9. Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz is an iconic beach city in California with memorable natural features and ocean inspired activities. Santa Cruz has been a huge tourist destination for decades and is best known for its outstanding boardwalk. Surfing enthusiasts can appreciate the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum along with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Santa Cruz is surrounded by massive and breath-taking redwood trees, which expand along the coast and surrounding areas for a unique hiking experience. Quality hotels can be found for less than $90 per night on average, but a nearby stay will allow access to the bustling Municipal Wharf. Budget travelers can take the cash saved on low-cost hotels and take it to the downtown district where local shops and restaurants stretch far and wide.