When your budget is tight, it doesn’t mean you can’t take a wonderful beach vacation. Whether going as a couple, a single, or as a family, finding a way to take a cheap beach vacation will provide endless memories.
The cheapest beach to vacation at may surprise you and there are several good options to enjoy. Let’s look at plenty of options for your cheap beach vacation.
Top 16 Cheap Beach Vacations to Enjoy on a Budget
1. Beaufort, South Carolina
A beautiful and historic town with plenty to offer, Beaufort offers one of the cheapest places in the United States for your beach vacation. You can find lodges, cabins, and campsites for as low as $10 per night!
2. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
A beautiful place with turquoise waters and amazing beaches, Punta Cana offers a cheap beach vacation option for those looking to travel internationally. You can travel here for less than $300 per night for two people at an all-inclusive property. This makes for a great option if you want to travel outside of the United States.
3. Grand Haven, Michigan
If you have an RV, fifth wheel, or travel trailer, you’ll love spending time at the state park in Grand Haven, Michigan. This is actually rated as one of the top choices for RV beach travel in the United States by RVShare.com.
The beach is close to many of the attractions and things to do throughout Grand Haven. In fact, you can walk to several places to eat and drink from the campground.
4. Clearwater Beach, Florida
While Florida isn’t always the cheapest place to vacation, Clearwater Beach offers a top destination at a reasonable price. You’ll be just a short drive from Tampa and Sarasota offering plenty of other destinations to visit on your trip.
With the Tampa Bay CityPASS, you can get into several locations for one price. However, if you don’t want to spend much on attractions, Clearwater Beach offers plenty of fun with beautiful views from the beach.
Budget Vacation Tip: Book a hotel a few blocks from the beach during shoulder season (Late April, May, September, early October, and some summer dates) for the best prices and deals.
5. Old Orchard Beach, Maine
You won’t enjoy super warm swimming waters, but if you go during the spring, fall or summer, Old Orchard Beach offers beautiful views and plenty of fun. It’s a great choice for families looking for a cheap beach vacation and it’s more unique than the typical beach.
6. Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
If you want to enjoy a beautiful place and you have an RV of some sort, Padre Island National Seashore is a great choice. You can park right on the beach and enjoy a cheap beach vacation for a price you simply won’t find anywhere else, especially considering the amazing views. It is first-come-first-serve, however, so arrive early in the day and get your camping permit.
7. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Another great destination if you want to leave the continental 48 states, San Juan offers a lower price and beautiful views. Some of the accommodations are less than $100 per night, especially if you book outside of the peak winter season.
8. Orange Beach, Alabama
Another beach you may not have considered, Orange Beach, Alabama offers plenty to enjoy with great fishing charters and all kinds of kids programs at the Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism & Sustainability. You can stay in a nice beachfront condo for as little as $130 per night in the winter season. Other hotels and motels are affordable here, too.
9. Hammocks Beach State Park, North Carolina
A beautiful state park offering budget travelers one of the cheapest beach vacations available, Hammocks Beach State Park provides tent camping options. You can enjoy kayaking here and some of the most amazing views in North Carolina. It’s best to head here between April and October.
10. Outer Banks, North Carolina
During the peak season, you might get lucky and find a good deal in the Outer Banks. RV campers may find deals for as little as $350 for the week. Hotels, AirBnBs, and other accommodations become more affordable during the shoulder season outside of June, July, and August.
In fact, you can stay in a nice vacation home for a low price, if you split it among a few families. In addition, small hotels offer affordable rates, even on some weekdays during peak season.
11. Goa, India
While it will require you to fly to India, Goa is a very cheap place to enjoy a beach vacation. If you can score cheap airline tickets, you can make this an affordable beach vacation for two or even an entire family.
12. Long Key State Park, Florida
Another great choice for those looking to camp, Long Key State Park offers a beautiful place for a cheap beach vacation. It’s located in the Florida Keys and while it may not be the cheapest place to camp, it’s worth it.
Go in the summer or during hurricane season (if you’re brave enough) and then you’ll have better luck getting a reservation. During the peak winter season, you have to book a year in advance and get a bit lucky.
13. Huntington Beach, California
California beaches are usually very expensive, but Huntington Beach offers a few options for a cheap beach vacation. If you book the right motel on the beach, you can stay for $150 per night or lower. Those willing to walk to the beach may even find a better rate and the shoulder season is a great choice.
14. Sandy Neck Beach Park, Massachusetts
Sandy Neck Beach Park is a beautiful RV campground is right on the beach and makes for a cheap beach vacation if you have an RV, travel trailer, or fifth wheel. They even have a primitive tenting area if you don’t mind walking a bit to get to the parking lot.
15. Apostle Islands, Wisconsin
Those looking for a cheap beach vacation up north will love the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This is a place you can camp on 19 of the 21 islands with some offering secluded beaches you can enjoy.
16. Crete, Greece
A beautiful place to visit, if you want to go international, Crete, Greece offers a budget-friendly option with hostels and boarding houses. However, the flights to get here may be a bit pricey.
How can I Get a Cheap Beach Vacation?
After choosing the best beach for your budget-friendly vacation, you’ll want a few tips to help you with planning a cheap beach vacation. Here are a few of the best ways you can take the cheapest beach vacation possible and still have a ton of fun.
1. Hit the Shoulder Season
Sometimes, the shoulder season is just as beautiful as the peak season in beach destinations. Of course, you are taking a chance of dealing with lower temperatures and maybe more rain, depending on the location.
However, when you take a cheap beach vacation during the shoulder season, it will not only save you money but also offer less crowded beaches.
In the United States, the shoulder season is usually during late April and May, along with September and October. Florida is a bit different as the shoulder season continues through the summer for most beach destinations due to the heat and may also include parts of November.
2. Choose a Non-Ocean Beach
Beaches found on lakes, especially the Great Lakes, can be amazing for cheap beach vacations. You will likely get to stay for a cheaper price and still have plenty of fun.
3. Be Willing to Camp
Whether you already own an RV or you have a tent, if you’re willing to camp, you can take a super cheap beach vacation and have a ton of fun. Many destinations allow you to camp right on the beach, which can be an absolutely amazing experience.
4. Avoid the Most Popular Beaches
If you must hit an ocean beach, avoid the most popular beaches. Florida has some of the top beaches in the world, but choosing one that’s not super commercialized can provide a lower cost and a more authentic beach vacation.
5. Split a Larger House with Another Family
If possible, split the cost of a larger house with a family. It will cost you far less for lodging and having a house means you can make meals at home.
6. Avoid Eating Out
Eating out is a huge expense when on vacation. If you have the right accommodations, cook your own food. This is another benefit of camping as you can cook over an open fire, your own grill, or in your RV to save money.
7. Find Free and Cheap Attractions
There are a ton of free and cheap things to do in most of the destinations by beaches. While going to the beach is free, when you want a day away from the beach look for free museums, free days at museums, free outdoor attractions and more.
Taking a cheap beach vacation doesn’t have to be difficult. Choose one of these destinations and use these tips to make your beach vacation fun and affordable this year.