Empire State Building at sunrise in New York City.

From strolling along the High Line to exploring the city by Citi Bike, find out the latest activities to cross off your list next time you visit New York City. (Getty Images)

The city that never sleeps is one of the most dynamic cities in the world. It's not the kind of place you can easily check off your bucket list in one trip, because New York features a cache of diverse and ever-evolving attractions, from cutting-edge restaurants and shops to trendy galleries and museums. While there are always new and noteworthy activities sprouting across the NYC's eclectic and unique neighborhoods that are worth exploring, here's your guide to 10 can't-miss city experiences you couldn't do in Gotham before 2010.

[Read: Summer in the City: Where to Stay and Play in New York.]

Hiking Along the High Line

So you've explored Central Park, but what about New York City's must-see elevated park? The High Line first opened in 2009, with the third installment completed in 2014. Today, this former elevated rail line receives only foot traffic – to the tune of 5 million visitors a year. The 1.5-mile long greenway from Gansevoort to 34th Street is a popular place year-round and park programming that includes art exhibitions, live performances and dance parties.

People-Watching in Pedestrian Plazas

In 2009, former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg temporarily closed one of Broadway's busiest sections to car traffic. His experiment led to a $55 million project to make Times Square more pedestrian-friendly. Finished in December, the six plazas span five blocks and more than 100,000 square feet. They feature food kiosks and plenty of public seating so visitors can sit back and soak in the city's exciting sights and sounds.

Visiting the National September 11 Memorial & Museum

One of the most moving experiences an American can have is standing at Ground Zero. Ten years after the September 11 attacks, the long-awaited National September 11 Memorial & Museum opened its doors. Exhibits include "Before 9/11," "the Day of 9/11" and "After 9/11." There's also a time-lapse video of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site. What's more, visitors can also attend weekly talks hosted by survivors. And the Memorial's striking twin reflecting pools pay tribute to the victims of the 1993 and 2011 attacks. Adult admission to the museum costs $24.

Riding to the Top of One World Observatory

Big Apple visitors once bragged about riding the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building. But since 2015, the most sought-after lift in town belongs to One World Trade Center. Also known as the Freedom Tower, the 104-story structure is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. If you're not afraid of heights, pay $34 to travel to the observatory.

[Read: How to Save on a Trip to the Hamptons.]

Sightseeing From the NYC Ferry

For the first time in 100 years, New York's five boroughs will be connected by ferry service. For $2.75, passengers can travel from Astoria, Queens, down to Brooklyn and even the Rockaways, among other destinations. By the end of 2018, the NYC Ferry system will have 20 boats along six routes that will service 21 landings throughout the city. Outside seating offers a unique perspective for skyline and picturesque bridge photo ops. Indoors, passengers can connect to free Wi-Fi and purchase refreshments.

Shopping at Brookfield Place

Historically speaking, lower Manhattan hasn't been known as a shopping capital. That changed when Brookfield Place opened in Battery Park City in 2015. The indoor mall's 30 shops include designer outposts from Burberry, DVF, Gucci and Hermes – all selling the same goods available on Fifth Avenue. There are also more than 20 eateries specializing in everything from sushi to tapas to cupcakes. During the winter, Brookfield Place offers ice skating at its outdoor rink, and in the summer, sailing at the adjacent North Cove Marina.

Enjoying Connectivity Before You Check Into Your Accommodations

Even before guests arrive at The Bernic Hotel, they can communicate with the concierge via its app. This four-star boutique hotel opened in September 2016 and boasts 96 rooms appointed with Apple TVs, so guests can stream their favorite shows from home, and the entire 22-story building is outfitted with high-speed wireless internet. Summer rates start at around $160 per night.

Staying in a Smart Hotel

The hotel chain Yotel bills itself as a new breed of accommodations. At its 42nd Street location on 10th Avenue, guests are greeted by six full-service kiosks offering automated check-in. The process can be further expedited by downloading the hotel's associated app, and simply scanning a QR code. And in the lobby, it's impossible to miss the hotel's luggage-storing robot. Guests can enter their details via touch screen and watch from behind a glass wall as the robot moves their luggage to their assigned locker. The property opened in 2011 and boasts the largest hotel terrace in New York City. Nightly rates start at around $120.

