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17 Best US Bachelorette Party Destination: Cities, Beaches & Vineyards

Girls pouring wine at beach on bachelorette beach party.

Planning a send off for your girl and want to make it the best bach yet? Let us do the hard work for you!

This guide reveals the best bachelorette party destinations in the US for all types of brides-to-be.

It features the best bachelorette party cities for gal gangs who want to paint the town red, beach baches for the bride and her mates, pretty towns with rural appeal, vineyards, mountains, and the spots you’ll want to get your group pics at.

We’ve suggested ideas for each location which includes activities, attractions, dining options and recommendations to deliver stress free bachelorette getaways.

The guide starts with the cities that make up the best bachelorette locations on the west coast, then we move to the east coast and finally the beaches in the US!

Best Cities for Bachelorette Parties

First, let’s take a look at the best west coast bachelorette destinations featuring Las Vegas, Napa Valley and Palm Springs.

We also include party town in the mountains, Aspen, CO, in this section.

Las Vegas, Nevada for Pool Parties, Karaoke & Clubbing

Las Vegas reigns supreme for bachelorette hot spots.

If partying, the best entertainment, dining on any food you and your girlfriends crave, pool parties, endless activities, and memories to last a lifetime are your goals, Vegas will not disappoint.

Checking out the Vegas strip is a day trip in and of itself, and you can walk around with your drink.

Things to do on a Las Vegas Bachelorette Trip

Get the photo of the I Do crew at the Las Vegas sign.

It’s kinda mandatory to get a party bus, cheesy but it blasts music and lets you take your own drink on board so…

Plus, it stops at the Vegas sign and there is a pole if you like to swing.

Crash a bachelor party’s table, then hit the dance floor at OMNIA, the huge three level club in Caesars Palace, or JEWEL at Aria.

If your bride is this way inclined, you can catch a Chippendales Show at Caesar’s Rio.

If she’s more on the discreet vibe, one of the more unique bachelorette trip ideas is a private session at Pepper, the lux sexual wellness store.

Who doesn’t love karaoke?

RedTail at Resorts World Las Vegas has private suites for hire.

Finally, pack your swimsuit, ain’t no party like a Vegas pool party which you’ll be delighted to read because Vega is desert hot.

There are over twenty pool parties in Vegas to choose from which will suit different budgets and music tastes, see the parties at TAO and Encore for ideas.

Remember to check the dress code for each venue before booking.

Many of the big hotels in Vegas offer balloon and room decoration packages so you don’t have to fly with the ‘one pen13 for life’ blow up in your carry-on.

If you have more than three days, you might want to consider a day trip to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend which collects from Vegas and drops you back 14 hours later.

It’s a long day so best avoid it on a hangover but it does mean you get to take cool pictures at these US landmarks.

If you plan to do some of the more touristy stuff while in Sin City, here’s our 3-day Vegas itinerary.

Welcome to Las Vegas sign at night

Palm Springs, California for Art & Nature

Known for its poolside lounging and Coachella, Palm Springs is the perfect destination for a bride to relax with her girlfriends.

Spending the day poolside, indulging in various spa treatments, shopping, or drinking are only some of the fun Palm Springs can add to your bachelorette party.

There are also wine tours available, painting classes, and an aerial tramway to explore.

Things to do on a Palm Springs Bachelorette Trip

Base your bach crew at one of the many colorful hotels in Palm Springs such as BelleVue Oasis (motel) and the famous Saguaro.

If you prefer a more rustic setting consider Dive Palm Springs or Sonder V Hotel.

Cycle around town and take in the street art installations which include a 6-ft (7.9-m) Marilyn Monroe to colorful popsicles.

Palm Springs is also known for its modernist architecture and mid-town houses.

For a sneak peek at celebrity homes, hop on the Palm Springs: Legends and Icons Tour

There’s heaps of food options at Azucar (contemporary cuisine), 1501 (rustic-chic gastropub), Wilma Frieda (comfort food), and Birba (changing menu, patio).

For nature, visit Moorten Botanical Gardens, Indian Canyons, once home to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and do the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world.

Palm Springs is the perfect location for a chilled out bachelorette party in California.

If you have time, there are also two popular day trips from Palm Springs.

Pioneertown, which was created in the 1940s as a “Living Breathing Movie Set” is just a 40-minutes drive and has free parking.

There is also a tour to Joshua Tree National Park.

It’s a long day trip but worth it to see this US bucket list destination and someone else does the driving!

Saguaro Colorful Hotel Palm Springs California.

Napa Valley, California for a Pretty Vineyards

Napa Valley is one of the more luxurious and classy bachelorette locations.

While the nightlife isn’t as jumping as some of the other spots in this guide, there is no shortage of activities in Napa Valley.

From wine tasting to cooking classes, the foodie bride-to-be might just love this idea.

You can enjoy being chauffeured around vineyards and to the finest dining you can imagine or a farm-to-table dining experience if that is more your group’s style.

Things to do on a Napa Valley Bachelorette Trip

Hire a car service to take you around the vineyards you want to visit, this way no one in the group is a designated driver!

It’s not just about the destination as the say, the views between vineyards are spectacular and some of the cars will let you drink between stops so you can continue the party.

Napa Valley vineyards are beautiful and vary in architecture and aesthetic.

Raymond Vineyards in St Helena has a very sexy Red Room kitted out in velour and chandeliers!

Trentadue Winery in the heart of Alexander Valley has outdoor seating with fire pits.

Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate in the Dry Creek Valley offers a nice selection of food to pair with your wine tasking.

Alternatively, some vineyards do curbside pick up so you can drink take out wine back at the condo or apartment if that’s more your style.

Napa Valley also features in our guide to the best places in the US to visit February for Valentine’s getaways.

Wine vineyard, grapes on vine

Aspen, Colorado for Skishots & Spa Days

If you have a group of snow bunnies in your bachelorette party, a trip to Aspen is a must.

Skiing is a must for this trip but you can also look forward to hanging out by a roaring fire and sipping cocoa while lapping up the luxury only Aspen can offer will make for a unique bachelorette party.

Aspen offers a vibrant nightlife, so sipping cocktails and dancing until the wee hours of the morning can still be part of the last fling before the ring celebration.

Things to do on a Aspen Bachelorette Trip

Hit the slopes!

There are four mountains, Aspen Mountain, Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk which are linked by a free bus service.

Aspen is also known for its nightlife so if your gnarly girl is also the wife of the party, this has to be one of the best bachelorette destinations for you.

There’s over one hundred bars in Aspen from pints at Zane’s Tavern to live music at Escobar.

Be prepared for shotskis too!

Don’t forget to pick up your cowboy hats at Kemo Sabe!

After two days of skiing and partying you might want to book in for a spa day with treatments at Hotel Jerome’s wellness spa.

Ski goggles in snow

Best Cities For East Coast Bachelorette Destinations

In this section we’re going to cover the east coast bachelorette destinations of NYC, Savannah and Orlando.

We discuss more east coast bach spots in our beaches section.

New York City for Shows & Rooftops in the City That Doesn’t Sleep

A bachelorette and a group of her besties cannot go wrong visiting what some deem the best city in the world.

New York City offers excellent entertainment, world-class shopping, rooftop bars, iconic landmarks, and just about anything the heart could want.

Whether you are a group of ladies looking to laugh the night away at a comedy club, take a soul cycle class, retrace the footsteps of your favorite characters from a beloved TV show, or just want to enjoy a tipsy brunch, New York City has it all and so much more.

Things to do on a NYC Bachelorette Trip

Get whisked away to another country, timeframe and even dimension by seeing a show on Broadway.

With over 40 theaters and hundreds of performances there is something for every bach budget.

Moulin Rouge and Mama Mia are popular options for bride tribes and if your voice isn’t croaky when you leave, you didn’t try hard enough.

We personally love the musical Six, so if that is showing during your bach dates get booking your seats to learn a little more about herstory through the six wives of Henry VII aka queeeeens.

Dine and enjoy drag at Lucky Cheng’s, NYC’s first and longest running Drag Queen show.

See the city from above, with a cocktail in hand at one of the many rooftop bars such as St Cloud, Somewhere Nowhere and The Knickerbocker.

