answer it. Whether you dream of hitting somewhere exotically remote or pine for a classically preppy locale — or if you simply want a change in urban scenery — it's surprisingly easy to book a quick, last-minute getaway without drawing up a new budget for your summer vacation plans.

We’ve rounded up all the destinations that you can typically get to from NYC for around $500 or less, and a selection of accommodations for each spot. That trip you've been pining for is a simple, guilt-free click away.

Lexington, KY
You heard it from us first: This Southern gem is about to blow up as the next Charleston. It's got all the characteristics of a fun weekend getaway: Lexington is the birthplace of bourbon, so a distillery tour at Woodford Reserve Distillery is a must. You'll get a firsthand look at the traditional art of bourbon production. The destination is also home to a range of culinary delights, from the Southern menu at Mintons to the farm-to-table experience at Lockbox.

Splurge: Unwind in the newly-renovated The Campbell House, where you'll get to stay at spacious rooms with complementary shuttle service, WiFi, fitness room and an indoor pool.

Save: Clarion Hotel is a great budget option with straightforward amenities and a central location.

Photo: Visit Lexington.

Portland, OR
Despite rapid gentrification in recent years, Portland is still a destination you can do on a budget. An afternoon flipping pages at Powell's Books — the largest independent bookstore in the world — is completely free, so is a trip to the International Rose Test Garden. There's no shortage of affordable culinary delights in the city, from the $2.75 truffle fries at Little Big Burger to curiously-flavored ice cream cones at Salt & Straw.

Splurge: Setinel Hotel perfectly captures the quirky spirit of Portland with its avant-garde exterior and eclectic decor.

Save: HI Portland Hawthorne District Hostel offers cozy rooms in a central location for $78 a night.

Photo: Getty

Greater Williamsburg, VA
You've probably visited the area on a grade school trip, but there's more to Greater Williamsburg than the Busch Gardens or the Jamestown Settlement. In recent years, the region has undergone a remarkable transformation into a hub for fine dining, shopping, and the arts. Don't miss a tour of the Williamsburg Winery and Alewerks Brewing Company to sample some of the best wines and microbrews the country has to offer.

Splurge: Williamsburg Inn
This majestic hotel is fit for a royalty — literally. Queen Elizabeth II has stayed twice at this charming Colonial Revival-style property, acclaimed for its fine dining and impeccable service.

Save: Williamsburg KOA Campground
For an experience you won't ever forget, grab a cabin or yurt at this gorgeous campground all covered in foliage. The stay will roughly cost you up to $85 per night.

Photo: Courtesy of Williamsburg Inn

Stowe, VT
Stowe is a great destination for winter sports, but it's equally lovely outside of ski season. Climb up Mount Mansfield to immerse yourself in the great outdoors and enjoy the stunning foliage, or see the pristine water rush down at Sterling Falls Gorge.

Splurge: Take in the splendid nature and get a breathe of fresh air at Stowe Meadows, where you'll be able to look out to the lush greenery from the suites.

Save: Many bed and breakfast and lodging facilities in Stowe offer deep discounts in warmer months. Innsbruck Inn 's rates drop to $93 or below in slower months.

Photo: Getty Images

Minneapolis, MN
The more famous half of the Twin Cities is a great getaway destination for culture vultures. With plenty of museums to explore, you'll be walking away with refreshed knowledge on art and American history. Our top picks are the avant-garde Walker Art Center, the extensively-curated Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the American Swedish Institute, a real-life fairytale castle. There's no shortage of Instagram-worthy buildings here, since practically every iconic architect you can think of has left an indelible mark on the city. Be sure to stop for a selfie in front of Guthrie Theater — a spaceship-like structure designed by Jean Nouvel — and the Weisman Art Museum, Frank Gehry's futuristic wonder.

Splurge: Hotel Ivy is converted from a Ziggurat-style historical landmark that was originally commissioned by a church.

Save: Equipped with a gym and a jacuzzis in certain rooms, LivINN Hotel in Northern Minneapolis is a no-fuss accommodation with rates starting at $84.