Cruising Around on a Citi Bike

Before 2013, most bikes in Manhattan belonged to couriers and pedicab drivers. Today, New York City boasts the largest bike-share fleet in the country. In 2016, riders used New York's Citi Bikes on more than 14 million trips. By the end of 2017, Citi Bike hopes to have 12,000 bikes available at more than 700 stations throughout the city. To make up for the influx of riders, the city is dedicating more bike lanes and widening existing lanes such as the path over the Brooklyn Bridge. Citi Bike day passes cost $12.

[Read: 10 Secret Spots Across New York City to Explore This Summer.]

Touring the Woolworth Building

In 2014, the New York Times credited the world-famous Woolworth Building with having the city's "most sumptuous office lobby." But Cass Gilbert's Gothic-inspired lobby, whose crown jewel is a stunning mosaic ceiling, was closed to the public in 2000. Fast-forward 13 years later, on the building's centennial, and Gilbert's great-grandchildren received permission to begin sharing their great grandfather's grand arcade with tourists curious to see inside what was once the tallest building in the world. Tickets for 60-minute guided tours of the building cost $30.


10 Cheap Summer Vacation Destinations


Photo Gallery
Group of friends dancing together at a beach party.
A young woman walks up a narrow stair set winds down to a overlook of Yellowstone Falls in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
Old Harbor Lifesaving Station at Provincetown in Cape Cod
High angle view of beach and houses at Carvoeiro against clear sky.
Spain, Madrid, View of Cibeles Square at night
Joshua Tree National Park in Palm Springs, California just before sunset.
Arizona Canal running through Scottsdale, Arizona.
Bixby Creek Bridge, along California 1
Part of the Vancouver skyline, seen from Olympic Village at the end of False Creek. In the foreground is the ramp down to the watertaxi dock, with the geodesic dome of the Science Museum behind, along with some apartment buildings and offices on Quebec Street.
Mayan Riviera Paradise in Cancun, Mexico.
Beach in Nha Trang, Vietnam
|

Start planning your trip to these budget-friendly summertime spots.
Planning a summer escape seems simple – until you factor in choosing a destination that fits all of your travel companions' needs, tastes and vacation styles. After pinpointing a region that appeals to the group, you must select a place that offers activities, accommodations and natural attractions catering to the interests of kids, outdoorsy types, crowd-averse pals, sun worshippers and the like. And then there's the matter of finding a spot that offers immersive and memorable vacation experiences, even on a tight budget. That's why we've tapped top travel experts to deliver a list of diverse and cost-effective summer vacation options. Whether you want adventure or relaxation, culture or history, a coastal retreat or an off-the-beaten-track getaway, there's an inexpensive locale for you to explore this summer.
(Getty Images)

Yellowstone National Park
If you're traveling with a group of outdoor enthusiasts, it's hard to top the natural attractions, scenic hiking trails, ranger-led programs and wildlife-spotting opportunities available at Yellowstone. And with the upcoming National Park Service centennial fast approaching on Aug. 25, park visitors can take advantage of free admission from Aug. 25-28, says Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com. Even if you're planning to embrace the great outdoors earlier in the summer, weeklong admission to the park costs just $30 (if you're entering with a noncommercial vehicle; admission is $15 for visitors entering on foot or by bike). And Klee points out that "once you're inside, most attractions are 100 percent free." Besides myriad natural wonders, from Old Faithful geyser to Mammoth Hot Springs, there are also activities geared toward a variety of age groups and even evening campfire talks, Klee says. Plus, visitors can expect plenty of cheap lodging choices, from cabins to lodges to more than 2,000 first-come, first-served campsites. For example, the popular Lewis Lake Campground area, located just eight miles from the park's south entrance near Lewis River Canyon, offers nightly rates starting at $15.
(Getty Images)

Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Along the East Coast, you'll find plenty of affordable summer escapes that are relatively inexpensive, says Clara Sedlak, senior special projects editor at Jetsetter.com. She points to Salt House Inn, a boutique property in Provincetown, Massachusetts, as a budget-friendly favorite. Nightly rates are currently listed at an average of $210 per night for a weeklong stay in June. Plus, goSeek lists hotels in Cape Cod for under $100 in June. And amid Cape Cod's quaint cottages and clam shacks, you'll also find affordable (and free) attractions, from picturesque bike trails to idyllic sands along the 40-mile-long National Seashore (admission is $3 from May to September). If you're itching for more activity, hit the scenic Cape Cod Rail Trail, which snakes through the lower Cape, or check out the rugged landscape and plentiful migratory seabirds and seals at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.
(Getty Images)

Porto, Portugal
For those yearning to get off the grid and explore a new coastal retreat this summer, Porto, perched on Portugal's scenic River Douro, is a compelling option. Lisbon's neighbor on the northern coast "has cemented its place on the global cultural map thanks to a crop of design-forward guesthouses, eye-catching art galleries and standout restaurants," Sedlak says. This summer, art aficionados can check out the Serralves Foundation's contemporary art museum while architecture enthusiasts take in striking views of the graceful Dom Luís I Bridge and wine lovers make their way to Vila Nova de Gaia, a neighborhood to the south that's known for it's top-notch wineries. Plus, you can tack on a trip to nearby Lisbon, and take in its rich cultural heritage and affordable sights, without paying a steep price tag. "Every year, we think Lisbon is going to blow up for leisure travel, and every year it stays decidedly, blissfully low-key. Go to Portugal and truly get away from it all," Klee says. Google currently lists round-trip flights from New York City airports to Porto starting at $799 in July and round-trip flights from San Francisco International Airport starting at $1,351 for the same time period.
(Getty Images)

Madrid
"The good news about travel this summer is that flight costs are down and the dollar is stronger than ever," Sedlak says. Beyond inexpensive spots like Lisbon, Athens and Dubrovnik, Croatia, there are plenty more destinations with reduced airfare, including Madrid, which the travel app Hopper predicts will be about 15 percent lower in 2016. Madrid also features a smattering of bargain-friendly and culture-rich attractions, from the free Retiro Park and El Rastro (a sprawling open-air flea market), to the must-see Prado Museum and the Palacio Real. If you're traveling with kids, make sure to check out the planetarium, which offers free admission and hands-on exhibits. And thanks to Madrid's cheap and simple-to-navigate metro system, it's easy to trim transportation costs. Google Flights currently lists round-trip flights from airports in the District of Columbia to Madrid starting at $792 in June and round-trip flights from Chicago airports starting at $1,008 for the same time period.
(Getty Images)

Palm Springs, California
The summer is an ideal time for budget-minded visitors to check out places like Palm Springs, California, with up to 50 to 75 percent in savings compared to winter's highs, says Gabe Saglie, senior editor at Travelzoo.com. In fact, goSeek lists average nightly rates around $100 in Palm Springs in June. And Google Flights shows low-cost round-trip airfare from major hubs across the East Coast. For example, round-trip flights from New York City airports start at $408 in July and round-trip flights from Boston's Logan International Airport start at $330, making flights in the summertime a bargain. While temperatures tend to soar in the summer months, often reaching triple digits, if you don't mind the desert heat, you'll find fascinating indoor and outdoor attractions to pique your interest, from the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway to the nearby Joshua Tree National Park.
(Getty Images)

Scottsdale, Arizona
If you love the heat and striking desert scenery, the Valley of the Sun offers an excellent choice for frugal families, Klee says, pointing out that come summertime, the area's upscale hotels and resorts offer reduced pricing, and low-cost flights are aplenty. "It's also coming up as a world-class dining destination, and dinners out are still refreshingly inexpensive," Klee adds, emphasizing that Phoenix and Scottsdale offer many al fresco dining choices. And according to Klee, "Hotel rooms that will set you back $500-plus at the toniest resorts in town from October to April go for $120 a night on weeknights in the summer." Plus, when you a break from golfing or relaxing by the pool, there are many interesting indoor attractions catering to art-inclined visitors and luxury-seekers in nearby Phoenix, from the Phoenix Art Museum and the Heard Museum, which pays homage to Native American culture, to top-notch spas.
(Getty Images)