Create a cute picnic scene for an afternoon in Central Park, there are companies that will set this up for you so all you need to do is get the bride to the park on time.

Call it practice for the big day.

Forget badly lit cell phone shots, pay a professional to capture the gang at some of NYC’s most iconic spots.

Naturally, there’s hundreds of first timer and ‘only locals know’ things to do in NYC which you can read about in our 4-day NYC itinerary.

Beautiful skyline of Central Park and New York city from Rockefeller Observatory - Top of the Rock

Savannah, Georgia – Where’s My Peaches At?

One of the best low key east coast bachelorette destinations has to be stunning Savannah.

Savannah is a beautiful city full of Spanish moss, oak trees, and ghosts; it is said to be the most haunted hot spots in the world.

With hotels that are rumored to be haunted, graveyards waiting to be explored, and guided ghost tours the bride and her bridesmaids are sure to have a supernatural experience and stories to tell for a lifetime.

Savannah also has cool restaurants, cocktails (hello The Grove’s mules!), karaoke, and rooftop bars.

Things to do on a Savannah Bachelorette Trip

Brunch on biscuits, gravy and vintage cocktails at The Grey.

Join the 2-hour tour of the US’s most haunted city and get photos around the prettiest street in the city, Jones Street.

Book a private styling party with booze and food at Starland Strange & Bazaar, they’ve got epic photo backdrops and flooring!

Plan your trip around one of the many concerts at Forsyth Park.

Hop on the Pedal Pub while you drink and listen to tunes.

Enjoy fried chicken for dinner at Lady and Sons.

Other things to do include and the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, learning more about the Gullah-Geechee culture at Pin Point Museum

A popular reason to visit Savannah is for the antebellum architecture with many of these mansions in Georgia being associated with plantations and enslaved people so be sure to take on a balanced learning experience when visiting the “Hostess City of the South” and other locations with this style of buildings.

Forsyth Park trees and fountain in Savannah Georgia

Miami, Florida For Big Drinkers & Beach Bach Fans

Lively vibes, stunning beaches, gorgeous people, big yachts, and luxury properties – what isn’t to love about a beach bachelorette party in Maimi?

Miami offers the best cuisine to line your stomach too, choose from Mexican, Cuban, and Peruvian!

The nightlife in Miami is unmatched, between the clubs, pool parties, and bars near the beaches, the bride is in for the ultimate one last hurrah.

Prepare your livers…

Things to do on a Miami Bachelorette Trip

Grab food at either of these Miami brunch spots GreenStreet Cafe or Le Pain Quotidien.

Get spending at Coconut Grove or Miami Design District if you’re into shopping.

Hit the beach, South Beach is the most popular beach for visitors or if you prefer fewer crowds, consider North Beach or do a day trip to Key Biscayne.

Get in the water on this tiki boat cruise which sets sail from Bayfront Park.

Save your legs for dancing, hop on this 1-hour golf buggy tour through Wynwood Walls to see the epic street art murals then lunch at Zak the Bakery or tacos at Coyo.

Enjoy sundown drinks at Bayside Marketplace, an outdoor mall with over 150 shops, cafes, and restaurants in downtown Miami.

Get high at Brickell’s rooftop bars, Sugar and area31.

Orlando, Florida For a Disney Bachelorette Party

Get your Minnie with veil ears ready for a trip to Orlando, home of Walt Disney World!

There are four parks at the resort, Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Things to do on a Orlando Bachelorette Trip

Get that pic at the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella’s Castle, plan your itinerary around the character parades and stay late for the fireworks!

Thrill-seekers will love Disney’s Hollywood Studios for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

See the world without leaving Orlando at Epcot, it really is the Happiest Place on Earth!

Dine, drink and shop at Disney Springs.

Chill by the pool at your Disney resort.

If staying on International Drive, take advantage of the happy hour drinks, more affordable chain restaurants, and fun activities like the crazy golf or iFly!

If visiting Disney during high season, you’ll need at least two days at Disney and might need to be strict on which parks you visit to fit everything in while addressing the crowds.

However, if you can stretch to a long weekend, Universal Studios is a lot of fun too with its adult rides, live music, and Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Cinderella Castle at Disney Orlando

Best Places to go for a Bachelorette Party in the South

Next up we have Nashville, Houston, Dallas, Austin and Scottsdale!

Nashville, Tennessee for the Last Hoe-Down Bach Getaway

Nashville is one of the best bachelorette party destinations, especially for those who love country music, but if you are not a fan, don’t let that stop you from visiting this charming destination with your best gal pals.

Countless restaurants serve up southern classics like chicken and waffles and gravy and biscuits.

Popular bachelorette must-sees are city tours, pub crawls, visiting the hall of fame, and enjoying the vibrant nightlife.

Things to do on a Nashville Bachelorette Trip

Did you even go to Nashville if you didn’t party Downtown?

Dance the night away at the honky tonks on Broadway, some of which are owned by artists such as Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar.

The food is crazy in Nashville so if you’re craving a deep fried toasted sandwich with two meats, two cheese and jam, you got it!

Book a sesh on a party cruise.

Take advantage of the boat coolers and state of the art sound system as you sail around the Lake.

For chilled dining and high-end fashion boutiques, head to The Gulch neighborhood where you can also listen to live music at The Station Inn.

Since Nashville is one of the top bachelorette party destinations, you will be sharing the floor with other girl groups in hats and boots so consider if the bride would be up for this before booking a Nash Bash.

Houston, Texas for a Beyoncé Sized Bach

Houston, Texas, baby. Who runs the world?

It’s time to pay homage to the city that birthed Queen Bey because what rhymes with Beyoncé?

Feyoncé!

Things to do on a Houston Bachelorette Trip

For a cheesy Houston bach party, book the party bus tour or if your bride prefers a classier day out, sip drinks and pose at the Secret Garden.

Flex! Try out a group dance class, hot yoga session or a more traditional bach activity, pole dancing.

Get lit at Wonderbar which features installations for the naughty pictures.

Dallas, Texas for The Last Rodeo

Dallas offers everything a bride could want for a weekend away with her girlfriend – BBQ, queso, and cocktails before heading out to enjoy the lively nightlife.

You can explore the city’s botanical gardens, museums, spas, and shopping centers before throwing on some heels and getting a blowout for a night of dancing.

Dallas is one of the most perfect bachelorette party places for any foodies in the group; your mouths won’t stop watering with all the options of steakhouses, fajitas, and fried chicken.

Things to do on a Dallas Bachelorette Trip

Kick the weekend off with biscuits and gravy or chicken and waffles brunch at Punch Bowl Social Dallas and wash it down with their mimosa punch bowls.

Stretch the legs on a Dallas bike bar which pumps out music as you pedal.

Hit the pool at Canvas Hotel’s rooftop party, Sunburn (Saturday) which has views over Downtown.

Hit the pole, hook or hammock at an alternative dance class in Dallas.

Austin, Texas for the Music-Loving Bride-To-Be

Did you know that Austin is the music capital of the US?

Well, giddy up cowgirl because this city has stretches of dirrrrty bars with live music, craft breweries, cute bars in historic houses, street art murals, and a river surrounded by shiny skyscrapers.

For food, you’re going to fall in love with Tex-Mex and say I BBQ to meat platters with cheese grits on the side.

Check out our guide on where to eat in Austin for more.

Things to do on a Austin Bachelorette Trip

Line the stomach with Tex-Mex breakfast at Juan in a Million or Cisco’s.

Get in or on the water, by hiring kayaks or hopping aboard a boat cruise.

If chlorine water is more your group’s thing, enjoy Azul Rooftop Bar and Lounge at the Westin Hotel instead.

The party then really starts on Dirty 6th for drinks, music and sticky floors or if you prefer something a little tamer, East 6th has cool breweries, and for bars with backyards head to Rainey Street.

Check out the line up at Mohawk, Cheer Up Charlies and Hotel Vegas to see if any bands suit your group.

See the street art around South Congress (So Co), you’ll want a group shot at the ‘I Love You So Much’ wall.

Finally, gorge yourselves on BBQ at Cooper’s Old Time Pitt or Terry Black’s.

