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5 Affordable Airports in the U.S. for Outdoor Adventures

Traveler woman is waiting at the airport for a flight.

If you’re simply tired of your local area and want to explore new places, you might be considering a flight somewhere. Outdoor adventures do not have to break the bank, especially if there are areas you want to explore outside of your home town.  Knowing flights can save vacation time, there are ways you can maximize the savings by still taking a flight to start your adventures.

Not all airports are created equal.  Some airports are major hubs and have high seasons as well as low seasons.  Some airports have a suite of specific airlines that fly into them, which can mean cost savings for your travel budget or set you over the top.  One of the best ways to stay on budget is to know how to save on the largest expenses, such as a flight.

Here are some airports that have affordable flights to pursue your outdoor adventures.

1. Las Vegas

Las Vegas sign with plane flying over it.

Las Vegas airport has the potential for savings. Since it’s a major tourist stop, you’ve got plenty of options for lodging. Cheap lodging, too; a quick search turned up several decent hotels between $21 and $81. The same goes for rental cars. With a large volume of tourists, they can probably afford to cut prices in order to compete with all the other companies offering the same services.

Even better, Vegas is close to the Grand Canyon, which is possibly one of the greatest places in the country for an outdoor adventure. If you’ve never been there, all you need to know is that pictures cannot do it justice. Also, Red Rock Canyon is right outside the city, and Death Valley is only a couple of hours away.

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2. Phoenix

Map showing Phoenix with a compass on it.

Phoenix is similar to Las Vegas, with affordable flights, lodging, and rental cars, and nearby national parks. Its location makes several national parks accessible and proves to be a nice jumping-off point to start your adventure.  It’s a great place to visit in the winter as the temperatures are reasonable and crowd low.

From high elevation desert to amazing canyons carved out by the water, starting your journey in Phoenix will serve you well.

 3. Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City skyline with Wasatch mountains as the backdrop.

The descent into Salt Lake City, especially if you’re coming from the east, is incredibly beautiful. The mountains just east of the city are massive and attention-grabbing.

Those mountains hold many possibilities for outdoor adventures. You could go skiing, rock climbing, backpacking, or get a cheap rental car and take some scenic drives. If you want to fly in, grab a rental car, and take a road trip, Moab, Canyonlands National Park, and Arches National Park are worth your time.

In addition, there’s a lot of national forest between it and Salt Lake City.

4. Denver

Hiker relaxing in the rocky mountains outside of Denver.

Denver is a massive central hub where you can find many different airlines. A ton of flights going between the West Coast and the Midwest or East Coast connect in Denver. If you’re crossing the country and want to stop for a few days and enjoy the outdoors, this is the place.

These two words are all the reasons you need: the Rocky Mountains. I-70 through the western half of Colorado reaches the highest elevation of any interstate in the country at well over 11,000 feet. Pike’s Peak is close by and the cog railway to the summit is a fun and beautiful trip. There are endless options for hiking and exploring.

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5. Cincinnati

Person jogging in downtown Cincinnati along the river.

Thinking outside of the box, smaller airports not generally known for their outdoor adventures can be a great place to make an affordable outdoor adventure portal.  From Cincinnati, get a rental car, and drive a few hours to the Appalachian Mountains, the Great Lakes, or Great Smokey Mountain National Park.

Starting your outdoor journey, away from your home town, does not have to break your budget.  You also do not have to be restricted to where you explore.  With some savvy research and flexibility, your outdoor journeys can expand however far you need them to be.  Go out and explore.
(c) 2015