Big Sur, California
Big Sur's rugged natural beauty and scenic 90-mile coastline between Monterey Bay and San Simeon is known for its lavish accommodations (hat tip: the Post Ranch Inn), but according to Klee, there are plenty of affordable options, including campsites. And "the stunning natural beauty is best experienced sleeping under the stars anyway," he adds, emphasizing that campgrounds are plentiful, but your best bet is booking months in advance, since many campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis and tend to fill up quickly. Big Sur Campground and Cabins, for example, offers tent sites for $60 a night, along with access to a picnic and fire pit as well as a nearby bath house. "Glamping [high-end camping] has come to Big Sur as well, and prices for luxury tents run anywhere from $110-140 per night," Klee says, pointing to Fernwood Resort as an ideal choice. And getting to Big Sur is a breeze with round-trip flights from San Diego and Chicago airports to San Jose hovering at at around $250 on Alaska Airlines during the summer season, Klee adds.
(Getty Images)

Vancouver, British Columbia
"Canada might be one of the best travel values this summer," Saglie says, pointing to the favorable exchange rate and pleasant summertime weather conditions at world-renowned destinations such as Vancouver and Toronto. Currently, 1 U.S. dollar equates to about $1.4 Canadian dollars, allowing American visitors to find unbeatable deals on lodging, meals and activities. In Vancouver, a wealth of wallet-friendly cultural and outdoor attractions await discovery, from the Capilano Suspension Bridge to Stanley Island and Kitsilano "Kits" Beach. While the kids enjoy frolicking along the sand and checking out the sights and sounds of the vibrant Granville Island Public Market, adults will embrace the city's cosmopolitan allures, excellent shopping, museums and dining options. Best of all, getting to Vancouver is unlikely to bust your summer travel budget, with Google Flights currently listing round-trip flights from airports in the District of Columbia to Vancouver for as low as $424 in July and round-trip flights from Seattle hubs starting at $161 for the same month.

(Getty Images)

Cancun, Mexico
After the crush of college students that flock to Cancun over spring break, the area tends to slow down come summer, Klee says. And despite the high temperatures and humidity, the area's wealth of all-inclusive resorts, eco-friendly lodges and natural attractions to pick from make planning a trip easy and pain-free, he adds. For families, Sedlak highlights the Paradisus Cancun, an all-inclusive property as an ideal choice for broods. With its striking sea and lagoon views, spacious accommodations and versatile dining and bar choices, top-notch spa, nine-hole golf course and secluded atmosphere, the property makes for a memorable stay, she adds. Breaks from soaking up the sun and splendor can be spent admiring impressive archeological sites like Chichén Itzá or carving out a daytrip to laid-back (and budget-friendly) Tulum. Plus, round-trip flights from Dallas airports to Cancun average at around $360 with American Airlines and round-trip flights from Los Angeles to Cancun hover at around $500 with United Airlines, Klee says. 

(Getty Images)

Vietnam
If you've always wanted to experience Southeast Asia's charms, this is the year to cross Vietnam off your bucket list, Klee says. Beyond can’t-miss cities, such as Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south, the "resort town of Nha Trang and provincially charming town of Hoi An to the north cannot be beat," Klee says, pointing out that you can easily navigate the country on a shoestring budget and the region is home to incredible cuisine, culture and lesser-known historical gems. And in Nha Trang, you'll find unspoiled sands and picturesque temples. Plus, in the summertime, during the rainy season, transportation and lodging prices are low, Klee adds. In terms of flights, "China Southern Air has flights out of SFO for just over $500 round trip," he says, adding that round-trip flights from LAX this summer are around $600, making it an especially affordable time to plan a trip. And Aaron Baker, public relations manager for Travelocity.com, points out that instead of visiting the same popular beach destinations, many travelers are seeking out unique travel experiences. In fact, a quarter of the U.S. population is classified as millennials who crave immersive travel experiences, Baker adds. Rather than hitting crowded beaches, millennials are visiting off-the-grid destinations and "traveling to be more like a traveler than a tourist," he says. And with Travelocity currently listing hotels in standout spots across Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City, for less than $100 a night in June, it's easy to travel well on a tight budget.
(iStockPhoto)

