10 Cheapest U.S. Cities for Summer Air Travel

View as:


Summer is one of the busiest times of year to travel, thanks to school break and warmer weather. Airfares are often at a premium, particularly for popular destinations, yet deals can be found, especially to cities renowned for sultry summer weather. Cheapism consulted data from travel website Skyscanner to identify the cheapest domestic locations to visit during summer months. The prices reflect the cost of one round-trip economy ticket purchased via Skyscanner from Jan. 1 to April 30 for travel June 1 through Aug. 31. Read on and start packing.


Atlanta tops this year's list of cheapest destinations for summer travel, according to Skyscanner data. The capital of Georgia has diverse neighborhoods and plenty of non-touristy appeal, including a thriving club scene and restaurants galore. While there, soak in some local history -- the city played an important role in the civil rights movement and is home to the Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Site, which is free to visit. Average round-trip flight: $241.34


Miami is hot -- literally. With daytime temperatures easily reaching the upper 80s and 90s and high humidity, many summer tourists opt for cooler, dryer destinations, making Miami a relative bargain during the summer months. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to stay cool, including more than a dozen beach parks. Or take the fun indoors to the Dolphin Mall, the city's largest shopping center, with more than 240 stores -- and blissful air conditioning. Average round-trip flight: $242.63


Summer arguably is the best time to visit Chicago, when the Midwest's largest city is at its greenest and liveliest. Attractions include the Navy Pier, Soldier Field, the downtown Loop, and famous buildings such as Willis (Sears) Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and John Hancock Center. Chicago also has 26 miles of beaches and plenty of museums and trendy restaurants. Summer days can be warm and humid and storms frequent, but few destinations offer more bang for the buck. Average round-trip flight: $254.04


The home of Disney World is surprisingly cheap to visit in summer months -- and more than just a fantasy vacation spot for kids. Drive about half an hour to Kelly Park in Apopka, where a natural spring offers tubing, camping, and concessions. Admission is just $3 a car. Right in town is the Universal CityWalk, a massive complex with shopping, restaurants, and entertainment that requires only the price of parking. It's free to take water taxis and explore the three onsite hotels. Average round-trip flight: $267.63


Outdoorsy types looking for a summer getaway should put the Mile High City high on the list for numerous outdoor pursuits, such as nearby hiking and biking, as well as delicious restaurants and lively nightlife. The city is also a beer lover's dream, featuring numerous microbreweries and brewpubs. Coors Brewery, the world's largest brewing site, is just a few miles away in Golden. Denver is one of few major U.S. cities with an amusement park right downtown -- Elitch Gardens. Average round-trip flight: $274.43


Beyond museums and monuments ripe with learning opportunities for vacationing students, the nation's capital offers numerous other attractions, including a thriving dining scene featuring cuisines from all over the world. To get away from crowds of tourists, head to Eden Center across the Potomac River in Falls Church, Virginia. This East Coast hub for Vietnamese culture features numerous restaurants with some of the cheapest and tastiest food in the region. Average round-trip flight: $280.78


Sin City is a cheap air travel destination during the summer months for an obvious reason -- it's hotter than Hades -- but much of the fun in Vegas is indoors. There are also plenty of entertaining things to do in Vegas that don't involve the prospect of losing money, such as the Mirage Hotel's "erupting" volcano and two attractions at the Bellagio Hotel: the famous "dancing" water fountain, choreographed to more than 30 songs, and the "world's largest chocolate fountain" (sadly, no dipping allowed). Average round-trip flight: $287


New England's largest city is loaded with free and cheap activities. Walk along historic Long Wharf or stroll the Freedom Trail, which takes tourists to 16 sites packed with history from the American Revolution. It's easy to sightsee on foot in this compact city, and weary tourists can take a break in Boston Public Garden to ride in one of the city's famous swan boats. A 15-minute journey around the tranquil lagoon costs $3.50 for each adult. Average round-trip flight: $289.30


What isn't there to do in New York City? It's known for being expensive, but the Big Apple offers lots of free and cheap things to do. Relax in Central Park, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, or visit some of the 60 museums that are always or sometimes free. A few, such as the Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have suggested admission fees, allowing visitors to pay what they can. Average round-trip flight: $297.97


In New Orleans, visitors can find plenty to see and do on a budget all year round. The city's delicious restaurants are a must, and beignets are cheap way to get a taste for local cuisine. The French pastries are available for just a few dollars at cafés all over town. Tourists can also take a free stroll through the French Market and sample other unique food items that are part of New Orleans culture, or listen to free live music any night of the week. Average round-trip flight: $309.26