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Best Long Weekend Getaways on a Budget

By LearnVest
June 20, 2012; 8:00 AM ET

No account of the best LearnVest articles of 2010 would be complete without a nod to our most epic travel article of the whole year. When crafting this article, we thought about how, while we’d love to vacation for weeks at a time, it’s harder to take off time from work than we’d probably admit to friends and significant others. Plus, elaborate and extended vacations can cost a boatload, and we have other savings priorities at the moment. That said, it’s incredibly important for body, mind, and soul to take time off. So, to help readers plan out their local vacations, we laid out our favorite three getaways in each region of the country. We even we found inexpensive accommodations and figured out transportation from major cities in each region.

So, since we know you were dying to know approximately how much you might spend in gas to get from Richmond or D.C. to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, we bring you our in-depth guide to weekend getaways.

Montreal, Canada

Photo source: Wikimedia

Top Must-Do: Notre Dame Basilica, the city’s oldest Catholic Church. The sound and light show in the evening is worth the $10 because it explains Montreal’s history and has a wonderful ambience (and isn’t cheesy). Don’t forget to bring your passport!

Transportation: Take a scenic drive up the East Coast. For example, driving from Boston to Montreal will take about five hours and cost about $45 for gas each way (distance of 310 miles, assuming $2.75 per gallon and 20 miles per gallon). You can rent a car for about $40 per day. A Greyhound bus from New York costs $75 each way if you buy online, and the total trip time is between seven and ten hours.

Lodging: Cheap hotels are plentiful, and totally affordable if you split a room. We like the Hotel Gouverneur Ile Charron, which has standard rooms for $99.

Montauk, New York

Photo source: timhettler (cc)

Top Must-Do: Montauk Point State Park, which includes beaches, a lighthouse, and ocean views.

Transportation: If you’re coming from New York City, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) costs just $16 if you buy an off-peak ticket online. If you’re coming from a city like Philly, take the Bolt Bus to Penn Station for only $10 and then hop the LIRR. The cost of gas for driving from NYC would cost approximately $17 each way; Philly and Boston would each cost just under $30. Rental cars can cost as little as $40 per day.

Lodging: Stay at the Oceanside Beach Resort, but check out the prices for your intended visit; rates vary widely by season.

Hunter Mountain, Catskills, New York

Photo source: Wikimedia

Top Must-Do: Hike around Hunter Mountain and enjoy the great outdoors.

Transportation: Gas from NYC would cost just under $15 each way; it’d be about $27 from Providence and from Philadelphia, just under $20 from Hartford, and about $13 from Springfield, Massachusetts. Rental cars can cost as little as $40 per day.

Lodging: Stay at the Woodbine Inn, an awesome bed and breakfast, for just under $70 per night if you split the room with a friend. A LearnVest team member says this is the best breakfast she’s ever had.

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