Think you don’t have the budget for a multi-destination vacation? Think again.
Several discount bus services -- Megabus, BoltBus, and Greyhound Express -- are making travel from one city to another very affordable, as in $20 round-trip for reserved seating, reclining seats, and onboard restrooms. We took a look at nine Megabus routes to show you how you could add a second city to your vacation for very little money and what you can do once you get there.
New Orleans to Mobile
New Orleans may be synonymous for Mardi Gras, but for a $20 round-trip ticket, you can add Mobile, the actually birthplace of Mardi Gras, to your itinerary. The Mobile Carnival Museum tells the holiday’s story and showcases an extraordinary collection of costumes and parade memorabilia. While in Mobile, don’t miss GulfQuest, the new maritime museum dedicated to the Gulf Coast, or the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. If you have the time, consider visiting the Bellingrath Gardens and Home, the estate of Coca-Cola bottling magnate Walter Bellingrath.
Mobile has several great restaurants, but for fresh Gulf seafood, head to Felix’s Fish Camp Grill. Or, wait for a seat at the original Wintzell’s Oyster House on Dauphin Street, where oysters have been served “fried, stewed, or nude” for more than 75 years.
Atlanta to Montgomery
Learn about the Civil Rights Movement with a $20 round-trip from Atlanta to Montgomery. Here, you can visit the Rosa Parks Library and Museum and tour the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and Dexter Parsonage Museum, the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from 1954 to 1960. Across the street from The Southern Poverty Law Center, the Civil Rights Memorial is must-see, etched with the names of those killed during the movement. Other options in Montgomery include the First White House of the Confederacy and the Hank Williams Museum.
Orlando to Gainesville
Disney World is great fun, but for a change of pace, take a Megabus from Orlando to Gainesville for $10 round-trip. In Gainesville, visit the Florida Museum of Natural History, where you can witness a Calusa Indian welcoming ceremony, enter a life-size limestone cave, and interact with exotic butterflies. Then, stroll through Kanapha Botanical Gardens, known for its bamboo, herb, and water gardens. If you have the time, email or call the Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation to arrange a tour of the facility, which rescues exotic animals in need.
When you’re ready to refuel, snag a table at Southern Charm Kitchen, a tiny eatery known for soul food offerings like fried catfish, black-eyed peas, and fried chicken. For a white tablecloth experience, head to Manuel’s Vintage Room or Embers Wood Grill.
Nashville to Louisville
It will only set you back $20 round-trip to add Louisville to your Nashville itinerary. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, make your first stop the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory to tour the factory where the famous bats are produced. Next, visit the Kentucky Derby Museum or the Muhammad Ali Center, a museum dedicated to the famous boxer. The Louisville Mega Cavern, a former limestone mine, is one of the city’s most popular attractions. In addition to a cave tour, it has the world’s only underground bike park, underground zipline course, and underground aerial ropes challenge course.
After a day of adventure, sink your teeth into what many consider the best barbecue in Louisville at Mark’s Feed Store Bar-B-Q. Earlier in the day, you can rub elbows with jockeys and trainers at Wagner’s Pharmacy over breakfast and lunch.
Washington DC to Pittsburgh
For $30 round-trip, you can add Pittsburgh to your Washington DC itinerary. The city has a remarkable number of museums and attractions, including the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh: the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, Carnegie Museum of Art, and Andy Warhol Museum. Another great option is the Senator John Heinz History Center, which explores Pittsburgh’s 250 years of history. Pittsburgh is also home to the National Aviary, the only independent, indoor, and non-profit zoo in the nation dedicated to birds, as well as Bicycle Heaven, the largest collection of bicycles in the United States.
When you’re ready for something to eat, go directly to the original Primanti Bros., the Pittsburgh institution famous for its sandwiches topped with coleslaw and French fries. For something fancier, try Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh, a German restaurant that brews its own beer.
New York to Atlantic City
It’s only $30 to take Megabus from New York City to Atlantic City, where you can soak in the sun at the beach and stroll the famous boardwalk. Make sure to visit Lucy the Elephant, the iconic 6-story pachyderm that watches over the area. If you’re into carnival rides, Steel Pier is a must. Feeling lucky? Play a game of chance at one of Atlantic City’s casinos or head into open waters for some deep sea fishing. You can also visit Absecon Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in the state (no luck required).
Dock’s Oyster House is the place to go when you want to eat where the locals do. The 120-year-old restaurant features raw oysters and seafood selections. Fans of Boardwalk Empire won’t want to miss Knife & Fork Inn, a restaurant frequented by political boss Enoch “Nucky.”
Philadelphia to Baltimore
When you’re in Philly, consider a trip to Baltimore for as little as $10 round-trip. There, you can board the USS Constellation at the Historic Ships in Baltimore and learn about the city’s naval history. Nearby, the National Aquarium is home to more than 20,000 aquatic animals. History buffs can tour Fort McHenry National Monument, the fort whose defense during the Battle of Baltimore inspired our national anthem, while art lovers view the internationally renowned art collections at the Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
For a casual meal, check out the James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant, an authentic Irish pub built in Ireland and shipped to the U.S. in 2002. Although it’s a little pricey, Thames Street Oyster House serves fresh oysters, crab, and lobster.
Chicago to Detroit
Supplement your trip to the Windy City with a day or two in Motor City for just $30 round-trip. Highlights include a tour of the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, the birthplace of the Model T, and the Motown Museum, the birthplace of Motown Records. Belle Isle Park is home to the Belle Isle Aquarium, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and the Belle Isle Nature Zoo. You could spend an entire day in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn at The Henry Ford, a complex featuring the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, and The Ford Rogue Factory Tour. Nearby, in Ann Arbor, spend some time at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.
While in Ann Arbor, lunch (or dinner) at Zingerman’s Deli is a must. The sandwiches are expensive -- $15.50 for a small Reuben, $18.50 for a large -- but worth it. Sava’s offers plenty of vegetarian choices and salads as well as fish tacos and lobster rolls.
St. Louis to Little Rock
A ticket from St. Louis to Little Rock is a reasonable $30 round-trip. Start your visit to the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, made famous for its role in the desegregation. The park’s visitor center is located across the street from the high school, which still operates today. Immerse yourself in even more history at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Old State House Museum and Historic Arkansas Museum. For something completely different, take a tour of the ESSE Purse Museum, where woman’s fashion meets history and art.
When you start feeling hungry, dig into prime rib, pasta, or burger at the colorful Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro. Or, grab a plate of spicy fried chicken at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. Although it’s a chain, it’s one of the most popular eateries in Little Rock.