I love you so much in Austin mural

Scottsdale, Arizona for a Southwest Bach Adventure

Looking for a trendy bachelorette destination in the middle of the desert?

Consider Scottsdale.

Hotels in Scottsdale are varied in what they offer; you can stay at a relaxing spa resort, a chic hotel just minutes from the busy nightlife, or lap up luxury in a more upscale hotel.

Things to do on a Scottsdale Bachelorette Trip

Fill up your belly and your cup at a boozy brunch.

Check out The Montauk in Old Town.

Go off-road with Pink Jeep Tours!

Explore the rugged terrain, learn more about Native American history and experience nature with the award-winning tour company.

Rent an apartment with a pool and get The Cabana Boys to serve you cool drinks before heading into the hot desert.

Best Bachelorette Beach Destinations

Finally, it’s time to check out the hottest bachelorette beach destinations for those boats ‘n’ hoes!

The Hamptons, New York for Vineyards & Celeb Spotting

Planning a lavish bachelorette party with sun, sand, and fresh seafood?

This style of bach has the Hamptons written all over it.

Spend the day sunning at one of the public beaches such as Cooper’s Beach in Southampton which is open to non-residents.

Alternatively, if you stay at Gurney’s Resorts in Montauk your gang will have access to the beds, bar and live music at The Beach Club.

Gorge on seafood at 75 Main or reserve alfresco dining at Calissa.

Like Napa, the Hamptons has many vineyards that offer wine tours if you are looking for a sophisticated experience while still getting a buzz!

Note: the beaches, attractions, bars, and restaurants in the Hamptons are pretty spread out and it is not easy to get between areas unless you have a designated driver or are all chipping in for taxi rides.

Red and white Montauk Point Lighthouse on cliff by ocean

Ocean City, Maryland For Affordable Beach Bachelorette Weekend Getaways

Ocean City, MD is the perfect destination for a beach dwelling by day and bar hopping by night kind of bachelorette party.

There are tons of rental properties right on the beach, along with bars, shops, restaurants, and boardwalks.

For live music and drinks, head to Seacrets where you can drink at tables in the ocean while dunking your feet in the water and The Sandbar has a stage for karaoke if your gang is brave!

Bachelorette parties are always a welcome sight in Ocean City, and some bars will even hand party favors to the bride and her bridesmaids. 

Ocean city maryland . Depositphotos_8946425_l-2015

Santa Barbara, California For Beach Picnics

A California bachelorette party in Santa Barbara is a lesser-known option for a chilled bride who enjoys slow days and fresh air.

Think rustic picnic tables with ocean views!

Santa Barbara offers a Mediterranean charm, vineyard tours such as Sunstone or Koehler, and olive oil estate visits.

Waikiki, Hawaii For A Thrill-Seeker Bach With Volcanoes

Is there anything more memorable than a trip to Hawaii?

Yes, a bachelorette party in Hawaii!

Waikiki in Honolulu is located on the south shore of Oahu and is a great base for exploring the island.

Since Waikiki Beach is famous for its surf, why not book a group lesson?

If you prefer to let someone else take control of the waves, try a sunset cruise with drinks and appetizers.

Hawaii is notoriously difficult to get around without hiring a car but this hop on and off trolley stops at all of the Waikiki highlights such as Diamond Head!

At night, drink crafties at Maui Brewing Co, eat fish tacos at Hula Grill Waikiki and hit the karaoke at Wang Chung’s Karaoke Bar.

Waikiki also features in our guide to the best beaches to visit in December if planning a rare winter bachelorette party.

Intense blue ocean and skies at Waikiki beach and diamond head in Honolulu.

Which of the best places to have a bachelorette party are you planning a trip to?

21 Free Things to Do in Cape Cod, MA & Budget Tips

Nobska Lighthouse in distance at Cape Cod MA

Cape Cod is located on the “elbow” of the state of Massachusetts (the southeastern corner that juts into the Atlantic Ocean). 

Consisting of 15 towns and assorted villages, Cape Cod is an island with 400 miles of shoreline.

Cape Cod in the summer is a very popular destination for a quintessential New England summer vacation.

Nearly 6 million people head to Cape Cod every year and 65% of those people visit in the summer! 

Needless to say, summer on Cape Cod can be expensive because of the high demands made on tourist facilities.

Although, you don’t need to spend loads of money to enjoy your summer on the Cape. 

These are the best free things to do in Cape Cod.

Cape Cod also features in our guide, the best places in the US to visit in May.

Free Outdoor Things To Do in Cape Cod

Cape Cod Beaches

During the summer months, visiting the beaches of Cape Cod is one of the best things to do in Massachusetts.

While the Cape Cod National Seashore beaches require a fee, there are plenty of others in the area that are free to enter. 

Sometimes a car fee is charged but avoid car parking fees by biking to the beach. 

For example, one of the best beaches in Cape Cod, Old Silver Beach in North Falmouth, is free to enter without a car.

Instead, access Old Silver Beach easily by bike on the Shining Sea Bikeway.

Some of the other great free Cape Cod beaches are Bayview Beach and Colonial Acres beach, both in West Yarmouth, Mayo Beach in Wellfleet, Rock Harbor in Orleans, and Oyster Pond Beach in Chatham.

Wellfleet beaches feature in our guide to East Coast beaches.

Sandy white beach at Yarmouth beach

Sunset on Cape Cod

Sunsets on Cape Cod are legendary. 

Catch the sunset from Rock Harbor Beach in Orleans. 

Likewise, try Old Silver Beach in North Falmouth or from the Cape Cod Canal.

The Kennedy Legacy Trail

Start at the JFK Hyannis Museum (397 Main Street, Hyannis) for the 1.6-mile Kennedy Legacy Trail that takes you to places associated with former President John F. Kennedy. 

The self-guided tour has ten stops and will take 2 hours to complete.

Zion Union Heritage Museum 

Head to the Zion Union Heritage Museum in Hyannis to learn more about black history in Cape Cod through a collection of artifacts, art, books, and documents.

The museum is free to members and children under 10.

Look out for free events throughout the year too.

Yarmouth Indian Memorial  Site by Long Pond

Pay respect to the native people buried in Yarmouth.

The cairns, made of glacial rocks, act as a memorial for the Native Americans forced to live on the reservation.

The memorial was restored in guidance from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

Cape Cod Baseball League

Catch the boys of summer on Cape Cod at the collegiate Cape Cod Baseball League.

There are ten teams divided into two divisions. 

The League plays a regular 40-game season in stadiums that can hold up to 8,0000 spectators.

Many of the players go on to play professionally for Major League teams.

Go Cycling

Cape Cod has 114 miles of cycling trails.

One of the most popular bike paths is the 25-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail which runs through six of the Cape Cod towns.

It passes through several interesting sights including salt marshes, lakes, and Nickerson State Park.

The Cape Cod Canal bike path is 14.2 miles of paved trail. 

It’s popular with families because the path is wide and fairly flat.

The Shining Sea Bikeway is 10.7 miles of paved trail running from Woods Hole to North Falmouth. 

This bike route goes past salt marshes, cranberry bogs, and beaches.

Chatham Band Concert

Every Friday in summer, the Chatham Band plays at the bandstand at Kate Gould Park on Main Street in downtown Chatham. 

Concerts start at 8 pm and run for an hour and a half.

Bring a picnic and chill out on a blanket in the grass on a balmy summer evening.

Hiking and Walking

With its emphasis on conservation lands, Cape Cod has many hiking and walking paths to enjoy. 

For example, the Lawrence Island trail runs through conservation lands along Buzzards Bay.

The Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge has miles of hiking trails that go through forests, marshes, and swamps providing ample opportunity to spot wildlife.

The Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham stretches for miles through marshes, dunes, and ponds.

Amateur naturalists will appreciate looking for seals, shorebirds, and many forms of wildlife.

Green marshland at Marthas Vineyard

Free Indoor Things To Do in Cape Cod

Sandwich Hatchery

The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game runs the Sandwich Fish Hatchery (164 Rte 6A, Sandwich, MA 02563).

Over 600,000 trout are stocked annually in the state waterways for the enjoyment of fishermen.

Take a self-guided tour of the facilities to see trout in different stages of growth getting ready to be released into Massachusetts rivers and ponds.