Photo: Getty Images

Atlanta, GA
Don't underestimate this Georgian peach: Its got quite the diverse repertoire of attractions. History buffs will delight in its array of landmarks, from the very house where Gone With The Wind was completed, to the birth home of Martin Luther King, Jr. Those looking for a fun adventure can beeline to World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium, while nature lovers will love the stunning views at Piedmont Park.

Splurge: The InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta is gorgeously furnished like a Southern palace.

Save: The Highland Inn has been in operation since the 1920s and its quaint look will still charm you today. Nightly rates start at $79.

Photo: Getty Images

Charleston, SC
There's no better place to experience true Southern charm than the Palmetto State's oldest city. Part of its appeal comes from the rainbow-colored buildings downtown, inspired by a diverse range of architectural styles, from colonial to Gothic Revival. Historical edifices aside, Charleston also boasts a rich culinary culture. Don't miss out on she-crab soup, the city's signature seafood bisque made with fish stock and crab roe. Our favorite spot to sample the classic dish is Hominy Grill.

Splurge:The Governor's House Inn
Heritage hotels are an obvious attraction here, but this hotel takes things to the next level: The restored Georgian manor was once the home of Edward Rutledge, the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. The suites are stunning decorated with poster beds, marble showers and colorful wallpaper.

Save: NotSo Hostel
With a central location in the downtown historic district and nightly rates starting at $28 per person, this budget accommodation is ideal for those hoping to make the most of local shopping and restaurants.

Photo: Getty Images

Austin, Texas
As one of the most-visited cities in the country, Austin has everything you're looking for in a last-minute vacation. The city is known for its vibrant art scene; catch a concert or visit a gallery. Take a stroll down Lady Bird Trail for some beautiful outdoor time. Austin is also home to over 2,000 food trucks, so you won't have to drop cash on fancy restaurant meals at all (unless you want to).

Splurge:Hotel Granduca Austin
Staying at Hotel Granduca is like escaping to a luxurious Italian villa. The hotel sits on a hillside offering a breathtaking view of the Westlake area, and first-class service and amenities.

Save:The Highlander
This funky boutique hotel is located in the Highland area right near downtown. The modern and unique rooms allow you to experience the hip flare of Austin without breaking the bank.

Photo: Getty Images.

Boston, MA
Beantown offers visitors a little bit of everything: great shopping along Newbury Street; world-class art at the ICA; and so many different dining options, whether you want a lobster roll or a cannoli. Pretend you're a co-ed and stroll Boston University's sprawling campus; drink beers at Boston Brew Works; and take in a game at the nation's oldest baseball stadium, Fenway Park. Or, dive into the city's rich history with a tour of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and an afternoon at Faneuil Hall.

Splurge:The Verb Hotel
This mid-century-themed spot just opened in 2014, but it's an instant classic. Steps from Fenway Park, Boston University, and a short T ride to Boston Common, it's centrally located for whatever you want to do in the city.

Save:Harborside Inn
Located in Boston's financial district, this business hotel might not be the sexiest stay, but it's located close to so many attractions, including the New England Aquarium and the historic North End neighborhood.

Photo: Getty Images.

Washington, D.C.
Maybe you visited our nation’s capital on an elementary school field trip to learn about how government works, but don’t cross it off your list quite yet. You may think, been there, done that, but Washington, D.C. has plenty more to offer for adults. When you’re done soaking up the historical sites, venture out to quaint Georgetown for cupcakes and shopping on M Street. In D.C., you'll find the variance of a big city in a smaller package, which makes it easy to navigate with lots to do.

Splurge:The Jefferson
Get in touch with our nation’s history with a stay in this small luxury boutique hotel. The Jefferson’s design gives nods to Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia home of Monticello and even includes displays of authentic Jefferson-signed documents. Though that’s all well and good, we don’t stay at a hotel for just history. Here, you’ll also find world-class amenities and an attentive staff. There are also three onsite dining options and an exclusive spa.

