America is jam-packed with free and low-cost things to see and do; you just have to know where to look. A few free road-trip destinations include:
- The Beach: Pack a cooler of sandwiches, toss some towels in the backseat, and drive to the coast for a day of sand and surf. Though you may have to pay a fee to park, most of America's beaches are free and open to the public.
- Free Music: Almost anywhere you go, someone is putting on a free show. Find free music coast to coast, from Naumburg Orchestral Concerts in New York City's Central Park to Alameda South Shore Center's Summer Beats concert series in Alameda, Calif.
- Neighborhood Festivals: Really dive into the character of a place by attending the annual festivals small towns and big city neighborhoods put on each year. Admission is often free and buys an afternoon of complimentary music, arts and crafts shopping, kid's activities, parades, sporting events and unlimited local character. Large cities like Atlanta play host to a number of free neighborhood festivals including the Inman Park Festival, the Decatur Arts Festival, the Dogwood Festival and many more. Smaller towns spend all year gearing up for a big blowout, like the Northwest Raspberry Festival in Lyndon, Wash. Festivals.com is a great resource for finding these events.
- Museums: Many museums offer free admission on select days. For instance, you can see works of art (from Picasso sculptures to Wedgewood China) for free at NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art's Free Fridays.
Perhaps some of the most famous free stops you can make involve the streets themselves. From Route 66 (Chicago to Los Angeles) to the Pacific Coast Highway in California, the sights along these iconic roadways range from historic to hair-raising. Along the way, you'll find myriad towns to explore -- each with its own unique history, culture and character. So, what are you waiting for? Get started on planning your next road trip now.
But before you hit the open road, you might want to take a peek at the handy links on the next page.