Take a Lighthouse Tour 

Cape Cod has 18 lighthouses but not all of them are open to the public.

However, the Chatham Lighthouse is open on certain days from June through October.

One of the best lighthouses to visit, Nauset Lighthouse (120 Nauset Light Beach Road, Eastham), has regularly scheduled openings during the summer. 

Red and white Nauset Lighthouse at Martha's Vineyard

Crosby Mansion

Crosby Mansion (163 Crosby Lane, Brewster) is open for visitors on Sunday and Wednesday afternoons during July and August.

The Crosby Mansion was built in 1888 by a local boy who made his fortune and wanted to impress his much younger wife. 

Rooms at the Crosby Mansion are copies of rooms in Versailles and Buckingham Palace.

The art gallery is famously filled with priceless works of art by famous American and European artists.

Cheap Things To Do in Cape Cod

Barnstable: Cape Cod and Provincetown Self-Drive Audio Tour

This self-guided driving tour of Cape Cod starts at the Cape Cod Visitor Center in Barnstable and ends at Provincetown on the very tip of Cape Cod. 

In the privacy and comfort of the car, watch the scenery of Cape Cod unfold and listen to the fascinating history of the area. 

Along the way, the route passes beautiful beaches, lighthouses, and the Pilgrim Monument.

There are plenty of opportunities for stops or detours so that this tour can be customized to the individual’s own interests.

Eat Seafood

While gorging on platters of seafood can get expensive, you can appreciate the value when the portions are huge!

Check out Chatham Pier Fish Market for an entire lobster on one bun.

Free Events in Cape Cod

Arts Alive! Falmouth

Arts Alive! Falmouth is a three-day event in September that celebrates music, dance, and theater in Falmouth.

Windmill Weekend

Eastham’s Windmill Weekend Festival is another three-day event in September geared towards family fun.

There is a car show, a talent show, sand art contest, arts and crafts vendors, and a parade.

Celebrate Our Waters

Celebrate Our Waters is another three-day event in September in Orleans designed to raise awareness on the importance of the town’s estuaries, lakes, and ponds.

Activities include kayak tours, yoga on the beach, a model boat regatta, and a family fun tent.

Cape Cod Canal Day

Cape Cod Canal Day is a one-day celebration in September held at Buzzards Bay Park with a range of events such as a cornhole tournament, children’s activities, craft beer, and wine and food trucks. 

Harwich Cranberry Arts & Music Festival

Harwich Cranberry Arts & Music Festival is a two-day event in September with arts and crafts vendors and live entertainment.

Free Things To Do in Cape Cod in Winter

Lots of places close up in Cape Cod for the winter. 

Cape Cod in the winter is a completely different place than Cape Cod in the summer.

Many people, like artists and writers, prefer the quiet and solitude of Cape Cod in the winter.

Cape Cod National Seashore

The Cape Cod National Seashore is open year-round as is the Salt Pond Visitor Center.

Go for a bracing walk on the beach or wrap up warm and catch a beautiful sunset at Race Point Beach.

December Festivities 

Downtown Chatham, Falmouth, and Provincetown do one last hurrah for the Christmas season. 

The stores want to sell the current year’s stock before the owners themselves head off to warmer climes for a few months!

In Provincetown, there’s the annual Holly Folly which has a Christmas market, fun run, and a lobster trap tree.

Falmouth organizes Christmas By The Sea which involves a fun run, carols sung by Nobska Lighthouse and a Christmas tree lighting at the Village Green.

Chatham’s event is the Christmas Stroll which has carols, carriage rides, and a tree lighting ceremony.

Affordable Accommodation in Cape Cod

There is no getting around the fact that Cape Cod is expensive during the summer. 

There are plenty of motels and inns in Cape Cod but expect to pay over the odds for budget accommodation. 

Blue Dolphin Inn in Eastham has a great location and nice facilities that include a pool.

The best option for affordable accommodation in Cape Cod is renting a vacation home.

For a group of friends or a family gathering, the cost per night is much more reasonable when you rent a vacation home. 

For example, this Bayside Colonial is a 6-bedroom house near Corporation Beach in Dennis.

Hostelling International Hyannis also offers good value.

Many people choose to camp on Cape Cod whether it is tent camping, RV camping or renting rustic bungalows.

Nickerson State Park has tent camping options. 

The best option for the Cape Cod National Seashore is the family-friendly Dunes’ Edge Campground which has tent camping, RV camping, and rustic bungalows.

The Cape Cod RV Resort in Falmouth has lots of amenities including its own private beach and a swimming pool.

Similarly, Sweetwater Forest in Brewster is geared towards families with amenities including miniature golf and playgrounds. 

Seals on sandbank at Martha's Vineyard

How To Get Around Cape Cod on a Budget

Renting a car on Cape Cod is expensive. 

People who want to drive around Cape Cod either bring their own car or rent a car outside the Cape Cod area. 

The Cape Cod Regional Transportation Authority runs buses throughout Cape Cod all year round.

The CCRTA buses have bike racks so that people can get to places where the buses don’t run.

There are taxis and rideshare options like Uber and Lyft but expect summer pricing to be expensive.

Several of the towns like Sandwich, Hyannis, and Falmouth, offer trolley services during the summer.

Text free things to do in Cape Cod Massachusetts image sandy beach and ocean

About The Author
Shobha George from Martha’s Vineyard Tourist grew up in North East USA. She has spent 20+ summers on the Cape.

14 Things to do in Idyllwild, CA: Trails, Theater & Wine

Lake Fulmor with green trees in Idyllwild California

Idyllwild is set within one of the most beautiful areas in Southern California. 

You’ll find it nestled within the San Jacinto Mountains, surrounded by unique rock formations, tall pine & cedar trees, and of course, mountain peaks. 

Situated just 109 miles (175km) from Los Angeles and only 113 miles (181km) from San Diego, Idyllwild is like stepping into a different world. 

With such spectacular scenery, awesome hiking trails, and plenty of great tourist attractions, it’s no wonder it’s such a popular destination.

This town has so much to offer in terms of family-friendly, pet-friendly, indoor and outdoor activities.

Here is a complete guide covering some of the best things to do in Idyllwild, California.

14 Best Things To Do In Idyllwild, California

Explore The Mount San Jacinto State Park

Mount San Jacinto State Park covers an impressive 14,000 acres and is home to over 50 miles of hiking trails. 

As the name suggests, the park encompasses the iconic Mount San Jacinto, which is the second-highest peak in Southern California.

Once you head into the park, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into paradise as you wander past forests, outcrops, and along meadows. 

Exploring Mount San Jacinto State Park is without a doubt one of the best outdoor things to do in Idyllwild.

With its variety of flora and fauna, dramatic scenery, and trails — allow yourself a good amount of time to explore this spot! 

Large trees blue sky at san-jacinto-state-park idyllwild california

Visit Idyllwild Nature Center

Idyllwild Nature Center is one of the top places to visit in this scenic town. 

The center offers a variety of guided tours and environmental education programs that help people learn more about this special area. 

These tours generally focus on the area’s flora and fauna with its gardens, the culture of the native Cahuilla, and the backstory of the San Jacinto Mountains.

However, the tours can also be adapted to suit personal interests, which is convenient for large groups. 

The Idyllwild Nature Center also hosts various seasonal events each year, including Wildflower Day, and Lemon Lily Restoration Day.

Not only that, but you’ll find a variety of trails in the center’s vicinity. This makes it the perfect starting point to explore Idyllwild. 

Idyllwild Nature Center entrance

Visit Idyllwild Regional Park

Located on the outskirts of town, Idyllwild Regional Park is another popular place to visit. 

The park covers an area of 202 acres and offers endless open space, scenic forests, and several hiking trails. 

It’s the perfect place to reconnect with nature and escape the hustle and bustle of California’s large cities. 

There are five hiking trails in total, and each one offers panoramic views and spectacular scenery, so it doesn’t matter which one you choose! 

If you’re looking for something a bit more daring, then try your hand at rock climbing.

The huge granite boulders within this park offer the ultimate challenge!

You’ll also find a meadow area at Idyllwild Regional Park, which is perfect for picnics. 

