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3 Texas cities named the US’ most affordable vacation destinations

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Texans in search of a great value on a fun vacation should gas up instead of comparing flights.

That’s according to personal finance site GOBankingRates, which names three Texas cities as the country’s best affordable vacation spots: Houston at No. 14; Austin at No. 13; San Antonio at No. 5.

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Houston nabbed the top-20 spot for its slew of free activities, including the Miller Outdoor Theatre, movies at Market Square Park and a tour of the unique Art Car Museum. The average airfare cost is under $300 per ticket and hotels average $130 per night.

“Although Hurricane Harvey hurt the local tourism industry in 2017, the city is recovering,” the report states. “The city experienced more than 21 million visits in 2017 and is aiming to get 25 million annual visits by 2020.”

Austin came in at No. 13 due in large part to its combination of outdoor fun and world-class culture. The site recommends guests go “day paddling around Lady Bird Lake” or catch a ballet or museum exhibit. The city also got a nod for its affordability: “The average meal in Austin costs $15, and a domestic beer will cost you about $4.50.” The average hotel price in Austin is $189 per night.

San Antonio claims the top spot in the state when it comes to vacation value, and the No. 5 spot in the country. The average hotel stay in this city is roughly $150 per night, that’s including its award-winning lodging Hotel Emma, where most rooms start at the $400-per-night range.

It’s the city’s public transportation and affordable eats: “San Antonio has some of the cheapest public transportation on this list, with the average daily cost at $16. It also has some of the cheapest beers, with the average cost of a domestic brew at $3.50. Food is also affordable, with the average meal costing $12. A visit to the River Walk is a must during any trip to this Texas city.”

Of course, we would’ve also highlighted San Antonio’s Tejano culture, which combines Mexican and Texan music, food and entertainment in festivals throughout the year.

The ranking’s other shortcomings: Austin’s globally famous live-music scene went completely undiscussed in this national listicle. For Houston, the city’s collection of James Beard Award-winning chefs and restaurants, as well as our internationally diverse dining options, were not even mentioned by the site.

Maybe that just means the country still has a lot of great attributes it ne to discover about our home-state metros.

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