5 Affordable California Vacation Spots You Don’t Want to Miss

Planning an upcoming getaway to the beautiful state of California doesn’t have to eat into your savings.

Whether you’re visiting friends and family or traveling to uncharted territories, California has it all – beaches, mountains, National Parks, and even Disneyland. You can check out popular tourist destinations in California on a dime by planning your travel itinerary in advance:

  1. Visit a National Park. If you want to save on the price of admission, buy a National Park Pass for $80 in advance that will allow you to travel freely to all National Parks in the nation. In California, visiting a National Park will provide you with beautiful scenery and a long list of activities, like boating, hiking, and picnicking, at your fingertips.
  2. Check out Legoland. As an alternative to the ever-expensive Disneyland, why not visit Legoland with your kids instead? Legoland is located in Southern California and has kids’ rides, thrill rides, and roller coasters galore. Your kids will be wowed by the many Lego reproductions of famous landmarks in the park, including the Empire State Building and Bourbon Street.
  3. Visit Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Yet another affordable alternative to Disneyland is Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, a theme park in San Francisco. In recent years, this park has experienced some major renovations and now includes an aquarium and an animal park, in addition to regular theme park rides.
  4. Go to the beach. One of the best ways to experience the beauty of California on the cheap is to check out the many beaches throughout the state. Yes, California has the largest coastline of any continental state with notable beaches like Ocean Beach, Newport Beach, and Venice Beach to choose from.
  5. Attend a free festival. Thanks to beautiful weather year-round, California has dozens of festivals to choose from in any season. Most festivals are completely free to the public, while others have inexpensive admission. You may enjoy the Apricot Fiesta, the Annual Wildflower Show, or the Avocado Festival to sample some of the freshest produce in the state.


If you’re visiting California for the first time, tourist options are aplenty. If you travel smart and stay off the beaten path with the affordable vacation selections listed above, you can save hundreds of dollars on your next getaway. When touring an unfamiliar city, public transportation may be available, or you can rent a private car to help you navigate unfamiliar roads.


Plan a Budget Vacation to California Before You Move

If you’re planning to move to California, you may be scraping to save every spare penny to pay for your relocation. How are you supposed to afford an extra trip to visit your new home before you make the big move?

Budget travel begins by planning ahead. Use these helpful tips to plan an inexpensive trip to California before you move to check out the lay of the land:

  1. Visit in the off season. It may be difficult to take the kids out of school in the fall or spring – although you’ll be saving serious money on airfare and hotels if you don’t visit California in the summer. Outside of tourist season, you may be able to stay at a better hotel with a lower price tag.
  2. Book your flight at the right time. Unless you’re driving to California, it’s important to book your airfare strategically. Experts estimate that the best time to book a flight online is 45 to 60 days before departure. Booking too early may not lock in the cheapest available rates.
  3. Travel with flexible vacation days. If you’re traveling for the sole purpose of visiting your new city before making a major move, book a vacation with flexible travel dates in mind. If you have several weekends in a month that you can travel, you will have more options to find a cheaper flight with a better time to suit your schedule.
  4. Use public transportation. If you’re traveling to a major city in California, skip on the cost of a rental car and use buses and subway systems instead. You can purchase a pass for a week or a weekend that will cut down on transportation expenses significantly and allow you to view the city as a true insider.
  5. Make hotel reservations in person. Even though affordable hotel reservations are available online, you can often find a great deal on a nice hotel by checking rates in person. The only exception to this rule would be around a holiday or a major festival that is taking place in town, where hotels are likely to be booked solid.


If you’re truly on a budget when visiting the Golden State, plan ahead for meals and other travel expenses. Packing a lunch can cut down on the cost of fast food. When touring sights in the city, look for tours and museums that have free admission.