Save:Windsor Inn
If you’re simply looking for a budget-friendly stay in a prime location, book a room at the Windsor Inn. The inn is small and doesn’t offer luxurious amenities, but it’s clean and has a helpful staff. Best of all, it's only 6 blocks from the White House and is walking distance from many other monuments and museums you’re sure to want to check out while you’re in town.

Photo: Getty Images.

San Diego, California
Sitting right across from the Mexican border, San Diego offers plenty of diversity mixed with that laid-back SoCal vibe. You can take part in outdoor activities like surfing and swimming in the Pacific Ocean or explore in the over a thousand acres of green space in Balboa Park. And of course, don’t miss out on tasting some of the best fish tacos in the world and checking out the bustling microbrewery scene.

Splurge: Pantai Inn
One of the biggest draws of San Diego is its proximity to the beautiful Pacific Ocean. A stay at Pantai Inn brings you up close and personal to the sea. Located in the seaside village of La Jolla, the inn has plenty of outdoor space and convenient access to the beach. Its oceanfront location, Balinese-inspired décor, and that relaxing Southern California aura will help you unwind in no time.

Save:The Pearl Hotel
This boutique hotel’s vintage design makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time for the evening. Quirky touches like the “Drive-In Theater” above the pool transform your stay into a totally unique experience. Its old school ambiance, however, doesn’t mean you won’t get modern amenities and comfort. It’s even conveniently located not too far from the San Diego airport.

Photo: Getty Images.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Every summer, Honduras' capital city welcomes over 250,000 tourists, according to the country's National Chamber of Tourism. The colonial city has a rich and, at times, very sad history, which visitors can learn about through trips to various city landmarks and cultural centers like the Museum of National Identity. Make sure to also explore La Tigra National Park during your time in Tegucigalpa to admire the gorgeous tropical plants and spot unique creatures.

Splurge:Humuya Inn
Full of artwork by local artisans, the Humuya Inn allows you to feel connected to Honduran culture while also feeling safe and comfortable in its suites. Reviewers on many different travel sites gush about the inn's superb food and facilities, and most of all, its devoted and kind staff.

Save:Real Colonial Hotel
Praised for it's beautiful views and safe location, this hotel has small but elegant rooms at a very reasonable price. The Real Colonial offers a variety of tourist packages with accommodations and services to match every travel's needs.

Photo: Getty Images.

Sofia, Bulgaria
Looking for a European vacation of the cheap? Take a look at Sofia, one of it's most affordable cities. Everything from flights and hotel accommodations to food, drink, and tourist attractions cost less than some of Europe's more tourist-trodden capital cities. It's also one of the oldest — the architecture, charming streets, and rich history are a joy to explore.

Splurge:Sense Hotel Sofia
In Sofia, splurging has a totally different meaning. A stay at the luxurious Sense Hotel Sofia, will put you back around just $140 a night, despite its reputation as Sofia's top rated hotel on TripAdvisor. Not only does the hotel have a stunning design, comfortable rooms, and top-of-the-line services, its location is hard to beat. Situated perfectly on the city’s main boulevard, Tsar Osvoboditel, the hotel is surrounded by significant landmarks, which contributes its breathtaking views.

Save:Budapest Hotel
Because of the city’s affordability, you’ll never have to sacrifice comfort in order to save. At Budapest Hotel, you’ll find inexpensive nightly rates in modern and cozy rooms. This hotel is also very centrally located in the most exciting area of Sofia and is very close to public transportation for travelers’ convenience.

Photo: Getty Images.

Nashville, Tennessee
Known as Music City, Nashville is bursting with sweet sounds. Though it's home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and CMT, it's not all honky-tonks here. You can find live jazz, orchestral music, and indie pop all over the city, any day of the week.

Splurge: The Hermitage Hotel
With a Five-Star rating from Forbes, you know you'll be getting high quality service and luxury amenities. The rooms offer plenty of space, privacy, and of course, comfort. It's also been a cherished Nashville landmark for over a century.

Save:Daisy Hill Bed and Breakfast
Located in the Hillsboro West End neighborhood of Nashville, this quaint tudor revival craftsman-style home provides a mellow and serene stay. Built in 1926, Daisy Hill has earned a spot on the National Registry of Historic Places and has been run as a bed and breakfast by the Bengson family for the past 16 years.