Walk Around Lake Fulmor

Lake Fulmor is another of Idyllwild’s top attractions, and it’s something you can’t miss out on if you’re looking for outdoor activities. 

Lake Fulmor is an artificial lake that spans 960 feet in length and is found just off State Route 243. 

The lake is incredibly scenic as it’s surrounded by forestry, and you can even find several giant sequoia trees here! 

Not only is Lake Fulmor stunning, but it’s also a popular spot for birdwatching and wildlife watching. 

If you’re lucky, you might get to spot the California tree frog, mule deer, ground squirrels, and the colorful Steller’s Jay. 

There is also a short trail that runs around the lake’s circumference.

The spot is also popular for fishing, with the numerous fish in its waters. 

So if you’re wandering what to do in Idyllwild for a full day, consider this lake.

Lake Fulmor with green trees in Idyllwild California

Go Overnight Camping

There are a variety of places to camp in and around Idyllwild.

Backcountry camping is the top choice if you’re looking for an into the wild experience.

It’s the perfect way to go off the beaten track and enjoy the peacefulness and beauty of Idyllwild. 

The beautiful landscapes are a good reason why the city offers some of the best summer camps for kids in all of California.  

However, you may need to get a permit depending on where you plan on camping.

If you’re looking for something a little less wild, then head to one of the nearby campgrounds instead, although these may have fees. 

Some of the best choices include Idyllwild Campground, Stone Creek Campground, Hurkey Creek Campground, and Lake Hemet Campground.

The Living Free Animal Sanctuary

Visiting the Living Free Animal Sanctuary is one of the most rewarding things to do around the area.

The Living Free Animal Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that helps cats and dogs who need a second chance!

The organization’s mission is to rescue animals who would, unfortunately, be put down in public shelters. 

Taste Different Wine At The Middle Ridge Winery

If you’re looking for a break from the outdoors, head to the Middle Ridge Winery.

The grapes used here are from some of California’s finest vineyards, including Blue’s Creek Vineyard.

You’ll find plenty of delicious wines to taste during your time at the winery, including NV Merlot, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon Blanc, and even sparkling cocktails.

Not only is it famous for its award-winning wines, but the property is beautiful. 

The tasting room is truly special, and you can find some incredible artwork. 

So, if you’re looking for a wine tasting experience while in the city — this is the perfect place. 

Eat At Cafe Aroma

If you’re a big foodie, then eating at Cafe Aroma is a must during your visit to Idyllwild. 

This mountain bistro is surrounded by forestry and is known for its cozy and relaxed atmosphere. 

However, the highlight has to be its food! 

Their casual brunch menu runs between Wednesday-Sunday from 10 am-2 pm.

You’ll find plenty of tasty treats on it, including berries and cream waffles, steak Caprese sandwiches, and portobello benedict. 

The dinner menu at Cafe Arom runs from 4:30 pm, and some of its highlights include blackened Atlantic salmon, ribeye, and seafood pasta. 

The cafe offers delicious food, a scenic backdrop, and a cozy atmosphere.

Learn History At The Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum

The Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum is one of the top places to visit if you want to learn about the area’s history. 

The museum is run by volunteers that focus on preserving the history of the San Jacinto Mountains. 

It’s housed in a rustic cabin from the 1930s and has a variety of exhibits, including ‘viewing Idyllwild history’ and ‘Idyllwild Inn and the Emerson Family Legacy’. 

There is also an exhibit dedicated to the early climbers of Tahquitz Rock.

The exhibits rotate at the museum, but you can always take a look at the website before you explore it.

Not only will you get the chance to learn all about Idyllwild, but you also get to see some of the cabin’s original features from the 1930s.

Visit The Town Gallery

If you’re a fan of art and culture, visiting the Town Gallery should be high on your priority list.

The gallery shares its space and ownership with Idyllwild Town Real Estate and works to promote local artists. 

You can find an array of artwork at the gallery where the town and its surroundings have been used as the subject. 

The exhibitions naturally change throughout the year, but you’re likely to find a variety of photo prints, paintings, custom furniture, pottery, and sculptures. 

During your time at the gallery, you can learn about some of the local artists.

Watch A Show At The The Rustic Theatre

When it comes to entertainment, visitors usually get their kicks from the outdoors and its beautiful trails. 

However, if you’re looking for something to do in the evening, then make sure you head to the Rustic Theatre. 

It’s a cozy little theatre that shows the latest movies and has been around since the 1950s

Not only is the Rustic Theatre fabulous for an evening’s entertainment, but you can also grab a bite to eat. 

They sell hotdogs, burgers, and pizzas for main meals, as well as plenty of concessions.

You can even buy a glass of wine, beer, or tasty cocktails, including mojitos, mimosas, and margaritas! 

Rustic Theatre building in Idyllwild California

Explore Humber Park

Humber Park is one of Idyllwild’s most popular parks, and it’s no surprise why!

With beautiful scenery, great trails, and the chance to explore the area’s wilderness, Humber Park has a lot to offer to kids and adults, making it one of the best tourist attractions. 

Two of the most popular trails within the park are the Devil’s Slide Trail and the Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail. 

Both of these trails enter the San Jacinto Wilderness Area and let dogs in as long as they’re leashed. 

No matter which one you choose, you’ll be rewarded with a great hike, beautiful scenery, and the chance to connect with nature. 

The hikes within Humber Park vary in difficulty and skill level, and permits are required for certain trails.

There is parking available, and you’ll find toilets there too. 

Enjoy The View At The Indian Vista Scenic Overlook

Head up to the Indian Vista Scenic Overlook for panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. 

It’s situated on Highway 243, just 9.5 miles north of Idyllwild, so it’s just a short 15-minute drive. 

The trail up to the overlook is wheelchair friendly and isn’t very tiring, and once you get to the top, your reward is some beautiful breathtaking views.

If you’re lucky, you may spot bobcats, coyotes, deer, and gray foxes, among other wildlife.

Make sure you look up every once in a while, as you might see red-tailed hawks and ravens flying in the sky. 

Indian Scenic Overview path at Idyllwild California

Hike The Tahquitz Peak Trail 

If you’re a keen hiker, the Tahquitz Peak Trail is a must-do during your trip to Idyllwild. 

Tahquitz Peak is a granite rock formation that sits at an impressive 8,846 feet tall.

You can find a lookout tower right at the peak, which is the highest one in San Bernardino National Forest.

So, naturally, you’re rewarded with spectacular views once you’re at the top. If it’s a clear day, you can even see right over to the Salton Sea. 

The trail is pet-friendly, so a great way to get some exercise in with your dog. 

However, the hike up is no easy feat since you’re looking at a distance of around 8 miles (there and back). 

Parts of the trail are also very steep! 

Where To Stay in Idyllwild, California

Whether you’re visiting from out of the country or out of the state, you’ll find plenty of hotels, lodges, or cottages that you can stay at.

Some of the more popular resorts include The Grand Idyllwild Lodge, where you can get beautiful sights of the idyllic San Jacinto Mountains.

You can also stay at the Quiet Creek Inn, which is another quiet pet-friendly accommodation out in the mountains. 

You can also find some cabins to rent at the Silver Pines Lodge. 

Text Things to do in Idyllwild California image of river with trees

About the Author

Mark Evans is a summer camp consultant and travel enthusiast. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California, and routinely visits other popular cities in California like Idyllwild, San Francisco, and San Jose. 

30 Free Things to do in Richmond, VA & Budget Tips

Street art in Richmond

Sky scrapers, converted warehouses, white water rafting, gorgeous walking trails, and rich history – the city of Richmond, Virginia has it all. 

Whether you’re a foodie looking for trendy spots to eat dinner, an adrenaline junkie seeking adventure, a couple hoping for hipster nightlife or friends in need of a chill day in nature, you’ve come to the right place! 

This city has something for everyone, and one of the best parts is that it’s a city easily done on a budget as there are so many free things to do in Richmond aka RVA!

So no matter what your budget or your interests, be sure to stop by if you ever get the chance!

Free Outdoor Things to do in Richmond

Richmond is a fun all year round destination and it really has a lot to offer those who enjoy outdoor activities, especially in spring, summer, and fall!

One of the best things to do in Richmond is simply wander around, orient yourself, and get a feel for this walkable city!