Group of friends dancing together at a beach party.
A young woman walks up a narrow stair set winds down to a overlook of Yellowstone Falls in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
Old Harbor Lifesaving Station at Provincetown in Cape Cod
High angle view of beach and houses at Carvoeiro against clear sky.
Spain, Madrid, View of Cibeles Square at night
Joshua Tree National Park in Palm Springs, California just before sunset.
Arizona Canal running through Scottsdale, Arizona.
Bixby Creek Bridge, along California 1
Part of the Vancouver skyline, seen from Olympic Village at the end of False Creek. In the foreground is the ramp down to the watertaxi dock, with the geodesic dome of the Science Museum behind, along with some apartment buildings and offices on Quebec Street.
Mayan Riviera Paradise in Cancun, Mexico.
Beach in Nha Trang, Vietnam

Start planning your trip to these budget-friendly summertime spots.
Planning a summer escape seems simple – until you factor in choosing a destination that fits all of your travel companions' needs, tastes and vacation styles. After pinpointing a region that appeals to the group, you must select a place that offers activities, accommodations and natural attractions catering to the interests of kids, outdoorsy types, crowd-averse pals, sun worshippers and the like. And then there's the matter of finding a spot that offers immersive and memorable vacation experiences, even on a tight budget. That's why we've tapped top travel experts to deliver a list of diverse and cost-effective summer vacation options. Whether you want adventure or relaxation, culture or history, a coastal retreat or an off-the-beaten-track getaway, there's an inexpensive locale for you to explore this summer.
(Getty Images)

Yellowstone National Park
If you're traveling with a group of outdoor enthusiasts, it's hard to top the natural attractions, scenic hiking trails, ranger-led programs and wildlife-spotting opportunities available at Yellowstone. And with the upcoming National Park Service centennial fast approaching on Aug. 25, park visitors can take advantage of free admission from Aug. 25-28, says Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com. Even if you're planning to embrace the great outdoors earlier in the summer, weeklong admission to the park costs just $30 (if you're entering with a noncommercial vehicle; admission is $15 for visitors entering on foot or by bike). And Klee points out that "once you're inside, most attractions are 100 percent free." Besides myriad natural wonders, from Old Faithful geyser to Mammoth Hot Springs, there are also activities geared toward a variety of age groups and even evening campfire talks, Klee says. Plus, visitors can expect plenty of cheap lodging choices, from cabins to lodges to more than 2,000 first-come, first-served campsites. For example, the popular Lewis Lake Campground area, located just eight miles from the park's south entrance near Lewis River Canyon, offers nightly rates starting at $15.
(Getty Images)

Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Along the East Coast, you'll find plenty of affordable summer escapes that are relatively inexpensive, says Clara Sedlak, senior special projects editor at Jetsetter.com. She points to Salt House Inn, a boutique property in Provincetown, Massachusetts, as a budget-friendly favorite. Nightly rates are currently listed at an average of $210 per night for a weeklong stay in June. Plus, goSeek lists hotels in Cape Cod for under $100 in June. And amid Cape Cod's quaint cottages and clam shacks, you'll also find affordable (and free) attractions, from picturesque bike trails to idyllic sands along the 40-mile-long National Seashore (admission is $3 from May to September). If you're itching for more activity, hit the scenic Cape Cod Rail Trail, which snakes through the lower Cape, or check out the rugged landscape and plentiful migratory seabirds and seals at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.
(Getty Images)