Photo: Getty Images.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
This diverse city is a wonderful place to experience many different cultures in one vacation. Year-round food festivals celebrate the variety of different cuisines cooked here, and you'll want to get a taste of every single one. Toronto is also home to a thriving art scene with ballet, opera, and theater, leaving you plenty to do during the evenings. And make sure to take in an impressive view of the city from 1,815 feet atop CN Tower.

Splurge:The Hazelton Hotel
Here you'll find elegant rooms, each designed by Yabu Pushelberg, the world renowned interior design firm. Located in the heart of downtown, you can easily access all the best attractions from The Hazelton, and the dedicated concierge will make your stay easy and enjoyable.

Save:By The Park Bed & Breakfast - High Park
This century old home offers 8 comfortable suites perfect for a relaxing stay. The lovely neighborhood of High Park has great shopping, dining, and outdoor recreation. When you've explored this area, you can easily take a trip to downtown Toronto with the city's convenient public transportation.

Photo: Getty Images.

New Orleans, Louisiana
Escape to the Big Easy to experience bold, famously raucous culture unlike anywhere else in the world. Feast on Creole and Southern cuisine, shop the boutiques of Magazine Street, and bop to the sounds of sidewalk jazz, all without breaking the bank. And though Mardi Gras is, of course, the most popular time to visit, NOLA is a great destination all year round. Don't forget to try a beignet!

Splurge:Hotel Mazarin
This luxury boutique hotel is centrally located just half a block from Bourbon Street. Full of classic New Orleans charm, Hotel Mazarin offers superior guest services and unique, comfortable guest rooms that overlook either the peaceful inner courtyard or bustling streets of the French Quarter.

Save:Inn on St. Ann
Built way back in 1830, this little inn — also located in the French Quarter — is rich in history, but affordable in price. Its iconic New Orleans architecture and antique decor will charm your pants off.

Photo: Getty Images.

Camden, Maine
Known as the “Jewel of the Coast,” Camden is a classically beautiful coastal town. It’s what people think of when they think New England. Tourists are sure to enjoy its abundance of locally owned shops, art galleries, and outdoor attractions.

Splurge: Grand Harbor Inn
Designed to reflect the architecture of a traditional New England cottage, the Grand Harbor Inn sits on the edge of one of Maine’s most scenic harbors. The boutique hotel is an ideal spot for your coastal retreat.

Save: Blue Harbor House Inn
This bed-and-breakfast is conveniently located a few blocks from Camden Harbor, and its relaxing and refreshingly casual ambiance is great for a getaway. Unwind in one of its 11 comfortable guest rooms, which are all decorated in traditional coastal style and are equipped with modern comforts.

Photo: Courtesy of Grand Harbor Inn.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Offering a multitude of both outdoor and cultural activities, Santa Fe is a hot, year-round tourist destination. Honor New Mexico’s multicultural spirit by exploring the indigenous art scene and enjoying the iconic southwestern architecture.

Splurge: La Fonda on the Plaza
The only Santa Fe hotel centrally located on the historic plaza, La Fonda provides guests with an authentic New Mexican experience. The hotel offers luxury services and is regarded as one of the best in the city. It’s also a historic landmark, and the location is said to have operated as an inn since the 1600s.

Save:The Bobcat Inn
This family owned bed and breakfast sits on a gorgeous 10-acre southwestern estate. The Bobcat Inn is a unique alternative to typical lodging options. Its welcoming atmosphere provides the perfect place to settle in for a relaxing and peaceful vacation.

Photo: Courtesy of La Fonda on the Plaza.

Los Angeles, California
Flights from New York to LAX can be found for as little as $230 roundtrip, which makes it an especially attractive destination. Of course, cheap fares are just one reason to visit L.A. The allure of all things Hollywood, the consistently gorgeous weather, the amazing beaches, and the super chic dining and shopping scenes are a few more.

