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11 Low-Cost Beach Vacations for an Affordable Summer

Forget spending an arm and a leg! These low-cost beach vacations are just what you need this summer!

From shimmering shores to the rugged coastlines, a sandy retreat awaits anyone looking for a low-cost beach vacation. The difference between all of them is that you can afford an extended stay at the destinations on our list.

Planning the perfect summer escape doesn’t have to be complicated! Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, these destinations offer an affordable paradise.

With accommodations ranging from comfy cottages to budget-friendly hotels, you can enjoy an unforgettable seaside getaway without sacrificing comfort or quality.

So pack your bags, remember your sunscreen, and get ready for the ultimate summer adventure without putting a massive dent in your wallet. Experience the magic of 11 low-cost beach vacations and create memorable memories that won’t break the bank!

Low-Cost Beach Vacation
Photo by HannaTor at Shutterstock

Low-cost beach vacation: Avila Beach, California

Avila Beach is a small San Luis Obispo County neighborhood, which is about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles. This is the perfect place to visit if you wish to escape big-city life.

Once you get off Highway 1, you’ll find a small beach town known for oceanfront dining, local wines, and spas that feature natural mineral hot springs.

While here, travelers can visit the Central Coast Aquarium, stroll along the Bob Jones biking and walking trail, or explore the area through the Avila Beach Trolley, which shuttles passengers back and forth to the equally charming Pismo Beach for free!

Low-cost beach vacation: Lubec, Maine

Lubec is a charming little beach town with the unique distinction of being the most easterly town in the US. What will you find here? Two lighthouses, almost 100 miles of shoreline, quaint fishing harbors, and majestic natural beauty are just a few of the notable draws.

And if you’re looking for things to see and do while here, we recommend checking out a few of the summer arts workshops at Summer Keys, including piano lessons, creative writing, photography classes, dancing, and much more.

Low-cost beach vacation: Rehoboth, Delaware

Once you get here, you’ll discover that there are enough types of entertainment in Rehoboth to fill an entire summer and then some. The beachfront boardwalk provides endless fun for the whole family if you’re traveling with kids.

And adults are attracted to the art galleries, lively restaurant scene, and numerous shops. You’ll also find free concerts at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand, and the Rehoboth Beach Museum displays the town’s history through yearbooks and vintage postcards.

Low-cost beach vacation: Pompano Beach, Florida

Residents here like to say that the summertime is their best-kept secret. The weather in this coastal district is typically breezier, more relaxed, and drier than the humid summers of the Northeast part of the US. But the best part?

Accommodation prices begin to drop once May arrives. Visitors can fill their days in the “Heart of the Gold Coast” with boating, fishing, diving, and snorkeling at offshore living reef.

And a beautiful 1,000-foot-long fishing pier and 50 parks are sprinkled throughout the community.

Low-cost beach vacation: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

This beach community has been made famous by a dizzying list of publications, and we can see why. Hilton Head can easily entertain tourists for long summer days.

With over 12 miles of stunning beaches, golf courses, hiking, kayaking, fishing, and many delicious restaurants, Hilton Head Island might sound overwhelming.

But there’s a considerable effort to keep it feeling like an island retreat, with an intentional lack of bright street lights and bold colors.

Low-Cost Beach Vacation
Photo by JWCohen at Shutterstock

Low-cost beach vacation: Cape May, New Jersey

A place that calls itself “America’s oldest seaside resort,” this area is one of the most picture-worthy places on our list with its historic district and colorful Victorian houses, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The location features one of the nation’s most extensive collections of 19th-century framed buildings. This beautiful community on the end of southern New Jersey is also home to immaculate beaches, from Poverty Beach to Higbee Beach.

And since you’re already here, don’t miss the Cape May Lighthouse. It provides magnificent vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay.

Low-cost beach vacation: Topsail Beach, North Carolina

Located in the southern part of Topsail Island, off the southeastern coast of North Carolina, Topsail Beach is the kind of place where you can catch your own delicious seafood dinner from Jolly Roger Pier.

One of three neighborhoods on the 26-mile island, Topsail exudes small-town charm energy. You’ll even find a roller-skating rink above the Post Office.

The Missiles and More Museum, which is a local historic structure that goes all the way back to 1946, is a fantastic place to visit while here. It showcases the history of this beautiful island.

And for those who would prefer sunshine and the outdoors, your options include fishing, surfing, and exploring the Intracoastal Waterway.

Low-cost beach vacation: Tybee Island, Georgia

Tybee Island is a scenic barrier island ideal for lounging away on summer days. A mere 20 miles from historic Savannah, Tybee is renowned for wide, sandy beaches, delicious local cuisine, and salt marshes full of wildlife that’s distinctive to the Georgia coast.

But don’t worry. There are plenty of fishing opportunities and many restaurants if you don’t feel like catching your own meals.

Low-cost beach vacation: Gold Beach, Oregon

Named after the many miners who extracted gold from the nearby shores, the southern part of the state’s Gold Beach specializes in combining adventure and serenity.

Besides strolling along secluded beaches, fishing, tide pooling, and having some fun on jet boat tours on the Rogue River, you can explore the rainforest here or watch for passing pods of gray whales.

And in the evenings, your entertainment will include a beautiful and relaxing oceanfront outdoor theater at the Pacific Reef Hotel.

Low-cost beach vacation: Gulf Shores, Alabama

Many have named the Gulf Shores one of the most underrated vacation spots in the country, one of the most charming beach districts in the United States, and one of the best Southern beaches, among other honors.

Besides the 32 miles of beautiful beaches, one of the top attractions here is Gulf State Park, where you’ll find hiking trails, a zip line over the dunes, kayak rentals, and a golf course. And just across the street is the second-biggest pier in the Gulf of Mexico.

Also, don’t forget to visit the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. It’s home to migratory birds and sea turtles.

Low-Cost Beach Vacation
Photo by Patricia Elaine Thomas at Shutterstock

Low-cost beach vacation: Essex, Massachusetts

A place that exudes small-town New England beach life, Essex has yet to be overrun by crowds or overdeveloped. This is a place where you can still find extensive picturesque marshes, winding country roads, and estuaries that can be navigated in kayaks or small rowboats.

It’s also known as our country’s antique capital, with over two dozen shops huddled together within a mile of each other. What can you see and do while here? The Essex Shipbuilding Museum is home to an intriguing collection of artifacts and photos.

And fundamental summertime activities here include exploring the immaculate lengths of Crane Beach in nearby Ipswich and ending your day with a feast of tasty fried clams at Woodman’s.

We hope you enjoyed reading about all these incredible low-cost beach vacations. Be sure to let us know in the comments where you’re planning to visit this summer… And remember to pack your sunblock and a comfortable pair of walking shoes for exploring!

And if you liked this post, Must See Places has many more for you! For example, we highly recommend you also read: 8 Charming All-American Hotels That’ll Take You Back in Time

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