A flea market, sometimes referred to as a swap meet, is the perfect place to acquire awesome stuff on the cheap. Vendors sign up to man booths or tables, indoors or out, and display a dizzying array of antiques, collectibles, outdoor gear, books, children's items, and everything in between -- including junk. Admission is typically free or minimal, although some venues charge serious treasure hunters a premium for early-bird dibs on the goods. Here are 50 of the best flea markets across the country.
With 500 vendors and plenty of food, the Sparks Flea Market is a go-to destination for antique and collectible hunters in the spring and fall. In 2016, visit April 28 to May 1 and Sept. 1-4.
Every Sunday from April to December, treasure hunters flock to Elephant's Trunk in New Milford for antiques, collectibles, crafts, and bargains galore. Hardcore buyers can purchase early-bird tickets for a whopping $40. Anyone just browsing can wait till 7 a.m. and get in for $2.
Many collectors and dealers consider the monthly (except during January, February, and July) Springfield Antique Show & Flea Market a must-visit. Amateur treasure hunters are also welcome to search for that unique something.
People have been enjoying the Oronoco Gold Rush Antique & Market Show for decades. Nearly 300 vendors set up shop every year on the third weekend of August, a beacon for bargain hunters looking for that special something.
Several dozen vendors offer up antique furniture, housewares, vintage frocks, old records, artisan goods, and oddball items every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Portland Flea-for-All. Down East magazine's "best of Maine" editors' choice in 2014, the market was also crowned "best of Portland" by The Portland Phoenix in 2015.
Anderson Jockey Lot, open every weekend, is a massive flea and farmers market stretched out over 65 acres in Belton. It boasts up to 60,000 daily visitors. Wares range from videos, books, and art to auto parts, household items, and fresh produce -- even small farm animals.
Smiley's brings thousands of visitors to Fletcher with a vast selection of vendors offering up food, antiques, appliances, and even haircuts. The market is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Launched more than 45 years ago, Kane County Flea Market in St. Charles runs Saturday and Sunday shows the first weekend of the month from April through December. It's been named one of the world's best flea markets by Jetsetter, and shoppers will find both real antiques and real "junque."