Splurge: The Mondrian L.A.
This trendy boutique hotel is perched in the hills of West Hollywood, right on Sunset Boulevard in the center of the action. The rooms are luxurious and spacious, but the real draw is the pool deck, which is so sexy and scenic even locals like to hang there. By night, it's a great spot for drinks — though you may prefer to wander over to the infamous Chateau Marmont, which is just a few blocks away.

Steal:Mama Shelter
Of course, like any major city, L.A. has plenty of super cheap chain hotels, Airbnbs, and a selection of decent hostels. But for something a little more unique, try Mama Shelter, a hip and affordable new spot near Hollywood Boulevard.

Photo: REX/Shutterstock.

Montego Bay, Jamaica
Jamaica's big, northwestern beach city of Montego Bay is a jewel all its own, but it also features the closest airport to the popular East coast beach town of Negril. Whichever tropical locale you choose, you’ll be replacing the clatter and grind of the New York City subway with an infectiously laid-back soundtrack of reggae and dancehall music.

Splurge:The Hilton Rose Hall, Montego Bay
All you need to pack is your bikini. Here, an all-inclusive stay offers three daily meals, drinks, access to a private beach, a poolside concierge service, and water sports.

Save:The Rockhouse, Negril
We can’t decide which is most amazing: the secluded patios, the outdoor showers, the incredible spa, or the unbelievably reasonable price.

Photo: Courtesy of Hilton Hotels.

Mexico City, Mexico
If you’d rather encounter Frida Kahlo on her native turf than at the New York Botanical Garden, here’s your chance to see her home and dedicated museum in the festive Coyoacán neighborhood — not to mention an opportunity to dive into the Distrito Federal’s bustling, world-renowned restaurant and street-food scene.

Splurge:Las Alcobas
Traditionalists might go for the Four Seasons D.F. or the St. Regis, but we’re all about this boutique hotel in Polanco. Enjoy luxury spa services, dine at its seasonal, locally sourcing eatery, and take in panoramic views of the streetscape from the corner rooms' king-sized beds.

Save: The Red Tree House
This 1930s artists’ hideaway turned cozy guesthouse (with a complimentary daily breakfast that Serious Eats writer Daniel Gritzer says “[is] worth whatever digestive real estate you can spare”) makes annual appearances on best-of lists. Also: It offers lower rates for solo travelers.

Photo: Chameleons Eye/REX/Shutterstock.

Cancún, Mexico
Because everyone you know just got back from Tulum, is in Tulum, or is talking about going to Tulum, which is about an hour and a half away from the Cancún airport. Pick something slightly closer to feel the vibe sooner and to maximize your beach time.

Splurge: Hotel Esencia
Our ideal non-agenda: Traipsing around the ocean-facing pool deck in our complimentary Havaianas after sunrise yoga and a Lime Ritual purifying body treatment.

Save:Krystal Hotel and Resort, Cancún
Skip the all-inclusive option and book only the room at this sprawling resort, then spend the entire weekend watching the waves crash from its beachside pool.

Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Esencia.

Montreal, Canada
If you’re growing tired of New York’s blue Citi Bikes, pack your helmet and head north to Montreal, where you can explore the city on its popular gray Bixi cycles. With more than 200 miles of bike paths, it’s the perfect place to tour on wheels.

Splurge: Le Petit Hôtel Montreal
You won’t find anything like Old Montreal in the five boroughs. Stay at this sleek boutique hotel nestled in the historic district and take a spin around the Old Port on its incredibly cute (and free!) first-come, first-serve set of bicycles.

Save: Hôtel Bonaventure Montréal
Forget the crowded dance floors of the Meatpacking District. Nestled amid Montreal’s cultural center is the Hôtel Bonaventure, boasting the city's secret treasure of a (year-round!) rooftop pool, complete with blissful chaises lounges for napping.

Photo: Nicolas Kipourax Paquet/Getty Images.

Denver, Colorado
If one too many downtown pub crawls has got you down, maybe it’s time to tap the Rockies. Fly west to Denver, the land of perfect temperatures, endless summer sunshine, and a thousand craft breweries.

