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9 Best Road Trip Destinations in the USA on a Budget

Back in the early 1990s, when gas prices hovered around an inflation-adjusted average of $2.25 per gallon (according to The Motley Fool), my family took advantage of low fuel prices by going on amazing road trips. The memories I have from those trips are some of the most vivid of my childhood, and I strongly encourage a road trip on any occasion when gas prices dip.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out one of the following locations, particularly the ones that are nearest to your corner of the country. Each of these has ample opportunities for free or low-cost sightseeing and camping. The sights and sounds of American roads will not disappoint your family – and they certainly won’t disappoint your pocketbook.

The key to saving money on a road trip is to find a stunning stretch of highway that’s close to your home. Remember too that road trips are most affordable when most of your expenses are related to the car. It’s easy for well-intentioned road trippers to bust their budget on hotels, restaurants, and attractions. So keep it short and simple, and focus on the scenery, rather than the costly attractions.

Road Trip Destinations for Every Corner of America

1. Historic Columbia River Highway in Oregon

Hop on the 74-mile Columbia River Highway just outside of Portland, Oregon, and prepare to see stunning waterfalls, rivers, bridges, and mountains as your travel along the Columbia River Gorge. Most of the historic route follows U.S. Route 30 and Oregon Route 35, though a portion now runs concurrent with I-84 between Portland and The Dalles. You can complete the 48-mile road trip from Portland to the Hood River in just a day, or extend it to two days by staying overnight at a lodge or campsite.

You can see an astonishing amount of wildlife as you look over the vistas, and be sure to stop at free attractions like Multnomah and Horsetail Falls. Consider staying overnight at Brickhaven Bed & Breakfast in Corbett for $100 per night, or camp at Lewis and Clark RV Park and Campground for just $25 per night.

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