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The cheapest places to vacation for Memorial Day weekend

Sunset from City Hall in Philadelphia.
Joe Daniel Price | Getty Images
Sunset from City Hall in Philadelphia.

Memorial Day is just around the corner. If you haven't planned a trip yet, you can still save significantly for a vacation this late in the game. According to a recent report published by Expedia, hotel rates in five popular U.S. cities are cheaper than they were this time last year — as much as 35 percent — making them worth booking for a last-minute, holiday weekend getaway.

1. Baton Rouge

Almost every major attraction in Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana, centers around the Mississippi River, which thrives over the summer months. Here you can find parks, plazas, museums and the historic Old State Capital, the tallest building in the state at 450 feet high. Head to the 34th floor for excellent views. The landmark is a hot spot for weddings and, over the weekends, both locals and visitors watch newlyweds pose for photos along the green gardens.

The average daily hotel rates are down 35 percent, and you can score great deals like Watermark Baton Rouge, Autograph Collection. Rates start at $125/night at this hip boutique hotel.

2. Chicago

With top attractions and hotels, a famous dining scene and endless activities, Chicago is ranked the best city in the world this year by Time Out, best city in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler readers and is No. 1 on Priceline's list of most popular Memorial Day destinations in 2018. Over the summer, the lakeside beaches become popular, including North Avenue Beach along Lakeshore Drive. It's already attracting crowds with rising temperatures in May.

Average daily hotel rates are down 20 percent. Rooms at Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, a four-star hotel that overlooks Lake Michigan, start at $139/night.

3. Sarasota

On Florida's Gulf Coast just south of Tampa, Sarasota is a charming beach town known for 12 miles of sandy shoreline and six neighboring islands. The most popular beach, Siesta Beach in Siesta Key, is loved for its cool, white sand and was ranked No. 2 in this year's Best Beaches in the U.S. by TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Awards. It's also the setting for "Siesta Key," an MTV reality show.

Average daily hotel rates are down 15 percent. Rooms at Aloft Sarasota, with rooftop bar and pool, start at $187/night.

4. Philadelphia

This year, an average 103 million Americans watched the Philadelphia Eagles win their first Super Bowl, and the spotlight continues on The City of Brotherly Love. Last year, hotels set a record with 7.2 percent occupancy, meaning more tourists are checking in. Famous for American history, museums and food (like cheese steaks), Philly is busy over Memorial Day weekend. There are more than 30 events going on, including yoga on the riverfront and street festivals, as well as the famous fireworks on the Delaware River Waterfront.

Average daily hotel rates are down nearly 15 percent. Rooms at Sonesta Philadelphia, known for its prime location in historic, 17th-century-old Rittenhouse Square, has rooms starting at $209/night.

5. Naples

Travel Channel considers Naples one of the best beaches in Florida. A 30-minute drive from Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, or less than two-hours drive from Fort Lauderdale, this quiet beach town is all about water activities, from fishing and dolphin watching to stand-up paddleboarding and swimming. Naples Pier, stretching 1,000 feet into the sea, has become emblematic of the destination and is a great spot to catch the sunset.

Average daily hotel rates are down more than 10 percent. Rooms at Residence Inn Naples, which includes free breakfast and local shuttle service, and outdoor heated pool, start at $170/night.

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