There are so many walking trails to choose from, but if you’re up for getting your steps in and have the better part of an afternoon you can easily create a self-guided walking tour by looping all of these separate walks together! 

Canal Walk 

For this loop, start with the canal walk (1512 Canal Walk, Richmond, VA 23219). 

Richmond sits right on the James River, but there is also a man-made canal looping through the city, and the walk along the side of it takes you over bridges, through tunnels and winds through some of the best parts of Richmond. 

Canal Murals 

After you complete the short canal walk, you’ll pass by a massive collection of murals on your way to the pipeline (1201 Haxall Point, Richmond, VA 23219).

The murals are a popular Rochmond attraction, so be sure not to miss them!

The Pipeline

The pipeline (310 S 14th St, Richmond, VA 23219) is a unique walking trail located on the river side of a concrete wall, and there’s a small path that will lead you to a ladder that takes you onto the pipeline. 

It is a very narrow walk-way, and you have to squeeze by people going the other way, but it is absolutely gorgeous and a very unique thing to do in Richmond, Virginia! 

Walk to the end and take a rest, watching the white water rafters and kayakers whizz by through the rapids, or even dip your feet in the James if it’s a warm day!

Leafy green The Pipeline tree bridge in Richmond VA

T Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge

After you’ve completed the pipeline, turn around and head towards the Memorial pedestrian bridge. 

This is a favorite of the locals, and many people choose to spend their evenings jogging or walking with their kids across this bridge.

The skyline makes for a gorgeous backdrop, and it’s definitely one of the best free things to do in Richmond, Virginia. 

Flood Wall

Once you reach the end of the pedestrian bridge, turn left. 

You’ll have to walk on some small dirt paths, but they’ll take you past a rock climbing wall and under a bridge, where you’ll find the steps up to the city’s flood wall. 

This is where you’ll end your DIY walking tour, along the flood wall that’ll give you, without a doubt, the best views of Richmond, and if you time it well, a gorgeous sunset view!

Street art in Richmond

Swim in the James River

Another amazing free thing to do in Richmond is to go swimming in the James! 

Right near the pedestrian bridge, to the right side, is a suspension bridge that will take you to a magical place called Belle Isle. 

While you can visit year round (and you should, as it is beautiful in all seasons), most people choose to bring their bathing suits and visit in the summer. 

You can walk around this island fairly quickly, but the best thing to do is to pack a picnic and some towels, and spend the afternoon swimming in between the rocks, exploring the civil war ruins, and getting some sun! 

Huguenot Bridge at Sunset

If you are looking to end the day with a stunning sunset head to Huguenot Memorial Bridge for dusky views over the James.

Outdoor Sports

Another thing that you could do for free in Richmond is to bring your outdoor equipment from home.

There are outdoor rock walls available to those who have climbing gear, and a beautiful river for those who have either kayaks or paddle boards. 

Richmond is a very outdoorsy city, and you should definitely take advantage of it. 

Carytown

If you’re more of a city than a nature person, don’t worry! 

Although Richmond has more nature than the average city, it still has all the perks of modern, urban areas, and Carytown is an excellent place to spend an afternoon. 

Covered in murals and street art, this quaint little street is full of unique cafes, hipster thrift stores, incredible restaurants and breweries, and is one of the best places to pass some time.

There are so many boutiques to visit, and even some souvenir shops so that you can bring little pieces of Richmond home with you. 

Take a walk, do some window shopping, and pop into the stores that interest you. 

Carytown Farmers’ Market

The Carytown Market showcases local farmers and producers at City Stadium from summer through to fall.

The market features a variety of vendors from the Richmond area and live music.

Hollywood Cemetery 

If you’re in the mood for some history, be sure to head over to Hollywood Cemetery. 

Also located along the river, Hollywood cemetery is one of the most picturesque places in all of Richmond. 

There are multiple presidents buried here, but the main appeal comes from simply wandering through the incredibly manicured grounds with the view of the river as the backdrop.

Maymont Park 

Another incredible, free thing to do in Richmond would be to visit Maymont Park. 

Not your ordinary park, Maymont is owned by a very wealthy family who has created three separate themed gardens right in the middle of Richmond named The Japanese Gardens, the Arboretum, and the Italian Gardens. 

Each is distinctly different, but definitely best visited in the spring when all the flowers are blooming. 

There are pagodas, waterfalls, a petting zoo, tulip fields, and bamboo forests, and it is a gorgeous place to visit with friends.

Free Indoor Things to do in Richmond

If the weather turns and spending your time in Richmond exploring the outdoors is not an option, never fear! 

There are also some incredible free indoor things to do in Richmond such as observation decks, galleries and museums.

City Hall Observation Deck

For the best aerial, panoramic views of Richmond, be sure to head towards City Hall (1001 E Broad St). 

Enter the lobby and head straight to the elevators that can take you up to the top floor.

This room has floor to ceiling glass windows that allow you to see the entire city from a unique vantage point! 

Lots of people bring a coffee or a snack so that they can simply sit and enjoy the view. 

VMFA

Without a doubt, the best free thing to do in Richmond is to visit the VMFA (200 N Arthur Ashe Blvd).

This museum is home to works of art as well as archeological artifacts and valuable pieces of furniture and history. 

They regularly have temporary exhibits that have a small entrance fee, but the rest of the museum is completely free. 

Browse through the ancient Egyptian artifacts, East Asian scrolls and statues, the extensive African mask collection, and the absolutely stunning impressionist exhibit. 

Even if you’re not a huge art-lover, the VMFA is not to be missed, even if it’s just for a walk through their sculpture garden and a quick coffee in the cafe. 

Science Museum of VA 

If art isn’t your cup of tea, you can always visit the Science Museum of Virginia (2500 W Broad St). 

Located in a gorgeous, historic building, the science museum of Virginia is fun for people of all ages. 

Most of the exhibits are either hands-on or very visually engaging, so this is an amazing option if you’re looking for free things to do with kids during your trip to Richmond. 

Edgar Allen Poe Museum

Another amazing museum in Richmond, the Edgar Allen Poe Museum (1914 E Main St) will definitely appeal to any literature lover or English major, as the museum is located in Poe’s actual home. 

There are dramatic recitations scheduled every day, as well as many different artifacts, original poems, and letters that tell the story of Poe’s life. 

It is very interesting, and a good way to spend an afternoon and appreciate literature. 

Children’s Museum of Richmond

If you’re looking for something even more family-friendly, consider the Children’s Museum of Richmond (2626 W Broad St).

There are so many fun activities for kids which will keep them entertained but also teach them new skills and provide fresh experiences.

Cheap Things to do in Richmond

While there are many free things to do in Richmond, your options expand if you have a little bit of a budget!

Fortunately, there are many affordable things to do in this city as well. 

Byrd Theater

Conveniently located in Carytown and nicknamed “Richmond’s Movie Palace”, The Byrd Theater is one of the best places to see movies in Virginia. 

Although they only show one movie at a time, and typically quite some time after they are newly released, the Byrd has extremely discounted tickets that make seeing a movie extremely affordable. 

The enormous chandelier, the boujee red velvet curtains, and the old-world atmosphere make something as simple as seeing a movie into a unique, fun experience. 

Altria Theater

Every once in a while, the Altria Theater, a historic building with an interior covered in mosaic tile, will hold special events. 

From Broadway shows to symphonies, from TV show premieres to movie screenings with live music, the Altria Theater can add a really special element to your trip, especially if you plan around one of these exclusive events. 

White Water Rafting

Something unique about Richmond is that it is home to the only class four rapids in the US that are found within a city. 

Some people leave their corporate jobs in a city highrise, and then head to the river to raft through top notch rapids – it’s a very unique dichotomy! 

Paddle Board Yoga

If rapids aren’t quite your thing, don’t worry!

There are calm sections of the river that are perfect for paddleboarding, or even booking a sunset paddle board yoga class!

Perfect for the hot summer, paddle board yoga is challenging and fun, and you won’t even mind if you end up falling into the water! 

Yoga combined with the sunset on the river with the skyline of Richmond as the backdrop… you can’t get much better than that.

Free Richmond Walking Tour

When in doubt, you can always book a walking tour of the city! 

