If you’ve been hesitant to plan summer vacations in the city, you’re not alone. From valet parking to eating out, the extra costs can add up fast (and don’t get us started on hidden hotel fees).
That, of course, is where TripAdvisor Rentals comes in—because as much as we love family beach trips and mountain cabin getaways, there’s something to be said for a city adventure. To jump-start your vacation plans, we’ve rounded up nine cities with a winning combination of wallet-friendly attractions and serious Southern charm.
Whether you find yourself drawn to the history of Williamsburg or the scenery in Asheville, you’ll save big by booking a rental in these spots—all for an average weekly rate* of less than $1,500. Thanks to amenities like private driveways (for unlimited in-and-out privileges!) and full kitchens (for cooking at home!), you’ll score memorable family fun that doesn’t cost a fortune.
“Look no further for your St. Petersburg accommodations! Walkable to the bayfront [and] charming historic neighborhoods. Don’t miss Haslam’s Bookstore and the Dali Museum.” – Traveler Review
This family-friendly spot boasts some of Florida’s most beautiful weather—its nickname is ‘Sunshine City,’ after all—so it’s no surprise that it’s a popular place for summer vacations. St. Petersburg is known for its cultural attractions (including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Salvador Dali Museum, and the Mahaffey Theater), but there’s also plenty to do outdoors. Charter a sailboat, bike the Pinellas Trail, or head to St. Pete Beach (20 minutes away) and relax on the shore.
“This condo rental is right in the heart of the hip and fun part of Louisville. Bardstown Road is full of great stores and restaurants. We all loved it and can’t wait to come back.” – Traveler Review
If your philosophy for summer vacations is “will travel for food,” let your taste buds guide you to Louisville. Kentucky’s largest city is home to a burgeoning culinary scene and the Urban Bourbon Trail (featuring restaurants and bars serving up some of the best bourbon cocktails anywhere). Collect stamps from six spots on the trail to become an official “Bourbon Country Citizen.” Not much of a whiskey drinker? Rent a rambling Victorian in Old Louisville and take a walking tour of the historic preservation district, then enjoy a taste of the region’s history at 610 Magnolia.
“The pool, just a few steps from our front door, was amazing. We enjoyed coffee on the patio in the mornings before a quick dip, then sightseeing. Downtown (including Bricktown) was a 5-10 minute drive.” – Traveler Review
Summer in Oklahoma City promises a lineup of exciting events you won’t find anywhere else. From the Red Earth Festival, which celebrates the work of American Indian artists, to the deadCENTER Film Festival, which highlights more than 100 independent films, there’s a lot to see and do in OKC this season. Top attractions for families include the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the Science Museum of Oklahoma, and Bricktown, a revitalized warehouse district. Cruise down the Bricktown Canal in a water taxi to learn more about the area’s history.
“Very walkable to beautiful Virginia Highlands houses [and] a variety of diverse shops and restaurants. We would highly recommend staying here for a home-like stay in Atlanta.” – Traveler Review
Affordable summer vacations . . . in Atlanta? You bet. Yes, this major connecting hub is one of the biggest (and busiest!) cities in the region, but you can definitely enjoy it on a budget. Whether you want to sample soul food, tour iconic filming locations, or rollerblade along the BeltLine—a multi-use trail connecting 45 neighborhoods—Atlanta offers a host of activities that won’t break the bank. Rent a renovated bungalow or chic townhouse downtown for easy access to attractions like Centennial Olympic Park and Fox Theatre, a historic performing arts venue.
“While we enjoyed visiting nearby attractions such as the Jamestown Settlement and Busch Gardens, our favorite vacation memories are of [our rental] the Lightwood House.” – Traveler Review
One of the country’s most storied cities, Williamsburg is part of the Historic Triangle. You might know it best for Colonial Williamsburg, a living history museum featuring actors, educational reenactments, and 18th-century shops. But if Revolutionary War history doesn’t strike your fancy, this city has plenty of activities beyond the bounds of the museum. Test your mettle on the new wooden coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg or take a kayaking tour on the Chesapeake Bay.
“This retreat is a short distance from downtown Nashville with a country-farm feel. This was the perfect place and perfect experience for us. Can’t wait to go back! ” – Traveler Review
When it comes to summer vacation spots with live entertainment, iconic musical landmarks, and the perfect country twang . . . well, there’s really only one. Bring your cowboy boots (or buy a pair at Boot Country!) and fall head over heels for Music City. There’s no better season to visit, thanks in part to annual events like the CMA Music Festival and “Let Freedom Sing!”, an epic July 4th party. Even if your summer soundtrack doesn’t feature Hank and Dolly, you’ll find something to love in Nashville, from gorgeous greenway trails to artisan boutiques.
“The location was perfect—close enough to the highway to hop straight into Asheville, but far enough away to feel like you’re in the mountains. We’d definitely relive the weekend again!” – Traveler Review
If your best summer vacations have the great outdoors in common, make a break for North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Beautiful vistas and legendary craft brews intersect in Asheville, a mountain town surrounded by miles of hiking trails. Rent a downtown loft, a lodge by the river, or a cabin outside town—and don’t forget your hiking boots. Whether you decide to trek the trails, bike in Pisgah National Forest, or raft Class IV rapids on the French Broad River, the outdoor adventures here are second to none.
“We really enjoyed this home on our weeklong San Antonio vacation. We loved the pool, and the outdoor grilling area was awesome. The neighborhood is quiet…close to all the main attractions.” – Traveler Review
The Alamo is just one of many free attractions that make this city such a great spot for cheap summer vacations. The Japanese Tea Garden, a public park with shady walkways, is a beautiful spot for a mid-morning stroll—as is the River Walk, which winds through the city center. You won’t spend a dime on admission at the San Antonio Museum of Art or Missions National Historic Park, which means extra cash for souvenirs from Historic Market Square.
“This old Victorian home was absolutely amazing. This was a much-needed vacation for me and my family, and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Savannah is such a beautiful, historic place.” – Traveler Review
We’ll come right out and say it: we’re smitten with Savannah. But with its Southern hospitality and moss-draped cityscape, who isn’t? If you relish summer vacations with a slower pace (think walking tours and evening river cruises), this is the spot for you. From the winding paths of Forsyth Park to the galleries and boutiques on River Street, there’s no shortage of beautiful places to explore. Book a historic home rental downtown, and you’ll wake up to some of the prettiest views in the South.
*Weekly rates reflect the average cost of a two-bedroom rental in that destination during July 2017, according to TripAdvisor data. Destinations needed at least 10 available rentals on TripAdvisor and an average cost of less than $1,500/week to be considered.