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The 15 best affordable places to visit in the US

While some luxe vacations are worth their extravagant price tags, it's possible to plan a memorable trip without blowing through your entire savings account.

U.S. News & World Report recently released its annual rankings of the best vacation destinations, including the best affordable places to travel in the U.S., Europe and the Caribbean.

To compile the list of the top affordable vacation spots in America, U.S. News considered several factors, including sights, culture, food, shopping and nightlife. The rankings took into account both editors' opinions and votes from readers, as well as average year-round prices. You can read the full methodology here.

Read on to see which U.S. destinations are worth a visit but won't break the bank.

Branson Missouri's downtown with waterfront.
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Branson Missouri's downtown with waterfront.

15. Branson

Situated at the foot of the Ozark Mountains, the small town of Branson, Mo. packs big fun into its numerous amusement parks and shopping centers. Branson also earned the No. 1 spot on U.S. News' list of the best affordable family vacations.

14. Daytona

Best known as a party spot for Spring Breakers, Daytona, Fla. is home to 20 miles of beaches and the Daytona International Speedway, which hosts the annual Daytona 500. However, unless you're a NASCAR fan, save on hotels by visiting during the sport's off-season.

13. Raleigh

Along with Durham and Chapel Hill, Raleigh rounds out North Carolina's Research Triangle, an area known for its innumerable tech jobs. Several presitigious colleges pepper the area, including Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dallas, Texas.
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Dallas, Texas.

12. Dallas/Fort Worth

Football fans know the Dallas/Fort Worth area as the hometown of the Cowboys, but the Texas cities are rich in history and culture as well. Attractions include the Kimbell Art Museum, Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas World Aquarium.

11. Jacksonville

Though it's not directly on the beach or abundant in theme parks like other Florida destinations, Jacksonville visitors have plenty to do, starting with the Jacksonville Zoo, Kingsley Plantation and Museum of Contemporary Art.

10. Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg, Tenn. hosts three entrances to the adjacent Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where visitors can hike, camp and go horseback riding. During peak tourist season, Gatlinburg's modest 4,000-person population explodes to more than 40,000 people, U.S. News reports.

Phoenix, Arizona.
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Phoenix, Arizona.

9. Phoenix

Phoenix's location in the middle of the Sonoran Desert makes it one of the hottest cities in the U.S. But it's also seen a surge of recent growth, making the Arizona city a destination for Northerners seeking a respite during the cold winter months.

8. Salt Lake City

In 1847, Brigham Young made Salt Lake City, Utah, the new headquarters for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which it remains today. In the secular realm, Salt Lake City is also popular for its nearby ski resorts, earning the No. 3 spot on U.S. News' list of the top ski destinations in the U.S.

7. Williamsburg

Vistors to Williamsburg, Va. can pay homage to the area's rich history through visits to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown Battlefield. The area is also full of amusement parks, including Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.

Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.
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Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.

6. Memphis

Music lovers flock to Memphis to traverse the same streets Elvis Presley, B.B. King and Johnny Cash once walked. The Tennessee city also serves as an important reminder of the civil rights movement; it was here in 1968 that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed.

5. Albuquerque

Albuquerque's most famous attraction is the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, held every year during the first week of October. The culture of the New Mexico city reflects its diverse heritage, combining both Native American and Spanish influences.

4. Tucson

Home to the University of Arizona, Tucson boasts an average of 350 sunny days per year. Visitors to the second-largest city in Arizona can explore the natural landscape at places such as Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway, Sagauro National Park and Sabino Canyon Recreational Area.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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Las Vegas, Nevada

3. Las Vegas

In addition to being a great affordable place to visit, Las Vegas, Nev. earned the No. 1 spot on both U.S. News' best spring break destinations and best nightlife scenes in the USA lists. In addition to exploring the famous strip, visitors to Sin City can branch out to go hiking in Red Rock Canyon or visit the Hoover Dam.

2. San Antonio

San Antonio is steeped in Texas history, with famous landmarks including the Alamo and the San Fernando Cathedral. The city's most popular attraction is the River Walk, which features a strip of restaurants, hotels and shops right along the San Antonio River.

1. Grand Canyon

Arizona's Grand Canyon is a sight to behold: The natural chasm runs 277 miles in length, 18 miles in width and mile deep. It is officially both a National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, and features camping and hiking opportunities for all skill levels.

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