Most are labeled as free, but the tour guides always appreciate a tip. 

Walking tours are an amazing way to get a little more historical insight into a city and its background, as well as orient yourself if it’s a new location for you! 

Ghost Tour of Richmond

Join an experienced guide through the street of Richmond’s oldest neighborhood, Church Hill where they will share stories of ghosts and tragic events!

This tour includes St John’s Church graveyard.

Church Hill Scavenger Hunt

Make your way through Church Hill solving challenging riddles and clues!

Through this scavenger hunt you will also hear about historical figures and discover the city’s hidden nooks.

Squirrels Game 

Another local’s favorite is attending a Flying Squirrels baseball game at the Diamond. 

Regardless of winning or losing, it’s always fun to experience a baseball game in person, and in July and August they frequently have a fireworks show no matter the outcome of the game. 

Even if you’re not a huge baseball fan, feasting on hot dogs, cotton candy, and curly fries is always a good way to spend an evening!

Free Festivals and Events in Richmond

While there are many festivals and events to attend in Richmond throughout the course of the year, there are a few standouts that you have to see if you’re in town!

River Rock Festival

If you’re looking for something that’s still fun but a little more laid back, be sure to check out River Rock Festival! 

This festival takes place on Brown’s Island, which is located right next to Belle Isle. 

It happens in the middle of May, and it’s the perfect way to enjoy the newly warm weather.

Bring your dog and watch the dock-jump competition, or grab a beer and marvel at the bouldering contests. 

Snag some food from a food truck and camp out on the hills while you watch the slackliners practice their tricks above the canal. 

River Rock attracts one hundred thousand people a year, so don’t miss it!

Shamrock the Block

Shamrock the Block is a festival that happens towards the middle of march, typically on the weekend closest to St. Patricks Day. 

It takes place in Scott’s Addition, which is chock-full of breweries and hip restaurants, which makes it the perfect place to celebrate the holiday. 

It is extremely rowdy, and the streets get absolutely packed with people decked out in green clothes and cheesy accessories. 

Shamrock The Rock also features in our guide, the best places to visit in the US in March.

Free Things to do in the Winter

If you’re lucky enough to visit during the holiday season you are in for a treat! 

There are tons of free, christmassy things to do in Richmond. 

Dominion Energy Gardenfest of Lights

Located outside the city limits, but still well worth a visit, are the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.

 Every year, they completely deck out every inch of the gardens with millions of lights, which creates the most lovely holiday atmosphere. 

Bring some gloves and hand warmers and enjoy a walk through the gardens and greenhouses!

City Lights

Centered around Kanawha (8th & Canal Street), there is a massive collection of Christmas lights that you simply can’t miss. 

Herds of glowing reindeer (see if you can hunt down rudolph!), hanging snowflakes, and oversized Christmas trees fill the plaza, and the holiday cheer even spills into the lobbies of neighboring banks, with miniature train sets, a fun penguin display, as well as a lifesized gingerbread house adding to the extravaganza.  

Tacky Lights Tour

When it comes to festive light tours, Richmond has you absolutely covered. 

There’s usually a map created yearly that will take you on a self-guided car tour of the city’s tacky Christmas lights. 

We’re not being rude calling the lights tacky, this is what they are known as in Richmond and they will absolutely blow your mind.

One neighborhood communally commits to putting on a spectacular show, and every house participates.

Fun fact: It’s so highly regarded that realtors are obligated to tell buyers of this tradition if one of the houses ever goes for sale!

Where to Stay in Richmond on a Budget

If you want to stay close to the action, expect to pay around $200-300 per night for a hotel during high season.

Check out The Berkley Hotel for a historic city center hotel.

If you are happy to travel 6-10 miles to get into the center, you can find rooms for $150 in summer at the likes of the Best Western or Comfort Suites.

How to Get Around in Richmond, Virginia

While there is a bus system that runs through Richmond, it is a very walkable city. 

Taxis are not that common, but calling an Uber or a Lyft is very easy and inexpensive. 

Additionally, if you’re up for more of a thrill, electric scooters can be easily found everywhere and are lots of fun!

Final Words

Thus concludes this comprehensive list of all the best free things to do in Richmond, Virginia! 

Richmond is such a unique city, from the river and its rapids, to the restored warehouse breweries, to the gorgeous skyscrapers and the free outdoor rock walls. 

It is an incredible mix of excitement that the outdoors bring as well as all the city necessities such as cute brunch places and stunning boutiques. 

Richmond should, without a doubt, be the location that you travel to next. 

Text free things to do in Richmond Virginia image of street art mural

About the Author

Emma Sturgeon is an adventure enthusiast and travel blogger, who runs the show over at emmasdaydream.com.

Although she is currently living in and exploring South Korea, she was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, giving her 20 years of experiencing all that the city has to offer. 

Follow Emma on Instagram.

28 Free things to do in Hilton Head, SC & Budget Tips

Wooden sun beds on Hilton Head Island South Carolina

If you’re looking for free things to do in Hilton Head, South Carolina, you’re in luck.

Throughout this post, you’ll learn all about the best free and affordable activities in Hilton Head that you absolutely won’t want to miss, including a few seasonal attractions!

Hilton Head has quite a few cheap attractions despite being such an upscale location to visit so we will include them too.

This guide will reveal the best free things to do in Hilton Head outdoors as well as indoor attractions.

Plus, festive activities and budget tips on where to stay and how to get around.

Free Outdoor Things to do in Hilton Head

Enjoy Coligny Beach

Despite being one of the most popular attractions in Hilton Head, a visit to the scenic Coligny Beach is a must.

It’s absolutely free to visit the beach though you may have to pay for parking; head over to South Forest Drive for free parking.

The amenities at the beach are abundant and feature outdoor showers, spots to relax, and many wheelchair-accessible spaces.

If you get hungry while there, be sure to stop by some of the nearby family-friendly restaurants in case you’re traveling with little ones!

Long stretch of sand at Coligny Beach, Hilton Head SC

Visit the Historic Hilton Head Range Rear Lighthouse

The Hilton Head Range Rear Lighthouse is one of the most historical spots to visit in Hilton Head, dating back to 1879.

While there are many lighthouses on the island, this is the only one that is an actual lighthouse.

The lighthouse was recently renovated in 2019 and is now open to the public.

When visiting the lighthouse, stop by the oak trees right near it, which are some of the oldest Live Oak trees on Hilton Head.

Attend a Show at Shelter Cove Harbour

There are quite a few free concert series throughout the summer at Shelter Cove Harbour, generally on Thursday evenings.

Unless you wish to stand during the entire concert, bring your own chair that you can set up to stay comfortable.

Because admission is free, try to get there early to make sure you have a great spot while you enjoy the music.

Visit the Stoney Baynard Ruins

The Stoney Baynard Ruins are one of the must-visit historic locations in Hilton Head.

The ruins are of what used to be a plantation house near the Calibogue Sound, dating back to the 1790s.

Today, as the name suggests, there are genuinely just ruins left, but it’s still an interesting spot to visit on the island.

Admission is entirely free though there may be a small parking fee depending on the time of year that you visit.

Leafy woods with Stoney Baynard Ruins Hilton Head SC

Bike in Fish Haul Creek Park

Along Port Royal Sound, there’s an incredible trail in the shade found in Fish Haul Creek Park.

This is one of the best free things to do in Hilton Head, SC, if you already have a bike.

If you aren’t traveling with a bike, they can be rented throughout the island for affordable rates depending on how long you’re renting one.

Watch the Sunset at Harbour Town Lighthouse

No trip to Hilton Head is complete without catching the sunset at least once over the Atlantic Ocean.

There are many places to watch the sunset in Hilton Head, but one of the best spots is at Harbour Town Lighthouse.

Get there a little earlier to ensure that you can snag a great spot overlooking the water, and don’t forget to bring your camera.

Harbour Town Lighthouse at sunset in Hilton Head

Peruse the Stands at the Farmers’ Market

Visiting Farmers’ Markets on Hilton Head is the perfect way to get outdoors without spending money unless you wish to purchase something from any stands.

There are many throughout the area, including the Thursday markets at the Coastal Discovery Museum, the Farmers’ Market at Bluffton, and the Farmers’ & Makers Market at The Shops at Sea Pines Center on Tuesdays.