Porto, Portugal
For those yearning to get off the grid and explore a new coastal retreat this summer, Porto, perched on Portugal's scenic River Douro, is a compelling option. Lisbon's neighbor on the northern coast "has cemented its place on the global cultural map thanks to a crop of design-forward guesthouses, eye-catching art galleries and standout restaurants," Sedlak says. This summer, art aficionados can check out the Serralves Foundation's contemporary art museum while architecture enthusiasts take in striking views of the graceful Dom Luís I Bridge and wine lovers make their way to Vila Nova de Gaia, a neighborhood to the south that's known for it's top-notch wineries. Plus, you can tack on a trip to nearby Lisbon, and take in its rich cultural heritage and affordable sights, without paying a steep price tag. "Every year, we think Lisbon is going to blow up for leisure travel, and every year it stays decidedly, blissfully low-key. Go to Portugal and truly get away from it all," Klee says. Google currently lists round-trip flights from New York City airports to Porto starting at $799 in July and round-trip flights from San Francisco International Airport starting at $1,351 for the same time period.
(Getty Images)

Madrid
"The good news about travel this summer is that flight costs are down and the dollar is stronger than ever," Sedlak says. Beyond inexpensive spots like Lisbon, Athens and Dubrovnik, Croatia, there are plenty more destinations with reduced airfare, including Madrid, which the travel app Hopper predicts will be about 15 percent lower in 2016. Madrid also features a smattering of bargain-friendly and culture-rich attractions, from the free Retiro Park and El Rastro (a sprawling open-air flea market), to the must-see Prado Museum and the Palacio Real. If you're traveling with kids, make sure to check out the planetarium, which offers free admission and hands-on exhibits. And thanks to Madrid's cheap and simple-to-navigate metro system, it's easy to trim transportation costs. Google Flights currently lists round-trip flights from airports in the District of Columbia to Madrid starting at $792 in June and round-trip flights from Chicago airports starting at $1,008 for the same time period.
(Getty Images)

Palm Springs, California
The summer is an ideal time for budget-minded visitors to check out places like Palm Springs, California, with up to 50 to 75 percent in savings compared to winter's highs, says Gabe Saglie, senior editor at Travelzoo.com. In fact, goSeek lists average nightly rates around $100 in Palm Springs in June. And Google Flights shows low-cost round-trip airfare from major hubs across the East Coast. For example, round-trip flights from New York City airports start at $408 in July and round-trip flights from Boston's Logan International Airport start at $330, making flights in the summertime a bargain. While temperatures tend to soar in the summer months, often reaching triple digits, if you don't mind the desert heat, you'll find fascinating indoor and outdoor attractions to pique your interest, from the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway to the nearby Joshua Tree National Park.
(Getty Images)

Scottsdale, Arizona
If you love the heat and striking desert scenery, the Valley of the Sun offers an excellent choice for frugal families, Klee says, pointing out that come summertime, the area's upscale hotels and resorts offer reduced pricing, and low-cost flights are aplenty. "It's also coming up as a world-class dining destination, and dinners out are still refreshingly inexpensive," Klee adds, emphasizing that Phoenix and Scottsdale offer many al fresco dining choices. And according to Klee, "Hotel rooms that will set you back $500-plus at the toniest resorts in town from October to April go for $120 a night on weeknights in the summer." Plus, when you a break from golfing or relaxing by the pool, there are many interesting indoor attractions catering to art-inclined visitors and luxury-seekers in nearby Phoenix, from the Phoenix Art Museum and the Heard Museum, which pays homage to Native American culture, to top-notch spas.
(Getty Images)

Big Sur, California
Big Sur's rugged natural beauty and scenic 90-mile coastline between Monterey Bay and San Simeon is known for its lavish accommodations (hat tip: the Post Ranch Inn), but according to Klee, there are plenty of affordable options, including campsites. And "the stunning natural beauty is best experienced sleeping under the stars anyway," he adds, emphasizing that campgrounds are plentiful, but your best bet is booking months in advance, since many campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis and tend to fill up quickly. Big Sur Campground and Cabins, for example, offers tent sites for $60 a night, along with access to a picnic and fire pit as well as a nearby bath house. "Glamping [high-end camping] has come to Big Sur as well, and prices for luxury tents run anywhere from $110-140 per night," Klee says, pointing to Fernwood Resort as an ideal choice. And getting to Big Sur is a breeze with round-trip flights from San Diego and Chicago airports to San Jose hovering at at around $250 on Alaska Airlines during the summer season, Klee adds.
(Getty Images)