Splurge: Denver Hotel Monaco
Book the Happy Hour promotion and receive two cocktails daily. We particularly love that they furnish the brightly patterned rooms with luxe Frette linens.

Save:Renaissance Denver Downtown
Relax after a long day of hiking (or sightseeing) in the gorgeous Colorado National Bank landmark building, which comes decorated with its original murals and 19th-century details.

Photo: Danita Delimont/Getty Images.

Bridgetown, Barbados
Trade your Rihanna-heavy radio rotation for a taste of the sassy singer’s Caribbean home country, known for its rum, diving sites, and pristine beaches. The flight to paradise is a mere five hours.

Splurge: The Hilton Barbados
With its Eforea Spa (complete with the Caribbean’s first quartz-sand bed for treatments), the swanky Hilton, situated on scenic Needham’s Point, is your best bet on Bridgetown’s beach corridor.

Save: Infinity on the Beach Hotel
We’re looking forward to spending an entire weekend sans shoes at this mid-rise hotel, which opens right onto the picturesque Dover Beach.

Photo: Courtesy of Hilton Hotels.

Hyannis, Massachusetts
Transplant yourself from JFK International Airport to the site of the Kennedy family’s vacation compound in just over an hour. Stay there for a classic Cape Cod vacation or, for the full Jackie O. experience, hop on the ferry to Nantucket Island.

Splurge: The Wauwinet Hotel
From its adorably shingled exterior and wicker chaise loungers to its extensive concierge services, everything about this secluded Nantucket stalwart is tailored to perfection.

Save: Hyannis Holiday Motel
Watch the ferries set sail from the harbor-view rooms at this family-owned motel, just a 15-minute walk from idyllic Keyes Beach.

Photo: Courtesy of Hyannis Holiday Motel.

Chicago, Illinois
Millennium Park, the Bean, the architecture, the hot dogs — late spring and early summer is the most hospitable time for New Yorkers to make a Windy City escape.

Splurge: The Thompson Chicago
Ask for a room on the north side of this award-winning Gold Coast hotel for a view of Lake Michigan, and book its City Summer Camp package for guided farmers'-market tours, paddleboarding, private tennis lessons, and curated ice cream crawls. All you have to do is tear yourself away from the Sferra bedding to start exploring.

Save: Longman & Eagle
This farm-to-table gastropub in friendly Logan Square has the perfect (pocket-friendly) solution for customers who spend a long night at its top-shelf whiskey bar: Simply head upstairs to its six design-conscious, Apple TV-equipped rooms. Plan to stay there, and you’ll be at the center of all the action.

Photo: Courtesy of The Thompson Chicago.

Savannah, Georgia
Sure, Gramercy Park is gorgeous, but unless you know someone, it’s nearly impossible to get a key. Consider Savannah a city of equally beautiful green spaces, open to the public, accented with Spanish moss and framed by a charming array of historic buildings.

Splurge:Andaz Savannah
Whether you spend all day exploring downtown or sunning on Tybee Island, we think a dip in the Andaz’s terrace pool is the perfect sunset treat.

Save: The Catherine Ward House
All the rooms have fireplaces (and most still work), and many have their own porches. After you devour a scrumptious breakfast, you’ll feel like an honorary Georgian.

Photo: Friedrich Schmidt/Getty Images.

Philadelphia, PA
This city is so much more than Philly cheese steaks. Though neighbors like NYC and D.C. tend to take up the spotlight, The City of Brotherly Love is a great option for a casual getaway. Feast up on the diverse cuisines available at Reading Terminal Market, an iconic indoor marketplace that's been around since 1893. Catch an Eagles game at Lincoln Financial Field, and don't forget to utilize the abundance of BYOBs in town.

Splurge: Rittenhouse 1715 is located in a charming brownstone building in the heart of downtown. With the French provincial furnishings and a lovely bistro just around the corner, you'd feel like you're living it up in Paris.

Save: Alexander Inn offers rooms within walking distance from all the major landmarks at reasonable price points.

Photo: Courtesy of C. Smyth for VISIT PHILADELPHIA

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