Learn and Step Back in Time at Fort Howell

Fort Howell is a historical fort dating back to the 1860s that is free and open to the public.

The fort was initially built during the Civil War to protect the nearby waters after an attack.

Once the battle ended, enslaved people on Hilton Head Island were freed by Union soldiers.

These were the first enslaved people freed during the Civil War, and they later went on to set up more forts and the town of Mitchelville.

Today, the fort is explored via a nature trail through the woods with occasional plaques and signs that educate visitors on the fort’s history.

Go Geocaching

If you love getting outside, go on a geocaching adventure on Hilton Head.

This can be a great way to spend some time if you’re visiting the island with kids and want to explore the island less traditionally.

Relax at Mitchelville Beach

For a quieter alternative to the popular Coligny Beach on Hilton Head, go to Michelville Beach instead which features in our best beaches in the US guide.

Even during peak seasons and popular times of day to go to the beach, Mitchelville Beach tends to be very tranquil.

There are quite a few amenities at the beach, including showers, picnic tables, restrooms, and even a bridge leading to nearby Barker Field filled with outdoor recreational fields.

Sunset at Mitchelville Beach Hilton Head SC

Mitchelville Freedom Park Tour

Do the self-guided tour of Mitchelville Freedom Park to learn about the formerly enslaved sea islanders of Hilton Head.

The tour can be done at your own pace.

This is where the island’s Juneteenth events take place.

Check out our guide to the best places to visit in the US in June for more.

Explore the Audubon Newhall Preserve

Another excellent free thing to do in Hilton Head while outdoors is to explore the Audubon Newhall Preserve, which spans 50 acres.

The best way to explore the preserve is to use the trails throughout, which are only about a mile long.

Along the way, be sure to look out for the more than 100 bird species that live there freely in the preserved area.

Free Indoor Things to do in Hilton Head

Learn at the Coastal Discovery Museum

The Coastal Discovery Museum is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for fun things to do in Hilton Head with kids.

While most of the attractions at the Coastal Discovery Museum are indoors, some of the trails that lead between exhibits are outdoors.

Admission is free, though some educational programs happen each day that require a small fee if you wish to attend them.

Throughout the museum, you can learn about the area’s natural history and visit historic buildings.

Go Inside the Hilton Head Branch Library

If you’re a lover of books and want to stay indoors for a bit, head to the Hilton Head Brand Library, the island’s main library.

There’s ample reading space, public computers, and books that you can take off the shelf and read inside, even if you aren’t a member.

The library also hosts many free events and programs throughout the year, which you can attend if interested.

Interact at The Sandbox Children’s Museum

The Sandbox Children’s Museum is a fun place to go if you’ll be visiting Hilton Head with children.

Inside, there are many interactive educational exhibits and activities children can participate in while learning.

While there’s usually a small admission fee, be sure to visit on their Free Family Fun Night, which changes days each year.

Check their website for the most updated information on when free nights are.

Cheap Things to do in Hilton Head

Explore Sea Pines 

Sea Pines is the main resort complex located on Hilton Head, and guests can access everything inside with a pass which costs just under $10.

By paying, guests can enter the resort area and visit the shopping centers and more.

This small fee goes towards the Sea Pines community and is worth it to access all the fun activities in the resort.

Play a Round of Golf at Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf

To have some fun during your visit to Hilton Head, consider golfing at Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf, which is fun for all ages.

One round is $15 for adults and $11 for children, but you automatically get a free game if you get a hole in one.

Go on a Paddleboard Tour

One of the best cheap things to do in Hilton Head is to go on a stand up paddleboard tour like this one.

This is one of the most affordable and unique tours you can take around the island.

During the tour, you’ll get taught how to paddleboard by an experienced guide and explore the coastline.

Have Fun on a Kayak Tour

Another excellent cheap tour that’s relatively popular is this 1.5-hour kayak tour that’s limited to a small group of ten.

If paddleboarding isn’t your thing, this kayak tour is perfect and includes a kayak rental with a life jacket.

During the tour, you’ll kayak through marshlands as you’re taught all about the history and landscape of the island by an experienced guide.

Join Gullah Heritage Trail Tours

Learn more about the Gullah Geechee Corridor, which South Carolina is part of, from Hilton Head born guides with Gullah Heritage.

Discover the language, history, and tour the Gullah Neighborhoods with Gullah Heritage Trail Tours.

This is the priciest activity in our guide at just over $40 but reviews say it is worth every penny for privilege to learn more about the culture.

Free Festivals and Events in Hilton Head

Art in the Garden at The Greenery Garden Center

Art in the Garden is a new annual event taking place every year in Hilton Head at The Greenery Garden Center.

This free event is a celebration of local artists held directly in the beautiful garden and is a perfect way to support the arts in the area while also enjoying the outdoors.

May Fest

Another excellent free festival in Hilton Head is May Fest, which, as the name suggests, is hosted in May annually.

This event has been held for more than 40 years and is hosted by The Rotary Club of Bluffton.

This is also an arts-focused festival featuring arts and crafts, food trucks, and even a fun pie-eating contest.

Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration

Did you know that Hilton Head had a rich Gullah history?

The Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration has been highlighting cultural Gullah heritage on the island for over two decades.

Free Things to do in Hilton Head in Winter

Go Fishing

This may be a surprising free thing to do in winter, but the best time of year to go fishing in Hilton Head is in the winter months.

Grab a fishing pole and some bait, and head out to the water to go fishing.

Because this isn’t peak season, it’s easier to catch a fish this time of year versus in the summer months.

Enjoy the Beaches

The best time of year to head to the beaches is in the winter months.

Even though the temperature is a bit cooler from December through February, there are significantly fewer visitors to the beaches; it’s typically just locals.

Movies in the Park

Bluffton occasionally hosts winter movies in the park during December for festive movies like “Elf.”

Because it’s winter, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for cooler weather, so bring blankets and dress appropriately, as the event is typically held rain or shine.

Movies have been held in Martin Family Park in the past, though that may change.

Meet Santa

Many free holiday-related events allow children to meet with Santa!

These events start directly after the Thanksgiving holiday, some as early as Black Friday.

In the past, Santa has even met children on Hilton Head at the Neptune Statue, where they can take photos, listen to holiday music, and even munch on gingerbread cookies.

Stroll the Waterfront to See Holiday Boats

During the holiday season, walk along the marina to see the beautiful boats that are docked.

Many boat owners will get into the holiday spirit and deck the halls by decorating their boats with tons of holiday lights.

Because you’ll want to see the boats lit up, be sure to walk along the waterfront at night once the sun has already set.

Affordable Accommodation in Hilton Head

If you’re visiting Hilton Head on a budget, consider booking a stay at the Days Inn by Wyndham Hilton Head.

Pricing changes throughout the year, but it’s generally one of the most affordable places to stay on the island.

Another great option is the Red Roof Inn Hilton Head Island.

For more space, book a one-bedroom apartment at the Hilton Head Beach and Tennis Resort.

How to Get Around Hilton Head on a Budget

The cheapest way to get around Hilton Head is by walking, but make sure you wear proper footwear.

If you’d rather rely on public transportation, a few affordable options are available.

The Breeze is a public trolley that will get you around for only $1 no matter where you get off, but make sure you pay in exact change.

This trolley runs until around midnight on weekends and 10:30 p.m. on weeknights but is not available to ride until around noon.

For a free option, consider The Sea Pines Trolley, which picks guests up at trolley stations.

There are a few routes, but they will stop at popular clubs, shops, and more.

The Sea Pines Trolley is a seasonal trolley, so it’s not available for use year-round.

If you don’t want to use public transportation, Lyft or Uber are always an option, but keep in mind that it may be a bit more costly depending on the time of year and day.

Text free things to do Hilton Head South Carolina image wooden beach chairs and blue umbrella

About the Author

Amy Hartle is the founder of East Coast With Kids, a website dedicated to highlighting the most fun destinations for kids AND adults on the East Coast of the USA. Born and raised in Florida, Amy has lived on the East Coast all her life. Check out this New England road trip guide and US travel guide for more content by Amy on Two Scots Abroad.