Vancouver, British Columbia
"Canada might be one of the best travel values this summer," Saglie says, pointing to the favorable exchange rate and pleasant summertime weather conditions at world-renowned destinations such as Vancouver and Toronto. Currently, 1 U.S. dollar equates to about $1.4 Canadian dollars, allowing American visitors to find unbeatable deals on lodging, meals and activities. In Vancouver, a wealth of wallet-friendly cultural and outdoor attractions await discovery, from the Capilano Suspension Bridge to Stanley Island and Kitsilano "Kits" Beach. While the kids enjoy frolicking along the sand and checking out the sights and sounds of the vibrant Granville Island Public Market, adults will embrace the city's cosmopolitan allures, excellent shopping, museums and dining options. Best of all, getting to Vancouver is unlikely to bust your summer travel budget, with Google Flights currently listing round-trip flights from airports in the District of Columbia to Vancouver for as low as $424 in July and round-trip flights from Seattle hubs starting at $161 for the same month.

(Getty Images)

Cancun, Mexico
After the crush of college students that flock to Cancun over spring break, the area tends to slow down come summer, Klee says. And despite the high temperatures and humidity, the area's wealth of all-inclusive resorts, eco-friendly lodges and natural attractions to pick from make planning a trip easy and pain-free, he adds. For families, Sedlak highlights the Paradisus Cancun, an all-inclusive property as an ideal choice for broods. With its striking sea and lagoon views, spacious accommodations and versatile dining and bar choices, top-notch spa, nine-hole golf course and secluded atmosphere, the property makes for a memorable stay, she adds. Breaks from soaking up the sun and splendor can be spent admiring impressive archeological sites like Chichén Itzá or carving out a daytrip to laid-back (and budget-friendly) Tulum. Plus, round-trip flights from Dallas airports to Cancun average at around $360 with American Airlines and round-trip flights from Los Angeles to Cancun hover at around $500 with United Airlines, Klee says. 

(Getty Images)

Vietnam
If you've always wanted to experience Southeast Asia's charms, this is the year to cross Vietnam off your bucket list, Klee says. Beyond can’t-miss cities, such as Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south, the "resort town of Nha Trang and provincially charming town of Hoi An to the north cannot be beat," Klee says, pointing out that you can easily navigate the country on a shoestring budget and the region is home to incredible cuisine, culture and lesser-known historical gems. And in Nha Trang, you'll find unspoiled sands and picturesque temples. Plus, in the summertime, during the rainy season, transportation and lodging prices are low, Klee adds. In terms of flights, "China Southern Air has flights out of SFO for just over $500 round trip," he says, adding that round-trip flights from LAX this summer are around $600, making it an especially affordable time to plan a trip. And Aaron Baker, public relations manager for Travelocity.com, points out that instead of visiting the same popular beach destinations, many travelers are seeking out unique travel experiences. In fact, a quarter of the U.S. population is classified as millennials who crave immersive travel experiences, Baker adds. Rather than hitting crowded beaches, millennials are visiting off-the-grid destinations and "traveling to be more like a traveler than a tourist," he says. And with Travelocity currently listing hotels in standout spots across Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City, for less than $100 a night in June, it's easy to travel well on a tight budget.
(iStockPhoto)

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Tags: travel, vacations, New York City


Katie Jackson has been a travel contributor for U.S. News since 2015. She began her career in 2011 as an on-air travel spokesperson for NBC LA before she transitioned into travel writing in 2013. Her work has appeared at USAToday.com, FoxNews.com, OutsideOnline.com, Bicycling.com and in The Sunday Times. Travel, adventure, luxury and anything requiring the signing of a waiver is in her wheelhouse. She spends most of the year traveling internationally, but when she's not on a flight, she's at home in Montana with her Leonberger, Zeus. You can follow her travels on Instagram at @katietalkstravel.

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